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The Power of Focus


If we worked on the assumption that what is accepted as true really is true, then there would be little hope for advance.
~Orville Wright

Like glittering stars in a clear night sky, world history is dotted with people unconvinced by conventional wisdom regarding what is possible or advisable. Wilbur and Orville Wright, neither of whom were satisfied with the assumption that human flight was unattainable, invented the airplane. Nancy Wake, a secret agent of the French Resistance during World War II, claimed she was “too busy to be afraid” and not only avoided capture but became a highly decorated hero. Diana Nyad, 64 years old and undaunted by four previous attempts, successfully swam 103 miles in shark-infested waters. In the glow of her achievement Nyad counsels us: “Never give up,” and also “you’re never too old to pursue your dream.” How many of us try something once and, if we “fail,” conclude we’re not good enough or that we should have never tried in the first place? How many of us have never tried at all because we’re too busy, too financially strapped, or simply too afraid of the many risks we may face?

Awakening From the Cultural Trance
While American society claims to laud the individual spirit, in observable reality our culture values homogeny, obedience, the appearance of productivity, and materialism. In a troubled economy, it seems like common sense to stick with our current employment situation even if it is slowly or dramatically draining the life from us. Tama Kieves in This Time I Dance! declares, “We live in a world that worships limitations.” Societally-placed restrictions are often mislabelled as the cohesive threads of a functioning fabric, and the fear of recrimination from our family, our partners, our friends or our boss may be too terrifying to chance. Sometimes the fear of stepping outside what is familiar or expected is enough to keep us from making an effort toward changing it. However, if we pause long enough to feel into our discontent or to connect with our desire for work or activities that would infuse our life with meaning, we can begin to break through these barriers. We can begin to allow space for dreaming about how life might be different and more satisfying. We can draw strength from inspiring figures like Thomas Edison, who, even if he had doubts about his own abilities, persevered amidst seeming failure—the legend is 100 attempts!—until he finally built a viable light bulb. What if women, who were considered irrelevant in the 1840’s public elections, had persisted in their tacit consent rather than initiating the collective foment that evolved into the Women’s Suffrage movement? When a person or group of people aim their focus toward an express objective, they reap the power of concentrated action. We learn the most about ourselves and our own potential through taking a gamble, through applying ourselves and diving courageously into the vast field of possibilities. It is up to us to decide what risks are worthwhile.

Focus is Why Life Coaching Works
While life coaching remains a relatively young field, coaching effectiveness arises from the client’s decisive shift in focus. Intended for psychologically healthy people, individuals seek coaching in order to achieve something specific such as losing weight, starting a business, or changing careers. Working with a coach maintains accountability with positive, non-judgmental support one may lack from friends or family or even from oneself. According to the “Global Coaching Client Study” conducted by the International Coach Federation in 2009, 80% of people who hired a coach experienced an increase in self-esteem and confidence. 73% reported an improvement in their relationships and 67% reported an increase in overall work/life balance and satisfaction. As life can be complicated, coaches tend to specialize. I specialize in creativity and performance coaching to meet the needs of people seeking to guide people in their creative endeavors. Life coaching helps people discover and define the unique steps necessary to realize their particular goals. As focus and courage are developed to take the steps required, confidence and self-esteem are the natural result. The field of coaching is about helping people say yes to life right now, about realizing that our dreams are more than fantasies and our yearning for meaning in our individual life is valuable and beneficial to society as a whole. How true is the story of impossibility we keep telling ourselves?

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