How to Stay Focused: it’s a skill that most people today lack. They get distracted with the next best thing. You will learn my best tips to stay focused over the long term to reach your goals and be successful.
My First Job: Cannot Stay Focused
Let’s get into it. Back two years ago, I was at my first job and really did not like it. For two years before that (so 4 years ago) I had wanted a job in New York City as a software engineer. Software engineers have so many cool companies to work for, have good salaries and New York City is so much fun to live in. Who would not want to do it?
There was only one problem, I was lacking the experience required to acquire a position in New York City. I simply did not have the skills I needed. The skills I needed to get the job done were pretty technical so I won’t bore you with them. The problem was I had zero experience in them!
Wanting the Goal
I wanted this goal, so I decided to go for it anyway. So I started applying, only to get easily rejected by companies left and right.
That did not stop me though. Every night and morning I would read my goal of wanting the job in New York City as a software engineer at a company I loved. I would see myself doing it over and over.
So, after getting shut down with a bunch of companies, I realized that I might be doing something wrong. I might be messing up somewhere. At this point, I was a little cockier than I definitely should have been.
From that I realized, I was not good at the interview questions people were giving me, so I decided to prepare for that. I bought the book “Cracking the Coding Interview”. It’s a 1000 page book on just interview questions for developers. I started to do a problem every single day in order to slowly get better at the interviews I was getting
A few months go by and I am way better with the interview questions. Most things technically, I got right because my skills had increased. Every day I was going to learn something new that I needed to obtain one of these jobs.
At this point, for some reason I was still receiving rejection email after rejection email. I was so confused. I thought I had done everything. I went through a 1000 page book. I ended up doing mock interviews with my friend and mentor Frankie. He was a developer and made me realize that all of the behavioral questions I was being asked in the interview, I kept spinning in a negative light.
I was being Negative
Answering questions like that obviously made me come off as this negative person which caused people to not like me, even though I had the skills to obtain a position.
So what did I do? I went to work, writing out the answers to questions that I am normally asked. Things like my background, my abilities, why I want the job and everything.
I edited the stories to make them extremely positive. Then I went to work memorizing the stories.
Now I really started to notice progress coming my way. I would be getting farther and farther into the interview process. I knew something was coming soon. About a month after I did this, I got a new job where I was happy, had fun and really enjoyed what I was doing.
Tips to Stayed Focused
Now, how did I stay focused? If you paid attention to the story, you could see there were a few ways I stayed focused.
First thing, is to have a clearly defined goal. I knew from the getgo, where I wanted a job, in what field, at the type of company I wanted, and the environment I wanted to work in. Not only did I know it, I kept myself focused on it over the long term by writing out the goal and continuously reminding myself of it every single night and morning. So I ended my days with it and started my days with it. It was always at the top of my mind!
Over the long term it is easy to lose site of things but by repeating what you plan on doing over the long term can really help you stay focused and bring you back on track when you fail.
The next thing to do is to make sure you are always making progress. It took me 4 years to get my job, but I never changed my goal. Why? Because as time went on, I felt like I was on the right path, I felt like I was doing the right thing. Whenever I hit a road block, I learned a thing or two that got me to overcome it. Whether it was the technical questions, or the behavioral interview questions, I figured out what I was doing wrong and went out to go fix it. Most people would NOT do that.
The third tip I have for you is to realize that I did not SPLIT my focus. For the first 3 years, my focus was pretty split. I was in school or I was at a job. Those things really deterred my ability to make too much progress. I needed to find a way to focus. So I quit my first job and solely focused on getting a better one. It took 14 months from there, but I was fully focused everyday and knew exactly what I needed to do to get to where I wanted to go.
I love the acronym, Follow One Course Until Successful. Thats what you must do. Remove the distractions, make sure to keep reminding yourself of your focus, and never give up. What you want will come to you, if you are willing to learn from your mistakes and stick it out for the long term. Remember that.
Let’s not let the discussion end here. I want you to comment below with any tips on how you focus over the long term! Let me know. So we can all learn from each other. Make sure to join my mailing list so you do not miss a post like this! Remember guys that no matter what you are facing you can overcome it by taking action!