The focuser Featured

8:00pm EDT March 26, 2009

DeLores Pressley thinks everyone should make the F-word a part of their lives, but she’s not encouraging colorful, four-letter word language. Instead, the F-word is focus.

“Some people, in business and in their personal lives, they make the mistake of trying to service everyone,” she says. “Even in our lives, they try to help everybody. When you’re in business, you need to focus on your ideal client. That would be just one client, and then build your services around that.”

For Pressley, she was, among many things, working full time as a teacher, working on a radio show and also running a plus-size modeling business. But she realized that she really wanted to be one of the best speakers in the world, so she sat down to focus on who her ideal client would be. She wanted to work with businesses that had initiatives for women and those in the education market, so she started focusing on them and their needs instead of all the other things.

“You have to focus in on your client’s pain,” says Pressley, the founder and principal of the BornSuccessful Institute. “If you’re focusing on more than one client, then you might be making a mistake. You want to focus on their pain, find out what their pain is and find a way to make the pain go away.”

To do this, you have to read everything you can about your clients, and with the Internet, there are no excuses.

When you’re with people, you also have to make them the center of your focus and be in the moment with them and make them feel present.

“When I’m with the audience, I use eye contact,” she says. “I must say the word ‘you’ 50 to 100 times — I don’t know about you. How about you? You know what I mean? — That puts the person in the presence with me.”

On top of focusing on your business and clients, you have to have a focus in your day-to-day activities.

“Sometimes we just have to make a plan on what we’re going to do,” Pressley says. “Have you made a plan on who you would like to work with in your company? Do you go to the networking event tonight and sit by the same people or say you’d like to meet Mr. So-and-so? We have to plan out the directions we want to go.”

You also have to focus on yourself in your personal life, as well.

“Each day, start with yourself,” Pressley says. “Before you look at your spouse, before you open your eyes, just focus on yourself.”

She says she focuses on the thought that she’s thankful to be alive each day, and twice a month, she forces herself to go to the spa. She says you can also try exercising, meditating or blogging, but the key is to get up and start each day doing something different that allows you to find a focus for yourself.

A lot of this involves being open to new ideas and changing — or what she calls “uncrossing your mental arms.”

“Uncross your mental arms means to be open to change,” she says. “Don’t sit around and say, ‘We’ve always done it that way.’”

For instance, a lot of companies resist social media, but Pressley has gained new clients through both blogging and Twitter. That’s new business that she never would have gotten had she resisted when one of her employees said she needs to get on Twitter.

And just like focus, change extends into your personal life. When Pressley’s husband wanted to take her to the rodeo, she threw a fit and didn’t know why he thought it was a good idea.

“Sometimes you just have to uncross those mental arms,” she says. “I just couldn’t believe he wanted me to go to a rodeo. They stink, and who wants to see a cowboy? My arms were so crossed, there’s no way I’m going to the rodeo. Then he convinced me, and I loved it. You have to be open to change. Change is not a four-letter word.”

Being open to change involves changing our belief systems though.

For instance, her product sales at her engagements never did very well because she didn’t really promote them. She felt like she would come off as pushing her materials on people. But when she shifted her thinking to the fact that she was helping people learn more at home, she couldn’t keep her materials on the shelf.

She says, “We have to shift our beliefs, and that’s all a part of change.”

How to reach: BornSuccessful Institute, (330) 649-9809 or