Focus

July 17, 2018

By: Chris Powers

Focus

One of my best friends told me years ago “Be stubborn about your vision, and flexible in how you get there.” In today’s fast-paced world – it can seem impossible to predict where we will be in 5 years, much less 50 years. I believe all great companies & people have an idea of where they are destined to end up. What guides that idea is FOCUS. If you stopped reading here, my underlying message is, “The best companies and people find value in staying focused, therefore making it easier.”

As Fort Capital has grown and achieved success along the way, the need to remain focused has intensified. I think that can be said for all successful businesses. Success breeds options or as we say “shiny objects” that can derail you quickly. One of those options is always the option to stay the course and keep getting better and better at a few things rather than become average at a lot of things. The best companies and leaders in the world are the ones who find value in staying focused. In my opinion it is easier said than done, staying focused is f**king hard! Technology, the internet, the constant sources of information can create a lot of distractions and noise if you allow it.

I am the first to admit that I have to focus on staying focused. The difference between me today and me five years ago is that I recognize the power of staying focused. I am far from perfect – let me make that super clear. Having said that, I am now more than ever hyperaware that staying focused and having the courage/belief in saying “no” is ultimately keeping myself and our team on track for that big “YES”. Filling up your plate with distractions or “shiny objects” takes you out of practice and hence, not prepared for game time.

I have been a victim of trying to do too much. It is overwhelming, it is defeating, and it can quickly feel like you’re 3rd or 4th place in everything you’re trying to do. There is a reason why the #1 company seems to always be in the right spot at the right time, or innovate at the right time, or pivot at the right time – it’s because they are in the game practicing harder than anyone, so when it is time to play in the Super Bowl, they are always ready. That comes back to focus.

The goal is to build Fort Capital into a world-class investment company with amazing people working on amazing investment ideas. To do that, we value focusing on work that maximizes our time and our returns to investors. We are now hyper aware of making unfruitful decisions that will lead to a heavy workload that yields little value. We are focused on developing our team to the be the best they can be and are intentional with decisions about how we spend our time.

If you’re reading this and feel that you’re losing focus, now is the time to write down your vision/goals and the things you need to be doing at the GREATEST level to get there. Be focused on the people you want to work with, the customer, the market, the risks, the opportunities, etc. Everything else is noise. Tiger Woods was the best golfer of all time because he relentlessly practiced his game, he knew he wanted to be the best, and when it was time to play on the big stage, he was the most physically and mentally prepared. Those that hold the #1 position in any field of work always practice harder than anyone else and even more importantly than that, they know exactly what to practice. They are focused.

– Chris Powers Jr.