If someone asked you, “What is your greatest power”, what would you say?
I would say that I am able to take any problem a retailer faces and create a sustainable process that propels them forward. With a maniacal focus on getting to the root cause of their challenges, I ask lots of questions and create a solution that aligns with how the organization operates and ensure the solution fulfills their goal.
Did you catch the term, maniacal focus? While we all have different skills, there is one I want to talk about here and that is FOCUS. I believe that this is a power we can all have, if we choose to.
My friend and colleague, Ron Thurston, just published a book (Retail Pride) that highlights retail as the remarkable career it is, or at least once was. COVID 19 has impacted retail in a significant manner which resulted in many losing a job they loved. If you have spent any time in retail, it’s likely in your bloodstream and you will always feel the most fulfilled working in retail.
The current challenges are finding a retail position with a great organization amidst the saturated market or moving your retail business forward and keeping the teams engaged and energized. Regardless which camp you are in, I think you will enjoy how Ron frames the idea of focusing on what is most important and letting the rest go.
I devoured Ron’s book in one sitting. It was just too good to put down. We will be recording a podcast in the next few weeks but I couldn’t wait until then to share some of my learnings with you.
The italics throughout the blog are direct quotes from Retail Pride.
What you Focus on Becomes your Greatest Power
When our focus is consistent, it allows us to begin something without procrastination and then maintain our effort until the mission is complete. It helps us pay attention amid distractions and setbacks, sustaining the energy needed to reach a goal.
Over the past several months, I have spent hundreds of hours coaching people who have been impacted by Covid, losing a career they loved. When you have spent half of your adult life with one organization or in one industry, it can be pretty overwhelming to find a new position, especially in this over saturated retail market.
Those who are experiencing success in finding a new position have FOCUSED on reinventing themselves, their resume, their social profiles and their interviewing skills.
Whether you are looking for a new job or trying to excel in your current retail position amidst the COVID challenges, the idea of FOCUS will help you move forward! That forward movement will create momentum and I am confident this post is going to move you forward, should you choose to apply the lesson.
Focus on what Matters and Ignore the Rest
Ron share’s a personal lesson he learned about working on too many things at once which keeps him from achieving his best results. He has learned how to focus on his strengths, delegate as needed and find the power to do fewer tasks really well. He also adds that technology can be a real distraction.
I have to admit that at times, I fight this battle too. I am working with multiple clients, marketing my firm, developing the team, writing blogs and newsletters, keeping the website up to date and the list goes on and on. Remaining focused on what matters most and de-prioritizing the rest is vital to success. I bet you have a lengthy list too.
Ron shares 9 tips on how to make FOCUS your greatest power. I am going to share my favorite 3 tips…then you will need to buy the book to learn the remaining 6. I contribute some of my success to my ability to focus. But it doesn’t always happen without simple reminders of how to focus on what matters most.
1. Have a Plan for the Day
Make a list of your top priorities for the day, week, month. Review the list each morning and decide realistically what tasks you can accomplish for the day. Make your plan clear. For example, “I am going to finish the first three items on this list by noon.” From there, decide how long each item takes. Longer projects and more in-depth conversations require greater focus. Try and hold yourself accountable to how long each will take. If you get off track, that’s ok, readjust and move forward. Don’t lost focus on the big picture.
Whether you are looking for a new career, going to your current job everyday, working from home or caring for kiddos, this applies to you! I would encourage those of you looking for work to have this same approach to the job hunt. When I was laid off, I dedicated time each day working on what “next” looked like. Then I spent time doing something I really loved. It isn’t an either/or, its both. Organizing your day like Ron suggests will give you a great sense of accomplishment and help you manage feeling overwhelmed.
2. Schedule time to be Unproductive
The pings and other notifications that signify the arrival of voicemail, email, text or social media update can be a constant distraction. Perhaps the best thing you can do to stay on schedule is to turn off your technology and focus without interruption. Discipline yourself to log in when you have an extra chunk of time free.
I personally have found blocking time in my calendar, just like a meeting, to check email is the best way to stay focused! My phone is turned off and all notifications are silenced. It makes a huge difference. Try it!
3. Stop Procrastinating
We all procrastinate. The thing about procrastination is that it doesn’t have an end point. Things keep getting postponed until tomorrow. If you leave a task that is due today until tomorrow, you will find it hard to focus on whatever you are doing. Becoming a pro at doing things quickly and easily, without procrastinating. To keep yourself interested, reward yourself when you accomplish the tasks at hand.
The thing I procrastinate on the most are the things I just don’t want to do. It can be anything from cleaning to a necessary task in my business. How about you? What are you procrastinating about? Is it getting your resume polished up? Starting a project? Are you procrastinating because you aren’t sure how to do it? Fear of failure is a big reason we procrastinate.
It’s Your Turn
Ron continues to explore practicing focus in every aspect of your business. If you are in retail, you will love this section as he digs into the store experience and the focus on the customer.
I want to encourage you to apply these fundamentals to whatever situation you find yourself and see how your FOCUS improves! You’ve got this.
Always in your Corner,