“Focus. Do one thing at a time and do it well.”
That one one of the excellent bits of advice given to me by Michael when my internship ended at Liv.it.
So what do I do upon being free to leap into whatever I wanted? I found one business, co-found two others, and agree to ghost-write and market a book.
That was about four months ago. Today, I dropped/shelved two of those. Both projects I absolutely love, one of them a project I’ve been trying on and off to get off the ground since 2012. I had to hurt one of my close friends and business partners too.
So…why did I do it? Why did I take on so much stuff, and why did I end up hurting myself and others to drop some of it?
And what have I learned?
Who Starts 3 Businesses & A Book In 3 Months?!?
I get excited about new projects like a cat gets excited about passing mice. Without thinking, I see their potential and future in my mind’s eye and go off chasing them to bring them into reality. The thought that this will be anything less than an intense and profitable adventure hardly even crosses my ecstatic mind.
It’s my natural inclination to run with multiple projects at a time. I don’t think I could devote everything I’ve got to just one major goal and stay excited.
So I decided to put my inclination to a test of reality. To let it loose and observe the results. To intentionally bite off more than I can chew.
Choking On Gourmet Mice
Back to that cat analogy, have you ever seen a cat chase and catch three mice (and a book)? Right.
Everything on my plate was gourmet…but that doesn’t matter when you can’t breath through all the food in your mouth.
After a few months of bi-polarism, continually knowing that I’ve been shortchanging my partners, making inchworm progress in many directions, and going from ‘I am god’ to ‘I am fucked’ and back again in 24 hours…and it seemed obvious that my experiment had born results. My hypothesis was that I could do 7 things at once (Surf Stoked, BookKritters, RadNomad, Event Photography Book, MetaLearning Surfing, Monthly Experiments, and Reading) and rock them all. All the while trying to fall in love and meet cool new people and go on the occasional unplanned adventure.
It would appear that that hypothesis has been disproven. I have failed.
On to the next one.
I Seems I Still Have Not Learned The Lesson
As usual with any venture, I learned a lot. I’ve gotten wayy better at outsourcing, and doing what matters now, and at enjoying high-intensity situations.
And, with the results as they are, it would seem that Michael’s theory of focus is worth a test…but I’m not going to test it just yet.
See, I love to do lots of stuff. Being a polymath, or Renaissance man, would seem to be my forte.
So I’m scaling back. But not all the way back.
I theorized a month or so ago that the ideal focus situation looks something this:
- One Major Project
- One Experiment
- One Side Project
- Three Books
- Main Focus in Life (Entrepreneurship)
- Side Project (MetaLearning/Surfing)
So that’s what I’ll be doing. See you in a few months, perhaps, with the results.
Projects as of this post:
- Major Project
- Surf Stoked
- Stakes Experiment
- Secondary Project
- Event Photography Book
- Books & Notes
- Entrepreneurship: Hackers & Painters by Paul Graham
- Learning: The First 20 Hours OR A Surfing Book
- Relax: Some New Kind of Trailer Trash by Brad Blanton