Focus… it’s a hard skill to perfect when there are so many demands, options and desires. There is one thing I have a lot of experience with… and that is being scattered and unfocused and dealing with the results of my lack of focus. Every single time I wanted to shift my focus and go in a new direction I made a very convincing argument as to why it was a good idea. My gut was sending out alarm signals, making me feel the need to convince someone. In truth it was me making excuses for myself! Does this sound familiar? I bet it does!

So what did I learn from those experiences that helped me create a different course of action? It turns out that the solution was very simple. I created a strategic plan… a well thought out strategic plan. One that made me look at my long-term goals and in some cases create them where there weren’t any. I looked at things like the path of profitability, of joy and fulfillment and how much time I have to get there. When you create a strategic plan like that it gives purpose to your actions and when your gut sounds the alarms of caution you will be more likely to hear it. When that scattered voice distracts you, ask yourself… Does this action or new initiative get me closer to my goals or am I making excuses for it just because I WANT to do it? If the answer is just because you WANT it then get to the core of what you want about it and find a way to nourish that desire in a way that complements your strategy, and doesn’t detract from it … don’t kid yourself that it is good for business.

Many years ago I lost a quarter of a million dollars because I took on a project convincing myself that it was a sound business idea when in reality it was because I WANTED to travel and create. At the time I had no strategic plan to guide my thinking. By the way, I now take exotic vacations and travel between my two offices in Miami and Denver. As far as fueling my creativity… I write books, blogs and help others do the same. Those things fit into my strategic plan AND fuel my desires. It was a VERY expensive lesson to learn… but I learned it well!

What should go into your strategic plan? What kinds of things get you off-track? Would you like assistance in figuring it out?