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Why Is Focus Important for Success?

Why Is Focus Important for Success?

Ingafay Faison Cavitt and I met at a virtual networking event. She introduced herself as a Confidence Coach for Women. Since that was one of my specialties in my hypnotherapy practice, we scheduled a video call to get to know one another better. She works with women in direct sales to become the person they were destined to be. At the end of our conversation, she decided that my approach as a focus coach would work well on her podcast.

Being able to focus is vital to being successful in business, so that’s the approach we decided to take. I shared my story of  how, when I focused on one item at a time on a long to-do list, I was finally able to complete items in a short period. Ingafay agreed that doing one thing at a time is more productive.

We discussed how getting distracted can feel rewarding, but you don’t get much done. And it can cause you to seek out more distractions. Oddly enough, one hour of focused time is equivalent to many more hours of distracted time.

I shared 4 steps that anyone can use to develop the skill of focus. One of those steps was to take breaks after a period of concentration to give the mind time to recover. Ingafay asked if a break could be like doing household chores and I said, “Yes.”

At the end of the podcast, she asked me about something I’d mentioned  when we’d had our first conversation. She asked, “Can you talk again about introverts and extroverts?” I explained that introverts and extroverts need different types of stimulation to focus for productivity. Extroverts work best around other people and introverts work best alone. I shared how a friend had tried me to work her way, and I couldn’t. I really enjoyed talking with Ingafay and wished we had more time. We both have the mission to lift women up, support and empower them to have better lives. Women have the power to fulfill their dreams.

~ Linda-Ann Stewart

How One Small Technique Can Improve Your Attitude

How One Small Technique Can Improve Your Attitude

by Linda-Ann Stewart

When you’re in a bad mood or feeling down, it seems like nothing goes right. If you can shift your attitude to being more upbeat, life flows more smoothly. There is a simple technique you can use to improve your mood and attitude, and it just takes a minute. Here are 3 tips on how to use it to feel better and be happier.

Transcript:

Thank you for watching. I’m Linda-Ann Stewart, a vision empowerment coach. Everyone has bad days, right? When you’re having one, it’s hard to get anything done, isn’t it? You feel like you’re wading through molasses. You know you’re fighting an uphill battle with your attitude and it seems that anything that could go wrong, does go wrong.

You realize that if you can shift your mood to a better one, everything flows more smoothly, right? What if I told you there was one small action you could take that could boost your attitude, lower your stress, and be happier? Would you try it? I certainly would.

Believe it or not, it’s something as simple as smiling. Please, bear with me. I know, when you’re feeling down, the last thing you want to do is smile. But smiling, whether you mean it or not, will make you feel better. It stimulates your brain into a more positive state, fooling it into thinking that you are actually feeling good. The old cliché, “Fake it until you make it,” is true in this situation. The brain can’t tell if your smile is real or forced. 

My first tip is going to look silly, but try it. You have nothing to lose, except your dignity. When you’re not feeling like smiling, but want to feel better, take a pen or pencil and put it between your teeth. [DEMO]

Looks silly, right? But notice how it activates the same muscles you use when you’re smiling? The muscles of the corner of your mouth turn up. Your brain doesn’t know that you’re just pretending. Hold it for a minute or so, and then take it out. Try smiling on your own, and see if it isn’t easier. 

My second tip is to start the day by deliberately smiling for 30 seconds to a minute. That will set your day up to be more productive, and you’ll approach your work with a more positive attitude. When you’re more positive, your day goes smoother, doesn’t it?

My third tip is to do the same thing when you hit a slump or start to feel stressed during the day. Smile for 30 seconds to a minute, again. It will cause you to be more upbeat, lower your stress and energize you.

So, “Turn that frown upside down.” Yes, I know, it’s corny. But smiling will encourage your brain to shift into a more positive state. You’ll look at your life differently. And when you change your attitude, then your responses, and your life, changes.

Please subscribe to my YouTube channel to receive more mindset coaching tips to improve your life.

Thank you for watching. And remember, smile.

Please read the accompanying article, How Simple Actions Improve Your Attitude.

~ Linda-Ann Stewart

Focus, the Power Behind Success

Focus, the Power Behind Success

by Linda-Ann Stewart

"Your ability to focus is the most important success skill you can ever develop." Brian Tracy

“Your ability to focus is the most important success skill you can ever develop.” Brian Tracy

In today’s world, it’s hard to stay focused. It seems that every minute, there’s something to divert your attention. You probably check your email several times a day. Every time there’s a notification from your phone, you have to see what it is. That’s in addition to interruptions from co-workers, family and friends. After a distraction, studies show it takes at least fifteen to twenty minutes to get focused again.

Also, your mind can focus on only one thing at a time. Each time you shift your attention from one thing to another, you’re “task switching” and it burns up extra mental energy. When the entire day is filled with these intrusions, you end the day feeling drained and exhausted, with very little to show for it.

Benefits of Focus

However, when you’re more focused, you feel more in charge of your world, get in the flow and get more done. You also have less stress and overwhelm, because your mind has one thing to do at a time. In addition, you have more clarity, so you make better decisions, as well as being more efficient, effective, and productive.  

Therefore, to achieve your goals and dreams, your ability to focus is vital. Fortunately, it’s a skill that you can cultivate and develop. The more you focus, the more you’re able to focus. It’s just like a muscle. The more you use it, the stronger it becomes.

How to Create the Habit of Focus

You can’t be focused all the time, because the unexpected does happen on occasion. But you can set aside time each day to pay attention to your most important tasks. Schedule time into your day to focus on important projects. Here are some ways you can get started and cultivate your ability to focus.

Motivate yourself to focus. Decide how having increased focus benefits you, and remind yourself of that incentive when you set aside time for it. As you build your motivation, and act on it, focusing becomes a habit. Jim Rohn said, “Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going.” Once you establish the habit of focusing, your mind will automatically know what to do when you want to do it.

Use visualization. Choose one task that will move you towards your vision or goal. What is it you want to focus on and achieve in this period? Before you get to work on it, take a couple of minutes to visualize yourself performing your task and accomplishing what you want. This increases your motivation, and primes your subconscious to start solving any issues you might encounter. You’re rehearsing your actions, which then makes them easier to execute.

Eliminate distractions. Find a way to minimize the effects of whatever can intrude on your focus time. For instance, research shows that if your phone is in the same room as you’re in, your mind is always tuned to it. Even turning your phone off doesn’t work. Therefore, put your phone in another room, where you can’t see it or hear it. Turn off your email. Close your door.

Minimize multi-tasking. Constant multi-tasking trains your mind to hinder your focus. However, you don’t have to completely avoid multi-tasking. When you’re performing automatic behaviors, such as doing dishes, watching television doesn’t drain you. Or you can pay bills and listen to a podcast. But when you do activities that need you to think, multi-tasking uses up mental bandwidth and exhausts your energy. Your mind is always seeking something new, and when you multi-task, you jump from one attention getting novelty to another. Multi-tasking triggers the reward centers of the brain, therefore gives you an incentive to repeat the process, which makes multi-tasking addictive.

Strengthen your focus muscle. Set aside time to focus on one task without distractions. Start off with as much time as you can before you need a break. You may need to begin with only ten or fifteen minutes. Each week, increase the time. Aim to have a sixty to ninety-minute stretch of focusing on one topic or chore before you take a break. When you take your break, do something that rests your mind for several minutes, such as going for a walk, getting a drink, or something to eat. This gives your mind time to replenish its energy and get ready for your next work period.

Being able to focus is an inherent talent that we all have. But it’s not an skill that is exercised much, so most people have gotten out of practice with it. With the above tactics, you can cultivate your natural ability, strengthen it, and develop it into a habit that will support your success.

Affirmation:
I have a natural ability to focus and pay attention to what’s important to me. It’s a skill that I can develop and grow through practice. The Universe flows Its energy through my focus, supporting my endeavors and smoothing my path to maximize success.

Watch the accompanying video, Guided Meditation to Focus and Accomplish More.

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Reduce Stress and Improve Your Life With Positive Self Talk

Self-talk is the way your inner voice makes sense of the world around you and the way you communicate with your inner self. Self-talk influences your experience of stress, positively or negatively. You can stop yourself from using negative self-talk and use your mind to boost your productivity and self-esteem and relieve stress. Use these 7 ways to take charge and change your negative self-talk to something more constructive.

Most Productive People: 6 Things They Do Every Day

This article is based on six tips from Tim Ferriss, author of the international bestseller, The 4-Hour Workweek. It describes the science behind why the tips work, and insight from the most productive people around. And much of it has to do with being calmer, more focused and happier.

17 Ways You Can Develop New Habits and Improve Your Life

Trying new things makes you healthier, happier, and more creative. It also builds new neural pathways in your brain. It’s possible to adapt to new ideas and habits if you’re open to the possibilities and willing to try new activities.

~ Linda-Ann Stewart

3 Steps to Being More Focused and Effective

3 Steps to Being More Focused and Effective

It’s all too easy to get distracted or not pay attention to what you’re doing. When you do, you make mistakes and miss details that you need. Learning how to be more focused is important if you want to achieve your goals. Learn 3 simple steps to being more mindful that will improve your productivity and your life.

Transcript:

I’m Linda-Ann Stewart, a vision strategist coach for small business and entrepreneurs, and would like to share a tip on how you can become more focused, mindful and get more out of your life.

Last week, I was cooking a chicken dish that had an accompanying sauce. I minced some garlic for the chicken, and then another couple of large cloves for the sauce. I got distracted while I was cooking, and accidentally threw the garlic for the sauce in with the chicken, in addition to what was already there. Wow, was that a lot of garlic! It was almost overpowering. I thought I’d ruined the dish.

Have you ever been thinking of something else, and then made a mistake, like I did? Or been distracted when you’re talking with a friend or colleague and miss something important they said? This comes from your attention being diverted elsewhere and not being aware of what’s going on in the present.

In our fast-paced world, it’s hard to pay attention to what’s going on in the moment. But being able to focus on what you’re doing, or listening fully,  will mean that you are more efficient, more effective and will have better relationships, both personally and professionally.

There’s a simple way to bring your attention to the present, and stay mindful about what’s going on.

Your mindset tip has 3 steps to it:

  1. Become aware of what you’re doing, such as having a conversation or preparing a meal.
  2. Take a long, slow deep breath to slow your mind down and get focused on your priority.
  3. Decide what your intention is, and then act. It may be taking an action, or it may be listening fully.

This shifts your energy from being scattered and distracted to being focused and intentional. If I’d just followed my own advice last week, I wouldn’t have had a meal that I came close to ruining. As you practice these steps, notice how much more you accomplish and how much better you feel.

To achieve your goals with confidence and ease in 4 powerful steps, watch my FREE training video, Set Your Course to Success. Register for the video and accompanying action planning guide at www.SetYourCourseGuide.com.

Thank you for watching. Remember, become aware, breathe, and then act. Take care.

Read the accompanying article, How to Take Back Control When Stress Overwhelms You.

~ Linda-Ann Stewart

How You Improve Your Life by Being Mindful

How You Improve Your Life by Being Mindful

by Linda-Ann Stewart

Mindfully smelling a flower

Several years ago, I’d arranged to meet a friend for lunch. She visited our area infrequently on business, and when she did, we tried to get together to catch up. The week she was in the area, I had a full schedule of clients. But I’d set aside over an hour to spend with her and looked forward to our conversation.

Shortly after she arrived, she got a call on her cell phone from another friend. Instead of telling the person she’d call them back, she chatted with them for most of the hour. She ended the call shortly before I had to get back to my office. Once she realized that she’d wasted our time together, she was contrite. Disappointed that I had to leave, she tried to convince me to stay. I couldn’t reschedule my clients on such short notice, and had to leave.

Instead of being in the present, she’d automatically answered the phone, and remained on the call without considering the consequences. Have you ever done that, or had it done to you? How often are you absent in the moment, simply reacting or taking an action without thinking it through?

Mindfulness vs. Habits

It’s been estimated that 95% of the time we act out of habit, like my friend did. Her phone rang; she answered it on autopilot, and stayed on the call. Instead of being mindful, she was mindless in that moment. Habits are useful. They can help our minds problem solve and assess information. But they’re not helpful when they take over your decision making process.

Situations like this crop up all the time. Instead of working on your project, you answer each call, text or email as it comes in. The notification triggers you to deal with the immediate distraction, rather than staying focused on your task, which is more important. Or you accept that piece of cake you’re offered without considering your diet. Paying attention to what you’re doing, and want to be doing, helps you accomplish more of your priorities.

Benefits of Mindfulness

You can’t be mindful all the time. Letting your mind wander occasionally opens you to creativity and innovation. But to fulfill your potential, there needs to be a balance between dreaming and being consciously aware of what you’re doing and thinking.

Choosing to be more mentally present in your life has numerous benefits. Your relationships improve, you make fewer mistakes, are less stressed, make better decisions, have more constructive habits, improved communication, reach goals more quickly, and are more efficient, effective and productive.

Practice Being Present

To use mindfulness to improve your life, practice the following steps:

  1. Be in the present. Let go of the past, and ignore the future for a while. You can address the future a bit later. For the moment, pay attention to what’s going on right now. Who are you with, and what are they saying? What do you need to be doing? This will allow you to be more effective in your life.
  2. Accept what is. We all have expectations of how we want life to be. But that attitude is counter-productive. Instead of resisting reality, wanting a situation to be different and resenting that it’s not that way, accept the facts. Only then can you begin to rationally deal with the situation and find a better outcome.
  3. Respond intentionally. It’s natural to want to react when you’re stressed and lash out when you’re upset. But it will only cause more harm. Don’t let stress trigger you into going on autopilot or let anger control you. When you’re distressed, be aware of your thoughts and feelings about what’s going on. Whether you’re stressed or angry, when you have to choose a course of action, consider your options and and decide the best way to respond.
  4. Focus on your steps. It’s important to plan for the future, but also important to focus on the current steps you need to take to get there. Keep in mind why your goal is important to you. But instead of being overwhelmed by how far you have to go to achieve your goal, just work on the next step.

You can only impact this moment. The past is over, and the future is yet to be. When you are mindful about the present, then you’re making wise decisions and taking actions that will bring you a much better today and tomorrow.

Affirmation:

I practice being present in my life. The Universe guides and directs my attention and actions. When I accept the reality of the moment, I can decide how to handle it for my Highest Good. I choose my responses wisely, by consciously considering my options and taking action on the one that is best for the situation. Each moment builds on the one before, and by being mindful, I create a wonderful future.

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How to Cultivate More Self-Compassion

Self-compassion has to do with being kind to yourself, rather than being critical and judgmental. There’s a difference between making a mistake and being a bad person. Research is showing that showing yourself compassion leads to less anxiety and depression, and more self-worth and happiness. Try these 5 ways to practice self-compassion and discover how much better your life can be.

10 Unmistakable Habits of Utterly Authentic People

To live authentically, you must own your actions and ensure that they align with your beliefs and needs. People who don’t feel uncomfortable and besmirched. Learn to become authentic through these specific habits you can develop.

You Need to Practice Being Your Future Self

Being busy is not the same as being productive. It’s the difference between running on a treadmill and running to a destination. They’re both running, but being busy is running in place. To be productive and move forward, ask, and answer, some of the simple questions in this article.

~ Linda-Ann Stewart

How to Stay Mindfully Focused

How to Stay Mindfully Focused

It’s hard to stay focused and not get distracted in our frantic, fast-paced lives. But focus is the best way to achieve your goals and be productive. Focus is one of the most important skills a person can develop. Learn a simple technique to learn how to be more focused and get more done, more easily.

Transcript:

Thank you for joining me. In our frantic day-to-day lives, it’s hard to stay focused, isn’t it? We’re pulled in so many different directions. But being able to focus on a task or project is the way to get it done and done well. I’d like to share a simple technique for you to be able to hone your attention, to be more single-minded, and get more done, more easily. Wouldn’t that be great?

I’m Linda-Ann Stewart, a vision strategist. The technique I’m going to share with you combines a couple of tactics. One is deep breathing, and the other is self-talk. Either of which is good to help calm you down and get focused. But together, they are an unbeatable combination.

Using this technique allows you to pay attention to what you want to pay attention to, to what’s important and not what’s trying to distract you. When you take care of what’s important first, you can deal with other things later.

When you want to focus on a task, first take three long, slow, deep breaths. This calms your brain and nervous system so you can focus. It also allows you to take a mental step back to make a decision on what to do next. Rather than being pushed by events, you can make a choice of what to do next. It’s the difference between reacting and responding. When you respond, you’re reclaiming your power over your actions. 

Next, engage in talking to yourself to keep yourself focused. Just saying things like, “Focus” or “concentrate” or “stick with it,” will rein in your thoughts to stay on task. You could also talk to yourself as if you’re a third person, like, “Linda-Ann, continue working on this for the next half-hour.” When you say your name, it catches your attention, doesn’t it? And you’re more likely to follow your own directions.

When you stay mindfully focused you’ll find yourself being more productive and efficient, while increasing your peace of mind. As a side benefit, you’ll also be training yourself to be more focused, so the more you practice, the better at it you’ll become. You’ll be developing a vital skill that you can use for the rest of your life, in all areas of your life.

If you’d to achieve a 90-day goal more easily, download my free comprehensive Strategic Vision guide at www.SetYourCourseGuide.com. You’ll receive the guide, as well as a training video that walks you through it with tips and directions to support you in you in accomplishing your goal.

Thank you for watching. How can you use this technique of deep breathing and self-talk today? Take care.

~ Linda-Ann Stewart

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9 Mindset Shifts That Will Help You Live Your Dream Life

Mindset is at the core of every success and blocks that you might have. It affects how you perceive the world and whether you feel capable of overcoming obstacles. You believe what you tell yourself and then act on those beliefs. To align your beliefs with your desired outcomes, use these strategies to shift your attitudes.

8 Strategies to Manage Overwhelming Feelings

When you feel overwhelmed, your mind shuts down and you can feel paralyzed. So you deal with what’s immediate, or escape to watch cat videos. Instead, use tactics such as taking a walk, breathing or gratitude. If those don’t work, try these tips to keep calm and carry on.

9 Signs You’re Dealing With an Emotional Manipulator

Emotional manipulators defy logic. They derive satisfaction from controlling you and creating chaos. They can cause you to doubt yourself and destroy your self-esteem. But you can learn how to spot them. When you do, trust yourself and stay away from them. They don’t want to be a positive force in your life.

~ Linda-Ann Stewart

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3 Ways to Better Understand Your Emotions

Many struggle to identify what exactly they’re feeling, and often times the most obvious label isn’t actually the most accurate. Because of society, culture, and family rules about ignoring or suppressing them, many people don’t even recognize that they’re feeling anything. But it leaks out in inappropriate ways. But when we’re able to accurately label what we’re feeling, we can decide how to address the issue.

Use Guided Imagery For Relaxation

Both guided imagery and relaxation are amazing remedies for stress and anxiety. The benefits have long ranging mental, emotional and physical effects. This article gives some specific instructions and tips on how to practice this effective technique.

A quick technique to overcome procrastination

Procrastination sabotages your productivity, effectiveness, and can impact your relationships. It’s designed to have you put off what might be boring, uncomfortable or unpleasant. But those tasks still need to be done, and putting them off means that you waste your time and energy. This article shows you 4 steps and several tips to break the habit of procrastination.

~ Linda-Ann Stewart