Thursday, January 30, 2014

Focusing on Focus

Earlier this week, I shared some thoughts about building a visual business plan starting with a theme.  One of my theme words is Focus. And I am here today to argue that it should be one of your words as well.

Like many of you, I'm a creative type that has lots of ideas always in my head.  And if your Facebook Status is true, then we also share insomnia.  Can you relate to this?:


I admit that I would wonder about that question and then Google penguins in the middle of the night. Then I would link to ice caps melting which would lead me the dangers of Methane Gas and then the Apocalypse.  Ugh! Now I am really up all night. If you saw the range of  seemingly random topics on my I-Pad search list, you would either decide that I am very interesting or have a possible personality disorder. It's a toss-up.

Thinking about my theme word came with its own anxiety to keep me up at night.  What if I chose poorly and was stuck with building my year around, say, Random Sensitivity ?-What does that even mean?  Would my actions be about going up to various people and saying "I'm sorry" or "Are you OK?"

Thankfully the Universe offered me a clear (dare I say Focused) answer.  A conversation with some finisher friends started it.  After listening to ideas about many ways to improve their business, my advice was to Focus on the two things I thought were the most viable.  Then I had two messaging conversations on Facebook.  Again, what stood out for me was too many roads and no clear direction.

Then I was hit over the head with the "pay attention" hammer. A program came on with the Author, Daniel Goleman. Goleman wrote a best-seller on the importance of Emotional Intelligence years ago that I had found interesting and educational.  His new book is about....wait for it......

                        "Focus. The Hidden Driver of Excellence."

Well, that settled that.  My destiny this year is to Focus.  And maybe part of my job is to help you Focus as well. Is this you when it comes to planning, especially business planning?

I've enjoyed participating in a Facebook Group on Faux Finishing Business started by Colorado Artist, Carol Prendergast.  She asked a salient question on the forum, " What is your weakness?"  And several artists answered:

"Better records."                "More Marketing"        "Improved Bidding"           
"I need to add (Cabinets, Canvas, Mural, etc...) to fit my market niche better."

Let's re-frame the original question from "What is your weakness" to "What should you Focus on?"

Not only do you have a theme but you have a goal:

Problem                                                                                                  Goal      
Disorganized                                     FOCUS                Better Time Management
                                                                                       Organized Record Keeping
                                                                                       More efficient jobs

Lack of marketing                              FOCUS               More Consults
                                                                                        Diverse Clients
                                                                                        Better Jobs

Job Bidding                                       FOCUS                Confident Pricing
                                                                                        More income

Finding a niche                                 FOCUS                 Less Competition
                                                                                        Personal Fulfillment
                                                                                        Career Longevity


Goleman's book has a nice breakdown of Focus that I think is applicable to creating a Focused Visual Business Plan and a good way to start thinking about how FOCUS might be just what you need.


This is personal awareness.  Are you honest about your strengths and areas for improvement?  Are you good at self management and what are things you can do personally to improve your ability to meet a goal?  How does your business make you feel and what can you do to keep that feeling or to change it?


This is about working with other people. How would you rate yourself in communicating with others?  Do you need to FOCUS on how you motivate, persuade, or negotiate with your workers, clients, or contacts? Does your business effect your relationships with family and friends?


This is how you fit into the Big Picture.  Do you understand your industry trends?  What is the economic situation in your city?  Are you making productive connections in larger markets?  An outer focus helps you with long-term strategies.

So as you ponder your theme word/s for your BIG IDEA book, try putting Focus or Focused in there.
                          If you want JOY, just think what FOCUSED JOY could bring you.
                          Want to build your business?  How about Focused Growth?
                          Ready to start something new? You need Confident Focus!
You can still be Playful, Courageous, Delighted, Successful, or Grateful.  I'm just encouraging you to be more deliberate about it!


  1. Rebecca, thanks for this. I may have lost focus for a second in the middle but I snapped back.
    I think it's interesting hearing how similar finishers are all like this, doing one thing after another can't stop now, too many ideas, where to start.... etc.
    I am going to try to focus.

  2. First- Thanks for reading. Because of our studio I get to talk personally with finishers at varying stages in their careers. Although the situations may vary there is a common theme of being scattered. Too many ideas. Creative people tend to think that way. I try to encourage anyone to start with 1-2 ideas!

  3. I want to commend you on such a great blog. First your work is stunningly beautiful. As far as a business plan goes ... remember one of your key skills is adapting to the context you're working in. That is THE reason your work is suberb. You can't plan for every conceivable option you can potentially face in business. So good luck in your planning, but don't believe for one second that the gaps are flaws. That would be like saying your glitter application was flawed because you didn't apply it to the whole wall. Maybe. It depends. Stay free. Stay beautiful. Know you rock!