Mission and Method

by Jim Stovall

Any successful author, speaker, or thought leader in the field of personal development and achievement would tell you that focusing on your goals is a key to success.  While I totally agree with this concept, I want to dedicate this week’s column to clarifying what it means to focus.

Yesterday, I spent quite a bit of my morning talking with a lead homicide detective in a major metropolitan area.  Lest you have any misgivings or concerns, our conversation surrounded me pursuing my profession as a novelist and moviemaker as opposed to him interrogating me in the pursuit of his profession.

This detective has over 30 years of experience and has solved many notable and high-profile cases.  When I asked him about the keys to his success, without hesitating, he told me that focusing on solving the case is imperative; but as we explored it further, he explained that while he is totally focused and committed to solving the crime, he has to avoid being swayed toward any particular suspect or set of clues.  If he were to focus all of his energy toward one suspect or fact in a case, he would eliminate all of the other information and resources at his disposal.

You and I need to do the same in our personal and professional lives.  We must be totally committed to our goals without limiting the realm of possibilities as to how we will get there.  We must never waver from our mission but be totally open to all of the methods that may present themselves.

Every day, new doors of opportunity are opening while others are closing.  This has always been true, but the worldwide explosion in technology and connectivity has accelerated this changing landscape.  I see people today succeeding through new avenues and methodologies that did not exist just a few years ago.  If these people who are currently succeeding become committed exclusively to these new methods, they will inevitably fail on a long-term basis.

As I dictate these words, much of the United States is suffering through a record-breaking heat wave.  If you were to ask anyone affected by this extreme weather about the best way to keep their home or office comfortable, they would invariably tell you that air conditioning is the key to success.  If you immediately implemented air conditioning as the key to successfully creating a comfortable home or workplace, you would achieve the desired results; however, if you became stubborn and steadfast in your conviction that air conditioning is the only way to have a comfortable climate in your home or workplace, you would inevitably be very cold this coming winter.

As you go through your day today, be thankful for the unlimited number of avenues toward success and pursue your mission with passion.

Today’s the day!

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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One thought on “Mission and Method

  1. As someone educated in the last remnants of what I would call “old-school design” in the late 1980s and early 1990s, I am convinced that there is a second part to your theory. Not only are there new avenues and opportunities opening at every turn, there are still many tried and true modes of business, design, and thought that remain very valid in today’s world. And just because windows are opening, doesn’t mean doors are necessarily closing. Instead of looking at the “old ways” in opposition to the “new ways”, we should learn to recognize and apply good principles, regardless of from what era or by what means they have arrived. It’s called being nimble, or flexible, or adaptive, and it usually takes a lot of creativity and effort. But the end result is being able to survive better in an ever-changing, and sometimes very unpredictable, world.