08 Dec STAY FOCUSED: “Keeping Your Eye on the Ball”
Moss Jackson, PhD
Psychologist and Success Coach
I recently had an experience I would like to share with you.
I was a presenter at a global conference called “Healing Masters,” in which a number of world leaders on curing the disease of aging were gathered together through video presentations over the internet to present their work. I was delighted but surprised by an invitation for me to present my thinking on a book I had recently written about navigating the psychology of immortality, a rather edgy look at how your thoughts, beliefs and attitudes either add years to your life or kill you instead. I considered myself a relative novice in the field of Life Extension, while all the other presenters were significant researchers and scientists in the field. But I like Nuno Martins, the host, and decided to give it a shot. I chose to talk about “How to get your brain to fall in love with you.”
Cutting to the chase, the day of the conference I found myself in the hospital with a bacterial infection. My mind was stuck on my medical situation and I lost any interest in presenting. Nuno suggested we run a pre-recorded talk on my topic and asked if I could be available for a Q&A after the video. I said ok without thinking it through. After all, I was dressed in a hospital gown and was getting little sleep. I thought I looked terrible and was not focused on the talk or the conference.
As I watched and marveled at the excellent live presentations, I dreaded my video and the following Q&A session. I had forgotten much of what I had previously recorded a month earlier and had no focus on what key points I wanted to make. Once my video recording aired, technical difficulties rendered the first ten minutes incomprehensible. No one appeared to know what to do! There I was talking and smiling, while a clanging and loud mechanical noise rang out. It was an apparent disaster in the making. My imagination yanked me into a stream of self-criticism and dread over what I then thought all the other presenters and audience might be thinking about me. I was emotionally hijacked and wanted to hide under the blankets!
Nuno, though, stayed focused! He simply looked at his master computer, coached all the presenters to stay calm while he attempted numerous times to fix the problem. When the problem was fixed and the video and sound were coordinated, he apologized to the viewers, calmly explained what happened and just restarted the video. Then we moved into the live Q&A with my iPad camera zoomed in on my poorly lit face and hospital garb. I answered the questions and Nuno asked me to stay on camera while the entire panel of presenters shared their thoughts about how to move forward as a visionary force in curing aging as a disease.
The subsequent group discussion and sharing of ideas was riveting, provocative and rich in its creativity. About thirty minutes later the keynote speaker summed up the day’s talks. A successful day was noted for this new Masters of Healing Conference.
The point I want to make here is that in the sea of chaos that we all experienced when the technical bomb hit, Nuno stayed focused and “kept his eye on the ball.” He did not get emotional, flustered, freaked out or angry. He simply tried one strategy after the other until he figured out the solution. His calm and focused execution helped to keep me, the other presenters and the video audience likewise focused and connected. While we may have lost a few annoyed viewers, most stayed on line and a successful day was eventually noted.
In life, mistakes, disappointments and crises happen on a daily basis. The skill and art of staying focused can be learned and executed. In future posts, I will focus on the discipline of “keeping your eye on the ball.” During these times of difficult personal, political and financial challenges, we could all perhaps learn from Nuno’s example and learn to stay focused on working on what is important and not falling emotionally apart when possible disaster hits.
To learn more about staying focused and executing on powerful actions, check out my book “Navigating For Success: Passion, Goals and Action.”