2019: A Year of Focus

As I reflect on 2018, there are many moments that deserve celebrating…. having the opportunity to work with both long time and new clients, cheering for our team as they achieve individual and team milestones, beginning to build a strategic plan for 2019-2022, thinking about our workplace culture in new and different ways, and turning the big 5-0 this past April… these are just some of the highlights. Looking forward, many people set New Year’s resolutions. Goals, actions, and steps that we commit to take in the next year. To better ourselves, our families, our friendships, our businesses and our communities.

This year, rather than setting a true resolution, I have chosen a word. A word that will challenge me to take a step forward, create an action plan, and set intentional goals day after day. In 2019, I choose focus. I started thinking more about what “choosing a word” will really mean and how it could change my behavior day to day. If you were to look up the word “focus”, some other words populate – center, attention, effort – and after reflecting more, I realized this is exactly what I need to be focused on in 2019.

If you have worked with me before, some may not be surprised that I am dedicating 2019 to focus – some would agree I could use some work focusing on focus. In the busy routine of our day to day, we all rush – rush from meetings, rush to lunch, rush to connect with each other – and we sometimes forget to stop and center. And, to be honest, my short attention span sometimes gets in the way.

I started to look for different resources and tools to help me stay focused and I recalled a Forbes article about performance statements. A performance statement is designed to help stay focused on the two or three most important control points for success. The highly successful have learned to manage pressure by refocusing their minds on what is effective, rather than what is debilitating. It continues on by talking about our brain’s ability to focus on a problem, a deadline, a to-do list – rather than focusing on the moments we are in. This gave me moment to pause and think about my personal Performance Statement, and the stop-blocks I can put in place to remain focused.

My Performance Statement started to look like this… “Pause, Priority, Energy”. When I feel myself slipping out of focus, I strive to take a moment to pause, and redirect my energy to the priority in front of me, whether it is a meeting, a task, a project, or a conversation with a colleague. By choosing focus, I hope to become more present, more available, and more centered.

The work you do every day touches the lives of our clients, our business partners, and each other. More importantly, it inspires me to be ever present, always available, and in the moment. Pause. Prioritize. Energize. 2019 holds so much opportunity for our work family, and I am so excited to focus on you, on our work, and on our mission.

I am focused. What word will you choose?

Mary Beth Oakes is the CEO of Business Furniture and Choreo, a Women Owned Business enterprise specializing in workplace research, strategy, and change management. With more than 25 years of experience in the commercial furniture industry, she is an expert in employee engagement and productivity, and is committed to helping clients across diverse organizationseducation, government, healthcare, and workplacein Indiana and Ohio succeed.