In the swirling chaos of world events, it’s been difficult to know which way to turn. We’re starting a two-part series aimed at helping you balance your focus for personal and professional health. This month we’re talking about focusing inward; next time, we’ll discuss focusing outward. Thanks for joining us!
“As we journey inward we reflect our light outward.” ~ Baron Baptiste
“What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
“What we achieve inwardly will change outer reality.” ~ Plutarch
For most of us, the past several months have been a life-changing rollercoaster. Routines have been upended and nothing seems “normal.” Many struggle just to get through each day — let alone make strides or conquer goals. It’s easy to feel like your focus is shattered and without direction.
I want to share some thoughts to help focus your mind and your actions … calm your body and mind … and maybe even give due diligence to your plans for the future.
The Value of Inward Focus
For some, focusing inward is natural and energizing. For those with an innate internal focus, introspection comes easily, and you’re probably in-tune with your personal motivations and actions. If you naturally focus outward, it might require more effort to look within — but the rewards are well worth it.
Self-awareness is a major benefit of focusing inward. It allows you to truly “know thyself” — making it easier to communicate your desires, intentions, and plans, and to set and achieve goals. People with strong personal insight generally feel more in control of their lives, enjoy stronger relationships, and feel greater calm and contentment.
During solitary times in your life, like our current bout of “social distancing,” learning to be comfortable focusing inward can make time spent alone or sheltering in place easier and more rewarding. Times like these are wonderful opportunities to step back, examine, and reaffirm your purpose, passions, and goals.
An Inward Focus Exercise
I’ve heard from busy working parents that current “stay-at-home” restrictions don’t allow ANY time for internal self-focus. Here’s a quick exercise ideal for these times to help increase your inward focus.
Take two minutes before you start your day for this self-check practice. Pause to notice your response to these three statements:
- I am grateful for …
- I will let go of …
- I will focus on …
Do this exercise every day for a week and observe the impact on your awareness, focus, and energy. Continue the daily practice if you find it beneficial.
Too Much of a Good Thing
The ultimate goals of focusing inward are a clearer sense of purpose, increased self-appreciation, and greater personal peace. However, too much internal focus can become “navel gazing” — being overly focused on your own ideas, thoughts, and feelings, to the detriment of yourself and others. That’s why it’s important to balance your inward and outward focus to help you move forward in a healthy and productive way.
Look for my upcoming July newsletter, when we’ll discuss focusing outward! To be continued …
Tips to Turn Your Focus Inward
- Connect with purpose. Use your time of looking inward to clarify or cultivate your purpose and visions. Identifying your values, strengths, and desires is an excellent tool to take your relationships, career, and life to the next level!
- Reset. Inward focus is often associated with the negative: self-limiting beliefs, thoughts of inadequacy, and self-doubt. Use your inward focus to reset to a positive mindset that will repair and renew your spirit.
- Disconnect. Few things can distract and drag your attention outward more quickly or insidiously than electronic devices. Practice disconnecting on a regular basis and use the time to focus and reflect within.
- Tune in to the outer world. Ironically, briefly turning your focus to the outer world can be an excellent tool to boost your inward focus. Take a trail hike, notice the flowers in your neighbor’s garden, or gaze at the night sky to get your creative juices flowing, soothe your spirit, and energize your body.
- Practice yoga, visualization, and meditation. Healthy mental and physical practices aim to bring you in touch with what’s going on inside you. These mindfulness practices soothe in this unsettling time, allowing you to acknowledge and appreciate what is within your control and let go of what is not.
As your coach I am dedicated to helping you reach your fullest potential and live the life you love. I offer you a proven process and life-changing experience to be intentional about your personal and professional growth — including focusing inward to center yourself and find calm, determination, and purpose.
© 2020, Leap Forward Coaching