Imagine if you will a game of tug-of-war. In this imaginary game of strength one end of the rope is held by a group completely focused on the line over which they intend to drag those holding onto the other end. Their opponents on the other hand are a somewhat more flexible group, enjoying the game but also seeing lots of other opportunities for fun going on around them. I wonder who might win this fight?
I am finding the tug-of-war between focus and flexibility a real challenge as my MAP year begins and right now I feel more like the rope than one of those at either end. I desire an arrow point focus on building my new business as a Bucket List coach, at the same time remembering the perspective gained from my GAP year that having the freedom to take advantage of opportunities, trying new things and being true to the upgraded self that emerged over that time needs to be a part of what lies ahead.
May I digress slightly?
Whilst writing I have been asked by a delightful lady and gentleman what the brand of my shirt is and, of course I don’t have a clue. So while they are both looking down the back of my neck for the label and searching for their glasses they comment on the number of people who work on their laptops at cafes. I told them that I am more ‘focused’ when I am away from the house and that I enjoy the ‘flexibility‘ of being able to work anywhere. Then they told me that they still work but get that over with in the mornings and they are free to do as they wish except this was followed by a word that terrifies me… “we have a ‘routine'”. After spending a year specifically trying to avoid routine, the word triggers some fear and resentment. Am I going to backtrack into routine? Do I need to have a routine? In my mind routine doesn’t guarantee focus and it is definitely in opposition to flexibility! Arrgghhh…
I typed those original two words into my personal brain accessory (Google) and wouldn’t you know, there are numerous Scholarly Articles (unlike my blog) on this topic and a load of opinions on the very same challenge… apparently I wasn’t the first to identify the tension between the two. One article that captured my attention is linked below as it introduced a word that resonated and one I feel very comfortable with (more than I do that word routine) and that is ‘awareness’. The ability to stop and survey what is going on around me and being cognisant of the bigger picture. Too focused and I may miss what’s important, being too flexible I may miss what is needed. I confess this balance sounds sensible and is a skill I will need to practice.
So it would seem that I need to move ahead with focus, flexibility and awareness. And perhaps a tincture of routine. Wish me luck!
As far as that imagined tug-of-war game at the start of this blog, I believe it will be a draw or even a failure. If one is too focused on the line they won’t see the tactics of the other team, and if one is too flexible and distracted they won’t be keeping their eye on the line. They both need to be more aware.
Feel free to have a read – https://www.scotthyoung.com/blog/2006/03/22/flexibility-vs-focus/