The Power of Career Focus

What do you want to be in life?  It’s a simple question we’ve been asked ever since we were kids and still routinely ask ourselves, now that we’re adults.  When I answer this question sometimes it’s one thing, sometimes it’s another.  Do you ever have this problem?

Frequent changing of what we want to be or what we want to do stems from our failures in other endeavors.  Think of it this way; when you set out to do something, you’re full of energy, you’re focused, it’s all you can think about.  Then somewhere down the line it becomes difficult and you begin to lose interest.  You allow your mind to drift to other interests and pretty soon you’re not focused on your original goal anymore.  This is the negative effect of losing your career focus.

But what if we don’t lose focus?  What if we can harness the power of focus to achieve anything we desire?  The good news is that we can.  In fact, focus is one of the single most important factors in achievement.  You’ve probably heard it said that you’ll receive whatever it is you think about most.  That’s true to an extent.  If you’re focused on one thing for long enough, you’ll find it.

I call this effect the Grand Canyon effect.  I first heard Billionaire Boone Pickens explain it.  He was actually answering a question and used this as an excuse for why he didn’t know the answer to the reporter’s question.  Always a noticer, I said to myself “aha!”  I had just found Boone Picken’s key to success.  Become the Grand Canyon.

Boone’s not the only person I’ve heard talk about this idea and it’s implications on career focus.  The more I research and listen to successful people this one principle continues to pop up.  Focus your thoughts on one thing, then implement, implement, implement, never losing focus.  Here are a few examples:

Boone Pickens – His quote went something like this, “I don’t think I know the answer to your question.  You see my knowledge is like a river.  It’s not very wide but it’s very, very deep.”  What he meant was he doesn’t know much about a lot of things, but he knows a lot about one thing, energy.

Phil Cooke – He wrote the book One Big Thing: Discovering What You Were Born to DoThe book focuses on one key topic.  To be successful you must focus your attention on what it is you were born to do.

John C. Maxwell – “What you’ve got to do is find the path that enables you to answer the question: What do I do well? What are my strengths? What is my giftedness? What is the talent, the uniqueness that sets me apart from everybody else?  Everyone has a uniqueness about them that, if they could discover it, fine-tune it, work hard and grow in it would set them apart. The Strength Zone Pathtakes your giftedness and talent and begins to lift you above the crowd. No one has ever been successful doing something that they didn’t like and no one has ever been successful doing something they can’t do well. And yet, I see millions of people every day doing something they don’t like doing and they wonder why they’re not a success.”

Michael Hyatt – In an interview with Jaime Tardy, which you can read here, Michael discusses the moment when his blog, now one of the most respected on the web, really took off.  He attributes his blog’s success to him focusing on posting on a regular schedule and only posting on a handful of topics.  Basically, his mind became focused on producing posts.  His writing then became focused on only a few topics he knew well.  His writing improved and his readership skyrocketed.

Often times the distance between mediocrity and excellence is covered in productivity-destroying land mines.  Finding your way around these land mines is critical.  Knowing which tasks you should do and which tasks you should avoid will help you to become a more successful and productive leader.

What is your Strength Zone, your River?

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