Have you ever felt completely distracted by something? Have you ever had to bring your mind back to the here and now and focus on what you’re doing?
Focus is something I have a hard time with. I’m easily distracted by things going on around me. I’ve always had to force myself to pay attention in school, at work, when I’m grocery shopping. If I don’t force myself to focus then I become the opposite of a moth to a flame.
When I used to teach in a crowded dance studio, there were lots of teachers and students on the floor with private lessons going on all at one time. With people moving across the floor, music blaring and conversations being had, I remember really having to focus my attention on just my students because I could so easily lose my concentration on the task at hand.
This isn’t something I’m proud of but it is something I’ve gotten good at. The ability to focus helped me to finish a triathlon, Leon’s Triathlon in Hammond, IN, in particular, where I completely felt like a fish out of water. When I did Leon’s I had done two indoor sprint triathlons prior to that race. I’d never done an open water lake swim. I’d never swam 1500 meters. I’d never worn a wetsuit. My biking distances were close to 25 miles so I felt ok there but I’d never been in a race with that many tri-specific bikes whirring by me. I’d also never run 6.2 miles after biking 25 miles. There were so many new things I accomplished that day.
I completed the race and nearly finished last but I really had to do to get through the race was focus. My mantra throughout the whole race was “Here and Now”. Anytime I started to panic in the water because I couldn’t see the buoys I would tell myself “Focus on the here and now Sara.” Whenever the fancy tri bikes would fly past me on the bike course I would tell myself and they were on lap 2 and I was only on lap 1 I would mentally repeat my mantra “here and now” and it brought me back to focus. On the run when the sun was beating down on my back and during the last three miles it was me and one other person on the course I told myself “here and now.”
It was a good mantra for me. That was a really hard race for me so I didn’t push myself physically as hard as I probably could because I wanted to enjoy the experience. The race for me was more of a mental race than a physical race.
Was I under-prepared for the race? Probably. However, I had such good mental focus I was really able to pull through and finish the race with a smile.
The next time you find your mind wandering or think that something is tough and you can’t do it or if you feel like you’re a fish out of water just tell yourself “Here and Now” and you will find that your focus will come back to the present and you can finish the task at hand.