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Some guys have the inner world figured out and some don’t.
The ones who’s inner world is ready to collapse but on the outside they seem to hustle and they seem to have it all together are called “Driven”. You know the guys.
But the ones with true inner peace and calm are called “Focused”. They hustle, but they have meaning, purpose. We covered that in the last lesson.
So, Driven and Focused. There’s a big difference between the two, even though they may seem almost the same on the outside.
A driven person is always busy, and they are most often gratified only by accomplishment. They can’t find happiness in the simple, joyful things, because their happiness comes only from the accomplishment of a task, and increases when they’re looked at with esteem – when they get a pat on the back or a compliment.
A focused person is also gratified by accomplishment, but they’re happy when they succeed because they know that this accomplishment allowed them to live a better life. In other words, this accomplishment was just a tool. It wasn’t the accomplishment itself that gave them happiness, it was just that their good hustle allowed them to free up more time with family, to make more money to enjoy life with, or to help others. See the difference?
A driven person runs themselves into the ground.
A focused person knows how to use and manage energy when they’re busy or under stress. Look at the guys who win the Tour de France. Why are they usually in their 30’s and not their 20’s? They’re not the fastest or strongest, but they have learned energy management. And that just takes maturity.
A driven person with busyness is usually caught up in the uncontrolled pursuit of more. Nothing is ever enough.
A focused person with hustle knows when they have what they need, and they can sit back and appreciate it, enjoy it.
A driven person tends to have low integrity. Not that they’re necessarily a cheater and a liar, that’s not my point. But they tend to have low integrity with themselves and others. They don’t show up when they need to be counted on, they disregard others’ feelings, and basically think of themselves as more important because they’re busier. And they tell everyone how busy they are.
A focused person has high integrity. They can be counted on at all times. They hustle, but they know when to stop and help others, or spend time with family – because they know it’s more important than being busy.
A driven person does not typically improve their people skills. They may have the gift of gab, but they easily blow it as soon as they have a one-on-one conversation or speak about something from the heart – something other than their work or accomplishments.
A focused person thinks of others. They listen when people speak to them, and they respond seriously with thought and care. They’re not thinking of what they’re going to say next when someone else is speaking.
A driven person tends to be highly competitive with others. They get uncomfortable when someone else discusses their own achievements because it may overshadow theirs.
A focused person is competitive with themselves.
A driven person is a “self development jackass”. I love that one. A driven person will soak up self help books, courses, podcasts… but never do anything with them. It’s all to justify that they’re learning. But they’re not implementing. It’s just busyness.
A focused person researches what knowledge will work best for them, they consume the knowledge, then they immediately take action and hustle. I hope you do too!
A driven person often possesses a volcanic force of anger. I grew up in a very driven family, and my father, my brothers and I all have this problem. Some of us will go so far as to agree that we’re okay with something just to avoid confrontation, then later blow our tops about that very same thing when pushed to the point of exasperation. Be very careful about this, especially for you Dads with kids. The inconsistency will crush them.
A focused person shows normal justified anger, kept under control, when the situation calls for it.
A driven person is usually abnormally busy, is averse to play, and usually avoids spiritual worship.
A focused person hustles, works hard, but knows when to quit. Then they play hard, and they always have time for their spiritual life.
Okay, lets look at living as a focused Dad and explore the steps we can take to become more focused in how we live rather than driven.
If you want to know which of your friends or coworkers are driven, the signs I gave you above are a good indicator, but you can look even deeper.
A focused person knows exactly who they are, they have an unwavering sense of purpose, and they practice perfect commitment. I can only name a few Dads I know that are like that in the married life. Otherwise, they’re all monks, living in a monastery. No really, it’s true. Catholic monks are pretty amazing. They live this life to a T. Everything in moderation, sharing, with an absolute sense of purpose. If you ever get a chance to visit a monastery, do it.
So let’s go deep. What ere the causes of this busyness – this driven behavior?
We know from the last lesson that to cure it we add meaning, or purpose, to our life and our work. So would a lack of meaning then cause this busy driven behavior? Sort of, but it’s mostly due to CONTROL.
Being overly busy, driven and feeling overwhelmed and stressed out is directly related to a sense of control. As soon as you feel you are losing control over your time, relationships and life, your responsibilities feel like burdens piling up on your shoulders. You then feel anxious you can’t do everything or feel resentful about the expectations people have for you.
In order to become more focused, you need to regain your sense of control. You have to review the choices that led to the overwhelm and the busy, driven behavior.
Make a list of everything you feel you are directly responsible for. Include your work projects, your to-do list at home, and the outcomes you are expected to create in your work, family and social lives. Basically think, “Who would be completely screwed if I got hit by a bus?” To put it bluntly.
Once you create this list, complete the following five steps to regain your sense of control and go from driven to focused.
1) Be clear on why you are doing what you do.
We talked about this with meaning, and it’s going to be the same thing here. The greatest organizing factor of your life is to be able to answer the question, “For what purpose am I doing this?”
Did you say “yes” to a task because you didn’t want to disappoint someone or you were afraid to say no? These tasks will drain your energy.
Instead, look at tasks that energize and ones where the results make you smile. These tasks add up to your personal “why.”
You will probably find that your enjoyable tasks are generally focused on your family, or making something happen for the greater good. Or they may be focused on assisting others to realize their potential or to help them make a difference, in changing what is not working now for them.
Your most motivating “why” can change over time, but determine what most fuels your motivation now. Then before you take on a new responsibility, ask yourself if the task or outcome adds to your personal “why.” Don’t just look at what you want to say “no” to. Be clear about WHY you say “yes” as well.
2) Put limits on your trade-offs.
There will be chores you have to do even though they don’t inspire you or give you any type of meaning. But try making decisions about what you will and will not do before you have a conversation with your boss, friends or wife. Good negotiators prepare before their meetings. They know what they are willing to give up and what their dealbreakers are. They also know how to explain the reasons for the dealbreakers. Then stick with your plan no matter how emotional the plea to distract you. Don’t let the tyranny of the urgent overrule the priority of the important!
3) Ask for help
Busy people have a hard time asking for help – they want to always stay busy and do things themselves. But amazingly, you regain control and focus when you ASK for help. It seems counterintuitive, but if you are overwhelmed and overly busy, you lose more control by doing something yourself than by delegating a task to others – THAT gives you more control.
If you show people you believe in their capabilities, they might surprise you. Help them develop their own mastery and then let them make their own decisions. Coach and mentor them instead of criticizing them. Be patient. Breathe through your irritation. Other people learn from mistakes just as you did.
Again, this is five steps to regain your sense of control and go from driven to focused.
4) Outline your priorities.
Here we are again, but setting your Priorities of the Important is absolutely key.
*** The most successful people in the world are no better at time management than you are. What they ARE better at is managing priorities.
Schedule a five minute “priority-setting” session for yourself every day, even non-workdays. Force yourself to do this before you check your email. Look at your appointments for the day and list out the things you want to complete. Then make a priority list.
As your busy day progresses, stop and determine if you are sticking to your priorities. Notice when you get distracted and try to set the time you will return to your priorities. If you don’t do this, you risk feeling as if you haven’t done anything useful with your day.
Remember to choose just the absolute priorities. You can fill your list with other things to do, but mark them as extras – to be done only if you have time. You never want to overwhelm yourself by having priorities that are not crossed off at the end of the day.
I find myself often writing something down that I already got done, then immediately crossing it off. I didn’t even need to write down the task – it was already done. But the act of writing it and crossing it off is therapeutic and so effective for my momentum and focus.
The fifth step to regain your sense of control and go from driven to focused:
5) Realize that there are “non-productive” moments that are priceless.
To stay focused, you have to have periods of time where you don’t think about work or problems, and you don’t need to account for every minute of your time.
The more complex a situation, the more you overload your brain. When you occasionally distract yourself with something mindless or a physical activity, you give your unconscious a chance to sort through possible solutions. When you return to your work, you might discover a new solution. You’ll find a whole new focus.
So become more focused instead of driven. Find your hustle instead of just being busy. And spend time with family – your real, true priority.