My darling beagle, Gracie, has a number of tricks she performs on command, but to me, one of the most interesting is her ability to balance a ball on her nose. I really don’t know how she learned this trick. In the beginning, she could only balance the ball for 10 seconds without moving her head or licking her lips; now, on command, she can easily hold the ball in place for 60 seconds, or longer, until she is told to release it.
The command for this trick is: Focus, Focus, Focus.
It just happened…I’m not really sure that she has any idea what “focus” really is, but she does know that when that command is spoken she must hold very still and not move her head so that the ball does not drop.
I’ve been thinking about this trick and the command “focus, focus, focus” a lot yesterday and today as I sing my last concerts here in Granada, and I realize, that well, more than Gracie, I have a bit of a problem with focus.
Now, many who know me might say, “You?” Yes, I have a problem with focus. Not when I am doing something where I am confident and, let us be honest, in control. But, other times, and often when it involves singing, I have a problem with focus.
I get distracted by steps that I have to climb to reach the stage.
I get distracted by a new room where I don’t know the acoustics.
I get distracted by my need to please coaches that are giving me diametrically opposed pieces of advice.
I get distracted by, well, fear and nerves and questions of purpose and…well, just a lot of things.
I’m going to do my best today to remember to stay focused on the task at hand, and to listen, not for the voice of the coaches around me, but for the voice from within that drives me onward. And when I get home, I’m really going to work on my tricks.
Focus, focus, focus….if Gracie can do it, so can I.