Understanding the Power of Focus in Your Life

John ThurmanBy John Thurman10 Minutes

“I don’t focus on what I’m up against.

I focus on my goals, and I try to ignore the rest.”

Venus Williams

Mission and Purpose

Do you ever feel like you wasted your day? You may have started with the intention of knocking out two or three goals, getting that morning walk in, or writing that next chapter, but you still need to … do it. You find yourself at the end of the day, checklist unchecked, frustrated.

I do. Some days I start with the best intentions and accomplish a lot. Other times, I wonder where the day went.

This article, “Understanding the Power of Focus in Your Life,” is the first in a four-part series designed to help you experience a clearer sense of mission and purpose in your life. So that you can live with intentionality, passion, purpose, and joy.

This is the first in a series of four articles to give you some proven tools to help maintain your focus and stay on purpose.

One of the questions I ask many clients is, “What is your purpose or mission in life?”

The inquiry usually leads to a pause, and they often say, “I’ve never been asked that question before.” If they have a church background, they say something like, “To love and serve God” or “To get married and raise a family.” But for the most part, they lack a personal mission statement or a clearly defined purpose. They usually need more focus, and a specific point to aim for.

As you continue to read this series, I will give you some tips on how to refocus and move forward.

A Focus Story

Let’s look at some focused friends in Luke 5:17-26 (NLT).

One day while Jesus was teaching, some Pharisees and teachers of religious law were sitting nearby. (It seemed that these men showed up from every village in all Galilee and Judea, as well as from Jerusalem.) And the Lord’s healing power was strongly with Jesus.

Some men came carrying a paralyzed man on a sleeping mat. They tried to take him inside to Jesus, but they couldn’t reach him because of the crowd. So they went up to the roof and took off some tiles. Then they lowered the sick man on his mat down into the crowd, right in front of Jesus. Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the man, “Young man, your sins are forgiven.”

But the Pharisees and teachers of religious law said to themselves, “Who does he think he is? That’s blasphemy! Only God can forgive sins!”

Jesus knew what they were thinking, so he asked them, “Why do you question this in your hearts? Is it easier to say ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or ‘Stand up and walk’? So I will prove to you that the Son of Man has the authority on earth to forgive sins.” Then Jesus turned to the paralyzed man and said, “Stand up, pick up your mat, and go home!”

And immediately, as everyone watched, the man jumped up, picked up his mat, and went home praising God. Everyone was gripped with great wonder and awe, and they praised God, exclaiming, “We have seen amazing things today!”

That is an excellent example of what happens when people have a clearly defined purpose and focus on a solution rather than complaining and feeling helpless.

The man’s friends focused on a good mission—to get their friend to Jesus. They started from a place of faith in Christ and love for their friend, took kinetic action, and the results were that their friend was forgiven and healed.

The Importance of Focus and Purpose

Knowing your purpose and sustaining your focus is essential to living an intentional, God-honoring life. This is how we can say yes to a life full of meaning rather than spending our time on distractions.

Focus is the ability to know what matters most and act on it. It’s about being present in the moment and understanding that every action has consequences. The power of focus helps us prioritize our goals, stay on track, and progress toward achieving them.

Focus is essential to living an intentional life because it allows us to be mindful of our actions and make decisions that serve our highest purpose. When we focus on doing what is necessary for growth, transformation, and success, we can create a more meaningful existence for ourselves.

The power of purpose is like the energy of the sun focused through a magnifying glass. Every third-grade boy knows that when you focus sunlight through a magnifying glass on something that can burn, it will. Likewise, a laser—another kind of highly directional light—can melt layers of steel.

A clear sense of purpose lets you focus on what matters most.

My friend, Dr. Tom Barrett, says, “Sustained focus is the most important component of success.”¹ So whether you are focused on leadership development, building your business, expanding your ministry, making that next promotion, or building your relationships, it will only happen with focus.

Dr. Barrett also shared a quote I will never be able to get out of my head. “Focus is the birth canal through which dreams become a reality.” So powerful.

Talent without discipline takes us nowhere. Likewise, dreams without an action plan are empty daydreams that produce nothing.

We are responsible for the dream God gives us.

The Effects of Focus and Purpose

The ability to know your purpose and maintain focus is the essential component to successfully completing the race of life.

When we focus, knowing our purpose, is when we do what we need to do, not what we want to do.

Focusing on living an intentional life is saying yes to the dream God gave you and no to your fears.

Focus is saying yes to our responsibilities and no to our numerous schemes and rationalizations to avoid them.

Focused, intentional living is where we put notions into motion.

One of the primary reasons many of us never fulfill our purpose is that we have yet to learn how to sustain our dream and do the work it takes to make it happen.

Knowing your “why”—your purpose—and focusing on it will help you do what matters most.

Knowing your purpose will compel you to take on challenges that will stretch you as much as they inspire you.

“Lazy people want much but get little, but those who work hard will prosper.” Proverbs 13:4 NLT

 “Work brings profit, but mere talk leads to poverty!” Proverbs 14:23 NLT

Six Important Questions

You and I are living out our lives for an audience of one. It is one thing to share the dream God has given you; it is another to experience it.

As I wrap up, here are some questions to consider before you move on:

  • What makes you come alive?
  • What are your core strengths?
  • Where do you add the most significant value?
  • What is your mission, your why?
  • How will you measure your life?
  • What’s holding you back?

As you think about these questions, write down your responses. In the next couple of articles, I suggest a path you can follow to clarify your purpose and sharpen your focus.