January 12th, 2021
I spent this morning writing down some thoughts on focus. This is just a 2-minute read. Hope you like it, and feedback appreciated.
In my opinion, focus is the single most important aspect of starting and growing a business.
This goes for all companies, at all stages. It doesn’t matter if I’m one guy with a laptop in a coffee shop, or I’m running Apple… Being focused is still priority #1.
What do I mean by focus?
Focus means: Thinking about and executing on “one thing” only.
During our best working hours, we should spend 90% of your mental and physical energy on this “one thing”.
If we have 10 different “one things”, then we’re not focused. It doesn’t mean we won’t be successful, but it does mean we can’t reach our full potential.
Why it’s so hard to focus on one thing
Focusing on one thing is the exact opposite advice we hear from everyone around you.
Everyone has new ideas and priorities for us: Friends, investors, books you read... they will all say:
“Try this thing. Do that thing. Hire this person. You’ll regret it if you don’t.”
As a leader pushing a company forward, our objective is to politely disregard 95% of this. In one ear, and out the other.
But this is way easier said than done. Take it from the creators of the 3rd most valuable company in the world:
Our insane focus might look bad to others
When we have “a lot of things on your plate” or “a lot of priorities”, you appear busy, high level, and important.
And most people (incorrectly) associate being busy and high level with being successful.
Therefore, our insane focus might actually look “bad” on the surface, especially to employees, investors, and customers.
This can lead to criticism. I believe this is why so many leaders lack focus:
I believe many founders “de-focus” too early.
Often, we’ll reach some goal, and once it’s “conquered”, we’ll move on to the next thing, or the next priority.
But this is where we need to stop and think:
“Can I go deeper? Can I focus more?”
We might actually just be scratching the surface of what’s possible.
Harry Dry, the creator of Marketing Examples, is a great example of this:
Harry’s only priority: write amazing content. Once he reached 10K subscribers, he didn’t stop or move on to different priorities, like a YouTube channel, hiring people, etc.
He just focused harder, and deeper. He kept writing more, and better.
Now, he’s well on his way to 100K subscribers, and one day, 1M subscribers.
Successful vs. really successful
The most interesting part of all of this:
Being unfocused won’t lead to failure, it will just lead to less success with more work.
According to Warren Buffett, it’s the difference between successful and really successful: