When reading about how great achievers succeeded in sports, finance, philanthropy or skateboarding it is hard for me not to notice all the things they did to do so well.
What is often over looked is what they didn’t do – what they left out to make space and time for them to focus on their big thing.
It Is Not About the Money
To be clear this isn’t entirely about money. Instead it is about focusing your limited energy and time on the few things that matter. For you that might be religion, family, community, service, education and health. Or it might be skateboarding. Or languages. Or dogs.
Top Dog Inc.
As way of an example, lets say your thing is dogs. You decide to start a dog walking service. You love it. And to ensure you keep getting to meet interesting dogs and their people you want to be good at it. Plus it is even more fun to be appreciated by both the dogs and the people.
So you make up shirts, hats and take out snappy advertisements. Sure you make less money doing this but what a great service you offer. And, as is often, is the case, your focus might make you one of the “top dogs” in the dog walking offerings in your area.
If you need more money you can franchise out to nearby areas and hire a few folks. That way others can participate and it ensures that a lot of your time is in the dog walking business and that the work is enough to the pay the bills.
For example, in the context of paying for tuition does camping instead of a giant beach house vacation makes sense. And so does keeping an older car.
Deciding What Not To Do Makes Space
Only through focus and deciding to let other things go can you make space. A month long trip during the holidays isn’t going to happen as the reliable dog walker – folks depend on you when they are traveling. And if it the focus is too much and no longer rewarding you can always change your focus. Just don’t keep all the things you ever did going around.
The Gas Station Emporium Case Study
Years ago we lived in the county. And by county I mean more-horses-than-people-power-outages-for-a-week-at-a-time-they-have-bears kind of county.
Our small town next to our really small town had a gas station. And this gas station was also a repair shop. And it sold trinkets. And it ran a pancake shop out of one of the cinderblock sheds.
The gas station/pancake shop was ok at each but not great at anything. I was always worried there would be a motor oil and vegetable oil mix up one day.
So when a new gas station opened two towns over – one that was open past dusk (they had lights – it was glorious!), they lost business. And when a pizza joint arrived just over the mountains they did very well. And our local gas staton lost business.
It is still there and still open but how much fun can it be to run a place that is often empty and mostly visited by folks who don’t want the hassle of going to the good place? I would imagine not fun. And not all that profitable either.
You Can’t Do All The Things
You can’t do all the things. You can, however, do some of things well.
Determine your focus and narrowing your working hours on the focus areas will help you move forward in your current endeavor.
The hard part, of course, is figuring out what to focus on and what to leave aside. Only you can determine what that is for you but realize you can always can change your focus. What you can’t do is all the things.