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Do you have a ritual or a narrative?

When after a long training day, I asked these leaders to create deep focus on a specific topic for 20mn, most of them thought I was mad. They all thoughts it was not at all the best time to do it.

Does that sound familiar? 

Are you familiar with those unexpected moments when focus seems to slip away, and the thought of summoning deep concentration feels impossible? Well, let me challenge that.

Bonjour, in this video I want to share a simple yet powerful piece of advice that can help you cultivate deep focus. 

A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of working with a group of leaders in Melbourne. Together, we have embarked on a transformative journey of a few months aimed at enhancing their productivity and well-being. It was a day filled with intense discussions about priorities, crafting quarterly plans (what I call the compass plan), and designing ideal weeks (knowing all too well that reality often deviates from the ideal).

As the day progressed, we explored strategies for creating more focus during the day. It was around 4 PM when I decided to present them with a challenge—a simple exercise that would require them to summon deep focus, even at an unexpected time. 

Now, you can imagine their reactions. After a long day of hard work and intense discussions, they were probably thinking, “We’ve already invested so much mental energy. How can we possibly create deep focus at 4 PM?”

But that was precisely the point I wanted to prove—I wanted to challenge them and demonstrate that deep focus can be summoned at any time, even during the most unexpected moments. 

I introduced them to a simple logic I call “plan, do, format.” They began by choosing a specific topic or task on which to focus. Next, they did a bit of planning, clarifying objectives and identifying what needed to be reviewed. Then came the doing—immersing themselves fully in the task and embracing their creativity without hesitation. Finally, they had to allocate a few minutes at the end to format and organize their work, ensuring it was presented in the right format for future reference or collaboration. 

I explained the logic, put 20mn on the clock and asked everyone to focus in silence. 

When we reconvened and discussed their experience, Lauren shared something truly insightful. She confessed, “Cyril, I have to be honest. When you initially presented this challenge, I thought you were mad. I was already exhausted, and I didn’t believe it was possible. Typically, at 4 PM on a regular day, I would never consider attempting it. 

However, she went on to say, “Here’s what I realized—my belief that it was impossible was just a narrative. In reality, I did it. I managed to create deep focus at a time when I never thought I could.” 

Lauren realized that the negative narrative she had been telling herself was just that—a self-imposed limitation. In reality, she managed to summon deep focus at a time when she believed it was out of reach. The exercise shattered her preconceived notions and opened her eyes to the untapped potential within. 

Now, I’d like to ask you this: Do you have a little ritual to create deep focus? Or do you have a narrative to avoid it? 

This is this week’s Work Smarter: Live Better tip. Wishing you a wonderful day. 

A bientôt,

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