Tag Archives: focus


Nancy and I try to walk every day. During the winter we walk at the mall. When we go walking before the stores open, we can safely put our coats on the many benches in the common area. When we go in evening, before the stores close, we put our coats in lockers.

Have you looked at lockers in a mall? Have you looked at the handle, at the instructions, at the need to list both the amount of money AND the denomination of coins necessary? Have you noticed that there are parameters on the front of the locker and instructions inside?

Have you noticed?

One of my three words for the year is focus. And even as I write that I think, “focus is one of three words?”

I need more than one word. But one of them, particularly this year, has to be focus. I need to identify what matters and then look closely. I need to pick that one function that I’m going to help people understand, that I’m going to understand myself, and then focus on it.

In order to protect your belongings you need a locker. In order to use the locker you need to know the cost and the procedure. In order for this to work, someone needed to focus on it and make it so simple that people in malls and bus stations and airports could somehow use these boxes.

I want to have that kind of focus so that others can have that kind of access.

And I’m curious. What’s your focus? What do you want to make clear to others?


so, what if you did try that?

I was thinking in the shower the other day about setting some goals and how I avoid setting goals and instead do things like choosing words for the new year, themes to work on, if you will, and suddenly, as I thought about goals I thought, “I’m not that kind of person. ”

And then I thought, “so. What if you did try that?”

  • What if, though I’m not as structured as some people, I did try a little more structure?
  • What if, though I’m not as organized as other people, I didn’t use that as an excuse and I tried a little more organization?
  • What if, though I don’t set goals like, “25 pounds off in the next 6 months” or “no desserts ever”, I did make a point of one less cookie?
  • What if, though I don’t say things like “I will read a book a week this year”, I did make a point to read and summarize a book a month?
  • What if, though I can’t imagine not multi-tasking, I tried doing one thing at a time for one morning at a time?
  • What if, though I never tag the pictures I upload, I did?
  • What if, though I never reread a post, I took the time to do so?
  • What if, though I’m always flexible, I set some dates in stone?
  • What if, though I always keep my options open, I didn’t?
  • What if, though I never _______, I decided to occasionally ________?

Obviously, my list all skews toward me. But that gives you the option to think about you. What if, instead of using “I’m not that kind of person” as an excuse, you used it as a starting point?


I’m taking a step toward “a little more intentional” as this year ends and we move into the next.

I’ll tell you more about what I read as I read.


Hear that ringing sound? It’s my virtual Red Kettle.  There is still time To give to the Salvation Army’s Red Kettle campaign online. If you want to.

Time enough to change

Seconds and decades showed up in my brain last week.

I heard a report early in the week that at 6:59 pm (EST) on December 31, a second will be added to atomic clocks. This ‘leap second’ will account for the fact that the earth is slowing slightly.

I started thinking about seconds. I considered a post about what we could all do with our extra second. What would happen if everyone put their seconds together? Think of  the extra hours someone would have to  get something done before the end of the year.

I laughed. I would spend my extra second writing. Then I would ask you to give up that second and many more to read this silliness. So I didn’t write.

Last Thursday, I started reading about deliberate practice. (See Tim Walker’s collection of deliberate practice resources). This concept is from research into what makes experts experts. What seems more important than talent is intentional, planned, stretching, deliberate practice. Four things stand out right now:

  • It takes at least 10 years to become world class.
  • It takes daily action during that 10 years.
  • The focus of practice is technique more than outcome.
  • You have to commit.

I started thinking this weekend about what I want to be able to do well in 10 years. What do I want to be known for? What do I want to understand then–about myself, about God, about how to live one for the other–that I need to start considering now?

Many of us are looking at the past year, thinking about what we didn’t get done. We are looking at the next year and trying to plan what to do. I’m wondering whether I need to think smaller and larger.

How can I use today’s seconds to be who I want to be in a decade?