Where Are You Looking?

The other morning I had the TV on in the background while I was packing for a long trip, when I heard a guy talking about how he walked a tightrope across Niagra Falls.

Sounded pretty impressive to me. But what I found even more impressive was his answer to the morning show host’s question, “how do you keep your balance?” That’s when the tightrope walker shared how he never looks down at the wire he’s walking on because it’s too unstable. Instead, he focuses on the end of the wire where it’s solid.

It caused me to ask myself, how many times am I looking down at the unstable wire in front of me instead of the solid and stable place off in the distance? How many times do I fall off the wire because I’m looking down instead of ahead?

Question: Have there been times in your life when you focused on the unstable instead of the stable?



Walk through your challenges with one of our coaches for FREE and see the difference a shift in mindset can make. 


Get more out of your business, your team, and yourself than you thought possible. Sign up to get free leadership tips and advice today.

Check Our Podcast


Sign up for weekly curated insights and frameworks from coaches, leaders, and business owners that help you take your business to the next level.

Posted in

Meet Chris LoCurto


Chris has a heart for changing lives by helping people discover the life and business they really want.

Decades of personal and leadership development experience, as well as running multi-million dollar businesses, has made him an expert in life and business coaching. personality types, and communication styles.

Growing up in a small logging town near Lake Tahoe, California, Chris learned a strong work ethic at home from his full-time working mom. He began his leadership and training career in the corporate world, starting but at E'TRADE.

84 thoughts on “Where Are You Looking?”

  1. Unfortunately, most people, and myself, do it all the time. I have caught myself doing it more recently, but have been able to turn out of the mental and productivity downward spiral it causes. I I try to remember, as I teach my daughter, that we have so much to be thankful for, that is stable. All the provisions and day to day life we’ve been blessed with are no accident. Even when things come up that cause us momentary discontent, even valid things to actively pursue changing, I try hard not to let that momentary dizzy feeling of uncertainty cloud my judgement. 

    1. ErikJFisher In today’s horrid world of reality TV, and shows of kids gone amuck, it’s easy for a young person to only focus on the bad things. It’s what is all over TV. I love that you work hard for her to focus on the solid!

    2. I very well understand your comment. It’s a scary world ou there for our kids but we get to teach them where to focus. I love it when my daughter (4 y-o) says thanksgiving prayers at night for Mom, Dad, little brother, Grandma and chocolate chip cookies. I hope we’re able to keep nurturing a thankful heart.

    3. I very well understand your comment. It’s a scary world ou there for our kids but we get to teach them where to focus. I love it when my daughter (4 y-o) says thanksgiving prayers at night for Mom, Dad, little brother, Grandma and chocolate chip cookies. I hope we’re able to keep nurturing a thankful heart.

    4. I very well understand your comment. It’s a scary world out there for our kids but we get to teach them where to focus. I love it when my daughter (4 y-o) says thanksgiving prayers at night for Mom, Dad, little brother, Grandma and chocolate chip cookies. I hope we’re able to keep nurturing a thankful heart.

    5. I very well understand your comment. It’s a scary world out there for our kids but we get to teach them where to focus. I love it when my daughter (4 y-o) says thanksgiving prayers at night for Mom, Dad, little brother, Grandma and chocolate chip cookies. I hope we’re able to keep nurturing a thankful heart.

    6. ErikJFisher It’s such a scary world for our kids out there. I like to help them focus on the right things. I love it when my 4-y-o daughter says her prayers at night: Dear God, thanks for Mom. Dad, my Little Brother , my Grandma and chocolate chip cookies” I hope they always have that thankful heart and keep their focus on the important things.

  2. I just read something recently about how wire walkers never look down, but I hadn’t heard it put quite this way. That’s a really great application to starting and running a business. You have to keep putting one foot in front of the other in order to make progress, and if you stop and stand still you’re going to get blown off the wire and fall, but you have to keep your focus not on where you are, or where your next step is going to be, but on the goal. Way out there. Not the short term, or even the mid-term goal, but the long-term, way out there goal.Powerful, Chris. Staple-gun powerful.Right now, I’m almost completely focused on all the administrivia surrounding actually starting up the business and I do find that the far end is flapping about. Is the business going do to thing A or thing B? I took my focus off that and now it’s come loose a bit. It’s my hope that once I get the wire anchored on this side of the chasm, I can re-focus on the far side and get it re-anchored there again.

    1. Bret I love how much the analogy applies to where you personally are. For you it’s your new business. For Eric, it’s his daughter and family. I think there is so much truth in focusing on the stable. 

  3. We learned this principle a few years ago on our 10th anniversary.We were in Mexico and decided to go on a boat ride to an island to see a waterfall. This was maybe a sixty-foot boat.My wife got motion sick and ended up tossing her cookies down below. We were encouraged to make our way to the middle of the boat, where it moves the least. Then they told us to keep our eyes on the horizon.It worked perfectly!It is so easy to get focused on the immediate and lose track of the ultimate. – Andy Stanley (paraphrased)  

  4. That’s pretty awesome!  Thanks, Chris.  This is a great picture of both Visioneering and our Spiritual journey.Who knows why we focus on the current reality rather than our direction?  “Why” doesn’t matter.  Because, information & insight like this reiterates the importance of forward focus.I’m gonna go focus on what’s ahead now, thanks.

  5. Personally, I thrive on the unstable. I grew up in it as a military brat and then had assumptions about my purpose and the things I enjoy constantly disrupted by periods of uncertainty and change. In some odd way, the challenge and disruption helped me focus on what matters. What happens AFTER you focus is just as important. You have to move forward.In the professional world, the unstable is what keeps consultants like me in business. I help others focus and deal with change. And I help them move forward, too.

    1. It’s a great point Jon. Just b/c you aren’t FOCUSED on the unstable doesn’t mean it’s not there. You acknowledge it and choose to focus forward!

  6. Constantly. That’s why I trip up all the time. You can’t foucs on your feet and look ahead. I always tend to get caught up in the details, as a high C typically does. Sometimes it’s good, sometimes it’s bad. You’ve got to keep the end in mind.This analogy in a racecar would be disasterous. Thanks for sharing, Chris. Although, when public speaking, it’s probably FAVORABLE to look at your feet once in a while, and not striaght out at the crowd—we wouldn’t want to see you stage-diving at an Entreleadership event! (If you did, I could see the post now….”Dang, This Hurts, Part II”)

  7. Every big change in my life I get caught up in looking down and once I start looking out at the stable, favorable goal at the end, I do so much better. This is a great reminder right now for me as I realize I’ve been looking down again recently, mired up in details. Need to spend some time this week looking up and out. Thanks for the great reminder, Chris.

      1. Skropp Yeah – or as David Allen says, the latest and loudest – which means I constantly put out fires and don’t look out at my goals and long term plans. Nice to not be alone in that, but got to get better.

  8. Oh absolutely! When I read the analogy my thought was how many times I get so focus/worried/stressed with day-to-day issues rather than thinking long term. If we focus on only today everything seems serious and it’s easy to loose track of our priorities and become unstable. By thinking longer term, even a week, month, six months, a year, we can use our goals and priorities to guide day to day decisions and this accomplish what we want long term. Great post. On a side note, I thought we were gonna get the bonus interview with Mark Sanborn today???

  9. I try to look down the road, but I know that I tend to focus too much on the present. I can become too narrow in my view of the situation. I’ve heard that farmers (at least old-time farmers) always kept their eye on the horizon when they were plowing – never right in front of them – in order to keep their rows straight.

    1. JoshuaWRivers That’s good insight Josh!  The funny thing is that the opposite can be true also.  I personally tend to focus too much on the future and the destination, overlooking important details that will lead to a strong finish.This is where my DISC profile really helped me see where I’m straying off course.  I guess it’s just like knowing you have a “slice” so that you can adjust for it.

    2. JoshuaWRivers Other farm insight: I remember driving our huge John Deere tractor for the first time on the highway. I had to kick it into high gear, and suddenly started noticing how much faster the ground was racing by under me. I started over correcting, the tractor weaving side to side – my Dad tapped me on the shoulder: don’t watch the ground son – keep your eyes out front.In seconds, with the right focus the tractor was back under control. Scared me nearly to death – but it totally worked. (And I can still watch that moment in my mind like a movie.) Burnt rice.

  10. I know this is more of a business blog….but this is what I needed to hear in my personal life. I needed to hear this TODAY. Thanks CLo.

  11. Uncertainty has been a constant in my life. I’ve lived in 19 different homes since I was born (different one every year ha ha ha), 13 with my mom and dad and 6 with my husband and children. I used to say that I like stability, but the truth is I just learned to be resilient and quickly learn how deal with change. I used to fight it, now I embrace it. I’ve learned that when I take the “stage dive” in faith, into the unknown, the arms of a loving Father are always there to catch me.

    1. lilykreitinger Indeed Lily – My citizenship is in heaven. That verse means much to me as I currently don’t feel like I belong anywhere – Canada is where I’m from, but I don’t live there. I’ve been living in Mexico for 13 years…I feel a certain sense of belonging, but almost every day I have a moment where I look around and have this feeling of not belonging. Weird. But for sure – a big part of Chris’ post – of focusing on solid ground ahead vs the ground far below – is faith and Relationship with God. There is no shadow of turning with Him. 

  12. Yeah that happened once…so far today.I’ve found that in business, focusing on the now (unstable) definitely leads to chaos, team disunity, panic, and poor decision making. I’ve been a part of a business that reached that dreadful point of “how do we make it to tomorrow?” Let’s just say that’s about as much fun as invasive surgery.I never thought of this way before ChrisLoCurto until I read this, but what we lost focus of was where we were going. The fact was in our business the market was changing rapidly. Our 3 largest privately held competitors were bought by a publicly traded companies. We had so much going for us…we were  the largest privately held company. We had the flexibility to do anything we wanted. I believe if we had asked the questions: “Where do we want to be in 3 years and how do we get there?” the panic, emotions, and disunity would have been replaced with a singular focus on our goal, rational, calm decision making, and team unity.I’ve been piecing together the mistakes we made that took a wildly successful business and just about destroyed it. This helped me figure out another piece. Thanks Chris!

    1. MattMcWilliams2  Wow Matt, I would have hyperventilated going through that. It is so easy for individuals, families and organizations to live in the moment putting out fires and forget what brought us here and how we’ll get to our desired destination.

      1. lilykreitinger @MattMcWilliams2My company is currently living in this exact situation (and has been for almost 4 years)!  Commercial construction has yet to fully turn around and many companies are still hemorrhaging.  It’s painful to watch and full of chaos.  However, to Chris and Matt’s point, it’s vital that at some point, someone has to bring focus to the future.  This not only provides stability, but it provides hope, which is fundamental to the people of an organization during times of distress.

        1. selfemployedbob It WILL turn around. The good news for you is that some % of the companies (lets just say 50%) are going to hemorrhage themselves right out of business. Stay focused on what you want in the future and do whatever it takes today to stay on that path. Then when the market breaks open a little, you will be in a perfect position to capitalize.Yeah, easy to say and no I have no exact strategic plans to accomplish that, but I do encourage you to keep focused on big goals for 5-10 years from now.

        2. MattMcWilliams2 Thanks for the encouragement Matt!  I almost never get that here at work, so it means a lot!I’m actually doing just that!  I’m learning from Jon Acuff and others by focusing on my dreams while learning from my current situation.  It’s really amazing to know that I will be able to teach others by using this experience as an example.

        3. selfemployedbob “It’s really amazing to know that I will be able to teach others by using this experience as an example.”What a great way to think already Bob!Man, that is awesome.

        4. selfemployedbob “Somebody has to bring focus to the future.” Here, here! That should be a T-shirt quote. So I’m picking up on a theme here between you and MattMcWilliams2 – solid ground has much to do with having a solid vision. Am I picking that out correctly? (Furiously taking notes here.)

        5. Aaron Nelson selfemployedbob I could go with that, but it wasn’t so much that our ground wasn’t solid as we were running in place. We were surviving. Survival is not fun. They are still in business today, running in place.For us, it was having a place to run to, not just keeping our spot. We lost our vision entirely. We didn’t so much as stray from it as completely forget what it was and lose it altogether to the point that, honestly, I and many others had a helpless feeling. We held a few vision meetings and got all pumped up about them and then worrying about tomorrow creaped in.

        6. Dang it, clicked post too soon.It reminds of Jesus’ words about the thorns that choked up the new believer’s spirit. When leadership allows the vision to be cast aside, it is. When leadership keeps changing course every time a wind blows, every else follows.I’ve been a part of some amazing reactions to adversity in business and one horrible, drawn out disaster. I learned from both thankfully. But the one haunts me…in a good way.

        7. MattMcWilliams2 Very well said!I also think that there is this visceral reaction to losing money where leadership can change direction too much and too often.  Realistically the vision is still good; the team just needs a few reminders and a different route.

        8. Aaron Nelson Some people don’t see this the same way.  Some people are happy just keeping their heads down and focusing on the task at hand.  I’ve come to realize that.  However, some people (like you & me) need that vision to get going everyday.  It’s like fuel for our motivation engines!

      2. lilykreitinger Yeah I did pretty much hyperventilate every day. It really was misery.I think I mentioned it before on here that most nights turned into “Matt complains about his job to his wife” night. She finally told me on a Friday night that I had to leave. Went to my remote office the next day to work on resume and reach out to contacts. 48 hours later, they laid off 1/2 of the remaining 1/2 that were left from the previous week’s layoffs.

    2. MattMcWilliams2 I really like the insights you pulled from your experience Matt. I think I am at risk of looking down instead of ahead at the solid ground – and therefore, my company is also at risk. As Dave points out in the podcast about dreams, visions and goal setting, it’s so easy to stray from your vision by getting sidetracked by day to day work. Where I’m struggling with this is how to have proper perspective. Our company is going through extreme rough financial water right now. I feel like I need to have both eyes on the ball. But what I need to be VERY careful of is to not fall away from the solid ground out in front. Any thoughts of how to work that through?

      1. Aaron Nelson I address this part above in my other reply:As Dave points out in the podcast about dreams, visions and goal setting, it’s so easy to stray from your vision by getting sidetracked by day to day work.We didn’t lose site of the vision…we really never had one it seems.What sport are you playing when you say you need to “keep both eyes on the ball?” I mean that seriously.In basketball, the shooter doesn’t look at the ball. The quarterback doesn’t look at the ball (nor does the center snapping it). The pitcher doesn’t look at the ball. They look at their targets. (Yes I get that receivers and batters do but run with me here)All of those are the drivers to the play. It doesn’t matter what is happening around them; defenders chasing them, hands stretched out, crowd cheering, time on the clock, nothing matters but the goal. Nothing. You say yourself that your company is going through extreme financial struggles right now. So WHY WOULD YOU FOCUS ON THAT?If (big IF) you have a vision for where you want to end up, a goal, a basket, a catcher’ mitt, you have to focus on that. Focusing on what you have already identified as negative is literally going to get you nowhere. It’s one thing to inadvertently do so, but you know the present is not positive, so focus on the future.Think about this: If you focus on the future, on achieving the dreams you have for the company and fall short, what is the worst that can happen? You go out of business. Probably not going to happen. But it could. Can you live with that?If you focus on the present problems and keep trying to just make it to tomorrow, what is the worst that can happen? That 30 years from now, you are fighting this same battle.What a pitiful existence to live. What a horrible way to go through life. I know that you would much rather bust it and fall flat your face, beaten but not battered, ready to try again someday.The first worst case scenario has a second chance. You fail, you go work for someone else, make good money, and try again.The second worst case scenario never ends.Go for it man. What do you want in your business over the next year? The next three? Dream a little, take the time to cast a vision, and for just a moment, one tiny little moment, be OK with the worst case scenario. Fear not the failure. Fear the mediocrity that inevitably comes from never trying.I know you can do it and I hardly know you. There are others (spouse, friends, etc.) who believe in you. Now believe in yourself, keep your eyes forward (not on the ball), and go do it!

        1. MattMcWilliams2 Wow. If I were cooking rice, that awesome comment would have burnt it to rice crispies. Thanks Matt – what a great answer. Clear….and very easy to get my brain around.You are, of course, 1000% correct. I should not have my eyes on the problem. I need to be fixed on the target. I think it’s Dan Rockwell that’s always saying that you shouldn’t run from your nightmare, but run towards your dream.Really…this was so helpful. I’m copying and pasting it to my desktop. Favorite and most scary/true part of your comment: “If you focus on the present problems and keep trying to just make it to tomorrow, what is the worst that can happen? That 30 years from now, you are fighting this same battle.What a pitiful existence to live. What a horrible way to go through life. I know that you would much rather bust it and fall flat your face, beaten but not battered, ready to try again someday.”Yep. I see that happening, and it stops today. No more getting hypnotized by the problem. :)Thank you!

        2. Aaron Nelson No worries Aaron!  We all need a boost sometimes, especially when things get rough…which they have been for a while.Book club starts on Friday!  I’m super excited about it.  I can’t wait to hear what our National Engineering Manager has to say about Entreleadership, which he supposedly started reading last week.I’m about half way through Linchpin and have several pages of notes to discuss with our club.  Should be something!!

          1. That’s awesome!

            I am fully aware that it is so much easier to write this stuff than to live it out, but it’s truth that I have learned. I’m lucky to get it right 51% of the time as it is. But if I didn’t remind myself of these truths, I’d never get it right, so I can live with 51%. Odds are that puts me at least 1% ahead of most people 🙂

        3. selfemployedbob Like MattMcWilliams2  said: I bet you will keep us up to date on your progress. (That’s a request as much as a statement 🙂 ) – That Matt has some great lines man!

  13. The way to draw a straight line without a ruler is to focus on the end point: pull the pencil away from the beginning point, and never look at the pencil, the beginning point or the pathway to get there. It is the old “keep your eye on the ball” plan, and it works! (try it – after several attempts you will be drawing straight lines without a ruler!)

      1. selfemployedbob Way to go! Thanks for trying it and letting me know – doesn’t it make you feel skilled? Still gives me a little thrill each time I demonstrate it for someone. (not much excitement in my life. . .)

  14. I’ve learned this lesson on a regular basis!  I worked in a coffee shop in college, and I learned then that if you look at the full cup as you are walking, you will spill it.  Looking at where you are going instead will cause you to be more stable.  The same is true in life.  Like DR says, (FI/T)*G = unstoppable momentum.  By focusing on the goal, and not necessarily on the day to day process, you will be much more stable in the long run.  Life isn’t stable, but your reaction to what life lays out before you can determine how unstable the future is going to be.

  15. Before Christ…all the time.  Now, I can tell when I’m really losing focus on multiple things because my focus on Him has become off.  It also helps to focus on the positive. 

  16. I read something yesterday afternoon that made me think of this, and it affected me enough that I wrote my blog post about it today (blatant self promotion: churchthought.com). The North Baltimore Athletic Club has no trophy room. This club is responsible for ten medals at this year’s olympics, and thirty some-odd medals since 1984… not to mention all the national and international honors (this is where Michael Phelps trains). The NBAC has every right to have a trophy room, and to load that bad boy up… but they instead briefly celebrate, re-focus their goals, and continue to move forward… and continue to dominate. That’s saying something.

  17. True Chris! Often, I fail to focus on the right things in my life. I believe this happens to the wavering faith or unbelief. As we mature in the knowledge of Christ, I am able to keep my focus on Him and carry on my journey with confidence.

  18. I have heard it said that we become what we focus on. If I focus on success (the end of the wire), then that is where I go and that is what I become. If I focus on falling, then I will probably fall!

  19. Louise- reminds me of the quote,”Mind is the Master power that moulds and makes,And Man is Mind, and evermore he takesThe tool of Thought, and, shaping what he wills,Brings forth a thousand joys, a thousand ills: —He thinks in secret, and it comes to pass:Environment is but his looking-glass.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *