Seth Godin has a great post today about how, during bad times, we tend to focus on one thing–what is bad. He suggests that our business life is like a 4×4 grid. We have 16 different areas of focus such as location, reputation, staff etc. If this is a personal grid it might be your resume, your network, your skill set, etc.
When things get bad in one area, we tend to focus on just that one area to the detriment of everything else. He puts it this way…
When something is going wrong, when the economy is out of sync, we panic. We obsess about just one of the sixteen boxes and ignore the others. We talk ourselves into hysteria about how, “none of our customers have any money,” or, “in this bleak economy, we’ll never make a sale.” Instead of using the relative downtime to build up the other 15 boxes, we just sit in the corner, keening, worrying about that one box that’s out of whack.
Boy is this ever great advice. It’s so easy to just focus on the negative–why things can’t possibly work, get better, or recover–that we lose sight of everything else.
Those other 15 boxes may not be affected at all. Why not focus on them instead of the one with trouble–build them up–and be just that much farther ahead.
He puts the consequences this way…
The problem with whining is this: human beings like to be right. If you persuade yourself and your friends that times are really tough and that you’re bound to fail, you’ll probably do the things you need to do to make that true in the long run.
Maybe today is the time to Focus on Fifteen!