how to love the inevitable pain of getting focused. it hurts so good.

Being focused — on your goal, your task, your purpose — is a key ingredient of success. We know this.

If focusing was easy, everyone would being doing it.

This is where a lot of motivational ra-rah fails us: “Just focus. Zero in, prioritize, it’s easy when you …just focus.” True, things do get exponentially easier when you hone in on your objective. But the actual choosing of what to focus on can be excruciating. It sucks to delay great projects. Pacing yourself is a drag. It can feel downright masochistic to say no to juicy opportunities.

When we recognize the fact that focusing can hurt, then we can face it directly, make better decisions about where we’re directing our energy, and move on more quickly toward success. The act of focusing requires contraction, ruthlessness, and deafening resolve. Wince. And then come the sweet relief.

Medicine tastes bad. Swig it back.
It hurts to say goodbye. Your plane is leaving.
Focusing can be painful. Make your choices.


  1. Grieve for your ideas, the ones that will never see the light of day. Pruned. Aborted. Not meant to be. Under-resourced. Not as shiny as all your other ideas. Bye bye idea. You made me feel more creative, sassy, sexy. Thanks for passing through. Some ideas are only meant to flirt with you — quick confidence boosts on your way to lasting passion.
  2. Bow respectfully to time, like it’s your honorable Jujitsu partner. Einstein said, “Time exists so that everything doesn’t happen at once.” What a beautiful, agonizing truth. Because when you’re on fire with ideas and things to make-do-build, don’t you wish it could all just happen at once? Time and gravity. Part of the human deal. Inescapable, really. Thankfully. Sometimes.
  3. Put some ideas in escrow. They will wait for you. Patiently ripening.
  4. Trust your muse. She may like to blurt stuff out at you at 4am, muses tend to be impulsive. But she also knows that one nuked idea will lead to another that is destined to be manifested.
  5. Get off on the pain. As in it hurts so good to focus. When it sucks to set ten ideas aside and choose only one, relish in the agony, like an athlete loves the burn. You are getting ahead.

infinitely illuminating.

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