Autofocus used to bug me. I’d take a picture of two people standing side-by-side, and invariably the camera would capture the detail of the plant centered behind them and blur their faces.
I eventually learned the trick of autofocus, but it still bothered me. The auto feature distracted me from my desired focus of attention.
Now, more than ever, distractions abound. Our attention gets pulled in several directions every minute. Yet, research and practical experience show time again that our ability to focus – to pay attention in the right way, at the right time – is critical for success.
Focus not only directs our attention, it also brings things into clear view. As the detail sharpens, we discern where to invest our time, our energy, even our very lives. Clarity draws us toward our center.
Our organizations have a center – it’s usually captured in the mission statement. Each of us also has something inside that knows when we’re in the center – when we’re on the beam or off the beam. In accepting that knowledge and pursuing that center, we find our passion, our bliss, our happiness.
Allowing ourselves this journey requires a self-acceptance that allows for the mistakes we’ll make along the way. It requires courage as we put ourselves out there and learn in public. And it requires a focus gained from self-reflection (i.e., set manually) rather than dictated from outside ourselves (i.e., autofocus).
P.S. Here’s a brief clip of Daniel Goleman speaking on focus – watch clip