Brian Hazelgren –
A few years ago I wrote a book (Everlasting Wisdom) based on a series of choices that the most successful and powerful king of his day had made, and how he eventually built a massive empire. I became somewhat of a student of wisdom, and the story of King Solomon is where I began my journey.
I was sitting in church one day listening to a discussion about the wisdom of King Solomon and the Proverbs that he penned. The teacher had asked a few people to come prepared to speak about a particular Proverb or Psalm. After listening to a series of two-minute overviews of their favorite passages, it struck me that those words were certainly wise 3,000 years ago, and are even more applicable to today’s circumstances both personal and for business.
Then a crazy idea popped into my head…“If this wisdom is even more applicable to our day and age, then why not write a book about ‘Wisdom’, and make King Solomon’s success the basis of the book. Then take those principles and come up with a formula of how Solomon built the most massive and powerful empire on earth.”
Off I went to study up on wisdom and to become the world’s foremost authority on a subject that seems to elude millions, or at least seems to be avoided by many. I can tell you that this journey is a long one, but in a short period of time, I have learned one thing…I have a long way to go to really understand how to tap into wisdom and make it work for me, my family, my business and personal relationships, and even more.
But the good news is that anyone can learn these principles and greatly enhance their personal situation…anyone.
What I have learned is that Solomon’s life was made up of a pattern of choices that seemed to make his status in the community, and surrounding countries, even more advanced with each passing day. Solomon’s empire was built on choices and principles that he shares with us in several books in the Bible.
Have you ever seen the poster that shows a setting sun on the horizon, and placed in front of the setting sun are four large boulders in the ocean. The caption of the poster is “When you take your eyes off the goal, all you see are the obstacles.” The primary point is that the obstacles of deep, cold waters; and large objects standing in the way, are usually what we humans focus on first, rather than seeing past those obstacles and focusing on the beauty of the setting sun.
The primary mission of businesses is to generate as much revenue as possible while controlling costs, which leads to more equity or profit. There are a myriad of obstacles introduced on a daily basis that threaten the primary vision of any institution, large or small. The distractions can – and do – become overwhelming and drain the energy, sometimes the life out of the organization and its members.
Too many distractions creep in the empires of today, and rob them of achieving their potential. The poor economy…slow or no sales…competition launching a new product…employee relations and human resource challenges…internal strife with managers…and a thousand other things. The key is to remain focused on who you are and what you do.
A great example of staying focused is the founding of the United States of America. The U.S. has been blessed with many individuals who stayed focused to accomplish the mission they set out achieve. This country was founded on the principles that Almighty God is the Supreme Being that may be worshipped whenever, and however one chooses.
Solomon, and the Founding Fathers of the United States of America, in their wisdom, kept their focus, and chose to honor God. They focused on a primary mission that could not escape their ever – waking thoughts and actions. Nothing stood in the way of their mission and they vigorously planned and implemented strategies to accomplish their goals. They sacrificed their fortunes, their fame, their property, and even their lives to stay focused on their primary mission: to create a sovereign nation free from the oppressions of a tyrannical leader.
Likewise, Solomon recognized “who is able to build a house for Him (God), for the heavens and the highest heavens cannot contain him. Solomon’s temple, his primary focus and mission, made other buildings look rather gaunt and dull in comparison…good grief, the walls were even lined with gold! This undertaking was considered very industrious and Solomon had to build a work force large enough to match the ambitious goal of building a temple that would rival any structure on earth in beauty and magnitude. Solomon’s task force required twenty years to complete the mission, and staying focused on accomplishing this mission was the highest priority for him and his staff.
I will be the first to admit that that sometimes it can be difficult to stay focused on what matters most. However when you are truly committed to something, distractions can be managed and even ignored to bring about the completion of your task. Think of the following 7 principles in staying focused. They may not all work for you, but I have found that when you follow these principles, you stay focused, and you are able to direct your positive energies to the task at hand.
1. Establish well-defined goals – your goals are the foundation of your plan and your plan is the roadmap to lead you to your destiny. Setting goals in not a new concept, but it is a wise principle to use and a habit that you should establish. Remember a goal not written is only a wish.
2. Create and stick to a priority list – sometimes a simple list of priorities can keep you focused on what needs to be accomplished – and when. I like to have a priority list to refer to when distractions enter the picture…it keeps me…focused.
3. Track and Report your progress – Remember this: what gets reported gets done. Whether you are reporting to your self or to the board, when you are able to track your progress and show how you reach certain milestones, you can keep on the straight path without deviations.
4. Break tasks into smaller pieces – a big project can look so overwhelming at times. I have found that when you take the big picture and break it down to smaller elements, individual pieces don’t seem as daunting, and each time you complete one of the smaller tasks it is invigorating and empowering.
5. Reward yourself – you need to give yourself a pat on the back once in a while and reward yourself for your discipline. That can be as simple as blocking out time for you to read a book; see a movie; go out to dinner; go on a vacation; or watch your favorite sitcom.
6. Visualize the end result – Constantly seeing the end result in your mind is a great motivator. Visualize what you want to accomplish. If the end result is truly important to you, it can serve as a powerful reminder that your sacrifices along the way will be worth it.
7. Ask for help – Unless you have a big red and yellow “S” stamped on the chest of your blue spandex uniform, I would suggest that you reach out to others once in a while and ask for help. The cool thing about asking for help is that it shows a little humility, and people really do like to help others. They don’t mind helping you because they can share a little expertise and provide a little compassion to others…we humans, for the most part, are just wired that way.
Enjoy your task of staying focused…and enjoy reading Everlasting Wisdom! Brian Hazelgren