In our increasingly busy and scattered lives, getting clear and focused can feel like an insurmountable task. We live in an era of distractions vying for our attention the way high-strung paparazzi try to capture that perfect celebrity photo.
Knowing that most of us can’t take a three-month sabbatical to hang with monks in mountainous isolation, how can we cultivate focus and purpose? It turns out, there is a lot of magic in the number five. Here are five clarifying questions to help you lock in your best-self game plan:
- What are the five most important areas of your life? With so many competing interests, it’s easy to diffuse our focus, achieving puny results in too many areas. The top performers in business, sports, and life put 95% of their energy into a very short list of pursuits. They focus hard on their top five and relentlessly remove all other distractions. Depth – not breadth – is the stuff of champions.
- What are five things you’re truly incredible at? You may be good in dozens of things, but what are your most poignant superpowers? Where do you shine as world-class? Once identified, pour every drop of your being into continuing to expand these skills or traits, at the deliberate expense of all others.
- What are the five things that bring you pure joy? Maybe it’s the smell of fresh air on a nature hike. Or the delight of helping a colleague overcome a challenge. Perhaps you find delight in reading a great novel, sipping dark roast coffee, or cheering for your favorite team, foam finger and all. Discovering the few things that recharge your batteries, activate your senses, and elevate your humanity can be a giant boost during those inevitable times of adversity.
- What are the five things that drain your energy? You may be good at weeding the garden, building a spreadsheet, or making sales calls. But if these activities deplete you, they can generate a sinister spillover impact on the areas that matter most. Identify your five biggest buzz kills and avoid them at all costs.
- What are the five ways you want to be remembered? Not an easy question, but your answers will provide a powerful North Star as you make your daily decisions. Keep this list front and center and let it serve as the guidepost for how you spend your days and your talents.
Five questions, each with five answers. While they may take some reflection to codify, your output will create a roadmap to seize your full potential. The improved clarity and focus will enable you to stay on your best course and triumph greatly.
Ask, Answer, and Achieve.