Are You Distracted?
B. Keith Chapman, President & CEO
Ever thought about how often you are distracted? Distractions exist in all aspects of life and can prohibit or significantly slow the accomplishment of goals and objectives. The struggle with remaining focused has impacted us all at some point or another. In the project management world, professionals have coined the term scope creep. Scope creep describes the expansion or detour from the project’s original goal or scope. It can cause gross deviations in the project’s timeline, overall costs, and will often result in increased stress, frustration, and poor performance. Not all deviations from the original plan of action are bad. Often, there are unforeseen issues that require attention. But if not controlled, you can easily lose track of your original purpose and work in circles. Christopher Columbus once said, “By prevailing over all obstacles and distractions, one may unfailingly arrive at his chosen goal or destination”. I can’t even imagine all of the things that could have distracted Mr. Columbus from his mission of discovery. However, it is apparent that he maintained a healthy awareness of the negative impact distractions could have on his mission.
In the fourth chapter of Mark, you can read about the parable (a story that illustrates a principle) of the farmer that scatters seed. In the story, the farmer ends up scattering seed that fell on four different types of soil. Some fell on a path and the birds came and ate it. Some fell on shallow soil and the plant roots could not develop so they died. Some fell on soil with thorns and the plants were choked out and died. Lastly, some seed fell on fertile soil and grew abundantly. The seed in the story represents the principles or word of God. In the correct soil, the seed will be successful. Bad soil will not produce good fruit. Mark 4:18-19 (NLT) says, “The seed that fell among the thorns represents others who hear God’s word, but all too quickly the message is crowded out by the worries in this life, the lure of wealth, and the desire for other things, so no fruit is produced.” Indeed, this is an example of how distractions can impact the effectiveness of our mission and distort the truth.
Whether you are struggling with distractions in your professional, personal or spiritual life, at some point, you just have to refocus. A common mistake that is made is to establish goals that are too lofty and will require long periods of time to accomplish. By nature, we all need to experience a win now and then to stay motivated. Breaking goals down into objectives and tasks creates the opportunity to experience success along the way. The journey of life can be complex and no one ever promised that it would all be easy. Staying focused and eliminating distractions will set you up for success and create opportunities to influence others along the way.
Challenge: Stay aware of distractions that will impede your progress; breakdown your goals into obtainable benchmarks; stay focused on your mission and look for the good soil to plant “seed.”
Published: April 2019