How to Have More Focus
Feeling distracted? Unfocused? Foggy and Confused? Today’s episode reveals the hidden cause of distraction. It’s NOT your smart phone. It’s actually something you’ve never heard of. Listen and find out what it is. AND what to do about it.
WHAT YOU’LL LEARN FROM THIS EPISODE:
- The real reason you’re distracted. The problem is “disintegration.”
- The storytelling principle that fixes it. It’s called “integration.”
- How to get integrated so you can FOCUS EFFORTLESSLY and START MAKING MONEY.
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Welcome to How to Make More Money, a podcast that helps you get seriously good at the game of making serious money. I’m your host Kelly Hollingsworth. I’m so happy you’re here because today we are talking about how to become more focused. Isn’t this the topic on everyone’s minds these days? Who wouldn’t want more focus? We all do, so today we’re going to talk about four things. The first is, the real reason you are unfocused. And here I can promise you, it’s not what you think. Before you throw your smart phone under the bus, listen to this episode because your smart phone isn’t actually the problem. It is something else—a problem called “dis-integration.” I’ll explain what it is, and then share some symptoms for how to tell if you are disintegrated.
And then I’m going to teach you a storytelling principle that solves it. This is a principal that every business owner needs to know, and it’s just one more example of why commercial storytelling is the most important skill you can have as a high-earning entrepreneur.
And the last thing we will talk about is how to get help applying this principle if you need it. Spoiler alert. Join my signature coaching program Gateway to Seven. Because this amazing thing that you are going to hear about, we are doing in there.
So now let’s dive in. The first thing we’re going to talk about is the real reason you are distracted.
The Real Reason You Can’t Focus
To illustrate the real reason, I’m going to tell you a story. It is a story of the time when I was the most distracted I have ever been in my entire life. Picture this. I am the CEO of a $65 million firm that wants to go to $1 billion. Sounds like a pretty big job right? It was. But was that all I was doing? No. I was also coaching one-on-one clients in my ongoing quest to solve the female under earning problem in this country,, and I was running a pretty successful legal and business advisory practice for a hedge fund managers who wanted to be more profitable.
I was publishing up to three podcast episodes a week for completely unrelated podcasts. Every day was a blur. My task list was a mile long, and although I had a ton to do, every morning I sat down at my desk and went through a protracted period of what I call “multi-shirking.” Multi-shirking is when you have so many things to do, you can’t possibly decide which one to do. And what happens then? That’s when you reach for your smart phone. It’s when you start scrolling on Facebook. Indulging in Instagram. It’s when your phone becomes the pacifier to placate you from your own feelings of distracted discomfort.
Why was I so distracted? Was the smart phone the problem? On the surface, it looks that way. It’s what I kept reaching for when I wasn’t actually doing anything productive. But why was I reaching for it? The reason I was reaching for the smart phone is because of the real problem, which is that I was dis-integrated.
What do I mean by this? By the word “disintegration?” If you take an explosive and insert it into a mountain or a giant boulder and you blow it up, you literally scatter pieces of it everywhere. The detritus from the explosion scattered all over the place. When you are dis-integrated in your business life, that’s how you feel. Scattered. Like there are pieces of your business scattered all over the place that are fracturing your attention and diluting your focus.
Signs that your problem goes deeper than mere distraction. You’re actually disintegrated.
So now the question is, how do you know if you’re disintegrated? You have a feeling about it I’m sure, but here are some concrete signs that your problem goes deeper than mere distraction. You’re actually disintegrated.
It takes a paragraph to describe what you do
One of them is, it takes a paragraph to describe what you do. This week I started coaching a group of local women who want to go through the Gateway to Seven program on an in-person basis, and the very first thing we did in the room is every woman introduced herself. And what did I hear? The exact same kind of disintegration that I was suffering when I was running three different businesses, and running myself into the ground. When I was disintegrated I would have said, “I’m a CEO. And I’m also a lawyer, mentor, and business advisor to hedge fund managers. I’m also a coach and consultant for entrepreneurs who under earn.” This kind of thing is exactly what I heard in the room when the women in my local Gateway to Seven group were introducing themselves. Over and over and over, they said, “I have this business, and I have that business, and I have this other business, too.”
If you’re disintegrated, you will hear yourself rattling off this kind of laundry list about who you are and what you do. If you can’t say what you do in a single sentence, you are disintegrated.
You describe yourself by activities, credentials and experience. Not purpose.
Another sign of disintegration is that you describe yourself by activities, credentials, and experience, rather than by purpose. For example, I often see in entrepreneurs’ bios things such as, “I’m a speaker, an author, a coach, a podcaster, a blogger, an online course creator. I have these degrees and these certifications and I’ve worked at all of these places.” On and on and on they go. Fact after fact about what they do, what they’ve studied, and what they’ve done.
But what’s missing from all this? What’s missing is the meaning. What is the purpose of doing all those things? Of having all of those credentials? Of gathering all that experience? When you find yourself listing the things you do—speaking, writing, coaching, podcasting, blogging, course creation– and the degrees and credentials you’ve collected, and the places you’ve worked, it’s for a reason, and it’s not a profitable one. It’s because you have a vague awareness that, taken together, all of this knowledge and experience and credentials somehow must mean something, but you don’t quite know what the meaning is. You can’t quite put your finger on how it all fits together. And the result is you feel scattered and unfocused, and your message about who you are also is scattered and unfocused.
Another example of disintegration is what’s often (erroneously) labeled “niche drama.” I hate this term, because it pretends that your problem is simply a failure on your part. It implies, this term, that you simply don’t have the discipline to decide on something, stick with it, and move forward like a true entrepreneur.
Everyone will tell you, “Just decide, that’s all you need to do, “ but here’s why that doesn’t work. Because inevitably when we force a decision, we choose something that leaves our major strengths off the table. And often, forcing a decision incorporates something that we’re playing around with that we haven’t really figured out yet.
Here’s an example from my own life. Once again, I’m going to throw myself under the bus for this episode. I buy a lot of training as a coach. And one of the trainings I purchased was certification through a respected coaching school. When I went through certification, I already had an established business. A very established business. But the school offered a business-building package. It was included in the purchase price for certification. The first step in that business-building package was that we had to select a niche and stick with it for a year, and we were basically told, “just pick something.”
So what did I pick? In the certification process, I certified as both a life coach and a weight-loss coach. So I thought, well, that weight loss thing is kind of interesting. Totally unlike anything I’d ever done before. Maybe I should talk about weight loss and making money and how it’s basically the same thing. I could explore that idea. So I selected a domain, richandthin.com, and I started a podcast called Rich & Thin Radio, and the school built the website for that as part of the business support that I purchased in the certification program.
And here’s what happened. The podcast developed a bit of a cult following. When I say it “a bit,” I mean a very little bit. The audience was by no means huge. But there were some people who liked it. And I started having people reach out to me who were interested in hiring me as their coach. But inevitably what they said is, “I love to hear you talk about money.” The weight-loss piece? Not so much. Because here’s the thing. I am very, very, good at money. Whereas no one who knew me very well at the time would have said that I was remotely good at weight loss. What they would have said is that I was really good at eating an astounding amount of birthday cake in the blink of an eye. Now, fast forward five years. I may revive the podcast at some point because I have since figured out that there is one problem—one thing– that underlies both under earning and weight gain. I’ve been thinking about this for five years now, and now I know what that seed of both of those problems is, that causes you to feel both broke and bulky. And I am planning to, at some point revive that podcast to talk about it, because it’s fascinating. But for today’s episode, let’s consider why I was talking about weight loss before I had that actually figured out. The reason is because the certification program I went through did not have a process of integration that preceded niche selection. The process was, “just pick something, it doesn’t matter.” And here I want to be careful to clarify that I am not slamming the school for this. They didn’t have a process of integration. At that time, I didn’t have a process either. And the unfortunate result was, I had a website and a podcast, and I was talking about something that hid many of my strengths– how to think about, and the skills necessary for making, serious amounts of money –and that also put to the forefront one of the areas in which I was challenged at the time– weight loss.
Why did this happen? Because this is where our brains like to go. Left unattended, this is what our brains like to do to us. They like to think that the things we have accomplished must be no big deal. Hedge fund? Anyone could do it. If I did it, it must not be a big thing, so why bother talking about it? What my brain was thinking was a big deal was the one thing I hadn’t really accomplished yet. Figuring out the weight-loss piece. So that’s exactly where my unsupervised , unassisted, uncoached brain wanted to go when I was selecting richandthin.com as my domain and Rich & Thin Radio as the name for my podcast.
In essence, I didn’t have the click, because I was discounting the commercial value of my own lived experience. There are about five women in the world who have managed their own hedge fund, and I was one of them. I know money like the back of my hand. Not just from an investing standpoint. But from an entrepreneurial standpoint. I’ve raised money in multi-million-dollar chunks. I worked as part of a team bringing in nine figure deals. I am a commercial storyteller who has written and given presentations that brought in hundreds of millions of dollars. Why on earth was I talking about weight loss? It’s so embarrassing now I’m kind of turning red as I’m telling you this story.
And I was doing it all because I was disintegrated. So guess what you will find inside of Gateway to Seven? You will find a process where you integrate all of the detritus in your business. All of your various interests and skills and experience and credentials into a single thing. One niche. One business that is unique to you, that no one else could offer.
How do we do this? As with everything entrepreneurial, the solution lies in commercial storytelling. Everyone knows that storytelling is the greatest thing for bringing in the business, but this is one storytelling concept that almost one is talking about.
The Story Principle No One is Talking About: Integration
There is a little-known and seldom-discussed story principle that solves this problem for entrepreneurs. This problem of disintegration. The solution is called “synthesis” by some screenplay instructors, including Blake Snyder of *Save the Cat fame. He’s one of the best storytelling instructors on the planet , but I call it integration because it solves the problem of disintegration. And to illustrate how it works, I will walk you through a couple of famous examples from the movies.
The first example of integration is from the movie Miss Congeniality. This is a movie that came along about two decades ago. Sandra Bullock stars and she plays an awkward looking but dedicated FBI agent with glasses and frizzy hair. She wears sweat pants and beats up boys and, not surprisingly, is challenged in romantic matters. Women don’t like her very much, either.
Then she’s assigned to go undercover as a contestant in a nationwide beauty pageant. I think it’s supposed to be the Miss America pageant but the movie has a different name for this pageant. And here, she undergoes a transformation into a beauty queen. The sweatpants are swapped for glittery evening gowns. Her hair is blown out, she’s all made up, and she stops thinking about federal law enforcement and starts eating celery and speaking in beauty-pageant clichés and learning how to connect with the girls in the pageant rather than wrestle them into submission.
So notice these two diametrically opposed modes of operation: her first way of living is tough-guy federal agent, no femininity to be seen, even though she’s not actually a guy. The second way is girly, girly, girly. If you didn’t know her before this beauty pageant transformation, you’d have no idea this woman could drop-kick a bank robber.
In each of these modes, she struggles, because she’s not using all of her strengths and she’s subverting important aspects of herself. The result, in both scenarios, is a bit of a perversion. She’s not as attractive as she could be, and here I’m not talking about her looks. I’m literally meaning that she doesn’t attract people to her in the way that she could. She’s somewhat effective at attraction—she’s not a complete pariah, but she could be a whole lot more effective, and the reason she isn’t is because often it seems that there’s something missing about her, or something she’s subverting, and the result is that she often seems goofy or inauthentic or strange.
This is true when she’s operating in either mode, when she’s either an FBI agent or a beauty queen, with no connection between these two modes.
And then what happens? In every story, there’s an all-is-lost moment where the character is worse off than before. In this movie, it’s when Sandra’s character loses her job as a federal agent because her boss tells her to quit, and she won’t do it. This is the death of her old identity as the federal agent who subverts her femininity and all other aspects of her life. What happens when she does this? By stepping out of the old identity, by shedding that weight, she’s able to create a completely new identity that’s completely her own and far more effective. She brings the kick-ass federal agent part of herself into the part of herself that’s embracing her feminine side and looking amazing, and this is when we see all of her skills and strengths become integrated, and this is when she suddenly and very predictably begins getting everything she wants. She gets the guy, she gets the admiration of the other women in the pageant, she takes down the criminal ring that’s threatening the women in the pageant. A classic moment of integration you see in the movie is when she’s onstage at the pageant, and the host asks her, “What would you do to save the world?” or some similarly cliched beauty-pageant question, and she says, “Tougher sentences for repeat parole violators.”
Do you see how unique this answer is? No one else but this character would answer this question in this context in this way, and she is able to do this, to show up so differently, because she is fully herself, holding nothing back, and in her most attractive state. This is also very predictably when she becomes successful at everything where she was previously struggling.
You see exactly the same thing happening in the movie Legally Blonde. It’s a classic integration story. Initially, Elle Woods is a blonde bimbo who’s obsessed with beauty products. And then she’s a hard-studying law student who’s making grades and getting prestigious internships. In the final act, to win her big murder case, she has to draw on both sides of herself, the beauty-obsessed side and the legal side, and only by doing this is she able to win her case. Only this character–fully integrated–would know that a murder suspect who’s using “getting a perm and then going upstairs to take a shower and wash her hair” as an alibi is lying, because only this character would know that no woman would go to the trouble of getting a perm and then wash it out of her hair, because that would destroy the curls that she is so clearly exhibiting during the murder trial. Her hair is so curly during the trial, there’s no way she destroyed the perm by washing it out.
By embracing both sides of herself, the legal side and the beauty-obsessed side, Elle Woods wins her case, graduates at the top of her class, ditches the boyfriend who seems a little dull and limited now, gets engaged to the great guy, and gets the amazing job offer. All of this happens when she fully steps into herself and embraces all sides of herself into a single cohesive person. This is what integration is—when you achieve it, you operate at the highest level, because you’re drawing on all of your strong suits, and everything you’ve ever known and ever learned. And it’s when you are your most authentic, because you’re unapologetic about doing all of this. And you’re your most unique, because no one else shares your combination of skills, education, strengths, and interests. Integration is where you start killing it in your life and in your business.
Using Integration to Create Your Own Success
This is why integration matters so much for distracted entrepreneurs. If you don’t have it, your business is fragmented and so is your focus. And when you do have it, you become unstoppable, because integration incorporates the best things about you. As you’re making changes and leveling up, you need to know that this is how it works, so you don’t fear leaving the best parts of yourself in the dust somewhere behind you.
Integration Incorporates the Best Things About You
Consider my new, all-time favorite movie, the latest iteration of A Star is Born. I was obsessed with this movie when it first came out, and I still am. If you haven’t seen it yet, run don’t walk to hear it. And when you do, consider Lady Gaga’s character, Allie. When the movie opens, she is a brilliant but unrecognized songwriter. She covers other people’s songs when she’s singing, but she won’t sing her own songs because she feels so vulnerable about her physical appearance. She’s been told her nose is too big, she doesn’t look good enough, what have you. All the things that so many women–and in some cultures and professions, even men–are told, that keep them playing small and sitting on the sidelines. This is classic fear of visibility. But then she gets over herself and she steps out, as the hero of every great story does, and she performs her amazing song to breathless audiences. She does this with vulnerability and intelligence, and the reception is amazing. But she’s not terribly polished. She still coming across as an ingenue, not yet a star.
So then what happens? A snake-eyed manager, talented but cold and calculating, gets a hold of her and polishes her up, into a perversion of herself. This is when she leaves the gifted songwriter part of herself behind, and becomes something of a pop-star caricature. Her new manager tells her, we need to do something with your hair. Platinum, he suggests. He has her learning to dance for music videos. He’s backing her up with other dancers. She’s dressing differently. At first she resists, telling him that she’s worried that she’s leaving her talent and the best part of herself behind, but he assures her this is the way to go, and eventually, she’s wearing Alice-in-Wonderland type clothing and her hair is orange and she’s singing songs so vapid that the lyrics make you cringe.
The integration comes when she learns, towards the very end of the movie, how talented she really is. And then we see her one last time, singing a song that just rips your heart out. I don’t want to give too much away if you haven’t seen the movie, but she follows in the footsteps of two of the great singers of our time–Barbra Streisand and Judy Garland in previous iterations of the movie A Star is Born. Lady Gaga gives what in my mind was when I saw it, and turned out to be, an Oscar- and Grammy-winning performance and she does it as a completely complete version of herself. The orange hair is gone, as is the weird makeup, and she takes the stage as every inch of the songwriter and performer that she is, intelligent and vulnerable and hiding nothing. And she’s also risen to a new level of elegance in her appearance, signifying that she owns the stage now. She’s no longer an ingenue. Her appearance is polished. It’s couture. It’s not cartoonish. And this meld of the two best part of herself—the songwriter and the performer–represents the moment when she leaves obscurity, and she leaves pop-stardom, and she joins that tiny constellation of truly gifted stars who are going to hang in the sky for a very long time. Through integration, she becomes a star who will go down in history.
Notice what happens here: the gifted songwriter is always there. She’s not left on the curb. What’s left behind is all of the doubt. The thoughts about not being good enough. The fear of visibility where she’s worrying about her looks. She’s leaving behind societal expectations to do things the way every other star has done them, by dying their hair orange and dressing as cartoon characters. All of this stuff, this unnecessary stuff that’s holding her back, is what’s left on the curb. Now, it’s just her taking the stage with her intelligence and her vulnerability and her talent and what she has to say.
The transformation depicted in this journey from struggling ingenue to popstar cliché to full-fledged star is relevant to this podcast because this is also the process of creating a successful business. Initially she’s hiding, and then imitating, and this is what so many struggling entrepreneurs do—they hide or imitate until they get tired or quit, or eventually, they become one of the few who manage to successfully hit upon an integrated version of themselves, and then they become uber successful. This is when they stop hiding and imitating, and they take everything about them that makes them unique and special and they blend it into something amazing and offer it up to a dazzled audience who can’t get enough.
So now I want you to notice something about entrepreneurship, when it’s really hard and when it’s not working. I mentioned earlier in this episode that when we are not focused it’s because we are struggling with the detritus in our lives. The detritus is when we feel scattered. It’s when we feel pulled in a million different directions. And I used the word detritus very deliberately, because detritus is what happens when you’re disintegrated. When you take the explosive and insert it into a mountain and blow it up, you literally disintegrate the mountain, and detritus is what results. And when your business life feels like all of the rubble and all the little rocks from blowing up the mountain, when you’re disintegrated because there are a lot of these little pieces, scattered all around and commanding our attention, that’s when you have no focus. And integration, the storytelling concept called integration, is the concept that helps you end that feeling by pulling all the detritus together into a single cohesive thing so you can focus and toward success.
Integration is where there’s no competition
Integration is also when you find that you have no competitors, because there’s no one like you. You own the field, because there’s simply no one else in it. There is no one else on your stage. It is just you, speaking your message to a dazzled audience.
This is key, because in a crowded marketplace, there are two ways to distinguish yourself: you can be better, or you can be different. Better often eats away at your profitability, because typically it means offering more than your competitors are offering, running yourself ragged, and doing it for less than what they’re charging. This is the profitability pitfall that comes from chasing the same, but just better at it. But if you’re different, if there’s simply no one else who does what you do in the way that you do it, because you’re drawing on all facets of your background and all of the things that are super fascinating to you and about you, then there’s no stopping you.
Integration is where you earn more
So Integration is how you become different and it’s how you become unstoppable, and entrepreneurs who don’t really get to do the really high-level work that they want to do, find that this is happening because they are dis-integrated. Struggling entrepreneurs are always starting over. They’re always leaving huge pieces of their backgrounds and their expertise in the past, and as a result they’re always playing small and leaving lots money on the table. I see examples of dis-integration everywhere that people are underearning, and this is a problem that I help you solve inside of Gateway to Seven. I’m getting better at solving this. Used to take a while. Weeks or sometimes months. But lately I’ve been able to solve disintegration problem and offer a unique form of synthesis or integration on the discovery call. I’m not saying it happens all the time, but there have been a few discovery calls lately where the integration of a disintegrated coach was so clear, I saw it on the discovery call and I said, “This is what it is,” and the client said, “Oh my word. Yes. You’re right. That’s it.” And then we were off to the races of making money.
Making money is what happens when you integrate. The world starts recognizing the power of who you are and what you do, and of all your experience that you gleaned over your lifetime, and they appreciate the differentness of that and they see its compelling nature, and that’s when the world beats a path to your door.
In my own life, this podcast is an example of my own integration. Unlike my prior podcasts, this podcast is one where I am holding nothing back. I’m using everything I have, and that’s a reason that people are telling me, in reviews and elsewhere, that this podcast is very different from anything they’ve heard elsewhere. This is the key to the big dollars my friend. Different, in the best way possible, is what gets you there.
Conclusion: Integration is the key to success.
So here’s what I have for you this week: Every successful business is a shining example of integration. I don’t care if you’re a lawyer or a life coach or you run a lemonade stand. When you get integration right, you know it, because you no longer feel like a fish out of water. You no longer feel like a perversion of yourself, or a not-so-terrific clone of someone else. You no longer feel like ditching your niche. You feel like your niche was tailor-made for you, because it was, because you’ve found the third way. Integration is where you find the third way. It’s where you reject this path that doesn’t work, or that path that doesn’t work, and it’s where you feel like you’re doing the thing you were put on this earth to do. And that my friends, is where focus becomes effortless. And getting to this place is something I can help you with if you’re struggling. So what to do now. The very first thing to do is book a consult call with me. Go to Kelly Hollingsworth.com and you will find an easy place to do that at the top of the homepage. And do it now because the Gateway to Seven program is within a hair’s breadth of full. Just a couple of slots left, and then what happens? The dreaded waiting list. That’s what happens, and it’s never good, because the time to make money is now my friends. It’s always now. So I hope to talk to you in a discovery call if you are feeling unfocused and disintegrated. And please join me next time for another episode of How to Make More Money. I look forward to seeing you then, and thank you so much for being here today.
Here’s an example that is so cringe-worthy I hesitate to even talk about it, but I’m going to talk about it because it just needs to be said. Once you hear the story you’ll see why.
I buy a ton of training as a coach, and in 2015 one of the trainings I purchased was the certification at The Life Coach School. The purchase price included not just certification as an LCS coach, but also a year business-building, in which the school sets up a website for you and some other business-building things. I already had a business at that point but they were going to set up a website so I thought, okay what should this site do? They’re going to build it for me. May as well using it for something.
So I decided on the domain richandthin.com
And that’s the way a lot of us feel in our lives. We feel disintegrated because there are a lot of these little pieces, scattered around and commanding our attention. We have no focus. When you are disintegrated, your life feels this way. Your life as an entrepreneur feels this way, and your personal life, too. And integration is the concept that helps you end that feeling and get out from under logistical weight and move toward success.
In the process of solving this major cause of your distraction, were also going to set you up to bring in untold amounts of dollars. So this is a full-service episode. You don’t just end your distraction. You also increase the number of dollars coming your way. Which is of course what this show is all about.
So now let’s dive in.
What’s really happening with the entrepreneurial problem that is often unhelpfully labeled as “niche drama” is that you’re stabbing around for how all of your experience fits together into what I call the “click.” I had this when I was disintegrated. I was a lawyer. A CEO. A commercial storyteller. A coach for entrepreneurs. In any given moment, I didn’t know who I was supposed to be. And therefore I didn’t know what I was supposed to be doing. Why not? because I couldn’t tell how everything fit together.
If you’re suffering from the same kind of fractional eyes to focus, what’s happening is that there is all of this detritus from the explosion of you being born into the universe and doing things in the world. But you haven’t put them all together into one cohesive explanation of who you are and why you’re here and the happy ending that you are on a mission to create.
This is the reason for the distraction, my friends. When you literally don’t know who you are or what business you’re in, you are disintegrated. Your business feels like a million pieces. Some are huge. Some are medium sized. And some are minutiae, which feel like sand in your shoes, or other places that are even more uncomfortable. And when your business is scattered all around knees big and medium-size and tiny pieces, your focus and attention also are fractured and scattered. It feels terrible, because it is terrible.
Why is it so terrible? Because you have a mission on this earth. There’s a reason you’re here. The reason is the thing you’re supposed to accomplish as a human and as an entrepreneur. And when you are disintegrated, you are not achieving that mission. The reason you are here is going unfulfilled. That’s the big reason that this distraction caused by disintegration is so frustrating. It’s not all of the various little tasks or even the big tasks in and of themselves that’s the problem. The big problem is what’s percolating beneath the surface of disintegration. The achingly frustrating awareness that you are burning your life on something that just doesn’t matter. Something that is truly not part of your mission on this planet.
So what’s the solution? Before we dive into the solution, let’s talk about what is not the solution.
What is NOT the solution to disintegration
The typical solution to disintegration is “just pick something.” Just “decide.” Just take something and run with it so you can get out there and make some money.