It’s important that we don’t get so caught up in where we are going that we forget where we are. It is equally important that we don’t get caught up in where we are that we forget about where we are going.
Are you Awareness driven, or Focus driven?
Sometimes we think of awareness and focus as being very similar. In fact they are opposites, and both are necessary. One is centralized or concentrated, the other outwardly distributed.
Awareness and focus are both important factors in our success. It would be great if we all had a natural balance of the two, but we don’t. That puts us at odds with each other, or does it?
The human brain is an incredible creation, but one thing it doesn’t do so well is see the big picture and see the details at the same time. We all have a tendency toward one, or the other, but not both. The eye can only focus on one thing at a time. It can roam around taking smaller snapshots of information from all over, in a broad sense, or it can stay focused in the same area to get a deeper understanding of what it is looking at.
People tend to see that way too, but we also learn to grow, socialize and communicate similarly. We are always seeking to expand our awareness of what is around us, or deepen our understanding of what is in front of us. Awareness driven people like to take complex ideas and simplify them to help ‘the many’ gain awareness and understanding. Focused driven people like to add more details for a deeper level of understanding for ‘the few’ to gleem insight.
We all do both at times, but lean one way most of the time. Some people become a jack of all trades and master of none, yet others may be able to play Mozart, but struggle to tie their shoes.
Imagine a scenario where two individuals were asked to put ten puzzles together, and they only have one hour to finish. These puzzles are not extremely difficult but not likely to be completed in a single hour by the average person.
An awareness driven person may approach this task in a much different manner than a focus driven person. He would look at the task; determine that finishing the project is the most important desired result. After all they were given an hour TO FINISH! He quickly figures out that there is 60 minutes to work with, ten puzzles so that gives him approximately six minutes for each puzzle. After 60 minutes or so he has all ten mostly completed but none of them fully completed. He walks away fairly satisfied knowing that all ten puzzles look pretty good. He can still recognize the intended pictures from the boxes even though there are several gaps. “Git r done!”
The focus driven person takes a different approach. She takes a good look at the picture on the box of the first puzzle to know what the outcome needs to look like. She begins putting the puzzle together making sure she uses the pattern of corners first, edges second and then looks for identifiable patterns. She carefully searches for the right piece, finds it then puts it in its rightful place. With 20 minutes left, anxiety increases, she picks up her pace and pushes through completing 3 more puzzles before she runs out of time. She looks at her six completed puzzles and is quite pleased. She got six out of ten puzzles fully completed exactly as the boxes suggest. “If you are not going to do it right, don’t do it at all”, she thinks.
What if each of their work is shown to the other to observe and comment on? You can guess the criticism that may come from those evaluations as they view each other’s work from a different lens. “You didn’t even start four of them!”, “Well you didn’t finish any of them!”
In the leadership world we find these seemingly opposing perspectives play out all the time. Some people value efficiency; some are high on details and accuracy. Some find satisfaction in covering more ground and others by covering better ground. Some put a high value on time or relationships. Others put a higher value on money or influence, while yet others seek excellence or strategy.
We can cause a disconnect when we fail to appreciate other people’s perspective, or if we believe that our way of thinking is more viable than others. By nature we all tend to think this way sometimes. It takes intentional effort, and humility to consider that others may have something specific to offer that we don’t (Cain and Abel). It also takes humility to accept that our perspective may be inferior compared to another.
“It takes intentional effort, and humility to consider that others may have something to offer that we don’t. It also takes humility to accept that our perspective may be inferior compared to another.”
One Body with Many Members
1Co 12:14-18 NIV Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many. Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be.
When we choose to see awareness and focus not just as opposing views, but also as complimentary views, we may learn that we actually CANNOT get along WITHOUT each other. We complete each other. Unless we come to this awareness we will never understand the importance of interdependence and the beauty of productive, relational and spiritual harmony, as God intended it to be.