So here’s the gig—everyone has always told me “you have to focus, Katherine.” I’ve always harbored the rebellious fantasy that I could get away without it. I could work harder, work faster, delegate, stay up late, but say no to distraction?!?—NEVER! And I’m not talking about lame things I didn’t want to do anyway; I mean all the yummy “yes” things I love to do—all the books to read, the deep, urgent conversations to have, all the mixed media projects to start, all the incredible classes to take and to teach….
But the day has finally come, I’m ready to embrace FOCUS.
Why? well you see, all these years I thought I was stealing from someone else’s cookie jar—just a little detour here, just one teensy side project over here, and one minor delay for something really cool over there… who could it possibly hurt? Truly a victim-less crime, I assured myself.
But recently it’s really sunk in that the cookie jar is MINE!—and all those cookies (and all that time) were mine to use as I wanted anyway! Which changes the whole game, of course. It means the real question was never how much I could steal or whether I could get away with it, but what I really wanted to do with my cookie jar.
Woah…. If you put it that way, I guess I want to be cooking up new batches (and new recipes), rather than playing mind games with the crumbs. Is THAT what focus means? Hmmmmm…. Now that’s starting to sound pretty interesting…. Somehow I
don’t think My Inner Team is going to buy it so easily.
“Not so fast, ”interjects Madame, the Choreographer of My Inner Team—who loves grandiose plans and delicious diversions and has aspirations of going to Carnegie Hall. “I would rather die a happy, wandering gypsy than some big, stuffy, focused CEO or bean counter, or even some fame hungry star who can pick and choose her projects…oh wait…I don’t want that?, but I do want freedom to be fabulous and choose any project I want… well….” She stops mid sentence andthe wheels begin to turn behind her hoop earrings and dramatic makeup. “Wow so focusing means I can create any type of cookie I want? Even brownies? I could get behind this.
Done deal. Madame is in, I’m ready to go to the kitchen and start creating!
“Over my dead body!” shrieks another voice of dissent—Mia, my inner toddler—who wants what she wants when she wants. “I want the cookie and I want it now!” She crosses her arms, daring me to defy her. She’s not buying one word of this focus-pocus. So I don’t even bother with the focusing-means-making-bigger-and-better-cookies argument. She doesn’t care about making cookies, she just wants yummy and she wants it now! And she’ll hold her breath till she passes out to prove it. Delayed gratification never has been her thing.
Listen Mia, What if you could do whatever you want?
Mia’s ears perk up. I have her attention, So I plunge forward.
You could do all the things you love- within the project we’re focusing on.
Hrmm, she says, “So, if I want to write something else when you’re doing your book proposal, I can?” “Well,” I answer, “Maybe we can write that down in the inner team blog.” “What if I feel like stitching and beading?” Mia continues. “You could make an inner team puppet or art doll,” I answer warming up to this,“ And if you’re feeling like collage you could work on the book cover design.”.
Here’s the deal you can eat the cookie dough while I make more cookies, rather than stealing cookies from the jar.
“OK!” Mia squeals, “I’m in. What are you waiting for?” She toddles off to get the chocolate chips.
I better get in the kitchen before the flour starts flying without me. Stay tuned and wish me luck…this maybe messy, but at least I know we’re all on the same team.