Focus is powerful. We already know this.
Like all powerful forces, focus possesses a duality. Focus on the right thing, and you can accomplish more than you ever thought possible; focus on the wrong thing, and you could ruin your relationships and your life.
Proper focus requires awareness
After I wrote my post about focus, a friend of mine remarked, “but what if I focus on the wrong thing? I could waste so much time and effort focusing on the wrong thing that it could hurt my business.”
That’s why it’s important for you to not only develop your ability to focus when you need to, but to develop criteria by which you will decide where you should direct your focus.
Doing this requires a skill that compliments focus– awareness.
Awareness is the ability to see the big picture in any given situation. Awareness will give you the ability to properly apply your focus where it is needed most.
You can’t walk through life with blinders on and say that you’re just “focused.” Awareness prevents your focus from being about shutting everything out, and makes it about choosing the right thing.
Hitting a baseball as metaphor
It has been said that successfully hitting a baseball is one of the most difficult things a person can do in all of sports. Ted Williams was one of the best to ever do it.
Ted Williams claimed that he could literally see every individual stitch on a baseball as it left the pitcher’s hand at 80+ miles per hour in his direction. I have no idea if that is true; but one thing is certain– Ted Williams was a master at being able to focus.
Part of his success in baseball was his ability to use his awareness of the larger game of baseball to properly focus on his task at that moment — hitting a baseball.
With every pitch that he faced, Williams had to be aware of the situation within the game. His larger awareness of things like pitch count, runners on base, tendencies of the pitcher he was facing, etc. gave him the ability to focus properly on successfully hitting the ball. He knew what pitches to look for, he knew which ones to ignore. He knew this before the ball ever left the pitcher’s hand. That awareness made his focus unsurpassed. Ultimately, it made him one of the most successful hitters of all-time.
How will you apply your awareness and focus?
The trick for you, is to use your awareness to evaluate your personal situation so that you can apply your focus in the most effective manner. This is true in every situation.
How aware are you of your particular market?
Are you aware enough that you know which client demographic should hold your focus?
How aware are you of your own strengths and weaknesses?
Do you know which weaknesses need your focus to improve?
Do you know which strengths are most valuable to you?
How aware are you of the larger industry?
Do you know which needs aren’t being met in your market place by your competitors?
Do you know where you can focus to gain a competitive advantage?
These are just a few ways you can use your awareness and focus. There are countless others. No matter what the situation, business or personal, there are ways that you can apply awareness and focus in order to move you closer to your desired outcome.
What situations can you think of, or what situations have you encountered already, where you used awareness and focus to achieve success?