Exploring Focus in Depth: Beth Raps and Mike Wang Interview
Exploring focus in depth is important. Beth Raps and Mike Wang have long experience with focus in practice and share their thoughts as colleagues who coach each other into going deeper in life and work. Image: Jeremy Bishop
Beth G. Raps, PhD is the founder of RAISING CLARITY, and helps people reclaim our resources of time, money, focus, and mindset to claim our calling and our abundance.
Mike Wang helps people learn to develop practical skills and tools to dissolve the inner patterns that are no longer serving them and replace them with updated, more conscious ones that align with the outer results they choose to create for themselves and in their lives.
Coaches Beth and Mike coach each other every three weeks. Having worked together before in a video conversation about “Money Flow, Structure, and Abundance,” we want now to share our complementary yet distinct approaches to the essential quality, aspect, and practice of FOCUS. True to form as focused folks, we focused on just three in-depth questions:
What is Focus?
This is my very short definition from a blog post that dives into detail:
- Notice where our mind is focused.
- Notice if that is where we want it to be focused.
- Move our focus where we want it to be.
Focus is our capacity to direct our thoughts, emotions and physical sensations (such as the nervous system) in a deliberate and concentrated way.
Why is Focus Important?
I simply can’t get anything done without focusing on it, sustainedly—and I doubt anyone else can either. By itself, focus is not at all important. But it is what allows each important thing we want to achieve to manifest.
There’s a saying, “energy flows where attention goes.” If you take a look at your own life, you’ll discover this to be true. Whatever we focus on…grows. This applies to everything. If there’s some aspect of your life that’s not growing as you would like, I can pretty much guarantee it’s because you’re having trouble focusing on it. Or perhaps more accurately, you’re having trouble sustaining focus on it. Energy never lies. So you can see just how important it is for us to train our capacity to focus.
How do you balance the need to focus on the present with the need to plan for the future?
There’s no conflict.
Heart-centered people: our hearts are what tell us what to plan for. Our minds tell us how. And then the heart vets the plan. But our hearts should lead our planning.
Sensitive people: is it sensitivity or escapism? Sensitivity is a wisdom quality. It’s a leadership quality. It doesn’t allow us to isolate from the world. It helps us run the world along sensitive principles. Sensitive people, rise up! You have nothing to lose but your fear. Take charge of your world and in so doing, make the world kinder to sensitive people. Don’t bail and leave it all to those who have lost their sensitivity.
Creativity? You can already see me coming. You know what I’m going to say.
If you see a conflict, question your understanding of the terms of the question.
Here are my definitions of what we’re talking about. I encourage you to come up with your own using these to help you discern yours:
- Balance: balance is hand-crafted. It’s also dynamic and different in every instance. Who creates it? You do. No one outside you is standing there with a ruler measuring your balance. You measure it with your life. If your life is working, you’ve got it! If it’s not working, one side or the other of the two things you’re balancing need your attention. It’s that simple.
- Need: There is ultimately no need whatsoever. But if you are observing the need in your life, see #1. It doesn’t matter what someone else thinks; the need is only real if you say you need it.
- Focus: Directing attention where you want it.
- Present: The near-term is what we really mean, in this context. There is only the now. We focus in the present on the future when the present tells us we need to. Are we listening? The future doesn’t exist so what we are hearing about the future is important information about our now.
- Plan: Set goals and calendar steps to meet them. Simple. If we can’t do this, we haven’t finished adulting.
- Future: See “Present,” above.
It’s possible to be present and plan for the future simultaneously. In fact, being present can help you plan for the future more effectively.
When you are present, you are fully engaged in the current moment, which allows you to focus your attention and energy on whatever it is that you’re doing. By being present, you are more aware of the current state of your thoughts, emotions, and the physical sensations in your body (such as your nervous system). From this space, you can identify your goals with greater clarity. It can also help you to make better decisions and take action more efficiently.
At the same time, planning for the future requires you to have a clear understanding of not only where you are now, but where you want to go.
The first step is to name and define a vision for yourself. For example, maybe you want to be wealthy. Ask yourself, why do you want to be wealthy? Perhaps you believe that money would give you the ability to travel. And traveling would give you access to the inner experience of Freedom. Freedom, or feeling free, would then be your vision – and what you ultimately want to create both within and in your life. I believe that emotion is the underlying foundation of all vision.
And the next step would be to determine how you will get there. When we align our thoughts, emotions and physical body towards vision, we will naturally set goals, create a plan, and take action towards fulfilling it. When you are present, you can use that awareness to inform your planning and ensure that your actions are in alignment with what you’re choosing to create.
The key is to understand that being present and planning for the future are not mutually exclusive. By being mindful and fully engaged in the present moment, you can stay focused on your goals and take action to achieve them, while still enjoying the present moment and living life to the fullest.
Get in Touch with Us
Beth Raps/RAISING CLARITY: If my words here resonate, it might be time for us to meet, free of charge. Here’s where to book an exploratory meeting. Enjoy more of my focus-related blog posts and videos.
Additionally, I made a video that also deals with the dynamic tension Mike and I address in #3 above. The questions I’m answering are about how to have abundance yet set healthy limits, and how to plan for the future yet be spontaneous in the present. money/abundance. The second half of the video is all about these questions; watch a 15-second clip here.
Mike Wang: If you need support in learning to manage your energy and align mental, emotional and nervous system strategies to achieve greater fulfillment in life, work and relationships, consider checking out my Fundamentals of Fulfillment contemplative training program.