Monday, May 14, 2018

Leadership Quote - Milarepa

Created by Erin Morey
Are you able to stay focused on what you want to accomplish? Or are you like Doug the Dog from the Pixar movie Up? Unable to maintain a train of thought and easily distracted by squirrels? Regrettably, it is getting harder and harder for us to maintain our focus as hundreds (if not thousands) of things vying for our attention. Just as an example, how often has your phone pinged, vibrated, or lit up since you started reading this? I'm willing to bet it is more than once.

When these things happen, we lose focus and have to try to re-attain it. At least one study has shown that it can take up to 25 minutes to regain your focus once interrupted, and another showed that people switched their activities every three minutes five seconds (Fast Company interview with Gloria Mark, Professor in the Department of Informatics at the University of California, Irvine). This disruption is at the expense of deeper thinking and consistent effort.

Which brings us to this week's quote:

When You Run After Your Thoughts You Are Like A Dog Chasing A Stick: Every Time A Stick I Thrown You Run After It. Instead, Be Like The Lion Who, Rather Than Chasing The Stick, Turns To Face The Thrower. One Only Throws A Stick At A Lion Once. 
- Milarepa
Are you running after sticks (or chasing squirrels) rather than disciplining your mind? As a leader, what about your team? Are you causing undue stress and impacting their ability to work? Are others? 

Often when I coach Project Managers I advise them to turn off the email notifications because it can be distracting and pull you away from the detailed work you are doing. Instead, pick dedicated times to review, triage and reply to emails. By doing this you take back more control and limit the distractions. If it was important, they would call you!

There are other tactics you can do to protect your time and that of your team. I would suggest you block some time this week and look at your distractions. Work to become the lion, rather than a dog with a stick!
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Milarepa is one of Tibet's most famous yogis and poets. He was a major historical figure of the Kagyu School of Buddhism. 


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