The Art of Strengths Coaching

R is for Focusing On The Results rather than The Running Commentary

Goal

Peak performers focus on the specific results to achieve and cut out irrelevant noise. This sounds easy in theory, but it can be harder in practice.

Observers, critics, bosses, the press, bloggers and many others want to provide a running commentary.

Sometimes this can be helpful. Sometimes you can get diverted by people who have other agendas, however, especially if they are provocative.

How can you stay concentrated and avoid being side tracked? Let’s begin by exploring your own experience.

Looking back, can you recall a time when you focused on achieving a specific goal and cut out all the running commentaries?

You may have aimed to pass an exam, launch a web site, complete a project or whatever.

What did you do right then? How did you maintain your concentration? How did you keep focusing on the picture of success? How did you filter the running commentaries?

If you wish, try tackling the exercise on this theme. This invites you to do the following things.

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Let’s explore how it is possible to follow these principles in various situations.

Clarifying the
results to achieve

J.K. Rowling focused on her specific vision, even when experiencing severe difficulties during her twenties. Recalling her early years of writing, she said:

“I had a daughter I adored, a typewriter and a big idea.”

She aimed to produce an epic for young readers that chronicled the adventures of Harry Potter. She was clear on the road map, the milestones and the feelings each book should evoke.

“I just wrote the sort of thing I liked reading when I was younger (and still enjoy now!),” she explained.

Certainly there were lots of ups and downs along the way, but she pursued her daily disciplines to reach the goal.

J.K. Rowling chose to focus on the things that were vital in her life. As she later wrote in Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets:

“It is our choices … that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.”

Looking ahead, can you think of a specific project you want to do in the future? You may want to build a prototype, show a better way of working or whatever. What are the real results you want to achieve? What is your picture of success?

Looking at the aim, how motivated are you – on a scale 0-10 – to achieve the goal? What can you do to maintain or improve the rating?

If you wish, try tackling the exercise on this theme. This invites you to do the following things.

Describe the specific project you want to do in the future where you want to focus on the results to achieve, rather than get distracted by any running commentaries.

Describe the picture of success – the real results you want to achieve.

Describe how motivated you are – on a scale 0-10 – to do the work involved to achieve the results.

Describe the specific things you can do to maintain or improve the rating.

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Clarifying the potential
running commentaries

Peak performers are dreamers who do and deliver. They are, by definition, extremists.

They focus on a few things and do these extremely well. Such people choose to be creators rather than complainers, doers rather than talkers. Doing great work, however, sometimes creates waves.

Some people will appreciate their efforts, but others will criticise them. This is especially so if their work is in the public eye, such as in sports, the arts or other fields.

Peak performers learn to focus on the results, however, rather than get distracted by other people’s running commentaries. One serial entrepreneur said:

“Professional feedback is vital for me, because I want a reality check. But I want it from people I respect.

“The people I listen to are those who share the same values and vision. They give me honest suggestions about how to get results.

“I have little time for observer critics or those with other agendas. In the old days I saw good workers being criticised by moaners in organisations.

“Certainly it is vital to listen to constructive suggestions. But it is important not to get dragged down by complainers.”

Let’s return to your chosen project in the future. Are there any potential running commentaries that may occur?

If so, who might give these running commentaries? What might they be saying? Will they be constructive, critical or a combination of both?

What might be the agendas of such people? What might be the other kinds of commentaries, noises or diversions?

If you wish, try tackling the exercise on this theme. This invites you to do the following things.

Describe a specific project you want to do in the future.

Describe the potential running commentaries that may occur as you work towards achieving the results.

Slide R is Result rather than Running Commentary.008

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Clarifying how to focus on the results
rather than the running commentary

Peak performers sometimes seem to exist in their own space – their own zone, tunnel or bubble. Some athletes, for example, often have physical rituals they use to brush off criticisms, heckling, mistakes and other disruptions.

They keep following their chosen principles towards achieving the picture of success. Concentrating on the concrete results to achieve, they cut off other distractions.

Wise people also stay calm. They seem to have an inner compass they follow, rather than get caught in other people’s agendas.

The Dalai Lama, for example, stays true to his values, even when provoked. Explaining his philosophy, he says things like:

“Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible … I find hope in the darkest of days, and focus in the brightest. I do not judge the universe.

“My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness … Our prime purpose in this life is to help others. And if you can’t help them, at least don’t hurt them.”

You will, of course, do this in your own way. If you wish, try tackling the exercise on this theme. This invites you to do the following things.

Describe the specific project you want to do in the future.

Describe the specific things you can do to focus on the results to achieve, rather than be distracted by any running commentaries.

Describe the specific benefits of doing these things and delivering the results.

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