Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Focus On One Thing

A good friend of mine often engages in philosophical conversations with me. Last, night, we were sharing our success stories, as well as commenting on why some things took longer to succeed than we initially expected. Out of that conversation was the spark for this article idea:

It's the basis of why successful people win more often than others:
We often succeed when we are focused on one thing, and do it very well.

An example of this, in action, was Charlie Parker, who in the 1930's and 1940's became known as the greatest saxophone player in the world. As a sax player who plays in the 21st century, I can attest that Parker's styles and influence upon music remains strong, even today. Why did Charlie Parker become great? Well, for one thing, when he was developing his "sound", he practiced 14 hours a day. Not only did he practice a lot, and often, but he also had a way of practicing that created a unique style and sound nobody else played. At first, people didn't like his sound, and he was kicked out of clubs. Later, they loved him and everyone tried to copy him. Towards the end of his career, he became known more as a heroine addict and, sadly, died at the age of 36 with a liver pickled worse than a 60 year-old man. Drugs can do that. But, Charlie is a great example of a guy who focused on one thing and did it very well.

Oprah is someone who has focused on one thing, too. Oprah first became a movie star, then launched her show. Her show gave her more success and consistency than the movie career, so she focused on that. Now, she is established, and expanding her empire. Now, you'll notice that once a person has mastered one area, they have an easy time growing their wealth and winning more often. Once they've established themselves, it is easier to attract talent to their team, it is easier to launch new products, companies, and services (they have cash), and it is easier to get publicity (people already recognize their name).

The challenge of doing one thing and doing it well is you may become "pigeon-holed" as only good at that. I think this happened to John Grey, who wrote the popular "Women Are From Venus, Men Are From Mars" series of books. John later tried to break into the "purpose" series of books and had much less success, as far as I could tell.

However, that doesn't mean it isn't a good idea. With AspireNow, one of the reasons it took longer for my business to make money is because I didn't do one thing. I chose to do many things at once. I'm still guilty of this, to some extent, but the thing I do now is focus better.

For example, I host two radio show on Wednesdays at the following network:

By hosting the show(s) religiously, I build a following and the shows are growing in traffic by 5x.

In addition, I've been posting about 3 - 4 posts to each of my blogs per week:

By remaining consistent, my blog traffic is growing consistently. I can tell you, though, that if my blogs were more focused, I'd probably lose subscribers less often, and my base would grow quicker. It's a choice I made to offer a variety. As a result, it takes each of my interests longer to grow. I've been streamlining these offerings to really just offer one at a time, and in the process this is starting to show the fruits of my labor.

So, if you're just starting out, I recommend to you that you pick one thing and master it. Once you've become known as the expert in your industry for that topic, then move on to whatever people are asking you for the most as your next interest.

If you are doing multiple ventures, make sure to slice your time in such a way that you can focus 100% on each venture so that you do each project well. At the very least, you must do this to succeed wildly.

See if this formula doesn't impact your own success.

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