October 31, 2011

Under Pressure

“Knowing and understanding what is critical to our success enables us to filter out all the noise that distracts us from true progress and accomplishment.”

When I speak with people about my experiences, particularly in relation to the lessons learned in 100 Pedals, one of my biggest learning experiences was discovering how to clearly focus on what it is most important.

We have so many distractions, challenges, expectations, and pressures relating to where we are, what we are doing, where we are going and what we want to accomplish, that sometimes the to do list is larger than the amount of time available to do them.  We put far too much pressure on ourselves to accomplish everything because we don’t understand what is truly important; hence, everything seems important.

What I discovered in my 100 Pedals journey is that I only have so much time and energy to give.  In order to stay on track, I need to focus only that which is most critical to my vision for success and accomplishment.  This does not mean that I don’t have a lot to do or obligations to fulfill — for there are and I do.  However, I have defined a very clear vision of what I must accomplish and, relative to all the other things going on, I allocate enough time every single day to do something toward that specific objective.  I am not distracted by other demands or requests — I focus on that one objective.  Nothing is more important than my vision and goals and nothing is going to prevent me from accomplishing them.  Hence, I make certain that I do something every single day to push myself toward my goal.

Life presents us with all sorts of things that we would like to believe are important.  In reality, until we define what is truly important we have no clear sense of what “important” really is.  This is reflected in one of my favorite sayings: “You create a well defined process and manage to the exceptions; when you don’t have a process, everything is an exception.”  Unless you have defined what is critically important, everything presents itself as important.  It are those false indicators — continuous exceptions — that bring unnecessary pressures in our life, for everything seems critical.  Having a clear sense of purpose and priority helps us focus our time and effort in a manageable fashion.  Minus the well-defined focus, everything seems important.

Before you get distracted by all the noise around you, focus your energies, your goals, your priorities, and your time in this fashion:

  1. Know what your goals and vision for your life are.
  2. Define what needs to happen everyday to help move you there.
  3. Commit to doing some every day toward that goal.
  4. Make certain that is simple, concise, and measurable.
  5. For 100 Days write it down, track your progress it, and do it.
  6. Never miss a day.
  7. Any amount of daily time spent on that commitment is success.
  8. Celebrate your progress and your accomplishments.
  9. Plan your next 100 days the same way.
  10. Don’t allow anything to interrupt or distract you from your commitment.

We are all under pressure.  The demands on our time, on our energy, and the obstacles seem to be increasing by the minute.  Until we know what is truly most important to our success, these demands are unnecessary distractions that actually threaten our ability to be successful.  Avoid the pressure of the distractions and learn to zero in on what is most important.  As plan and execute your daily activities you will discover that the most important thing on your to do list is your daily commitment.  While other demands and obligations will appear, nothing will get in the way of your daily commitment.  It is through this process that you manage your time, deal with the pressures of the day, and make significant progress on your journey to where you desire to be,  Before you know it, you will be celebrating your successes on these critical accomplishments daily.  And, you will be driven and inspired to accomplish more in a very focused direction.

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About Dave Cooke

Dave Cooke is a dad on a mission. His mission is to help parents get control of their lives over the powerful, destructive influences of a child's addiction. As the father of a son in a ten year heroin battle, Dave knows all to well the challenges parents and families face. He also knows there is a way to find peace in the chaos. It is his mission to help parents discover their path to a healthier, balanced life even if a child's active addiction is still part of their daily journey.