The Power of Focus
I have been thinking a lot this week about the power of focus, and the enemy of achievement - the opposite of focus - which I will call distraction.
In our lives as a whole there are so many things competing for our attention and therefore time. I remember as a teenager worrying about this dilemma. I would ask myself repeatedly ‘what if I make the wrong choice on where I spend my time, the things I choose to do and in so doing miss out’. I soon realised that was not really a problem; what would become a bigger problem is indecision and becoming stuck, unable to move forward. I also realised with much relief and excitement that today’s choices don’t dictate a life of servitude to keeping on that path. If I was on the wrong path, then I had the choice to change.
Over the years whenever I have been faced with challenges, whether that has been to start a new business line, to hire a new team or to drive for organic growth, there are many ways to do this and its easy to get lost in the noise of choices, a bit like becoming snow blind and ending up stuck between decision and indecision. Layer on top of that the day to day challenges of leadership and its easy to understand how progress can become hampered.
It took me a little while to catch on to the value of taking some time to sit quietly and think through what the key goal or couple of goals are. Then to work through the options, making the best decision I could from what information I had at that time, to use my experience to guide me and, if needed, to consult with a trusted mentor to talk things through. I always owned the outcome, but it sometimes helped to talk things through with somebody disconnected from the decision. At the end of this period of reflection and planning, the way forward became clear and I refused to let myself become distracted by other things. It was suddenly like a whole new energy descended on me and I was focused on the goal, and could visualise what arriving there would be like.
There really is nothing to beat focus in a noisy world.
I share this with you because we are coming to the end of a successful year. One in which we have achieved many things, learnt a lot and, of course, hit some bumps in the road. We have just agreed our budget going in to the new year and we are on a path of investment and growth. It’s exciting. At the same time, we will have challenges but I believe there is nothing ahead that we can’t navigate and turn into a success. I believe this because we have great colleagues around the world alongside each of us and, when we focus on our goals together, we achieve so much more than we could ever think possible.
I am looking forward to seeing many colleagues at the kick offs around the world and hearing your stories of success and your areas of focus in the year ahead.
Keep safe and well.