The Downside of Focus

Normally we associate the ability to focus with success and productivity, but can it trigger bouts of doubt and a hit to our confidence?

The simple answer is “Yes,” it can.


A business owner didn’t see a way to differentiate his offerings from his competitors’ offerings in a way that potential customers valued. The doubt and anxiety he was experiencing were evident in his facial expression and demeanor.

To him the situation seemed hopeless.

Wrong focus

After just a couple of questions it became obvious that his problem was that he was focusing on the wrong market. Even though the approach to helping customers was very similar to that of his competitors, he, like they, were targeting customers just entering the field.

This business owner’s greatest joy and success were in helping established businesses in the industry enjoy even greater success. The change was palpable. You could see his confidence return in both his facial expressions and demeanor. A simple shift in focus enabled this person to, within seconds, regain the confidence and passion he once felt.

For you

The next time that you’re feeling inadequate, that what you have to offer is no better than what others’ offer, ask yourself “Am I focusing on the right market?”

Odds are good that you’re perception of who will value your skills the most, who will benefit most from your knowledge and creativity, who will be the most fun to work with, aren’t the people you’re targeting. This is as true for those of you seeking employment as it is for business owners.

The wrong focus, pursuing opportunities that don’t highlight your skills, abilities and passion, can be devastating to your confidence. By quickly converting your doubts into the question “Am I targeting the right market?” you can regain the confidence and passion you need to succeed in whatever you choose to do.

For our kids

As you see the kids in your life experiencing doubts and fears about their ability to compete, as you see them denigrating their skills and abilities, ask them “Are you focusing on the right market for what you have to offer?”

By shifting their focus from bad comparisons to more productive ones, you can help them quickly recover the confidence and passion they once possessed. Oh, and don’t forget to live this message. As kids see you use this simple technique to fortify your confidence, they’re more likely to adopt this behavior as well.

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