LASER BEAM FOCUS!  I can still hear this being bellowed through our stadium by my college head coach Mark Hudspeth. Many times, when I tell people I played college football they immediately want to talk about the games, the experiences, the perks. Never have I been asked what was the preparation like. I think of standing in our indoor facility at 5:30 am in February, as we begin what is called Red Dawn. This was a series of drills that had honestly nothing to do with football, but everything to do with effort. Competing against your teammates to see who was going to break first. It was non-stop everything you had. Then when it appeared to be over, we line up in five lines and spread out. As our coach with his mega phone screamed I want LASER BEAM FOCUS. Our strength and conditioning coach would yell, on my whistle two to the right three to the left. Which meant get in a football stance, and each time that whistle blew you better make a quarter turn in the direction that was stated. Simple right. But it’s now 6:30 am you just gave everything you had in drills, and something this simple now requires not your physical ability, but your mental. Each time he would blow that whistle, if anybody made any false turns we stop the drill complete ten up downs, then start again. The coaches weren’t trying to figure out who the most athletic members of the team were. They were looking for the guys, when adversity hit they wouldn’t start complaining, they wouldn’t start feeling sorry for themselves. They were looking for the players that stood tall under pressure; the players that would focus.

What does focus look like in everyday life. It’s easy to be distracted right? You are probably nodding your head as you are reading this. Well, if distractions are easy, focus must be hard, for everybody that nodded your head, yeah I saw you. How many of you have goals that you still want to accomplish? What’s stopping you? How much time are you wasting? If I asked you to pull out your phone, go to your settings where it says data usage. What would be the first 3 apps that pop up? I’m willing to bet at least two are some type of social media app. Now the only reason I’m making this statement is because five months ago I went in my settings looked at my data and was shocked at the amount of time I dedicated to nothing. That night, I decided to delete each and every one of them. Don’t get me wrong, I was focus, but I channeled all that focus in to the wrongs things. How was this helping me do what I said I would do? It became a distraction. It’s funny that every time I tell someone this story they automatically get defensive, and start to justifying their usage of social media. Many of you reading may share the same look on your faces. I’m not telling you to change anything that you are doing, I speak from my experience. But if I got you stirring, maybe some self-reflection may redirect your focus.

It is my hopes for you, to walk away with a new sense of focus. It may seem that everything around you is in chaos, you may be feeling overwhelmed. If you feel you don’t have the energy; just focus. Harbor that energy, because the reality is that bad things will happen, distractions will happen, that’s life. I want to leave you with this quote by Mark Twain. “You can’t depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus”. Dream big and see it before you achieve it.

Devon Lewis-Buchanan


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