For so many entrepreneurs, their nemesis is The Other F-Word. Focus.
Why is that? Years ago, Oprah was interviewing Michael. He started singing off-the-cuff, then beat boxing, then tapping out a rhythm. It was insane how effortless it all was. Mr. Parker agreed. Then said something I’ll always remember: “Michael Jackson is a man who has spent his life doing exactly one thing. Just that one thing. Of course he’s great at it.”
There it was. Focus. Michael’s one thing. Yet, as an entrepreneur (and a creative entrepreneur at that) I’m always seeing ALL the things I could be doing—both inside our business and in addition to it. And, as someone who works with others on their businesses, it’s clear and obvious: entrepreneurs have trouble focusing.
I just had one client, in one sentence, talk about four different business efforts. Why? I’d asked one simple and focused question. It was about a single action item I’d given. A focused question. One simple subject. Four different answers. All four unrelated. None of them answering the original question.
The other night, I attended a video conference about how to be effective on LinkedIn. The presenter was great. Tons of actionable advice. He had it completely dialed in. For a moment I thought, Damn, I’m dropping the ball on LinkedIn. Then I thought back to Mr. Parker and Michael Jackson. This guy from the video chat is doing only one thing: kicking the living sh*t out of LinkedIn. That’s it. He better be great at it.
I run a marketing company that specializes in branding for small business. I’m allowed to not be amazing at LinkedIn. I’m allowed to pick one tip from the LinkedIn presenter and execute just that. I’m allowed to get a virtual assistant to handle a few of the other tasks that lead to a better LinkedIn network. And then, I’m allowed to focus back on the job of doing my job.
Recently, Mr. Parker and I began building a new product for Slow Burn Marketing. We feel it’s smart, timely and necessary. Our biggest challenge? Pushing aside all else while we’re getting this one thing up and running. The Fates are constantly flying out of their box, waving shiny keys at us. It’s so easy to look in their direction. But no! Must! Not! Look!
The solution to split focus? Stop. Feel the doubt and just stop. Switch off the phonograph. Let “The Sabre Dance” grind to a halt. Step away from all the plates you’re spinning. They will not smash to the ground. Look at them all. Which one plate is the next and only plate that your business should take on? Pick one task. One project. That’s it. Work on that one until it’s done and done well. Send all those other projects and great ideas to the sidelines. They’ll be waiting when you’re finished with your one thing. And, anything else that you can hand off and simply supervise? Just do it.
Remember, be like Michael Jackson.
Hope that helps. Cheers,
With 2020 upon us, the big question is: What to do differently in the coming year? It’s natural. Yet, for couples in business together, that thinking doubles up: “What do we want to get better at as a couple?”, and “How can we be smarter in business?”
No pressure there, right?
For Mr. Parker and I, two years of interviewing couples shines a light on some things we can make better in our own relationship. We’ve met couples who communicate better, who better define their down time, and who show appreciation more clearly.
But for me, the most vivid insight came from one couple speaking about how people show affection differently. I realized that I’m a words person. But Mr. Parker is a deeds person. So every time I come home from a trip and he has cleaned out one of the many closets, he’s telling me he loves me. This seemingly small revelation has helped me get better at appreciating my partner. I plan on continuing to improve on that in 2020.
As for being smarter in business, that’s the more challenging part of the equation. Consider this project called CoupleCo. It has proven mighty. We’re looking for ways to make it grow mightier. But how? Videos? Summits? Books? And if books, do we start with a business book or a storybook? This is challenging. Both Blaine and I come from creative careers. People like us have a hard time not thinking of more things we can do. And that can lead to decision paralysis. So, our big business improvement for 2020 is (drum roll)…
We need to pick the one project that we’re adding to the mix and move it forward. Is that the right thing? It has to be. We will make it thing the right thing. And after that, we’ll pick another and make that one the right thing.
And here now, The Bonus. No matter the outcome of our business resolution (and I’m working toward the best outcome), the fact that we’re going into it together with love and respect makes it all a win.
So, my wish for you is that as you face your goals for the coming year and beyond, you enjoy love and respect. And while it may come from your partner, your friends, your colleagues and your associates, please know that it also comes from us.
Cheers to a brilliant New Year,
Are Blaine & Honey Parker Relationship Experts?
Hardly. And does the world really need more of those? Instead, we are a couple who have worked together for over 20 years. We've learned a few things along the way. And now, we're traveling the nation interviewing other couples in business together. Join us for the ups, downs, ins, outs, laughs, tears (even though Honey believes Blaine has no tear ducts), and the inevitable, practical insights into being a better couple--in life, business and everything.