The more expansive our thinking, the easier to find help and support along the way.
With that in mind, here are ten creative hacks to help you deal with distractions and tap into opportunity.
(1.) Missing the big picture
Spend too much time in the weeds, and you're totally immersed at the tactical level. We feel your pain. Ever wonder if what you're doing is the right thing for you?
Big picture hack: use Prezi to map out the whole ecosystem and context around your project and spend some time looking at it whole. A flip chart would do, except you want to have the freedom to make tweaks.
(2.) Becoming me-centered
It's all about you: your program, your book, your video, your success, your advice, your post, your everything. Flip positions, don't hide behind passion, use it.
Other-centered hack: think about three things you can affect a week. It's not that difficult, just listen to the people around you and be helpful without expecting anything in return. That will refocus your attention. What can you do to make things better?
(3.) Talking community vs. building it
Ironically, when community becomes yet another buzzword and crowd sourcing is a great concept as long as the project is yours, you lose.
Community hack: find an existing group of people connected by a desire to share a common experience or find a need to connect people with similar challenges and interests and help them build a community without centering it around your brand or project. Or simply connect people in your network.
(4.) Spending too much
When you delegate attention, you also delegate the ability to see and fix cost overruns, or the fact that you may be working on the wrong side of the problem.
Budget hack: spot the first signs of overspend right at the time you vet scope of work. By being very clear on what you want (your goal), you can explore different and creative ways to get there. Find a team or agency that will present more options and let them do so.
(5.) Not connecting
Are your networking and meetings a succession of happy jumps from one place to the other? There's no moment like the present to connect. Businesses do this, too. When you keep shifting direction, you'll never get there.
Connection hack: practice this in your own home. If you live alone, find friends. Still your mind. Forget yourself and shift your attention to the other person. Start noticing how others express joy, stress, passion, interest, and so on.
(6.) Failing to attempt
You discarded the best idea you ever had, because you were too afraid to flesh it out and make it happen. Tell the truth, you thought about something, and then talked yourself out of it more than once.
Idea execution hack: do it right away. From the trivial blog post that comes to mind while driving or reading something (call yourself and leave a detailed message), to the idea that you feel will get you to the big hairy, audacious, goal. Go from 0-60 while it's fresh.
(7.) Missing the obvious
They say common sense is not that common, after all. Do you take what you know today for granted? Have you lost the ability to unlearn?
Awareness hack: step back in time and find that place when you didn't know what you think you know today. Lose the information you think you have, and you will see something new.
(8.) Chasing the wrong people
Those who don't care and couldn't be bothered. Build relationships with those who are giving you *their* attention instead. It's a common distraction, get over it. In business, they call it the white elephant run.
Relationship hack: here's what you do, pay attention to those who are paying attention to you. Build from there. Relationships are long term, and when you start with those who care, you're at a tremendous advantage.
(9.) Not using serendipity to your advantage
Some of our best innovations or problem-solving have come at times of distraction, when we're relaxed and open.
Intention hack: when you observe that you're trying too hard, let your mind wander for a few minutes. Have a happy or fun place for it to go rest. Notice how the best ideas come to you when you're not thinking so hard?
(10.) Forgetting to be grateful
Can we agree that this is a grave sin? This is also another good way to shift attention from how difficult things are to you can do it attitude and problem solving mode.
Acknowledgment hack: cut yourself some slack and take the time to celebrate your accomplishments. You don't need anyone else to acknowledge them or you for the accomplishments to be real.
It's easy to let events run their course. Use the power of present moment awareness to stay on track with your goals.
Weigh in! What are your best hacks?
Valeria is an experienced listener. She is also frequent speaker at conferences and companies on a variety of topics. To book her for a speaking engagement click here.
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