The Importance of Focus

Warren Buffett and Bill Gates were both asked one time about what was most important to their success in life. They both said the same word- “Focus.”

It’s not just businesspeople who think that, though. Many of the world’s greatest athletes, statesmen, thinkers, and scientists all exhibit the critical trait of focus in pursuing their dreams and ambitions.

Here in the MBA program at Fisher, there are SO many opportunities and things to do, including:

  • Classes with top professors
  • Community Service
  • Studying/Homework
  • Sporting Events
  • Going to company info sessions
  • Networking
  • Campus Organizations
  • Core Team Meetings
  • Career Fairs

Throw into the mix some time to sleep, eat, travel to/from school, write emails, pursue your career, encourage others, and hang out with a significant other/friends, and your time soon becomes full to overflowing!

With that in mind, probably the biggest lesson I have learned thus far while here at Fisher is the importance of utilizing my limited time (only 168 hours a week!) to focus on my long-term goals. That means I say “no” or “not right now” to many amazing opportunities in order to pour my energy into the areas I consider critical for long-term success.

In my opinion, focus at Fisher means:

  • Know why you are getting involved in an activity; don’t just do it because everyone else is
  • Spend time conducting several informational interviews with people in your field of career interest; that is the best way I have found to learn
  • Go above and beyond in the classes that are critical to success in your career field
  • Be wary of overcommitting; better to be excellent in a few areas than to spread yourself too thin and burn yourself out
  • Figure out the field you want to go into as soon as you can; that helps everything

I have by no means figured this “MBA life” out, but staying focused on the long-term has helped me find a balance during this intense time. I am able to pursue my career and learn in class, getting more rest (albeit not as much as most people not in an MBA program) than many of my classmates, as well as getting to still spend quality time with my wife. (At places like Piada… oh so good…)

Stress? We don’t need no stinkin’ stress!

Even MBA students have rough days.

All in all, being a full time student, in my opinion, is far less stressful than working.  You are only responsible for managing your own work, you don’t deal with customer issues, and your schedule tends to be more flexible, which is a benefit that everyone can appreciate.  But, even in that environment, stress can rear its ugly head.

So just like in the “real world,” it’s a good idea to know what helps you make it through those stressful times.  It’s different for every person.  And very often it’s different for the same person based on the situation. I know people that thrive on being with friends and those that need some quiet time to regroup.  I myself turn to junk food (I love cake), while I have friends that find themselves looking to healthy food options that make them feel better.  My sister sweats away her stress at yoga, kickboxing, running, and other forms of exercise, but my mother turns to Lifetime movies to take her mind off her own stress (apparently by focusing on the dramatic life issues of those poor people in the Lifetime movies).

And I have Einstein.  Einstein never interrupts me when I complain, he doesn’t judge me if I choose not to make the bed, and he certainly doesn’t give me a hard time about my food choices because that dog will eat anything from fresh vegetables to frosting.

Think about what brings you joy and be prepared to have those options available to you during school (or anytime, for that matter)!  Life, after all, is all about balance…. right?



Taking a nap with Einstein