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Don’t sweat it, just focus!

It dawned on me working in Christchurch recently that something like the Christchurch earthquakes not only has a huge impact at the time of the event but a ripple effect thereafter.  When the event becomes a series of events over a long period of time, the impact is deeper and lasts much longer that you would ever imagine.

One of the key positives that has come from this horrifying series of events has been something that has become apparent in working with a team of senior managers in Christchurch. One of the key differences we notice working with them a year down the track is how quickly they cut to the chase to focus and act on the ‘important’ factors.

We often see dysfunction within senior teams where individuals become so consumed with their own team’s issues that they focus on the small irritations of the senior team rather than looking at the bigger picture of how they can support each other as the leaders of the organisation to achieve a wider outcome.

Rather than get consumed with the unimportant,  we encourage teams and individuals to take more of a “don’t sweat the small stuff” attitude and focus on what really is important for the team and the wider organisation.

In many cases it takes a big ‘event’ (happening either personally to you or to a community) to shift thinking away from the daily grind to a more holistic view of why do we do what we do and what is the outcome we want to achieve.

However, in the absence of a ‘big event’ for you at this time, there is no harm in checking in to see if you can still apply these principles to help you focus on what’s most important.

Take a moment now to reflect on where your focus is at this time.  If you find you currently have a lot of ‘stuff’ you are sweating, here is a process to help shift your focus and prioritise:

  1. List the top 10 things that come to mind when you ask yourself “what is bothering me right now?”
  2. Rate the level of importance each one has to you, e.g. 1= when I am honest, this isn’t important to me at all; 10 = this is hugely important to me.  Then prioritise, listing from 10 down, to show which is most important to you. Discard anything below 5.
  3. With the remaining list, rate the level of impact this is having on your everyday life. 1 = no impact at all; 10 =  a huge impact to how I am living my life.  Discard anything below 5. Again prioritise, listing from 10 down.
  4. Start from the top of the list  (the thing that is the most important and has the most impact on how you live your life), ask yourself how you would ideally like this to be i.e. if you could reduce the ‘bother level’ from being a 10 to a 5 (or a 1!).  List all the things that could help you improve things in this area. Brainstorm at this point, don’t limit your thinking, anything could work.  Is there anyone you could talk to, has this happened before you and have previously worked through it, or is there someone who has mastered this that you could learn from?
  5. From your list of ideas, pick the one thing that will have the biggest impact to moving you closer to your desired place for the issue and take action today.  At the very least, pick something you feel comfortable with or list in order those which you feel you can tackle first, and again take action today.  Not tomorrow, but today, if you really want to make a change.
  6. Check in with yourself on a regular basis to make sure you are continuing to focus on the things that are important and not getting phased by things that are really ‘small stuff’ in reality.


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