Like many of you, I will be heading to the beach this summer...and not a minute too soon! During that trip I will undoubtedly head into the ocean to swim. At some point during that swim I will stop paying attention to where I am at. Minutes later I will look to the shore, not see my umbrella, and not recognize a soul in sight. After a few seconds of being disoriented, I will realize that I am still on the same beach and my family is safely in the same place I left them. It was me who drifted, and I never even realized it was happening.
If you aren't careful, what happens to you in your business is exactly what can happen to you in the ocean. No one chooses to drift. It simply happens when you stop working intentionally to maintain your position. Being intentional is the key to focusing on the right things. When first starting in business, you have to acquire customers, so there is absolute clarity in focusing on marketing. Once you acquire them however, the real challenge begins as operations and personnel are vying for your attention. Unfortunately, it then becomes very easy to confuse being busy with being productive...and therefore focusing on the right things. That is, the right things for your role anyway. Your job is to move the business forward, or hold your position in the market without drifting out of sight.
In truth, it is almost impossible not to drift. It's the complete ignorance of it that gets you in trouble. It would be nice to just get out there and lay peacefully on the raft, but that's not the nature of the ocean. It is also not the nature of business. When you stop moving, you start getting moved. The key is to compensate for it well before you suddenly realize the sand castles you see aren't the ones you built.