Laser focus is what I had 10 years ago when I set out on my unpaved path. Laser focus is what enables all of us to endure years of uphill battles and obstacles in the pursuit of creating or attaining something great. There are two sides to laser focus, though.
While being the catalyst to greatness, laser focus also creates an interesting dichotomy that may not necessarily have a right answer. When I moved away from home in 2007, I made a decision – getting to the UFC was my #1 priority. Aside from retaining my core values, nothing else really mattered.
My decision had a ripple effect on many people to a small degree, but the person effected most by this was my then-girlfriend-now-wife Amanda. I made it abundantly clear to her that my UFC goal was my #1 priority (SELFISH). I wasn’t able to articulate it then, but the underlying drive in that pursuit, and most everything I do, is to inspire other people to achieve their greatest self (SELFLESS). To do so, though, I must first be happy and satisfied with me (SELFISH). I want to do good for others, but to do that, I must first focus on myself. It’s not an easy concept to grasp.
Looking back, I didn’t have the maturity to understand that the UFC and marriage wasn’t either, or. I had this romantic vision of riding into the moonlight, alone, destined to achieve greatness. Sure, that all sounds great and creates a wonderful backdrop in a movie, but the truth is, life is not as either, or as I once thought it was. You can have your cake and eat it too, if you do it right.
Here are a few simple strategies to balance Selfish and Selfless in the pursuits of your goals:
- Communicate – As a leader or mentor, your task is to understand what exactly motivates your group/team and then lead in a way that adheres to those factors. The same goes here, but in reverse. It’s your job, as the leader of this journey, to explain your motivating factors to your inner circle (family/friends). If you can fully explain why you’re doing what you’re doing, and receive feedback/empathize/adjust, it becomes a both, and rather than an either, or. I’ve learned, thanks to my coach, that life does not always operate in absolutes.
- After communicating, be all in – I mean this both ways. When you’re dedicating yourself to your goal, do it 100%. When you’re dedicating yourself to your inner circle, do it 100%. Don’t let the lines blur. Is it really any different to be half-in mentally for 24 hours or all-in mentally for 12 hours? Nope. More isn’t always more. You can utilize your time more efficiently in pursuing your goals while not offsetting your inner circle time if you do it right (I’m currently 65% efficient in this area and improving daily. It’s an area of focus).
- In time, reassess – Life is fluid and dynamic. Priorities change. Values change. Every so often (6 months/a year), reassess where you’re at and what you’re doing. Maybe it’s time to devote more time to your inner circle. Maybe it’s time to get up earlier and watch less TV. Eventually, you’re life will reach a point of maximum efficiency where you can’t get up any earlier and donate any more time to your two priorities – your goals and inner circle – but man, I bet that’s a long way off, and just imagine how darn efficient you would actually be!
There’s no absolute answer to any of this, and you’ll never please everyone, especially those outside of your inner circle. Just recently, an idea of mine was referred to as “the most egotistical thing I’ve ever heard.” In my eyes, it was the furthest thing from egotistical, BUT, I had to consider it. Live your values, be your own person and continually work on the balance between Selfish and Selfless.
- Watch Spaniard Speaks 3 here – Have some questions you want answered, please submit them to email@example.com.
- See “Celebrity Day” recap here (I spoke to Copeland Middle School in Rockaway, NJ about the impact of choices and the dangers of drugs and alcohol).
Gracias for reading!
Awesome read. These are great strategies that I will try to use. It makes sense in the leadership position. Thanks for the great read.
Hans, as a leader, you’re in a position to make an impact. It’s an ongoing process with ups and downs, but sticking to these strategies can help make that process a win win for you and your employees.
Finished your book the other night. “Driven”‘is a great read for anyone pursuing a challenging goal. Really enjoyed your stories and insights.
Thanks a lot Eric. I’ve really appreciated the feedback on here.