A way that I have found invaluable in maintaining focus is by being a member of a superb writers’ group called Sisterwriters with my two lifelong and forever friends, Wendy and Isha. We have been together for a number of years and offer to each other whatever support is needed.
The support is as varied as talking about and sharing our writing to talking about our personal relationships. We reside in a place of no judgement. We come together in a place where we can be ourselves. The importance of this in our writing and life process cannot be overstated. It is imperative. It is a must in order to enable our creativity to flow through. We recognise, too, in this space that we are holistic human beings. When we come together we bring all of ourselves, not just a part, and that if one aspect of ourselves is unhappy in some way, then this has an impact on other aspects of ourselves, and so it is very much a support group with writing at its centre. We meet at least once a month.
Fanatical focus means doing whatever it takes. I use candles virtually all the time. There is something about the element of fire that touches my soul. I know that if I am working on a project that I am having some difficulty with then, where possible, I will light candles and use them quite literally as a point of focus. The candlelight warms my heart and helps me to stay focused. Whether this is purely psychological or not, essentially does not matter. The point really is to do what works for you. I will often stare into the candle and internally ask the questions I am having difficulty answering and I hold an absolute, unshakeable expectation that the answer will come at some point in time when I need it to.
I burn incense and use essential oils. They give me a sense of well being, as well as enabling me to stay associated to the state of being focused. I particularly like frankincense and myrrh, lavender, eucalyptus, orange, lemongrass, clary sage, ylang ylang, geranium and rosemary. These help to create a relaxed and to some extent meditative mood. I also listen to great soul-fullness music – and this can be of any genre.
I read biographies of people that interest me – Oprah Winfrey, Linford Christie, Henry Ford, Richard Branson and Ray Kroc. I am keenly interested in seeing where people started, finding out about their motivation for being who they are and the direction they have taken. It is rare that people say that they simply drifted into the position that they are in. I want to know and understand what it was/is that they believe about themselves, what sort of things they tell themselves about their abilities. I want to know about their trials and tribulations and what they did to overcome them. I love to know where people are now on their continuum and get a sense of where they are going. Having this information really helps me to stay centred on where I have been, where I am now and where I am going, providing me with a sense of certainty about achieving what I want.
Typically, achievers have a sense of being driven, a sense of purpose. They have goals that they set themselves, they work incredibly hard and stay focused. And deep down they have a sense of their possibilities, even in times when others may not have that same sense of them.
We all have inner self-talk and we can make a decision about whether the self- talk will serve us or defeat us. Most successful people have inner self talk to reflect empowering beliefs such as: ‘Yes I can’, ‘I’m worthy’, ‘I’m intelligent’, ‘I have got lots of great ideas’, ‘This can be done and I’m the person to do it’, ‘I can ask for support and expect to receive it, recognising that people do have a choice about whether they give that support or not’, ‘I wonder what great ideas I can come up with today’ and ‘There’s always a way’.
Disempowering beliefs such as: ‘I’m not worthy’, ‘I’m not good enough’, ‘I’m not intelligent enough’, ‘I’m scared, I cannot do it’, ‘XYZ has better ideas than I do’ ‘I’m too old to start again’ ‘The system won’t let me’, ‘What’s the point, I won’t get a loan anyway?’ ‘I’m not part of the old school tie network’, ‘I’m not well connected’ and ‘I haven’t a clue’. These and other similar thoughts really have an immobilising effect, often leaving the thinker of the thoughts doing nothing to secure their dreams.