On my first major mission in Afghanistan, we were supposed to be out in the field for just 18 hours — but that isn’t what happened. We were out there for more than a week. And this was not an exception. This was the rule. In the Spec Ops world, missions change constantly.

The same thing happens in business.

If the first principle is all about maintaining an unwavering focus in one direction, this second principle is all about complementary behavior. Staying focused doesn’t mean that focus won’t or shouldn’t change. It has to change. This is the real world, not some theoretical construct in business school class. Circumstances are constantly changing.

Think of your focus as a building of steel, not concrete: flexible enough to bend with the wind without crumbling.

This is why we train our sniper students not only on moving targets but also on unpredictably moving targets. Sometimes the situation you’re observing changes and you have to make a judgment to shift to a different target. You can’t always radio in to command to get new orders when things suddenly change. That’s a central part of Special Operations training: we’re groomed to be able to make those judgment calls in the field, on the spot, at the moment.

This can happen and will happen, in your business. You think you’re selling X, and suddenly you learn that your market wants Y and has no use for X. Or, you think you’ve nailed the right demographic for your X and suddenly find out that it appeals to a whole different demographic. Or even that your business model is fundamentally flawed or has become obsolete.

Make Sure You’re in Love With What You Do

This may sound like a strange business directive, but it’s essential. When you decide what you’re going to focus on, you better damn well make sure it’s something you love, because if it isn’t, there’s no way you’re going to master it. You’ll get bored. You’ll be distracted, easily knocked off your game. And when you face the big challenges, the really brutal ones, the ones that threaten to knock in your teeth and kick your feet out from under you, you’ll just back off and fold your tent.

To run a business effectively, you have to stay on top of an enormous amount of information and material about myriad different aspects of your business. You have to become an expert on your business. How do you do that? There’s only one way. It has to be something you really, genuinely enjoy doing. I love writing, I love marketing, I love being engaged in the conceptualization, development, production, and promotion of media. Because I have a passion for every aspect of this business, it doesn’t feel onerous or laborious to me. It’s work… but I love it!

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