03/20/14

FOCUS. Take a lesson from Nature

Focus. 
It's an essential element of success in business. Yet, by definition entrepreneurs are visionaries, innovators and endless fonts of creativity. Shiny ideas, brimming with possibilities can be hard to resist, especially for people who live for the big picture.  What's an entrepreneur to do?  Madly pursuing too many ideas, disregarding time and energy constraints can lead to a meltdown or disappointing results. To reconcile and balance these two seemingly opposing forces takes finesse and practice. Here are some lessons gleaned from nature to help guide your way!


The successful warrior is an average man with laser like focus. - Bruce Lee


I took a lesson on focus and abundance from a magnolia tree in my front yard which sends forth magnificent seeds every fall. These aren't your ordinary measly brown seeds. Big, bright and red, bearing a striking resemblance to manicured fingernails, you simply can't miss them. Seeing them strewn all over the yard brought home the message that creativity involves abundance. Not every seed should or will become a tree. Pick the most promising ones and FOCUS:

Roots: Know who you are and what you’re trying to accomplish. This is important whether you have a brand-spankin’ new business or an established company.  What are your values? What is your brand all about? What exactly do you hope to accomplish? Take the time to answer these questions, explore the abundant resources available out in the digital landscape.  And if you feel really lost, find an impartial mediator to help guide you. 

Prune: Be ruthless. Once you define your core mission, don’t let idea creep clutter your vision. Just as every seed won’t become a tree, pruning away extraneous branches increases the tree’s vigor and health. It’s easy for new projects, ideas and business to dilute your energies and sap your organizations resources.  Here’s where prioritizing comes in. A favorite mantra when confronted with conflicting goals is to “work closest to cash”. Whether a non-profilt or private company, ultimately we all have to think about revenues.

Patience: This might be the most challenging thing of all. We live in a frantic, fast-paced world. Patience seems to be a relic of the past. We want ideas, implementation and results - now. But true success calls for realism combined with idealism. People have limits, energy knows some bounds, excellence takes commitment. Strategic and gradual phasing in of new ideas to complement your core mission can test the waters without straining the system too much. Seeds don’t become trees overnight, but with patience and judicious planning a seed, no matter how small, can bloom into a sturdy tree that will stand the test of time.

Tell us the best idea you've said no to?