Have you ever had to learn how to deal with chaos and distraction in your life? I have, and in frustration I stumbled upon a secret that is true for scaling mountains, basic rock climbing, or just going on a trip: I can only climb one thing at a time and I have to pick one climb.
It’s like the woman who said to me: “I’m so frustrated. I’m stressed out because I’m trying to focus on my current climb, but then I have all these other mountains and things coming at me, pulling me in different directions.”
That is chaos and distraction. I believe that climbing is much easier than what you’re probably dealing with in your day-to-day life because you’re facing multiple figurative mountains at the same time.
Listen to me talk about the four keys to help you deal with these frustrations. Or, scroll down below for the highlights of my talk.
The first key is momentum.
The first and foremost key is to build momentum and leverage your current climb. Make the mindset that surrounds your current climb one of momentum. What I mean is embrace one initiative.
Lately in my keynotes I have been stressing to declare one initiative. Focus on that one initiative and make sure to move it forward every single day.
That does not mean you can ignore everything else that’s going on in your life. What it means is that you’re putting a stake in the ground by saying this is most important. This is regardless of whether it’s a team-facing or internal initiative, or if it is just some major project for you. You’re committing to the momentum of moving that one item forward no matter what. And then you can get to all the other things that you’re dealing with and trying to juggle.
The second key is to restart.
There are multiple demands you have to master in your work and personal life. Know that you’re going to get knocked off your climb or tripped up on your path.
Master the art of the restart.
The super-fast version of that that is also a mindset to say, “Hey, when I get off track on whatever it is I’m trying to do on a regular basis, I’m going to get back on track immediately.” As soon as the sun comes up, get restarted that next day. That is the tactical way to keep building that momentum to drive the current climb forward and other habits and initiatives that you’re trying to do on a regular consistent basis.
The third key is surrendering.
This is really hard to implement. But try to embrace the concept of surrendering. What I mean by that is surrendering specifically to the idea that you can just focus on one thing at a time. You can shut out the world and sometimes have those moments of clarity and focus when somehow the world stops. That’s when we can really crush something and move forward.
But most the time, that’s not going to happen. Most of the time, you’re going to get pulled away.
There’s this little moment when that happens when you have this competing and distracting event approach you. It could just be literally someone walking up to your desk and saying, “Oh hey, how are you doing?” Or “I have a question for you.” Or “Can you help me with this?”
When this happens, you might be thinking: “Oh my gosh. I’m already doing a ton of stuff already.” Right? And then on top of that, here is someone distracting you. Or maybe you might actually want to procrastinate and would enjoy a distraction.
So, there’s typically a double resistance coming in here. One is the conflict of knowing you really are supposed to be focused on something else, such as your current climb. But if you ignore these interruptions you could create more stress internally. Just start letting go of that and begin to just expect interruptions. Take a deep breath, deal with it, and don’t let it take you off course.
So how do you do that and not get stressed? The tactical de-stress response is meditation. For me, nothing else has come close. This is a silver bullet. I wish I had a pill you could take because so many people say they have tried to meditate. I am just telling you meditation is actually worth pursuing.
Start with just five minutes a day. When you sit and notice your mind racing off and thinking about whatever it’s being dragged down by, just refocus by saying, “Oh yup, here it goes. I’m disconnecting. I’m refocused on right now.” Or “I’m refocused on this music I’m listening to.” Or “I’m refocusing on my breath.” Or “I’m refocused on this object or this word.” Use whatever your object of meditation is.
The fourth key is re-energize.
Double down on all your efforts towards anything that helps restore, replenish, or re-energize you. My meditation coach is my seventh-grade teacher that I reunited with and now he’s my meditation coach.
I was going through a particular stressful time last September. I had a lot of speeches to deliver and lots of travel. I was completely exhausted physically and that, of course, creates an emotional drain. That can make everything tougher.
My meditation coach said, “I want you to double down on the specific line of meditation in this case.” It could be something else for you. If there’s anything in your life that you used to do or you’ve been doing that replenishes you, re-energizes you, refreshes you, and restores you in some way, then double down on that.
So for me, I was doing about 5 to 10 minutes of meditation. My coach said, “I know you don’t think you have 20 minutes. But I want you to just do it.” You know what it seems like when you just don’t have enough time? But that 20 minutes came back to me 10-fold in focus and relaxation. There were some huge magnitudes of return on that time invested. Trust me on this. Try to double down your frequency and or duration of whatever those re-energize activities might be for you.
And in closing.
I hope this has been helpful for you. To overcome chaos and distraction think momentum, restart, surrender, and re-energize. Please share this and please comment if anything has been helpful or if there are any other tips you want to share. If you are open passing this along, I would be most grateful.
To learn more about my 9 Vertical Lessons for Leading with Impact check out my new book Reaching Your Next Summit!
Your climb to excellence is never easy. The human drive within calls us to what is possible. The principles shared in this book will renew your commitment and inspire your quest for excellence. You will realize more of your potential as you sharpen your focus, act with courage, and generate momentum in reaching your next summit—and beyond.