From time to time we are asked, especially in job interviews, about our skill set. I’ll bet that most of us never think about the ability to focus attention as a skill? I believe it is an extremely valuable skill so let’s discuss why this might be something to hone to a fine edge.

If we are to grow personally and professionally to reach our full potential, it is absolutely necessary to take risks.  Risk scares most of us because at its very core, it implies the possibility of loss. While this is true, there is also the possibility of positive benefit or gain. Whether a risk feels frightening or exhilarating, it depends, almost entirely, on whether you are paying attention to the potential loss or the possible gain.

If we focus on the loss, we typically become tense, fearful, uptight, and our performance inevitably suffers.  Maybe we will back down and decide it's just not worth it.  We often suffer a paralysis of will, and rationalize it by saying to ourselves, "Well, I didn't really want this after all. What I have is good enough."

On the other hand if we focus on the possible benefit and/or gain and we picture ourselves enjoying success, we will feel excited, even exhilarated! Maybe we don’t think about it but fear and excitement feel pretty much the same in our body.  It is how we interpret and label them that make all the difference!

So, the next time there is something you really want and a risk is attached, as there usually is, try controlling your mind. While you don't want to ignore the potential loss altogether, focus instead on what you have to gain! This deliberate focusing is called "visualization,". I is a powerful tool that will help you take the risks you need to take in order to grow. Try it.  You have nothing to lose but there is a lot to gain. 

Think about it.