We must consider how to achieve our ends intelligently. Each of us is so complex that we must carefully reason the means we employ to reach any goal.  This involves giving attention to the process we go through to reach our goal, rather than just the goal itself.

Most of us allow our goals to dominate the field of our attention.  However, it is also important to manage the means we use to get there, and not just focus on the results.  It is in the here and now that we have the most choices. The results will be effective if the means of getting there is addressed well.

The world is very focused on results. “We have separated the ends (financial targets and performance objectives) from the means (the processes and practices used to create them) and have come to see the ends as more concrete, more real and therefore, more valuable than the means. However, results are an outcome that emerges spontaneously from mastering practices.” [1]

Attention to the means is about developing skills in awareness and in the capacity to be present with whatever the situation or circumstances happen to be. This requires clearing the mind of preoccupations and staying attentive. Staying in the process is about observing, pausing to reflect and not immediately react.  Pausing is different from freezing or locking. When you freeze, you become fixed, immobile, static, both physically and mentally. In pausing, you temporarily stop the movement but continue to experience the ever-changing events inside and around you.  Attention is very different from what is usually called concentration.  Attention is a balanced awareness of oneself and surroundings with an easy emphasis on whatever is particularly relevant at the moment. From this place, we can make intelligent choices.


We are often afraid to give attention to the process because we are afraid to stop producing. We think that not doing and acting means we are not being anything. We interpret a pause as a dead space and often panic. Alternatively, we can experience a pause as an expression of present attentiveness. Action stops so that listening can occur. There is much valuable information that can be obtained in attentiveness to the means-whereby utilized to reach the goal.

The journey we travel to reach a goal or destination is where much of the meaning in our lives resides. It is by learning to stay present in the process of achieving a goal that we have the most opportunity to achieve empowerment and mastery in our lives.

[1] Johnson,Thomas and Brom, Anders, Profit Beyond Measure (Free Press 2005)

Want to learn more? Contact me for an appointment or consultation.