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Going Beyond Talent: 4 Points of Focus

By Maxwell Leadership | February 26, 2013
Going Beyond Talent: 4 Points of Focus

In today’s culture, multi-tasking seems to trump the age of the craft. While multi-tasking can be beneficial, it can also move us away from focusing on what is important.

“Focus does not come naturally to us, yet it is essential for anyone who wants to make the most of his talent. Having talent without focus is like being an octopus on roller skates. You can be sure that there will be plenty of movement, but you won’t know in what direction it will be.”

Focus is difficult. It takes effort, strength and determination to stay focused and achieve goals. However, focus directs your talent. If you narrow your gaze and focus in on a few key things, what once was an octopus on roller skates will now be a determined leader on a single path, full speed ahead.

Today, we’ve compiled a list of the top 4 things to focus on to help you go Beyond Talent.

1. Focus on your strengths.
“Focusing on weaknesses instead of strengths is like having a handful of coins – a few made of pure gold and the rest of tarnished copper – and setting aside the gold coins to spend all your time cleaning and shining the copper ones in the hopes of making them look more valuable. No matter how long you spend on them, they will never be worth what the gold ones are. Go with your greatest assets; don’t waste your time.” 

Don’t let your weaknesses get in the way of you reaching your full potential. Focus on what you do well, and capitalize on that. You are in a position of leadership for a reason. Your strengths helped you get there. Appreciate them and hone them, as they are like gold.

2. Focus on today.
“Just as you should keep your focus off yesterday, you shouldn’t have it on tomorrow. If you’re always thinking about tomorrow, then you’ll never get anything done today.”

As leaders, we need to realize that we cannot change yesterday. We also cannot count on tomorrow. However, we can choose what we do today. We are in control of the present and the present only. Putting forth effort on what is happening today will give you a better tomorrow.

3. Focus on results.
“Anytime you concentrate on the difficulty of the work at hand instead of its results or rewards, you’ll likely to become discouraged. Dwell on the difficulties too long and you’ll start to develop self-pity instead of self-discipline, and your attention will become scattered instead of focused.”

Each morning when you wake up, you have the opportunity to focus on what you can accomplish that day. By choosing to focus on the results and rewards, your drive to succeed will triumph over the stress and complexity of the tasks at hand. Write down your goals. Then, keep your eyes on the prize.

4. Focus on your priorities.
“If you want to develop your talent, you need to focus. If you’re going to focus, you need to work on knowing what your true priorities are and then following them.” 

Don’t let an overload of information or “to-do’s” hinder you from truly being productive. Be selective where you spend your time and energy. As leaders, we cannot do it all. However, we can and should delegate. Figure out what is most important to you and filter everything you do through your top priorities.

Overall, focus helps direct talent. Without focus, we likely will feel as though we are traveling down multiple paths, without clear vision of our goals. However, when we choose to focus, we have the opportunity to succeed in going beyond our talent.

As a leader, what would you add to the list as a point of focus? Share with us below to enter to win a copy of Beyond Talent, or on Facebook or Twitter using the hashtag #BeyondTalent.


  John C. Maxwell, Beyond Talent, p. 67
  John C. Maxwell, Beyond Talent, p. 80
  John C. Maxwell, Beyond Talent, p. 77
  John C. Maxwell, Beyond Talent, p. 78
  John C. Maxwell, Beyond Talent, p. 79

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