Focus To Succeed with Omar Zenhom
“It's important for you to get used to the idea that it's very hard to do well at something if you spread yourself too thin.” — Omar Zenhom
I had the pleasure of sitting down with Omar Zenhom, Co-Founder of Business Republic, where he—and his partner Nicole Baldinu—started an alternative business education program called The $100 MBA—a culmination of his years in business and education.
- Focus culture over hustle culture
- Embracing the process
- Tips for staying focused
Focus culture over hustle culture
Hustle culture is still alive and thriving in the business world and beyond. However, there’s an ingredient that can make all the difference and lead to more sustainable success: Focus.
“Obviously working hard is important, but I think what they mean is having focus.” Omar explains, “I say this because I find that a lot of people that get started in business or are on a journey where they're trying to be successful in something, they're not succeeding because of a lack of focus. I'm speaking out of my own experience; only once I focus on items in my business am I successful.”
There are two main reasons why people are unsuccessful:
- The fear of failure
Many people fear failing and are afraid of putting something out in the world and getting a negative response. The other side of that fear is being overwhelmed by what they need to do to succeed.
“These two things happen because there is no focus.” Omar continues, “It's important for you to get used to the idea that it's hard to do well at something if you spread yourself too thin.”
We can’t be the master of Twitter while also being the master of YouTube, plus a blog and a podcast, and be a great public speaker—we can do it all, but we can’t do it all at once.
The power of concentration creates a higher impact. Think of a concentrated sunbeam through a magnifying glass. Focus leads to substance and power.
Embracing the process
“One of the reasons why we don't focus is that to focus, you have to suspend disbelief that this is going to work,” Omar explains.
Suspending disbelief in our chance of success creates positive momentum. Instead of focusing on all the ways it could go wrong, focus on all the ways it could go right—everything that is in our favor.
“We don't focus because we don't give it enough time. We want to jump around and say, ‘oh, this is not working. Let me try something else.’ And unfortunately, nothing of significance takes two minutes. It takes a lot of time to work on it.” Omar continues.
Creating space for laser-focused work can feel daunting. “What if I’m focusing on the wrong thing?” or “What if this is a waste of time?”
Well, the truth is, that might happen, and that can be a good thing. “If you are in business, if you're trying something for the first time, you will fail at it, expect it, it's guaranteed. It's a rite of passage, no one gets it right the first time.” Omar explains.
Nothing is wasted as long as something is learned or earned along the way.
Tips for staying focused
Staying focused in today’s world of constant distractions seems like an art form, one worth mastering. If we are not in control of our attention, what do we control?
Omar frames staying focused with three simple steps.
Pick your one thing—writing, drawing, brainstorming new ideas for your business, anything that impacts a goal or ambition.
Shut off all distractions. Whatever tends to pull you away, shut it off—email notifications, your phone, social media, etc. If you have a family, make it clear that the next hour or two—however long is feasible—is off limits for interruptions.
Get comfortable saying “No” to people and guarding your time.
“The brother of focus is ‘no’ because for you to be focused and stay on task, you're gonna have to say no to other people, whether it's big or small,” Omar explains.
The more successful you are, the more you’ll have to say no to people and the more valuable your time becomes.
Another way to create a space for focus is to narrow down your top five priorities for your business, personal goals, or whatever makes the most sense. Omar attributes this tool to John Maxwell's rule of five. Do something that supports one or all of those priorities every day, with focused work, and only ever compare yourself to the you from yesterday.
What is something in your life that could benefit from focused work? When was the last time you practiced self-discipline around a personal goal?