Play Bold: Dear madam, please help me I lost my focus

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Many call her the Swedish 007. Christina Bengtsson is a global thought leader on mastering focus, a former military officer and world champion precision shooter, as well as a praised author, coach, keynote speaker, and lecturer. In this penultimate episode of the second season of the Play Bold Podcast, we will focus on, that's right, focus. We will discuss how you can take advantage of focusing while you innovate and move from idea to success. Here’s a very warm welcome for Christina!  

Magnus panker's new book, playbold, how to win the business game through creative destruction, is available to buy now on Amazoncom. Read the Book and, in the meantime, sit back and enjoyed the playbold podcast. Welcome to the latest episode of Playbold, where this week we are going to be both shaken and stirred by this week's guest, Christina Benkson. She's like the female version of James Bond. She's a fumer, military officer and world champion precision shooter, as well as a global thought leader on master focus. Putting her under intense interrogation, I'll hand you over to magnus. Welcome to the next episode of playbold. Many called hard at sweetest double o seven. Christina Benson is a global thought leader on mastering of Focus, a former military officer and the world champion position shooter, as well as a praised author, coach, key note, speaker and lecture in this pen ultimate episode of the Second Season of playaboll podcast, we will focus on that's right focus. We will discuss how you can take advantage of focusing while you you know it and move from ideas to success. Here is a where will welcome to Chris Lina. Welcome, Chrissly that thank you very much, Manus. So Christ it up. What does focus meet you? Well, excellent question to start with, of course, and what it means to me might be different to what it means to others. But what I would like to say is that, of course, focus means more to me and it means more to the world. I would say, then people perhaps think or perhaps know about I think it's interesting there are so many people around the world contacting me actually asking for help. They need focus and they contact me. It could be a student from Mindia or it could be a CEO in Washington, and they write the same thing like dear Madam, please help me, I've lost focus. And what they usually ask for is to peak perform, to be better at peak performing in the short term perspective, or to go as fast as they can from a tob or to be more productive. This is what they usually ask for. But to me I would say that, okay, yes, that is focus. That's one part of what focus is about. But actually, in what I love to express and to explain is that focus is so much more, and I believe that we in the society in which we live today. Need to bring in a much deeper perspective on focus. We need to ask the question what fundamental values underlie a focused mindset, and we need to ask yourself, if it is so that we sometimes feel that we have lost focus, what is it actually that we have lost? Is it the ability to pick perform? is its ability to be productive? Now I think it's more. There is a deeper connection. We need to bring focus into who we are, what we want and what we can do, and this requires us to bring in the perspective of how to reconnect to our inner core values, to our inner core identities. I have an expression. Someone told me the other day to remind me I had said somewhere in some kind of interview that, and...

...it's like poetry. Just as darkness is the absence of light, focus is the absence of distractions. So, to put it easy, I would say, yes, focus is a mind free from distractions. Focus is to find out what's really is important and to learn to ignore what's irrelevant, and this means to be able to say no. So focus is to find that the correct thought, the right thought amount among thousands of others, and this helps you in the short perspective and it helps you in the longer perspective. So why is the important? What what I've changed? Why should we focus on focus? Why do we need to focus on focus right now? Well, I would say focus has been important throughout our history. If we look upon mankind in a in a historical perspective, I willieve that focus has always been important and I think it has been a natural thing and inn skill that we have had in our everyday life throughout the history and something that we saw as natural, but we may not have been thinking so much about what it actually is. And today we live in a world where so many things are grabbing our attention. You know, everywhere you go, someone or something, you know, often a digital platform, once your attention, your focus, all the time, and this means that we nowadays need to learn to respect our attention, our focus. We need to treat it with respect, and I would say that focus is today and in its skill that is, or at least will be, one of the most human capital of today, because there are so many things around us that actually disturb our innate ability and focus is to stay on target when everything else is not. So to say, and I also believe that it's important that we are so many people, so many persons around the globe want to do good. Most people want to do good from an Aviduo individual perspective, but also in an organization. And this means that how can we meet future challenges and how can we see opportunities if we do not firstly protect and reveal a cognitive and emotional potential? And for this we need focus. So it's really important you're listening to Magnus pinker and guests on the play bold podcast. It's it's really really interesting to listening to your insights that the play bold podcast is quite much about attitude, culture leadership to be able to change, transform and drive innovation. And and when I work and my team work with training for innovation, a pretty big part is to prioritize under extremely high uncertainty. You need to prioritize even if you don't know. You need to have a focus, but you might not know what to look the lock on. You might have a bigger idea. But, but, but, you have to produce hypothothesis, you need to take a standpoint to need to experiment a loan. You might be absolutely wrong with absolutely right.

You don't know that from the beginning and it's an interesting processor. You need to evolate, a rewrite and Redu it. Maybe decide not to go ahead and just close it down, and otherwise you might find something to take further which needs that you have to accept to be very discipline, but you might not know the next step. How would you as a word, leading expert on focusing? Thinking about that, what kind of advice would you like to give to innovation teams to be able to accept on certainty, high discipline but you might not know the common steps? Yes, and I would like to bring you and the audience, audience into why not take a precistion shooting match as an example? If you imagine you are supposed to shoot sixty shot in a row, in a row, and you need to hit the target, and it's not sufficient just hitting the target. You need to hit ten point four millimeters to be able to actually hit the ten, which you must do if you are supposed to win the competition or at least go to the finals. So what do you need to do? Well, many people think that you manage this thanks to the goal, thanks to the Vision, thanks to the fact that you've told yourself that I'm doing this because I want to stand high up on the podium. I'm doing this because I want to have a medal around my neck. I want to show the world around me that I I can perform and I can win. But if you think about the goal in every shot that you shoot, you will fail because you will put too much pressure on yourself and you will start to fear. What happens if I don't hit the ten? What happens if I hit the nine instead, or, even worse, what happens if I don't even hit the target? And again, you need to be very sharp, the very precise. You need discipline, you need your sharpness, your precision in what you do. So when performing well, it's all right to not think of the goal. It's all right to get rid of the goal. I sometimes even tell people to well, what if you don't have a goal? Do you love what you do? Can you find passion in what you do? And if the answer is no, well then they need to rethink. So I remember in the very first beginning when I told the people that, hello, I have decided to become a world champion in a sport and I do this because I want to be the best people were amazed and people said to me, Oh, I wish I was as goal Orient hated as you can be, and I felt good. But after a while, after about three years, when I had lost all competitions because of because of Neversity, I was the worst shooter on Earth to begin with, I realized that I need a deeper passion then simply trying to become the best, and I found that passion in understanding what true focus and concentration is. So my journey from deciding take from taking the the decision to become best in the world in a sport was more of a strategy then it was to actually try to become the best. I realized in this or during this journey that, hey, life in itself must be greater than simply standing on a podium, and it was. And to realize...

...this before you actually step up, step up on the podium, is a quite relief because this takes away all these thoughts that are, as you say, locked upon the goal, locked upon a vision which may even which may not even exist. Because how can you know what it is to stand on a podium, how can you know the value of standing on a podium if you never been there? And I think this is the same for organizations, for people in the organization and for the top leadership. In an August organization, you do not need to know exactly where you're supposed to go. The important thing is that you find passion. It's not necessary, but it's good passion and trust in who you are and in what you can do in the very moment, and that you find your capacity, your true potentials, to be able to focus on what can be done now. And if you do that good you would be able to win in the extension, and you will also be able to have an open mindset, because this is also to be focused, to be able to, during these journeys and doing all these changes, see what's important right now, and this means to be able to sometimes say no and not say yes to everything that appears. was that a kind of answer to this question? It is. It's really up the play Bolt podcast. Find out more at innovation three hundred and sixtycom forward slash play boat. I have did the same experience that when you try to win every days, you lose because you saw afraid of not winning. So you need to train and practice and learn and mastering it and find a passion and then when you need to win, you win, and it's a very good example that you take. I think everybody can visualize really what's happening on when you, when you really do this tense shootings, and miss all of them. If you know it all, is very nervous to miss all of them. So that that alsoten breeds to my nest. Next question about higher purpose. A lot of the guest we had have emphasis the importance of a higher purpose, not not necessarily a big fancy vision, more like the why and why are you doing what you're doing? What's really motivate you get to get up from bed and do this day to an amazing day. So I have you. What is your take on that? You think it's important with the higher purpose linked to being able to focus and get the job done? Yes, my direct response is yes, it's very important. It's really good to have a higher purpose, but many people do not have a higher purpose and that must be acceptable. We must accept the fact that quite few people see a higher purpose. What I've seen is that sometimes we try to force ourselves to see the higher purpose and many, many companies, you know, build strategies in which they right very nice expressions that there is a higher purpose and there is a there is a world betterment solution, the business is important to save the world in the extension, etc. And initially, initially, I think people feel good about this. Everyone, the younger animation definitely wants to be involved in in movements and organizations that can express that they are doing something important to the world and that there is a higher purpose. But when it comes to the everyday work, which actually is the basic for being able to produce something that makes a world better man solution in in the long run, many people...

...cannot, so to say, stay focused or stay enthusiastic during a day just by thinking about the higher purpose all the time, because sometimes that can even it's the same connection to the goal. Sometimes that can even feel too complicated, too much, or you can feel too small in the big perspective. So I believe that what we could do is to sometimes dare to isolate the work from the higher purpose and to see what happens and to allow people to perform in the short perspective. Sometimes, when you wake up in the morning, depending on who you are, because we are so different and it depends on where you are in life, you wake up in the morning and you say to yourself that I'm doing this because I want to save the world. Okay, well then, that's good. You are you are one of the luck of ones who can think this every day. But there are many other persons who wake up in the morning or actually ask the question, why am I doing this? And then they try to force him self to think on a higher purpose and they don't really sense it, they can't really feel it, and this is normal, this is okay. So sometimes we need to bring down the or lower lower the requirements. For one person, the main purpose that day can perhaps be to do a job, do it good, feel, feel excellent, come back home and be an excellent mother. That's maybe the main purpose for one person, and I think this is an excellent purpose, because if we can, so to say, produce excellent parents, what happens? Well, we will help the children, the younger, younger generation, to get into a mindset where they support trust, where they support love, understanding, where they know what attention towards another person is, and we bring up important fundamental values that, in the further extension, will help businesses, companies and the world to actually reach towards that higher purpose, whatever it was. So I think that if we look upon this question from a focused perspective, lower the requirements, dare to see that the purpose for the day might just be a little purpose within your own family or within your own work. We have, for instance, these persons with an autistic mindset where they're extremely sharp and can resist in pulses, be extremely focused and concentrated on what they do. Many of them do not need a higher purpose, but they can be extremely important to have within an organization to do what they're supposed to do, and they can feel so such a enormous value and life affirming feelings of just existing in a focused situation where they are allowed and given the opportunity to perform with excellent because that's where the whole mind and the brain is full of and doorphins and open mind and they perform excellence and this is what we need. So we shouldn't be afraid of of not feeling a higher purpose all the time, because that comes naturally. If we, as humans, as a mankind, give ourselves the opportunity to work with with focus and with excellence, we are we have such a potential. If we do not walk ourselves into a kind of collective blur where everyone is grabbed into different viral,...

...extreme happenings. That's where we lose focus. We need to bring it back into a short term perspective. You See, what I mean is it's very problematic in large corporations. While only one hand, need to come up with radical way of working to keep up with a competition and also to contribute to actually saving the planet, on the other hand you need to have motivated people every day. So many times I have seen that in my work that you you need to actual lead to somehow instill the higher purpose and and avoid this big fancy at agencies formulas for really just be exposed and visualized on the Front magazine of forbs or whatever it could be, and instead think of that the many people and what you can do for everybody. So I think that the higher purpose should be int linked on many levels. And I also have seen, and it's a very good advice to bring up here, I have seen many times how most of the people they want to do exactly what the what they doing and they're very happy with that and they are absolutely necessary to create what I call the blood circular in an organization. Without them you gone right, but you also need to be able to focus on what to come and be prepared for that. And this balance, this ambiguity, is pretty hard to reach to be able to think here, now and in the future. So, saying that, typically you try to have goals that are more like operational and then you might have tactically strategic goals. And when you set the goal that is high operational, it's pretty straightforward to break that up into Act sans. But I really want it to to to opposed to you and I'm I'm looking forward to this, to this. You're listening to magne, spanker and guests on the play boat podcast. If you have more of a tactical or operition goal, how do you break that down into actions? Because if you don't, you lose people. How that I mean, I guess, in your career, both the sport in the military, as a focus expert, you must come into the situation where executives or other people, your coach ask you for okay, I have this technical or study the goal, but I don't understand how the heck I should break it down. I I can focus on it, but it doesn't help me. How do you do things? Yes, exactly. How do you do how do we do it? I feel excellent, by the way. How do you? How do you do that? I think it can be really nice for people to hear from, as you very well expressed, world champion and focus expert, that I do fail with this as well. I have struggled with this as well. I remember from being, you know, in the military, and take an example when I remember I was sitting in a kind of classroom, military classroom, and I had generals in front of me. We were sitting in a group and generals expressed with a powerpoint presentation, how important it was for us, as in this case it was the military team in shooting, how important it was for us to to in and it was a timeline in two years and four years at streat out, to win this and that competition as an individual and as a team. And I looked around and I saw these friends around me within the military team. I was the only woman. Doesn't make a difference, but still maybe I, as a woman, enjoyed to to...

...evaluate the situation and she sends the feelings in the room and I could see that all these guys hardly understood what the vision was about. They sat there, you know, with hanging faces, and no one dared to say that, hello, excuse me, a general, I don't get this. I'm I'm not good enough to be able to perform. I'm not good enough to be able to win the world champion titles in two years. So why am I here? No one dared to ask the question, but I was the only one in the room who may had a little chance to at least get up on the Poony of in two years. So I didn't say anything. But afterwards I realized that I must in my position. I need to take a responsibility here and walk up to the general's and say that hey, these visions and these goals are what you want, but we do not, we do not even understand, and so we ask the people they're need to write that powerpoint presentation the next time, not you, the people that the shooters in this case, need to write the short term goals, and then we will see what happens. Then we will see can we reach the higher goals? Again, we may not know, but what we can do is to put the team in a situation where they are allowed to perform as good as they can and to give them motivation without fearing not reaching the goal. So again we come back to the fear of losing. How can we help people to good ridth of that? Well, we can't, because it's a natural way of thinking. So what we can do is to practice failures. In Sweden, I believe we are quite afraid of even practicing the failures. So definitely, from from a Skandinavian point of view, we need to be much better in practicing the failures and we need to discuss with each other in a different way, I think, because I often get the sense of that people see me as the world champion and they always speak about how I became a world champion and and to me that was just a short journey, that was just a preparation to be able to do what I do now. And still people think that standing on a podium is the best thing you can do in a life. No, it's not. There is a much deeper dimension than being the best. So I want to elaborate with the question. We are so many times searching for, striving for trying to become best, and I would say, well, when what is to be best? What is that? Especially now in an era, in a time era where everything changes very fast. I even feel like saying that. Why do we so many times compare sports to business? Well, it's good in many ways, of course. I understand that. I agree in one way, but actually sports, I know, it's hard. You practice several hours, you need to handle diversity and all that. Yes, and you learn a lot, yes, but sports is easy compared to business because sports, look upon it, every fourth year there is a world champion or no world championship, or Olympic Games, and the distance are the same, the strategies how to get there are probably the same, even the conquerents are the same. But in business things has changed enormously during a period of five five years. So you can't really compare that. What we can do, I believe, is to elaborate with what is it to become best, and I would like to say this is a statement from my side, trying to become best in the sense of being...

...better than others. That is an absolute philosophy. Because what is it? What we need to do is rather to we've said that before, but you know, to learn to compete with ourselves instead of comparing ourselves or our business with other concrements all the time, because when you do that, you focus on them, what they can do with they may do in the future, what they have achieved or what they will achieve, instead of focusing on your true potentials. Yeah, I don't know if that was a clear answer to this interesting question, but it was at least a way of thinking. I think it's it's throw some interesting nights. All things that has to do with enrolling people to goals. And that also linked me to to the next question I have for you, and that is about about making choices. The playbold podcast. Find out more at innovation three hundred and sixtycom forward, slash play bolt. A lot of people compared compared business in the past with chess, and now people compared business with sport or entertainment, and I have all of these prospectives. Is Interesting, but it's one perspective. My wife is a midwife. I love to listen to her and I learn so much about business when I listen to my wife, because that's about life, to giving life and helping someone to give birth and also taking care of that child. And and in my book, business is more close to ballow biology than and cls. Still, it's very interesting to look on different perspectives and see how we can improve a part of the system, and I think that by combining disciplines we can take it so much further. So what I would like to ask you, not as a world champion athlete, but but also as an and former officer and also in your role right now, is one of the leading experts in the world, may be the leading expert in the world, in focusing. I would like to ask you about making choices, because when you lead, a lot of people on this podcast I do, lead organizations or advice people leading organizations and when you transform your innerate, you grow, you have to make choices and it could be a choice where you know that that the outcome might be less favorable in short term. Now you might know that you take a decision where you don't even know. doubtcome, but you have to make a decision. How can you train yourself doing that? HMM. Yeah, it comes back to to, as you say, a military perspective where we have this old fashioned perhaps, but it's really interesting still to to highlight that expression that taking a decision, even though it's wrong, it's better than not taking a decision at all. Yes, I agree, especially in in times where something is really dangerous, which it can be in in different military operations. That's where it comes from. If you stand still, the enemy will hit you. So it's kind of obvious. And from a focused perspective it's actually easier to come into sharpness, discipline and focus if there is a direct threat upon you. But nowadays, you know, we don't really live in the military operations. Well, in the military we do, and in some business cases we do, but there is a large amount of time that is for the administrative part and everyday life within the organization and again and everyday life also from a private perspective. I believe we need to bring in...

...the private perspective, like you just did, into the business. It goes hand in hand much more now paps than it did before. Taking choices. It's important. Perhaps it's even more important to learn to to say no. That's also a choice. I believe that we are so used to decide what we need to do and to take choices to be able to get somewhere, and we want to take choices fast because otherwise someone else is taking that choice, perhaps, or we are afraid of almost being forgotten. I laugh about this because I think of I might lose track now, but I promised to come back as the focus expert I'm thinking about. It was a year ago when the pandemic and started, and many of my friends who work, if I'm allowed to say, only as a speakers or lectures, got afraid because they couldn't come out to the audience anymore and they started to too directly yump jump into the digital world, where they started to, if I'm allowed to say, produce quick fix because they were afraid of being forgotten. So they thought that they needed to be seen every now and then on the internets, in different platforms. I did, of course, the opposite. I realized that, HMM, my position is to be a focus expert. I am against quick fix. I do not support quick fix. I resist to respond to people's superficiality. And now our days on the Internet, we have so much that goes fast. That is quick fix and if we support that, well, we will never get get away from it. So I took another way and I was silent and no one has forgotten me. So again, that's also a choice. So I feel like asking the opposite. Can a choice sometimes be to decide to do nothing, because what we need to do, also in this discussion of taking choices and how do you take choices, is to to give ourselves time to reflect. I know in your book you mentioned in the very fresh beginning, or maybe it's in the preface, Peter Drucker. The referre reference to Peter Drucker, and he said many shark things. One of the things he said was that we need time to reflect, and I think about reflecting upon the era we live in today. Is that? It makes me think. Also there was an author in one thousand nine hundred and sixty nine who wrote his he was Swedish. He wrote a book called the Restless Man, and I'm thinking, if we were restless then, well, what are we so now? Because to be able to take the white choices, we need to give our self space and time to reflect. And I think, going back to the private part, how can we learn from our own families, from our children, from our wife, from our men or from the one we are living with or our closest friends? To give another person isn't the best thing you can give another person, isn't that time and at tension? And this is focus, because when you give another person time and attention and it could be your employees. You give them a space where you interact, where you find sharp solutions and where you go back into your core values, your core identities. You give yourself the ability to...

...reflect upon what really is important and you create a space, a focus space, where you're free from all these distractions, all these things that wants to grab your attention all the time, and I think this is something we can become much better upon, or better in whatever you say in English, and to create space in which we can reflect, because we need that to be able to take true, sharp choices and decisions, and to refer to your wife there, as you learn a lot from your wife. I remember, and this is so this is so nice. It's connected to sustainability actually, and all companies are working with sustainability in one way, because otherwise they do not survive. I guess I walked hand in hand with my son. He was six years at that time. He's now eight. We walked into one of these big supermarkets, well, where everything is exists, supermols, and he stops and he stand completely still. He's holding my hand and I stopped as well, and he look around and he see all these things around in the big mall and he has extremely big eyes and then he says to me, mom, mom, look, see, look, see, see how many things we don't need. Excellent right. So maybe maybe in a business perfective as well, we can win in the sense of to dare to say no and to dare to sometimes do nothing and to dare to care ourselves and the people within the organization. Time two more or less do nothing, because this is where the sharp decisions are taken, this is where you dig into your true potentials, and we need this to be able to survive and to be able to compete and to be able to tow again reach the higher purposes, as we live in a quite intensive world. Thank you so much. It has been a true pleasure two to have you as a guest on playbold and I'm I'm fascinated and I'm sure the audience will take all this wisdom and also the perspective that you brought up for today. It has been a true pleasure to have you as my guests. So thank you some Marx cusin now, for being on playing bold. Let's focusing on get together soon again. Absolutely I'm looking forward to this. Magnus, very, very, very good luck. Okay, thank you and good luck to everyone. Thank you, as ever, for joining us for this latest episode, which actually almost brings season two of play bold to a close. But next week Magnus has handed the control over to me and I'll be taking a look back at all the episodes from this season and sharing some of the highlights from a wide series of fantastic guests. In the meantime, make sure you get hold of Magnus's new book play bold, how to win the business game through creative destruction. And, as ever, in the meantime, stay safe and play bold.

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