The Fewer Things I Try to Do, the More I Seem to Accomplish.
I guess less, is more…
Over the course of a single weekend, I came to realize that everything I had learned in four decades as an entrepreneur was way more useful than I thought. All those tricks for taking crazy ideas and figuring out if they had any merit—and then actually making them real if they did—had applications way beyond Silicon Valley. These lessons would be valuable to anyone with something they wanted to accomplish. They weren’t just business lessons . . . they were life lessons.
That realization changed the shape of my life. It’s the reason I wrote my book. It’s why I launched my podcast. It’s why, a few dozen times a year, I fight past my childhood fear of public speaking, stride confidently onto a stage, and try to inspire another auditorium full of people to stop dreaming and start doing.
It’s why most of my entrepreneurial mentoring work is not about go-to-market strategies, fund raising, or technical choices . . . it’s managing work/life balance, getting along with your co-founder, and ensuring you stay healthy and happy for the long haul.
So I thought that for my final post of 2023, I would end the year focusing on…well…on the importance of focus.
It’s no secret that I believe focus is the most important tool an entrepreneur can have. But I also believe it’s the most important tool for anyone looking to change something about their life.
Startups have so many different things crying out for attention, and they’re chronically under-resourced. So the best entrepreneurs know that spreading resources evenly across all their problems will end up solving none of them. Better to pick the most important two or three and do each of them 125%.
But aren’t each of us a little bit like a startup? Don’t we all have dozens of things crying out for attention? Aren’t we all chronically under-resourced too, with jobs, family, school, etc. all competing for our attention?
Now, maybe you’ve got things a bit more together than I do, but I’ve got a long list of things to work on:
-My surfing would certainly be better if I lost some weight. And gained some upper body strength. Oh, let’s throw in more yoga too.
-I know I should be eating better and drinking less.
-I’ve got two big trail races this year, so I should be training more consistently.
-I certainly know the things I can do to get better sleep; I just need to focus on doing them. (Another reason to be eating better and drinking less).
-I would kind of like to read more books and consume less news. I want to listen to more podcasts and watch less TV.
-I want to finally reach fluency in Italian, so I’m going to need to start augmenting Duolingo and Pimsleur with daily conversation.
-And that stand-up bass in the corner of my office? Well, it isn’t going to play itself.
You get the idea. And this list doesn’t even address all the business objectives I would like to achieve. I’m guessing that your list is probably just as long and daunting.
Years ago, my New Year’s resolutions would have reflected some version of that list: Eat better. Lose Weight. Go to the Gym. No Devices in Bed. Consistent bedtime. Three hours of Italian conversation a week. Start practicing the Bass again.
And years ago, if I totaled up my accomplishments at the end of the year, my list of Resolutions Kept would have been exactly zero items long.
That’s where focus comes in. I’ve been doing it at work for decades—why had I waited so long to apply that approach to my personal growth? And so, a few years ago, I started doing just that.
For 2023, my New Year’s resolution was simply to write a blog post every week. And with the post you’re reading right now…I’ve done it.
For 2024, I’ll keep throwing up a post for you every week (As I did for all of 2023). And I’ll stay current on Duolingo and Pimsleur (as I did for all of 2022). I’ll also be continuing with the resolutions I started in 2021 and 2020.
But for the new things I intend to start this year? As usual, it’s going to be a very short list.
Anyone who has ever jump-started a car knows that it takes a tremendous amount of effort to get something moving, but almost no effort to keep it rolling once you’re underway. Are you surprised that the exact same thing applies to almost everything else?
And that’s the other thing I’ve learned about getting things done: that the real challenge is simply getting things going. And the biggest part of that is simply deciding to start.
But once you do, and once you get that momentum? Well, it’s amazing all the things that you can accomplish.
RECOMMENDED FOR YOU
Podcast Episode 72
October 25, 2022 • 38 min