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  • A personal note on Focus and Vision

    Here's a bit of a different twist on Leveraging Focus and Vision (I attended David's one-day seminar in Marina del Rey in September).

    Last summer, our 13-year-old black cockapoo, Gracie, was diagnosed with lymphoma. After consulting with our vet and an animal oncologist, we decided to start treatment — chemotherapy — and to continue as long as her quality of life was good. My wife initially balked at the cost, but I said the way we needed to think about this was that we were not spending money on the dog, but on our children. My son is 12, and has never known life without Gracie, and my 16-year-old daughter was only four when we got the dog, so she can hardly remember not having Gracie around.

    Gracie responded well to treatment for quite awhile. Her hair started to thin, but she had good energy and seemed pain-free and happy. Last week, she took a serious turn for the worse. The vet said it appeared she had a blood clot in her lung, which was causing her to breathe very rapidly. That was complicated by the fact the chemo had driven her blood platelets to a very low level, further hampering her ability to transport oxygen from her lungs through her body. Although she still seemed to be in no pain, she stopped eating and drinking and, by the weekend, was too weak even to stand. The whole family spent a lot of time with her Saturday and Sunday morning, when we finally concluded we had no choice but to have her put to sleep. It was a very sad day for the whole family.

    At some point during the treatment process, the vet had given my wife a brochure which said, among other things, that you would be shocked at how sad you would be over your pet's death. I expected my kids to be distraught, but was surprised at just how upset my wife and I were. This wasn't the first pet for either of us, but I felt overwhelmed by grief at the loss, which was made even more painful by witnessing my kids' reactions.

    Here's where Focus and Vision came in: After feeling extremely sad for a couple of days, it dawned on me that our focus was wrong. Of course we were sad, but what we needed to focus on — and repeat to ourselves for awhile, almost like an affirmation or mantra — was something like "I am so happy we had a wonderful dog like Gracie for so many years," or "We are such a lucky family to have had Gracie for so long." I talked that over with my wife and kids, and it was amazing how the mood brightened almost immediately. Of course we're sad, and that feeling, in some ways, may never go away completely. But by focusing on the positive, it's allowed us to move on. We might have, eventually, moved on anyway, but this focus helped us start to move on, while not trying to ignore the sadness. We're turning the focus from the negative to the positive, and valuing what we had and not grieving that we'd lost it.

    I hope you'll excuse this digression into the "personal," but it's another example of how the things David and the rest of the folks at The David Allen Company teach us can have remarkable results.

    Randy Stokes
    randystokes@cox.net

  • #2
    Thanks for sharing that, Randy.

    It reminds me of a quote from Star Wars Ep I that goes, "Be mindful of your thoughts; Your focus determines your reality". Even though the quote is from a Sci-Fi movie, I think that this is real bit of wisdom in it.

    I've found that if I focus on the positive, positive things tend to come into my life, and vice versa.

    Comment


    • #3
      Randy,

      Sorry for your loss! I had to put my cat to sleep last year; it was tough.

      I think its obvious how you feel about David's 'Leveraging focus and vision', but could you give some more insight. I have attended David's two-day seminar, and have his tapes. I would be more inclined to go to his 'Leveraging...' seminar if the quality of the follow-up material was real good. Even though its not part of the follow-up material, the Getting Things Done Fast CD set provides an excellent follow-up to the seminar. Unfortunately, the 'Leveraging...' seminar only has the workbook. How good is it? Do you have any notes from the seminar that is readily available?

      Comment


      • #4
        Thank you for this wonderful post. My parents also had to put our family dog of 14 years to sleep last Friday. I am stll shocked at how emotional I get just thinking about it, even since I haven't lived at home for 11 years and we have a family dog of our own that is 9 and older than both of my kids.

        Your positive spin on such a sad event has been quite inspiring. Thank you!

        Comment


        • #5
          Great way to change your focus

          randystokes - good story on the power of focus.

          If anyone is interested in an in-depth discussion of focus, I recommend the Personal Power series by Anthony Robbins. That is one of the major messages of the entire 30-day program and Tony has many strategies for helping someone change their focus.

          Comment


          • #6
            A personal note on Focus and Vision

            Originally posted by BryantSmith
            Randy,

            Sorry for your loss! I had to put my cat to sleep last year; it was tough.

            I think its obvious how you feel about David's 'Leveraging focus and vision', but could you give some more insight. I have attended David's two-day seminar, and have his tapes. I would be more inclined to go to his 'Leveraging...' seminar if the quality of the follow-up material was real good. Even though its not part of the follow-up material, the Getting Things Done Fast CD set provides an excellent follow-up to the seminar. Unfortunately, the 'Leveraging...' seminar only has the workbook. How good is it? Do you have any notes from the seminar that is readily available?
            No, I really don't have any notes that would be legible to anyone else, or that would likely be all that useful to others. The seminar was very good, and I spent far more time listening and absorbing than taking notes, although I took a lot. This seminar was different from the GTD seminar in that, to my mind, it was more visual and visceral. I'm not sure it would translate as well into an audio program as the GTD seminar did, although you can get some of the flavor of the Leveraging Focus and Vision seminar from some of the 2nd day of the GTD seminar, where David spends some time on Focus and Vision. The Leveraging Focus and Vision seminar is sort of a graduate seminar to expand on that material.

            I highly recommend it.

            Randy Stokes
            randystokes@cox.net

            Comment


            • #7
              I'll second Randy's vote for attending the leveraging focus and vision seminar. (Hi Randy!) (I had the opportunity to sit at Randy's table - very gratifying to meet other forum members there!)

              I hadn't been to the two day seminar, just had read all the books, listened to the CDs, etc., so I can't really compare it to that seminar.

              I agree that the seminar was very visual - it really put me into an intellectual/emotional zone for a day to help me sort some things out. However, the materials I felt were very good, and I still reference them from time to time and find them a very useful trigger for re-finding that zone and clicking onto a new perspective from my daily rut.

              I ended up with my workbook filled with musings, brainstorms and ideas, sort of a mind dump at the 30-40,000 ft level, as well as with some techniques to use to help me manage this stuff. And my paperclip on a string. (Has anybody else saved their paperclip? I won't describe what David uses it for, as it is the finale of the workshop, but everytime I feel unpowerful I pull out my paperclip.) But I digress, sorry. I feel that the seminar was incredibly valuable, especially if you are at a point in your life where you might need a kick in the seat of the pants or a jump start or whatever you want to call it.

              Great seminar.

              Taxgeek.

              Comment

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