Stay Focused On Your Target

I had a friend of mine that worked for a trading company. It was a medium sized trading company, and their mission statement was to be the biggest trading company in the world. They had set that goal several years ago, and had been steadily growing to that end. However, with the recent economic troubles, their market share had been slipping, and they were in danger of not achieving their target. My friend that worked there worked in the new accounts department. His job was to find foreign markets for the products that they were importing from other countries. They had certain requirements for each distributor, and sometimes it took a while to find out the information that was required.

They had the company goal written on a large poster. They spent a lot of money on a graphic artist to come up with a symbol of their future goal. It was a combination of a graphical representation of the market share they were after, combined with the symbol for the company as chosen by their founder a over a hundred years ago. It was a very impressive emblem that everyone was required to have in their office. My friend had his hanging over his desk, so that he would see it when he first came in every morning.

He also kept a large white board in front of his desk, as sometimes they would have meetings. When they would have issues that came up during the meeting he would leave them on the white board, so he could look at them while he worked, sitting behind his desk.

I remember once when was a kid. I went away to summer camp while I was in boy scouts. The way it was set up was that you chose about five or six merit badges that you wanted to get, and then you spent the time working on them while you were at camp. It was important to choose what you wanted before camp, because they learned from experience that if you didn’t choose beforehand, you would just kind of mess around and not really achieve anything. They said that even choosing one thing with confidence was better than choosing a bunch of merit badges that you think you might enjoy getting, only to realize you didn’t really want to get them enough to go through the actions required to actually get them.

One of the ones I chose was archery. It was pretty cool. We had to learn all about the names of all the equipment, all the safety requirements, and you had to score a certain number of points on a regulation archery course. Before doing this we were required to practice a lot of mental visualization. The most important one was to focus on the target above all else. The instructor told us that in order to hit our target, we had to imagine the arrow going straight into the bull’s eye. You had to take several deep breaths before shooting, and then see the arrow hitting the target in your minds eye. Then you had to exhale slowly, pull back the bowstring, and slowly release.

One thing I never thought about was how to adjust for you misses. In order to get enough points to get the merit badge, you didn’t have to hit a bulls eye every time. You could even miss the target completely. So long as you were able to watch where the arrow went, and then adjust your aim accordingly. The instructor told us that it was important to accept every result that we got, and get upset if we missed our target. To simply watch where the arrow went, and adjust our aim accordingly. He said that if we did this, then getting a merit badge in a couple of days would be automatic.

One day my friend had an idea. He switched the placement of the white board, and of the emblem that his company had designed for the goal. He placed the emblem in front of his desk, where he was always looking at it. And after the meetings, he would leave the main issues on the whiteboard as before, but he would roll the white board so it sat behind his desk, where he could turn around and look at it when he needed to remember what problems to move away from. He found that by keeping his problems behind him, and keeping his target in front of him, he found it much easier and much quicker to achieve the company goals.