I’ve come to believe through my studies and my life experiences the principle of “what we focus on expands.” For example, when we put on a multicolored dress or shirt, with blues, reds, purples, white, etc., and then add red jewelry or a red tie, the red in the fabric really seems to stand out more than the other colors – we notice the red more – even though the other colors are still there. Or, you know how when you are thinking about buying a new car – or maybe just bought one – that particular car just seems to show up everywhere – everyone is now driving that silver Acura. Well, we notice all those cars because that’s where we are focusing.
To me, it’s like that in life, and business, too. When we focus on what we want, or what feels good, or on feeling happy, we actually create more of that in our lives and in the world. When I focus on how devoted and loyal my little dog, Gigi, is – how she is so excited to see me when I come home that she can’t even keep her feet on the ground – and her little nubby tail looks like it must have a set of new batteries – or how she just knows when I’m feeling sad and settles in my lap with snuggles and kisses – it makes it much easier to overlook the one or two times a week that she mistakes the new rug in my bathroom for the front lawn… It feels so much better to me (and probably to Gigi) that I focus on what I love about her rather than the little frustrations that she causes – and let’s face it – we all cause little frustrations in each other’s worlds from time to time.
So how does this show up in our business-lives?
This concept of what we focus on expanding is very applicable here as well. When you focus on the good work that your employees do, you tend to see more and get more good work. How powerful is it to recognize and motivate employees by catching them doing “good?” We have probably all had a boss (or maybe a parent or teacher) who always focused on what was wrong – or the 2 questions we missed rather than the 98 we got right. Not to say that we don’t need to learn from mistakes or that you should minimize the importance of working towards improvement, but from this view of what we focus on expanding, you can teach from a different perspective. You can address the areas where additional training or experience may be needed, thus expanding your own level headed, Strategic-Business-Owner mindset.
This idea of what we focus on expands is certainly applicable in customer service and in growing your client-base as well. When you focus on the types of customers you love working with and who you feel you are able to serve well, that creates space for more of these ideal clients to show up. It also helps form the basis of your marketing plan – to attract more of these ideal clients. What are some ways to create more business through your interactions with clients you love to serve? Referrals, testimonials, and repeat business are some examples that come to mind. As humans we tend to do better work when we are having fun, enjoying ourselves and focusing on the good, and our clients likely feel the same. Perhaps, with this mindset, you can also see the good in the clients you already have, where maybe you have previously noticed less-than-ideal traits, if you know what I mean!
We have discussed the value of focusing on what we want to expand as relates to personal lives, employees and customers. Let’s look at one last area of importance. What would it look like to focus on expanding your desired leadership style or traits? What traits do you admire in a leader? Which leaders do you admire? Who are your role models? I challenge you write down a few traits that you admire or that your role models embody. With these characteristics in mind, you are now ready to focus on expanding them in yourself. Start by noticing where you currently demonstrate these characteristics and then look for other opportunities to incorporate them in to your daily routines. Take a look at any additional support that may help – classes, training, books to read, places to practice, or working with an outside professional.
So for 2017, what do you want to expand? What shall you focus on, practice and perfect to create an amazing year?