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  • Writer's pictureNick Klingensmith

How to focus when everything is out of focus

Monday morning, I ran 6.2 miles in support of a good friend who would have been running her first Boston Marathon.

The Boston Marathon, like pretty much everything else, was postponed for the first time in 124 years stranding approximately 35,000 runners near the end of a long training cycle.

Coping with the void, Marathoners from all over posted pictures and stats of their runs, all relating back to the marathon. Some displayed 2.62; others 6.2; my friend ran the full 26.2 miles.

Success in a marathon takes a tremendous amount of focus and commitment. Just getting into Boston requires meeting challenging qualifying standards or aggressive fundraising goals in addition to training cycles that span 16-20 weeks.

With the world around us changing on a dime, the ability to adjust your focus when everything seems out of focus is a critical step in success.

I didn’t just run the 6.2 for her, I did it for me – and it worked. With so many of my races cancelled, I needed a carrot to help keep me going.

My fiancé set an aggressive goal of running 2 races per month for 2020. When her race calendar suddenly just showed “postponed”, she quickly registered for virtual races. For her, the race itself is the carrot.

Her goal isn’t to be a better runner. It’s to be a better her.

Sometimes the reason we lose focus is because we are looking too closely.

When everything around us is out of focus, sometimes you need to take a step back and remember why you started. It’s important to be connect yourself to a higher purpose – your WHY – and to trust the process.

Why did you sign up for the marathon in the first place?

Stop focusing on outcomes of circumstances that you cannot control and instead focus on who you want to be when this is all over.

I often rely on visualization to stay motivated. I visualize achieving tangible goals in racing, business and life.

But like you – I just can’t see the future right now. It’s discouraging to visualize future events when my vision is clouded with so much doubt. With so much uncertainty, it’s easy to feel why even having a vision could be a wasted effort.

So I needed to adjust my focus not on the progress, but rather on the process. Visualize not the outcome you desire from your situation or circumstances, but rather the outcome you wish to see in yourself.

My friend had a vision for the marathon and that was taken from her. But more importantly, she had a vision for herself.

Sometimes it’s beneficial to be out of focus. Don’t get mired in results. Don’t get lost in the details. Don’t get frustrated by things beyond your control. Instead, let your vision guide your choices and above all else – keep moving forward.

If that means running virtual 5K’s, dedicating your efforts for other people, or a marathon in your backyard. There’s inspiration all around us.

Like anything it’s a choice.

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