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Pursuing Excellence Series Part 6: Distraction Control

Developing a Soldier’s Mind To Reach Your Highest Potential


By Coach Dee




Welcome back to our 7 part series on pursuing excellence.

Recap

Achieving greatness starts by developing the mind of a soldier. There are seven keys that unlock the soldier’s mind:

Commit yourself to the mission

Believe you will succeed

Focus fully on the task

Use positive imagery

Prepare your mind for the battle

Control the distractions and barriers that hinder results

Continue to learn and grow


This article focuses on the sixth element:


Control the Distractions that Hinder Results


Distraction control is necessary to

  • maintain or regain an effective focus

  • perform consistently at a high level

  • stick with your own game plan (as opposed to the game plan of others)

  • get adequate rest (for all you insomnia peeps)

  • stay on your own best path for personal excellence

The military trains in every environment imaginable. As a medic, we were trained to provide medical care in the dark, while taking fire, in full body armor, after a 12 mile ruck march, with drill instructors screaming in your face, with one arm, and any other off the wall scenario they could throw at us. We became proficient at performing under high levels of stress and with any distraction imaginable. Our job was to remain calm, cool, and collected if and when this time came. We had to remain in complete control and totally focused on the task at hand in order to keep those around us alive.


If you want to perform at your best, you must control all distractions around you.


Distractions Can Control Our Outcome


As I sit here in my favorite coffee house, Nervous Dog, writing this blog, I am fighting my distractions. My eye catches the construction man outside the window sweeping the sidewalk. The woman across the way just gave a big “I haven’t seen you in forever” hug to her friend. I find myself opening up my business email to see if there are any messages from athletes who missed today’s session. My mind continues to tell me to focus, but like a white elephant in the room, I am only thinking about focusing.


You can either choose to be in control or choose to allow distractions to control you. Either way, it’s your choice.


How fast do you regain focus when faced with distractions, negative input, or setbacks? Can you name these distractions? Are they external factors arising from your environment like your kids, spouse, job, travel schedule, financial status, or responsibilities. Or, are they internal factors arising from your own thinking or expectations?


“Maintaining focus is the critical part of performing at your capacity on a consistent basis.”--Terry Orlick

Take the steps today to control the distractions in your life to keep you on the path to excellence. Practice refocusing when you have found yourself become distracted. The faster you can do this and the quicker you notice the distractions, the stronger you will be. Use cues, images, or reminders to help you stay present.


Tips to Reduce Your Distractions


These are some ways I attempt to control my distractions. Feel free to use any of these in your own practice if you are not already doing so.


  1. I turn off my cell phone, leave it on silent, or leave it in the car when I am working, on a date, or having a serious conversation with someone.

  2. I turn off my mind at night with meditation.

  3. When I find I am not listening (which happens often, especially when I am hungry or in work mode), I notice and name what is going on and refocus my mind on hearing and understanding what is being said.

  4. I take a break every hour to give my mind permission to wander.

  5. I try new things that force me to focus. My most recent activity is white water kayaking. PS: I’m terrified of water.

  6. I practice being in the present moment often.

  7. I listen to motivational stories on YouTube when I feel burnt out or unmotivated to do anything but binge watch Netflix. It usually only takes 10 minutes to get my mind back in the game.

  8. I practice deep breathing when my mind takes over all rational thinking.

  9. I visit nature. This one always helps.

If you have another way to reduce your distractions, comment below and let me know.


I’m always looking for new ways to help keep me accountable and less distracted.


What to do Today:


  • Practice eliminating your distractions

  • Stay focused on the task at hand.

  • Keep your belief that you will succeed in this goal.

  • Stay committed to your mission.

Stay tuned in to our last segment on: Pursuing Excellence: Continue to learn and grow



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