Robin Stephenson

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Business Productivity

According to Wikipedia, a circus is a company of performers who put on diverse entertainment shows… often time, several events or performers are entertaining the audience at the same time.
I’m sure there are many times when you have felt as if you are the Ringmaster of a three-ring circus, I know I have. Or, maybe you felt as if you were one of the actual acts, such as the lion tamer trying to give all the kids your undivided attention. Maybe you identify more with a plate spinner trying to balance several fragile business decisions without breaking the bank. Perhaps you have even felt like a clown trying to keep everyone happy, even when you are personally having a hard time on the inside.

A seasoned Ringmaster will tell you that the secret of mastering the three rings is in balance and focus. Balance is all about giving attention to each ring of entertainment (the activity of the moment), but focus is all about being aware of the lion that is acting out, the plate that is about to fall, or the actual tears of the clown. My challenge for you (and for myself) this year is all about finding balance without losing focus. To become more balance, you must identify the difference between fantasy and reality, wants and needs, and between possibility and commitment. I suggest you begin by taking the time to write down on a piece of notebook paper everything that comes to mind that you want/need to do. Don’t stop to think if something fits or not, don’t qualify it in any way. By using paper instead of the computer, you give yourself more time to think and you should come away with a page or two of great many thoughts and ideas some of which may have been buried inside you for quite some time.
Next, group your thoughts into categories. Categories might include personal, home, work, other, etc. Now that you have your thoughts in groups, look at each statement and decide if it is something that is an achievable reality within a specific frame of time. If it is, continue to the next step. If not, set it aside for a time you want to develop future goals. You’ve now narrowed down your list. To refine it even further, go through each statement remaining and decide if it’s something you want (someday), or is it something you need. A need is a burning desire to accomplish or something that makes life sustainable. Again, put the somedays to the side and now you have just a list of what you need to accomplish.

Finally, organize your list according to how committed are you to making the remaining thoughts a reality. Take the top three on you list and develop a strategy that will help you focus on achieving your desires. At times, you will feel as if you are being attacked by the lions. Other times you will feel as if you are spinning too many plates. Just remember, some of the plates are rubber and some are glass, focus on keeping the breakable and repairable plates from shattering. And most of all, remember that a Circus is designed to bring joy. As the Ringmaster of your own three areas of focus, it’s up to you keep a balance throughout the pain of achieving. Teary eyed clowns are no fun. When one of the acts isn’t going well, go back and readjust your plans or expectations. The show must go on, however, not at the expense of your happiness.

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