Do you find yourself getting distracted from the core of what you set out to accomplish this year? If so, it’s an appropriate time to remind you to FOCUS and to recite what this acronym stands for:
Follow One Course Until Success
It’s natural to get off course. If you think about it, a space craft headed to the moon is only on course 1% of the time. The remaining 99% of the time it is actually course-correcting, buffeted off a straight trajectory by unforseen factors and occurrences, redirecting itself back on track to its destination. The important thing is that the space craft has the right systems and disciplines in place to redirect back towards the goal when it gets off course.
Like the space craft, to stay on track, you need systems and disciplines, too.
It is easy to get caught up in “shiny object syndrome” when you start seeing some success. You start to think to yourself, “if this is going so well, maybe I should also do this and that and this other thing.” However, this only distracts your focus. And magnified focus can be a powerful thing.
This doesn’t mean you should not explore those new ideas, but in your journal for safe keeping. Eventually things will lighten up and you will be ready to tackle another endeavor. The important thing is not to divert any momentum that is currently being experienced in the big project or goal you’re currently working on. Instead of starting a new project before hitting critical mass, maybe it’s time to double down and do even more of what’s currently working.
Have you started way too many things only to watch them die? It’s time to stop that right now! It’s time to start leveraging the trading principle of duration, sticking with something long enough to see it through to the finish line. Or, put another way, be the tortoise in the old fable and take it slow and steady to the finish line.
You can still maintain the energy of the hare, but show up day after day with the persistence, discipline, and consistency of the tortoise.
If you can truly leverage the power of FOCUS, the probability of YOUR success is going to go through the roof.
– Gen Y Finance Guy
Great words of wisdom Dom – thanks for sharing.
It’s sad how some people get on a path and they work and they work. They quit just before they were about to experience amazing success. With just a little more effort they could have got there. I just read the first chapter of Think and Grow Rich: I’m reminded of the gentleman who quit digging when he was 3 feet from gold…
P.S. I love the story of the rocket. I swear I’ve read that somewhere :)
Erik – the story of the rocket is something I think I read from Darren Hardy’s book ”
The Compound Effect“. It’s another book influenced by ”
The Slight Edge“
Great reminder, this. I’m definitely in the group of people that has thrown around too many ideas, half assed it, only to watch them die from that lack of focus. It’s something I’ve been consciously working on lately, but even with myself constantly being aware of it, I still find myself wanting to get occupied with loads of stuff. You can’t really take your eye of the target for long, if you’re that sort of person!
Lars – We are all guilty of it at one time or another.
Thanks for the much needed kick in the pants. I’m the worst about this. I get so excited about the new thing, I forget I’m only partly started on something else.
Chris – it’s all about awareness and putting systems in place.
Great Post here, as usual.
A lot of Slight Edge influence :).
I can definitely relate to the excitement and temptation of starting multiple projects at once. For example, when starting a new blog, one tries to conquer 10 social media platforms at once when in reality, you need to focus on one platform at a time to really have success at growing your blog.
Often, keeping a focus on one stream of work is challenging and less glamorous, but it pays the most dividends. Consistency and sweat always trumps the spontaneity of new ideas. The greatest challenge is to do this even at the beginning stages of a project, when you haven’t yet seen any success.
Well said Jake!
I’ve been trying to live with a lot more focus myself. Life has just gotten busier (thanks, work), so I’m not able to put in as much time into the other things I have to do. Cooking, writing, and spending time with people tend to go out the window. I’m trying to commit to doing less things on my to-do list, but doing the things I complete with closer attention to detail. I don’t get “as much” done, but the things I do put out are better.
Mrs. Picky Pincher – I have always valued Quality over Quantity. Plus a lot of people mistake being busy with being productive.
This has been my challenge: I’m a problem solver. Once a problem is solved, I move on to the next problem (or opportunity). Running businesses for the past 21 years made me realize that trait isn’t ideal on its own.
Once a problem is solved, someone needs to implement it and manage that process. Thankfully my wife *doesn’t* like problems but she loves processes. So I can set a plan to “take the mountain” and she’ll then run with it while I look for the next challenge.
Understanding “weaknesses” – and playing toward strengths – can go a long way in enabling success over time.
Sounds like you have a very complimentary pair between you and your wife. I tend to like to build the solutions and then pass them off to someone to run once all the bugs are worked out.
I’ve never heard that before “Follow One Course Until Success”. I listen to the Gary V podcast sometimes and he was hitting on this theme recently – most people give up too soon!
Brian – It’s not original, I got it from the “Entrepreneur on Fire” podcast a few years ago.
I’m guilty of adding to much new stuff in my life. Over the past two years i have focussed on a limited set of goals each year (about 5). Made massive improvements, but still it’s too much. I think the optimum amount of things I can really focus on is about 3 broad topics.
Everyone has their sweet spot and it sounds like you are getting closer. I have also found that depending on the types and size of goals I am able to have more or less. This year I only set 5 goals, but they were much bigger than goals of the past.
Good inspiration. It’s good to start off small in order to gain focus. I have some yard work planned for this Spring, but I’m kind of dreading it. I need to find a way to break it down into parts so I can achieve it a little at a time. This will allow me to focus and achieve a significant part of the work this season, hopefully. Wish me luck!