As a young boy I remember playing outdoors for most of the summer. This was the 70s and kids in my neighborhood were not meant to stay inside annoying their stay at home mothers – no we were kicked out and told to come home at dusk. Those were carefree days before the pervasive fear of child molesters and murderers was everywhere. We were allowed to ride our bikes as far as we could, we’d pack lunches and go explore the “mountains” of our small northern California town.
Being young boys we had a natural curious bent on things like life and death. We were not so good about the value of life, but we were certainly interested in the death part. Particularly of ants. We had learned that a magnifying glass could create an effective ant killer, and or fire starter. Lord only knows how we discovered the power of the magnifying glass, maybe it Billy Murray, or his older brother, but it doesn’t matter. What we learned was that on a sunny day you could focus the sunlight on an ant, and it would catch fire.
In 1970’s America this behavior was not considered abnormal – today I have no idea what it is considered but I’ll venture a guess that it would lead to a Department of Children Services investigation and probably some psychological testing to determine if the ant-killer was a future serial killer.
The lesson learned though, what is truly valuable, is the power of focusing one’s energy on a particular subject. Sunlight in a broad dispersal pattern doesn’t cause immediate death to the ant like some six legged vampiric doppelganger. But, focus that light with a magnifying glass, concentrate its power and you have one very effective and portable ant cremation tool.
As a principle, the power of focusing one’s efforts and energies works in the same manner as the magnifying glass. It aligns your strengths, and clears away the distractions and diffusers. By doing so, it is easier to persist and overcome the obstacles that stand in one’s way.
So what is this metaphorical magnifying glass? Two things, 1) it is an internal drive that says I want to put all other goals away for a period of time until I have reached my goal, and 2) it is usually a communal effort. That can be a community of 2, but generally, having a support system in place is crucial to long term success of big goals.
The internal goal setting process is straightforward – a person decides that they want to start a business, write a book or craft a speech and they will put off that trip to Mexico, and finding a new boyfriend, until they have accomplished their goal. It’s a process of prioritizing.
Creating a communal effort can be a bit trickier because other people have their own goals, so lovers are not always in sync on personal goals. This is where coaches and consultants can be most useful. Yes a paid supporter has their own goal, but it aligns with your goals in that you both want you to be successful.
A good consultant or coach acts like a magnifying glass on your strengths and pushes you to write to deadlines, or build a business plan, even to craft and practice a speech that will propel you to the next level of success.
When I am focusing your efforts, as a coach directing you, giving you feedback and motivation, the heat of your goals and desires can start that fire of your dreams and create the life of success and satisfaction you want and deserve. The power of a magnifying glass, whether real or metaphorical, holds true in our lives on every area in an inventory our abilities and strengths.
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