Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Focus on your sphere of influence

You know that part on "The Mask of Zorro" where Anthony Hopkins teaches Antonio Banderas to focus only on what's in his immediate circle? British Tony tells Spanish Tony that when he's ready to meet his ultimate objective, it will appear in his circle to be dealt with? . . . yeah that was a good part.

Anyway, I feel like my work life has kind of been like that. In 2006, I took on some new responsibilities at work, and I really wanted to "conquer the world" (the world of hot applied joint and crack sealants anyway). . . And that's exactly what I tried to do. I helped reorganize everyone's territory; I helped get a few new reps hired (we still have 2 of the 3); I went to China a few times to get stuff rolling there, and I started trying to get some dealers and various business partnerships going around the nation. etc. etc. etc. I was chasing everything everywhere. I wanted to do it all.

Well, it didn't work out so hot. My China partners' business thinned out, none of my potential dealer partners exploded like I hoped, and nothing really seemed to work out great. I think it was because I didn't give any of these ventures the appropriate focus they each needed. By the end of last year, I felt kind of like where Antonio B. was in Zorro when Anthony H. found him-- just kinda a loser.

So at the start of this year, I drew my circles and started focusing on smaller areas. In January, I had one single goal: to effectively manage my responsibilities with one particular account. I did well there, and the account blossomed. . .and a couple other good things happened that month, as well. The next month, the circle got a little bigger. This month, it has exploded. . .Canada, Venezuela, Ukraine, China . . . I've got business coming to me from all these places--I mean, it's coming to me rather than my having to go chase it. Furthermore, my U.S. dealer network seems to be developing itself in a similar fashion. I focus diligently on what I've got, and the new stuff seems to make its way into my view when I need to handle it.

I'm not saying it's all just "happening". I've been working darn hard, but I've decided to work and focus ONLY on the things I know I can handle. As I have done so, I have been able to handle more and more, and the things that are in my immediate view and focus seem to be getting bigger and broader.

The cool thing is I'm actually able to HANDLE all that's coming my way. It's really fun. I hope I can keep it up.

I share this. . .NOT to brag about the "flow" of the 'ebb and flow' of my business, but to point out a principle I hope to remember: if you focus on what's right in front of you, and do it well, you will eventually have the opportunity to do ALL the things you are meant to do. . . and that opportunity will come when you're prepared to do those things well.

Circles, baby! It's all about focusing on what's in your sphere.

5 comments:

James said...

Glad to hear your China business is coming back. I need some golf clubs.

Andrea said...

Words of wisdom we could all live by...

Lhone said...

Any post about Antonio is a good post...

I love that movie, and I love that part. So wise.

Lhone said...

ps. how come james always comments on your blog, and NEVER on mine!

James said...

I think you know, Lisa.