The Client-centred Blog

The miracle of time and attention

“When you learn to stop stopping you will achieve virtually any goal you ever set.” Dusan Djukich, Straight Line Leadership

The path to the accomplishment of a goal is rarely a straight one.

It is perfectly normal to go ‘off course’ because how can we anticipate everything that can happen in future before it has happened?

Sometimes the obstacles are not of our own making. The current lock-down situation being a prime example.

No one had this written into their plans and it is probably true to say that most existing business plans look like works of fiction right now.

At other times the obstacles are self-created and yet we do not always see them that way.

A client of mine is running a non-profit organisation and like many such organisations the lifeblood is money raised through donations.

Money was short and it was very hand to mouth. There was a lot of stressful thinking around the situation.

So, we talked about what was going on and it occurred to me that something vital was missing around fund raising.

Time and attention. It is one of those immutable laws of success.

*If you want to build a better business, give it time and attention.
*If you want to improve your health and fitness, give it time and attention.
*If you want to make more money, give it time and attention.

So, why is it that we can have a goal and yet sabotage our results by not doing the obvious?

I asked my client why the most important activity for his organisation was being pushed way down the queue of things to be done?

He said, “I do not like asking for money.”

It felt uncomfortable for him and he had a story about why he did not like asking for money.

In our own way, we all do this. We get lost in a story about why we cannot do, be or have something.

Dr Martin Seligman is known as the founder of Positive Psychology and he coined the phrase ‘Learned Helplessness‘. This is when a person comes to believe that they are unable to change a situation (even when they can) and so they do not even try.

A thought came into my mind and I asked my client if I could share it.

I said he was like an athlete who wants to compete at the Olympics but does not want to do any training!

He thought about this for a moment and then we both burst out laughing.

This is what we do when we see the absurdity of the stuff we make up in our thinking.

You transcend it. It no longer controls you and your limitations fall away.

So, what happened?

He got out his electronic schedule and put in an hour a day, every single working day for the rest of the year devoted to fund raising.

This may or may not be enough. And there is also making sure the time is well leveraged.

But when you give your time and attention to something it grows. Just like a garden does when you tend it well. But if you do not tend to it, the weeds easily take hold.

John Dashfield

John Dashfield spent 14 years as a self-employed adviser. Since 2006 he has been a coach, mentor and author helping advisers create transformations in their business and personal lives.


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