Last week, I was about 20 minutes into a lecture on “Focus” when I realized that I was giving what might very well have been the most discombobulated presentation of my entire career. Standing there before a roomful of people who had come to learn about focus, speaking in real time to keep from entering dead air space, it occurred to me that the constant inflow of participants from a late lunch had distracted me from laying out two key elements of my lecture. I was swimming around in an ocean of possibility trying to find my way back to the shore of a clear and concise lecture. What was I to do to salvage what was quickly becoming a disastrous presentation failure?
As words continued to issue forth from my mouth, I remembered that I had gone there to share my passion and interests about the power of human attention, and the ability to focus that attention despite the cacophony of modern stimuli that children and adults face. Perhaps I had landed in this very situation to display the art of refocusing attention under overstimulating circumstances.
One particular member of the audience had been focused on me since the beginning of the lecture, and I realized that I kept looking back to him much the way a young child looks to an adult for attention in order to persist with his or her activities. This compassionate supporter was offering a great gift, just as I had intended to offer a gift with my lecture.
With a growing conscious awareness of my predicament, I looked to him and said, “attention is like the sunlight of humanity with which we focus our energy in order to grow and thrive.” Feeling the nourishing attention that he was offering to me, I refocused myself on the gift that I had come there to offer. I made the conscious choice to fulfill my original intention despite the chaotic groundwork that I had laid. By the end of the lecture, a third of the audience were standing in line to thank me for the presentation.
Have you ever found yourself facing a disastrous failure and wondering how you might salvage the situation? Remember this: every audience member who goes to see a movie wants to see the hero or heroine succeed in the end. We want to see this because we want to develop our abilities to do the same.
When all hell is breaking loose, look to one human being on earth who sees what you are reaching for, whether you are accomplishing it or not. In that seeing, you will find yourself anchored just off shore of the intent upon which you seek to land.