Lessons in Focus

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Distractions come and go throughout our day – they try to steal our focus and change our plans.  Some distractions are minor – thus we easily succumb, like a quick tour through Facebook.  Others are more serious in their distraction-quality, like the death of a loved one or lost love – and we have no choice but to succumb. And others can be fatal.

A life lesson.

In 1992, I sat next to the pool soaking up the Palm Springs sun; thank goodness for discounted hotel prices. My young family had a few days to get away and relax a bit; this was rare as conflicting schedules often kept us from actually taking much needed breaks. Our two young daughters, aged three and five at the time, splashed nearby. The book I was reading held my interest off and on. Our five-year old soon planted herself close by warming her wet body on the hot cement. I glanced around to find the three-year old and only saw her water wings near the end of my chaise. I quickly scanned the pool and saw nothing.

Then a thought occurred that I should look down right beside me, in the sparkling pool, well below the water, I saw her clear blue eyes wide open with terror. Her little arms flailed silently about here.  No words were spoken, but as if reading my mind, her father swooped his hand under the water and scooped her tiny body out of the pool and into my lap. She clung to me while I asked if she was alright, could she breathe, why had she taken her “floaties” off, if she needed to cough – I was too scared to scold, just thankful she was breathing and in my arms.

She would have drowned silently beside me. There would have been no pomp and circumstance, no crescendo-ing music, no splashing or screaming, just silence. I have often thought about how she could have slipped into the water near me without me even noticing, how was she able to remove the inflatable wings that kept her afloat, and why had I not been watching more closely?

A business lesson.

It is very easy to lose control by ignoring potential problems or issues. Businesses, requisitions, proposals, partnerships…, all require constant supervision. One slip at the wrong end of the pool and all could be easily lost. Paying attention is a small price to pay to keep everything in check. Focus is a requisite practice when a reputation or deal is on the line. And we are easily distracted – oh so easily.

We were a lucky family that day. My little girl didn’t suffer any ill affects from her near drowning.  She doesn’t even remember it. The affects brought upon me, however, were not “ill” but conception-altering.  What I/we almost lost was far too precious to ever take for granted again. The water appeared smooth and noiseless but its grip was deadly.

Don’t lose sight of what you deem valuable,
the distraction could not only be costly, but most definitely fatal.




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