What Having Focus Really Means


What Is the FOCUS Them

Those with Focus are the high output people in our lives who can readily concentrate for long periods of time with tremendous accuracy and retention.  Being highly structured in their thinking and approach to things, they are able to aim their attention in one direction for hours and hours.  Think of a magnifying glass that channels sunlight into a single, burning point; that is the mind of Focus when set to a specific task.  They naturally stay on track, drill down, and take intentional action to complete every undertaking.  Their ability to dial down external noise and distractions and truly hone in on the task at hand makes them incredibly productive and resourceful.  They may even lose themselves completely in a task, looking dazed afterward.  Folks with Focus are like forces of nature once they get moving and there is an “all in” quality to their thinking.  They remind us about presence.  They remind us that, even as the world fills with distractions, there is still only this moment—the here and now—and that is only place and time where things are achieved.  They show us how to dive in.

Why Should We Care

The life-force of this strength is rooted in vision, trailblazing, and stick-to-itiveness.  People with Focus are efficient, goal centered, and can clearly define where they are heading and why.  They have amazing follow through and can be relied upon to assess the scene, set the course, and take effective action that addresses the situation, concern, or demand.  Most of all, those with this strength have stamina when it comes to getting things done.  That said, they do not do busy work nor do they engage in pursuits with a “we-will-figure-it-out-as-we-go” strategy—they need a plan or a strategy to get going.  Because they are able to work in epic stints, others are freed up to do what they do best, which is especially valuable when it comes to teams and group work.  In that way, people with Focus are amazing at prioritizing and are usually good at navigating their own mental architecture.  Perhaps one of the greatest aspects of this strength is grit, folks generally embody a level of perseverance and determination that others admire and, at times, are intimidated by.  They teach us how to make a plan, push forward through slumps, and to keep going to the end.

Ten Things to Know About People with FOCUS

1. Motivation. Folks with Focus need to have a clear objective or purpose, in the absence of one they can feel aimless, weary, depressed, and even hopeless.

2. Intensity. They can be really enthusiastic and fired up about projects, plans, and whatever is on their slate—especially when they’ve mapped out a game plan.  Don’t be surprised if they suddenly spring into action and become seemingly unstoppable.

3. Joys. Their powers of concentration extend into all areas of their lives.  They are generally fond of activities that they can get lost in or that require a certain level of precision and attention—like building scale models, solving puzzles, researching, playing music, or developing a specific skill.

4. Impatience. They may be very adamant about staying the course, this is because of their intuitive vision and strategic ability to know the next steps and how the pieces all connect.  They will likely be irritated with any setbacks, pushback, or added challenges.

5. Solo. Because they are able to tune out the world and focus for hours, they are able to spend long periods of time alone.  In fact, they might not even notice as people come and go.

6. Time. The way that they experience time might be different from the rest of us.  Open-ended events in their lives might be an overwhelming purgatory for them.  While tight deadlines might actually light them up.  They prefer to know the plan in advance as well as the time frame.

7. Self-Care. They may get so involved in their work or pursuits that they forget to do the basics, like sleep, eat, stretch, and drink water.  They may also be prone to taking short cuts in these areas too, like using caffeine in lieu of sleep or eating fast food on the go.

8. Blinders. They might get so firmly set on a path that they cannot see that the dynamic has changed or the elements have shifted.  Generally, it’s okay to check-in with them and bring new information to their awareness.

9. Relaxing. Learning how to slow down and enjoy an unstructured day might not come naturally.  Developing ways of relaxing can be an art for them and they may prefer to do so with some structure or with a goal in mind—like, a one-hour yoga class, or developing a specific set of skills.  They may also be completists, preferring to enjoy things in series or whole (i.e. reading all the books of a given author or owning all the music of a certain artist).

10. Love. People with Focus are likely drawn to high-achieving people who can operate at their level.  The idea of settling down does not frighten them, but they like to know that their vision will not be coopted or interrupted.  They like to know the plan and stick to it.  Autonomy is key to their sense of self and they will likely admire the independent qualities of others.Zach_Headshot_Edits (4 of 23)

Zach Carlsen is the grateful lead blogger at StrengthsLife.com

His strengths of Ideation, Connectedness, Input, Strategic, and Empathy have taken him all over the world.  He is an inventor, athlete, joyous wanderer/wonderer, translator, poet, and Gallup Certified Strengths Coach.

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