What is our Focus? It sounds like it’s about planning our future, but it’s actually one of the greatest tools for helping our present.
I’ve talked with a large number of students, whether straight out of high school or entering uni now as "mature age". I’d say there’s a fair few of us who have trembled as we admitted that we didn’t actually know what we wanted to do when we grow up — even amongst those students who have already, at least age-wise, grown up. There can be a great deal of pressure that we feel building on our shoulders to know exactly what our “final career” is. For many, the growing individualism and humanism in our Western culture has promised us complete control over our destiny. Unfortunately, in reality, this can bring more anxiety than excitement if we don’t feel like that destiny is clear. What I’d like to offer in this article is an alternate technique to the vision board or the 5-year plan, where you don’t need to know exactly where you’re headed, but can still be effectively heading somewhere.
Now, I better give you a little bit of my background for this one. I am currently studying my second degree, alongside already working in one of the industries I am aiming for. I apologize for the vagueness here, but the only thing you need to know for this article is that I have been there. I wish I could give you one simple trick to activate visions of your destiny unfolding in front of you, but the truth is it really doesn’t work that way.
However, one technique that I have found works very effectively over the years is to develop a Focus. And yes, I am going to capitalize that — I really want you to remember it.
Now, what I am not going to do is tell you that finding your “One True Focus” is somehow imbued with magical powers that will shift the entire universe into becoming your manservant butler. All I mean by Focus is making it clear to yourself what single thing or few things are most important for you to spend your time towards. You would already be finding that your uni + work + social + personal lives can have you whipped up into a hurricane of too many things to do. If you’ve been fortunate and have enough opportunities coming at you, you might’ve noticed you’re now being thrown by that hurricane towards the Grand Canyon of Burnout. By developing a Focus, and really getting to know it, it actually makes it much clearer to you to know what to say yes to and what to say no to. It helps keep you using your limited energies towards that Focus, and stops you from diffusing your energy in too many directions.
Now, you’ve come up with your Focus, so everything should click into place right? Not straight away, but yeah actually — slowly over time. What it means is that you now have one of the boons praised in the brand and marketing communities: a clarity of message. But you’re not a product to be sold right? You can’t be pigeon-holed into a box, man? Totally true — and it would be unwise to see yourself that simply. But by you being clear with yourself on what you are Focusing your time on, it will also start to become clear to other people. They will slowly start to see you as the Writing Person or the Website Person or the Dolphin High-Fashion Engineer Person. And then every time an opportunity comes up in their world requiring someone with that Focus, they will think of you.
You’re welcome to take the idea of a Focus or leave it. I don’t mind. It has personally helped me hugely over the years, and is only helping me more as time goes on. Though if you do happen to know a Dolphin High-Fashion Engineer Person, please get them to reach out.