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I had the opportunity to do some archery yesterday at one of the local summer camps as I was picking up my daughter. As it was the last day of camp, the instructors invited parents to give it a try.

One interesting thing I noticed was that among the other parents who were trying it out, most focused either solely on the process of operating a bow and arrow, or focused solely on the goal of trying to hit the target downrange.

The people who focused solely on the goal and ignored the process fared most poorly. Some of them didn’t even get their arrows to the target, falling short by half.

Those who focused on the process were able to get the mechanics of operating a bow and arrow down reasonably well, but they still missed the target more often than not.

In the practice of kyudo, the Zen art of archery, it is often said that the archer, the bow, the arrow, and the target must become one, that there must be no distinction. This is a spiritual way of saying that you have to devote a little bit of focus to everything in order to make it all work together, that no one part is more important than another. If you lack focus in any area, things will not work as well as they should.

Making sure that your form is good, making sure that your aim is good, making sure that your body is doing what it is supposed be doing, making sure that you know where the target is – all of these are parts of giving attention to everything that you need to pay attention to in order to ultimately hit the target consistently.

Think about how this applies to your business and marketing. If you focus solely on the process of marketing, doing stuff with no idea what your goals are, chances are you’re going to not hit those goals (if they exist). On the other hand, if you obsess over your metrics and numbers and key performance indicators without actually paying attention to the quality of the work that you’re doing, you also miss the mark.

It is only when you have that blend of attention from the beginning of the process to the goal that will generate the results that you want.

(and in case you were wondering, it had been decades since I last picked up a bow and arrow. Thankfully, years of martial arts experience meant that I acquitted myself honorably, hitting the target every time, if not a bullseye.)


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