How to find my focus
how to find my focus?
illustration by Mollie Zachary

I have a lot of interests. I can do a lot of things. And right now, I can’t figure out what the heck I want to focus on.

I dabble in creative direction, art direction, 2D animation, 3D animation, illustration, AR, generative art, drawing, visual effects, editing, and sound design

…also full-stack web development, tool scripting, and general computer science …and writing, teaching, strategizing, business development, marketing, business operations, …oh yeah, and musical instruments: cello (and barely guitar and piano)

Every one of those things (and probably more) has consumed my interest and time. I want to get better at all of them. No wonder I can be overwhelmed.

Why do I want a focus?

It’s exhausting having so many interests. I want to be good at everything but naturally I can’t be the best at anything, because so I’m pulling myself in so many directions. 

I’ll get really into one specific creative skill – say 3D art direction – and dive into it deep for a couple weeks. Pretty soon something else comes along and grabs my attention, like a new animation software, or frame by frame animation, or visual effects, or real life painting. I love learning things but I feel like it prevents me from getting really good at any one thing.

But then I thought, “do I want to be really good at one thing?” If I wanted to pursue a career in the “craft”, I think I would pursue a one thing. If I wanted to be animating on feature films in 10 years, I would dive deep into animation. But I don’t want to be the “do-er” forever. I’m not attached to being the technician

So if my focus shouldn’t be in a specific creative field, what do I focus on?

Where do all my interests align?

A mentor of mine likes to talk about finding your convergence point – the place where your skills, passion, and market needs all converge. I tried to apply this thinking to my interests. What about each of these interests do I really like? Over the past few months, I’ve tried to pay close attention to the common thread in all the things I really enjoy working on. 

The convergence point(s)

I love the creative services industry and I love solving problems and making things more efficient. I love doing things where I see a positive (ideally 3x+) return on investment (my effort).

Armed with this, I thought my focus would be clearly apparent. But I still struggled. Everytime I thought I had the answer, I plunged back into complete doubt and confusion. I had no idea what direction to go. What was wrong?

Am I over-strategizing?

I recently had a very helpful conversation with a friend, Austin Saylor, and he hit me with this: “Just don’t overthink it. Keep doing what you enjoy and share that.” He might be right.

I think there’s always room for strategy in decisions, but I can sometimes over-strategize to the point of paralysis. Maybe it’s just my perfectionism sneaking back into control, wearing a disguise of strategy. I want to do everything right and not waste any time, so I’m trying to figure things out without doing them.

And then…I realized what I should do. 

I realized how to find my focus.

Learn constantly and share with persistence. 

I think if I do this, and pay attention, my focus will find itself.

I’ll keep you updated

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