Who Said Singular Focus Works Better Than Eclecticism?
It isn't yet noon, and I have already had the privilege of witnessing four seasons in a day. In the early morning the heat was sweltering and humid. An hour later the winds picked up and the trees swayed and bent – spilling leaves everywhere. Then came the clouds. At first they were white. Fairly quickly they transformed into a grey and heavy blanket covering as far as the eye can see. When the sky was a hundred percent overcast, the electric thunderstorm began. Like a rock concert, the sky lit up with lightning. Thunder banged and boomed.
Then came the hail.
Then came the rain.
Then came the sun again.
This spectacle got me thinking – if the natural course of things allows the elements to transform themselves over the course of one morning into extreme states of being, why should the same not be applied to us humans. Who said we have to sit in front of the same spreadsheet the whole day? Who said we have to be only one profession at a time? Who said we can't diversify our focus and be absolutely eclectic?
It would seem that the vast majority of professionals would advise that focus trumps eclecticism – know who you are, choose how to represent yourself, and establish clear and coherent channels based on this vision. But I have an ongoing internal debate about the rightness and wrongness of this statement. Thing is, singular focus has never worked well for me. Yes, I have made every effort to hone in to two specific professional ventures: writing and change management consulting, but I believe sincerely, that each activity –although they are vastly different from each other – complements the other. Moreover, the time that I spend on each one: despite the fact that they vary not only in skill sets and proficiency, but also left side/right side of the brain – motivates me to be productive and to move things forward. So, yes, in one day I will do writing, book promotion, and some illustrating. I will also plan for my discussion group on change management, read an academic article and compile a discussion sheet for a resource that I am designing. Switching things up is refreshing and it keeps me very energised.
So my new personal definition for professional singular focus is to 'hone in with clarity, commitment and concentration to the activity on hand, whatever that may be'. However, I am not signing off on that definition just yet. After all, can the mind really stayed focus solely on one thing at a time? I am not so sure . . .