According to wikipedia, spotting is a technique used by dancers during the execution of turns (above she’s executing fouetté turns). The goal of spotting is to attain a constant orientation of the dancer’s head and eyes, to the extent possible, in order to enhance the dancer’s control and prevent dizziness.
So that’s a bit jargony, but the bottom line is that when dancers turn, they keep their head and eyes focused on one point for as long as they can. When their body is twisted and they cannot keep their head forward anymore, at that last moment they whip their head around back to the original point of focus. This spotting technique allows dancers to turn many many times in a row without becoming dizzy and falling over.
This spotting technique can apply to life as well. If you’re anything like me, you have many things going on or things that you’d like to accomplish. I’d like to work with Janet Jackson when she comes back from maternity leave (velvet rope tour part 2), publish a mystery series, grow this blog, invest in real estate, and a few other things. If I try to attack these goals without a clear point of focus (turning without spotting) I’ll become overwhelmed, distracted, and quit (get dizzy and fall over). Like a child on a raft in the ocean, if you lose focus you’ll drift through life. You’ll continue to move thinking you are making progress, but if you have no spot to return to, you have no way of knowing if the movement is progress towards your goals.
Spotting can also help overcome the shiny object syndrome. That’s when you have new ideas or see new opportunities that catch your attention, but they are simply distractions from your goals. It’s easy to say: “Oh! that looks great!” or “Hmm… maybe I’ll try that”, but if we focus on one point and keep coming back to that point even if something shiner comes along, we will be better equipped to execute the control needed to accomplish our goals. Overtime, I’ve learned to think about life in terms of the long game. Look ahead, see where you want to go, but then employ the techniques that allow you to stay focused on that spot– or life goal.
still turning, still spotting,