About a decade ago, a colleague said something to me that I haven’t been able to get out of my head.
What you focus on expands.
Those five words have changed so much for me in the last decade.
I think maxim is true, whether you want it to be or not:
If you focus on the negative, guess what you end up seeing? More negative.
If you focus on the faults in people, guess what you see? Their faults.
Focus on someone’s strengths and guess what you see? Their strengths.
Second, I believe focus also has power to change your future. Let me give you a few practical examples.
Facebook Engagement. Last month, a few of us decided to focus on the Facebook page of Connexus Church, the church I lead. We had built it a few years ago but truthfully it had been in cruise control for too long. We made a few simple tweaks, began adjusting a few things every day, posting more frequently and referencing it more. We saw a 10 fold spike in traffic in two weeks. All we did was give it a little bit of focus every day. People are engaged, interacting more and the number of likes even grew by 20% in a month.
Weekend Services. After two years of focusing on the financial future of our church (which led to over doubling the amount of money we have available for our future), I decided to refocus our efforts on our weekend services. This one’s a little more ‘organic’ to measure because we never stopped running them and I think our team has always done a great job with them. But I believed if they got more of my focus and our focus they could become even better. I want them to generate that spark that makes them truly irresistible to unchurched and churched people alike. After a month of focus on that, we’ve seen attendance grow, engagement increase, seen a few ‘wow’ moments and have heard more buzz than we’ve heard in a while. This will be a major focus for me in 2013.
This blog. I blog in my spare time — it’s my hobby. And after blogging off and on for five years, in October last year I made a commitment to blogging 2-3 times a week indefinitely moving forward. To keep me motivated, I set a goal: to triple traffic in the next 12 months. In my mind, that was a huge goal. I had no idea how to accomplish it. I started writing regularly and upgraded a few features on the blog. I thought it would take a year to see that growth. To my surprise, blog traffic grew by over 400% between October and December alone. Guess what? I’ve picked a new goal for this year.
All I did in all three cases was choose a focus. When a person focuses on something, it tends to expand.
Before you think this is just a self-help or power of positive thinking spiel, it’s something close to God’s heart too.
Some of you may need to start with a shift in your overall focus:
From you to Christ.
From dwelling on the negative to focusing on the positive.
From suspicion to trust.
From bitterness to forgiveness.
From fear to courage.
What you focus on expands, so you choose. It will make a difference.
Now, a final word for leaders.
And as a leader, you need to choose a focus and get moving. I believe if a leader focuses on 2-5 goals in a given year, he or she can make incredible progress. And what you focus on can change the future of your organization.
What would give the greatest benefit to your organization and life if you focused on it? Here’s a list to get you thinking:
Becoming a stronger communicator
Nurturing the health of your team
Reaching people far from God (because you say it but you don’t do it)
A tactical goal like your web presence, social media strategy or engagement of guests in the foyer on Sundays
Better work-life balance
I have a few overarching goals for the year and keep my overall focus on them. I have some ministry goals, spiritual goals, family goals and personal goals and each will receive dedicated focus this year.
And every few months I’ll shift my focus to accomplish a tactical goal and get some stuck things moving, launch new initiatives or help something that’s just good become (hopefully) great.
You’re the leader. And what you focus on expands.
What are you learning about focus? How has focus (or the lack of it) impacted you?