Relentless Focus: An insight from Paul Shannon
Having worked in the technology industry for nearly 20 years, I’ve learnt some things in that time. One thing that’s stands out to me is that leading companies in this industry are run by honest, hard-working people.
I started reflecting on my journey so far and I thought about what it was that has helped me to become relatively successful in life. I put my heart and soul into everything I do, and I make it my mission to succeed. It’s this relentless focus that has allowed me to get to where I am today in all aspects of my life.
Life is so short and it’s so important to hold onto the things that matter the most to us. Our lives and priorities are all very different, so I broke down the most important aspects of my life, the parts that I focus on the most and for me it all comes down to four things; my beliefs, my family, my friends and work.
I have a strong set of beliefs which are very important to me. I grew up with my parents constantly teaching me the difference between right and wrong, something I have held close to me throughout my adult life.
I recently listened to a motivational speech by Matthew McConaughey and one part really resonated with me:
“Turn the page, get off the ride. YOU are the author of the book of your life. Turn the page.”
What I learnt from this is that we have to realise we are the authors of our own story. Often, we make the mistake of believing that we can’t change, change is hard, or external things are to blame. But if we can realise our power, to create life on our own terms, then change will come easy. First, we have to make the internal shift.
As humans we have the ability to change our behaviour every single day. Every morning we make a choice, to continue the way we are, or to change and grow, becoming an even better version of ourselves.
Our relationships are the most important things in the world, they are the main reason for our happiness. In such a demanding role, it’s easy to push your family to its limits. My wife will testify to that! I love what I do but it’s not without its challenges. Sports days, assemblies, parents’ evenings, holidays, these are such important events during your kids’ childhood. You don’t realise the impact they have until you attend them yourself.
In the past I have put my work before my family, but I never want to miss an opportunity to be involved in my children’s key milestones ever again. That’s why it’s so important to get to as many of these special events as you can. You may miss an event here and there and before you know it, your children are all grown up, leading their own lives and they don’t need you in the same way anymore. After all making your kids independent is the main goal as a parent as I see it.
Anyone who knows me knows I’m proud to be a good friend and I truly value my friendships. There are times in my past where I can recognise that I was spending maybe too much time with my friends. I would attend any event if it meant I was out socialising – at one point I think I would even have gone to the opening of a bag of crisps!
I realised that not everyone I was spending time with was good for me and one day I can clearly remember recalling something that my Grandad, my hero, said to me when I was younger,
“Do not spend time with people who don’t make you feel good.”
These days I make sure I free-up more of my time to spend it with my family and the people around me who I value most. I can’t stress enough how important it is to surround yourself with people who value you and make you value yourself. Spending time with like-minded, positive people will make you a better person and also a better friend.
My work is huge part of my life and there have been times when I have let it take up too much of my time. There were points where it consumed so much of my energy that if you weren’t talking to me about work, I didn’t want to know. Of course, I have to be relentlessly focussed on my work to succeed but I’ve learnt that if I strive for that all-important work-life balance, I am ultimately more successful.
Over the last few years, ANS has gone through some huge operational and business changes which has allowed us to focus on a small number of transformational technologies. This has had an incredible impact on the business and has allowed us to grow year after year, always staying one step ahead of the curve.
What I’ve learnt so far in life is that you are not defined by what you are today for the rest of your life. You have the power to change and become a better person than you already are. You have to build your life, not just live in it. We all grow and evolve in life but it’s important to stick to your roots and hold on to your values. But at the same time, we can still listen to and learn from those around us.
I continuously stress to our teams at our all staff meetings how vital it is to be present in your family’s lives. All those parents’ evenings, assemblies, sports days and holidays are few and far between but the impact they can have on your children’s childhoods is immeasurable. I urge my staff to attend these events and enjoy those precious moments with their loved ones.
If our team members are able to do the things they enjoy, that will, in turn, improve their working performance. Do what makes you feel good and you will reap the benefits.
This year, the results we have seen have been phenomenal. We have blown our targets out of the water and we are on track for another record-breaking year. Each quarter we manage to improve on the previous and it’s all because of the relentless focus shown by each and every one of our team members.
When everyone focuses on what will make us grow, we will continue to excel beyond our expectations. If the best versions of everyone are coming in every day, we can achieve anything.
You can view our current vacancies here.