A coach once told me that "focus is like a spotlight." You may miss what you are searching for if the beam of your spotlight is too broad, because you've reduced its effectiveness. However, by focusing the spotlight and therefore the brightness on a more refined area, you have a greater chance of seeing and finding what you are seeking. The coach was warning me of the eventual pressure to choose between one of the two sports I was playing, but his analogy is all too often true during the discovery phase of litigation.
Last month I had the privilege of moderating a live webinar discussion with Aaron Crews and Karin Jenson about the concept of CORE Discovery. A fundamental principle of CORE Discovery is that there is an early focus on the dispositive documents, or those that change the course of litigation. Then, in a progressive fashion, discovery efforts broaden to documents potentially relevant to outstanding material issues, then those marginally relevant to ancillary issues. This culminates in the ultimate goal of avoiding digital exhaust: information that parties historically spend a considerable amount of time and resources bickering about, yet often carries de minimis value. Much like the spotlight, if the focus of discovery and documents sought are too vast, both parties may struggle to find the documents that can actually help the matter reach a resolution.
A critical component of achieving this principle is the ability to remain agile throughout the process. A one track or linear mindset can often prove very costly and in some instances futile. Discovery is often most effectively achieved through an iterative process, allowing for reasonable and purposeful changes in strategy before efforts are unnecessarily expended. While the truth may not change, the known facts and issues often develop over the course of the litigation and therefore, your method of achieving the goal may have to change. Importantly, experience and preparation are essential requirements to knowing when and how to change. It is not something that is read in a book or learned from a few conference sessions or webinars, but is rather something mastered over time and with a lot of repetition. By honing your ability to focus this skill, you can be prepared for anything the course, or case, may throw at you.
The element of surprise is the hallmark of some obstacle course races such as Spartan. You know generally what kind of obstacles are out there, but the details are sparse until you are up close and personal with the obstacle itself. The ability to quickly analyze an obstacle, develop an immediate plan of attack, adapt to changing situations, all while maintaining a focus on the end goal is a must have for all obstacle course racers. One racer's goal may be to end up on top of the podium (similar to winning a trial), while others are simply crossing the finish line (or perhaps, settling for a reasonable amount). Much like the unique facts of each matter, every race that I've completed has had a unique sequence of obstacles and new terrain that has to be navigated. Success isn't about the mastery of a single obstacle or task, but rather the approach, and my ability to use a set of tools and techniques that I have mastered to overcome the series of obstacles.
When training for an OCR, many racers will focus on running, enduring strength, mobility, and agility (for example, circuit workouts that use a combination of strength, bodyweight, and cardio functions) rather than simple (albeit powerful) fixed movements, such as those performed in a couple of routines on the "home gym." This helps prepare you for the multi-discipline aspect of an OCR, and fine tunes your stability muscles so when you get knocked off balance or get thrown a curve ball, you're ready to adapt. I like combining things such as kettle bell movements; push-ups, sit-ups, and pull-ups; and TRX Suspension Training with a cardio element (stairs, sprints, etc.). Of course, you also have to include some good trail runs into your routine, like I did this past holiday weekend at Conestee Park.
This weekend, David Hyre and I will running from the Gwinnet County Sheriffs during the Jail-Break Challenge (to support their Teen Mentoring Programs).
Here's to the journey!
This article also appears on Hunter's LinkedIn page.