The Power of a Focused Life

Tyler Soenen

Tyler Soenen

Tyler is an engineer, project manager, and avid outdoorsman living with his wife, Kristen, in Kansas City, Missouri.

Here’s what Tyler wrote in to say about The Focus Course:

My biggest challenge related to focus has been maintaining clarity on what's most important in my life, and also being fiercely committed to that. In a day where information, priority, and urgency come at me from multiple directions in a short span of time, it's always a fight to keep clarity in the midst of all of the competing elements of life.

Doing work that matters is very important to me. I've read productivity and goal-setting books and tried out other systems and methodologies before. Such as Getting Things Done by David Allen and Zen to Done by Leo Babauta, The War of Art by Steven Pressfield, What's Best Next by Matt Perman, and The One Thing by Gary Keller. These books tell you about the theory of how to use a hammer to hit a nail. For example, if you've ever read read Getting Things Done, it's easy to think "Ahhhhh! Oh my gosh, there's so much to do! I have to clarify all of my 50,000 ft objectives, set up my tickler system, clarify my 10,000 ft goals — it's so much." And that thought makes it overwhelming to actually put all of it to practice — you've learned the theory, but you're not sure how to do anything about it.

Shawn's course, however, does the work for you in this area by taking that variable out of play. You just focus on doing what he tells you to do and you learn from it (by the way...that's why we usually pay for courses....and this course does that).

What this leaves you with is 40 days of learning about the philosophy related to focus, doing work that matters, and having a healthy work / life balance. And at the same time you are learning from the experiences that come from completing the daily assignments. The course forces you to beat the resistance (as Pressfield says) and do the work. The result is that you learn so much more because you've actually done the work and tasted the fruit that so many of the books talk about.

This was huge for me, because in all of the reading I've done, the The Focus Course has something original that was very beneficial to my own life: the integration and union of having daily lifestyle practices that tie in to our 'short- and long-term goals. Shawn defined this paradigm in such a way that makes it possible to feel like you're achieving success daily by completing activities that are aligned with your values, but at the same time using these activities to complete a short term/long term quantitative goal.

In my experience reading a lot of productivity books out there, they either focus on the "Now" and express that "there are no goals," or they focus on goals alone and the achievement of these goals. I've found if you focus on the "now" alone, you lose heart because of a lack of vision for where you're going in life. And on the other side of that, if you are constantly completing and re-signing-up for goals, you never feel like you have success day to day. Shawn takes both of these ideas and forges them into a singular convergent idea that can be deployed on a daily basis that brings vision for the future, yet something that is practical and simple enough to complete in 24 hours that aligns with your core values. This was so helpful to me and was by far my favorite thing about the course.

Though I have to say, the most challenging aspect was sticking with it. Being an American in our drive-thru-mentality society, I wanted to see awesome results just 5 days in. Sticking with 40 days of actions is difficult. But when is the last time you've done something that you're really proud of in 1-5 days? In my experience it's the difficult yet mundane tasks (and Shawn talks about this) that produce tons of fruit in the long hall — you just have to be willing to have the grit to follow through. But Shawn did such a great job at breaking things down and making them as simple as possible.

And that's part of why I think this course is for anyone. Every person is doing creative work somehow — if you have a choice on how you're going to go about your day, your relationships, your vocation etc., then this course is applicable to you. If you're a stay at home mom, a horse rancher in Wyoming, or a Broker in New York then I believe this course will not disappoint because it's aligned with universal truths that all paths will benefit from.

— Tyler Soenen


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