“You’re focusing on the wrong part of the story.”
These are the words I hear on an almost daily basis as my husband responds to my constant interjections into his stories. You see, I’m detailed oriented, and quite visual. In order to truly understand the story, I need to see it – all of it – in my mind. I need to see who was in the room, where they were sitting, and understand why they were there so that I can formulate a clear picture before grasping the point behind the story. So I ask, and that’s my first and foremost focus.
All that aside, whatever we choose as our daily focus is essential to our success and our happiness. So often we are habitualized into attending to the areas that need improvement: the deficiencies. At home the story might go:
“Well, I need to eat better. I eat too many sweets and I don’t exercise enough and I just need to manage my time better so that I can cook healthier meals and get myself to the gym.”
Way to go us! (Not really). Focusing on the negative and the things we feel need improvement really just makes us feel like failures. It can be motivating in detrimental sort of ways, but it’s not positive or productive.
Instead, our story might be:
“Wow, I’m really good at baking cakes. They are delicious. I should figure out who I can deliver this sweet treat to this afternoon. He/she would love that little surprise. And, I enjoy walking, so I’ll walk there to treat myself to some fresh air. Oh, and I’m really great at calligraphy. I’ll write a specialized note to go along with the cake I’m delivering.”
The same switch and mental flip flop should take place at work for both ourselves and for our co-workers. In order to truly grow and prosper, we need to promote the positive. After all, thoughts become things.
Thus, in a work review or in assessing colleagues or potential candidates, instead of thinking:
“Gosh, she is not a good speaker. She really needs to work on her confidence and public speaking skills so that she can be more active and participate in large meetings.”
Focus on her strengths:
“She is an amazing analyst! When given solitude and independence, she can figure out any problem and hit that ball out of the park! We’re going to foster her into more of an analysis focused position and leave the public speaking and presentations to those who excel at that.”
Don’t even mention the areas needing improvement. We all do better DOING BETTER at what we do best. We grow into our own success and become outstanding superheroes. We feel better when we do better. When we are recognized for our success, we WANT to do more and more. Life and work become fun! We seek to challenge ourselves and our situations because we become more confident and enthusiastic about everything!
Thus, we need to change our center of attention: focus on the RIGHT part of the story – the story of us and all the greatness that we are.