The Power of Primary Focus

There’s so much going on in our lives nowadays. We seem to be bombarded with information from many sources. How do we shut out the unimportant noise ad really focus on our really key goals?

I use a technique that I’ve developed over time. I call it the power of primary focus. This is all about focusing on the one or two key priorities that move your life forwards.

Let me demonstrate how this works by using the example of a football team (for my friends in the US that’s soccer rather than NFL). A football team is made up of 11 players, plus subs, each with a specific role to play in the team.




Each of the three groups have their own primary focus during a game, that when combined create the final outcome.

Goalkeeper and defenders primary focus is to prevent the opposition from scoring

The midfielders primary focus is to be the link between defence and attack. In other words they break up the oppositions attacks and create opportunities for their own team’s attackers to score goals.

So whilst each group within the team have their own primary focus the overall primary focus of the team itself is very simple- to score more goals than the opposition. That’s it as simple as that. You score more goals than the opposition then you win.

The power of primary focus is all about controlling the events that you can control and not the external factors that can end up controlling you. It’s about removing excuses and understanding your role. It’s about changing your thinking to what can I do to influence the outcome?

I’ve used an example of a football team to help explain how this works, however this principle applies across all of life’s experiences.

Take a few moments to think – what’s your primary focus right now?



Sport has the amazing capacity to bring people together, as demonstrated by the response to the recent tragic events in Paris, yet divide people at the same time. Why do we support our team through thick and thin? Why do we despise other teams?

Sport is a mirror of life – we have hopes and aspirations – we have great successes and we have the incredible lows of defeat.
We also have winners, unsung heroes and cheats.
For me, following my team includes the full spectrum of emotions – anticipation, excitement, joy and the pain and anguish of yet another defeat. After each defeat I utter the well worn phrase ‘Never Again’.

But somehow, come the next game, I’m back up there – full of belief that today will be our day. That long awaited win.

And when it is the feeling is as good as it gets!!

All the emotions rolled into one

And we go again……………………..

Getting Back on the Horse

As an avid cricket fan I’ve been watching the recent two match test series between England and New Zealand with interest. An exciting and enthralling battle with highs and lows for both sides, and a fair 1 – 1 series draw in my humble opinion.

But what really caught my attention was the mental approach of the New Zealand team. Having played an exciting and very positive brand of cricket in the first test at Lords only to finally lose pretty comprehensively you might have expected them to approach the second test at Headingly with some apprehension, whilst most English supporters must have been feeling pretty confident of their side’s chances to take a series win. The turning point for England in what’s been a difficult winter perhaps?

Brendon McCullum and his team had other ideas however – taking the match to England from the start on the first morning.

Controlled aggression, teamwork, a strong work ethic and a positive focus throughout. The final ingredient was effective and correct decision making in the heat of the battle. But for me, the one single quality that impressed me was the Kiwi’s unfaltering commitment to their team values and beliefs – positive, attacking cricket with both the bat and the ball. After the crushing first test defeat it could have been easy for them to take a cautious, defensive, defeat-avoiding approach to the second test. But no, they played to their strengths and followed their principles, eventually overcoming that first test defeat by inflicting one of their own on England, thus providing a fitting analogy for getting back on the horse.

As in life, when things get tough – stay positive, stick to your principles and make the right decisions.

You won’t always win, but you’ll win more than you lose!!