Baby Boomers and every generation after them have a hard time settling on just one thing. We want it all. “Life is a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death.” Americans want to experience as much as possible and have as much as possible. Shiny object syndrome was invented just for us.
I bring this up because of a conversation I had with a friend. She is a competent professional who consults with Fortune 1000 companies. She is very good at what she does and she’s paid well for her services. But she wants to do “something” with small businesses and entrepreneurs.
So I spent half a day with her, working out a product (book) for her new target market. We chose the topic for her book, based on what she wanted the book to do for her and decided on the structure of the book. Then we outlined the chapters. I sent her on her way with the book mapped out, the topics for her to write about, and a general outline for an entire series of books. (VIP sessions are pretty intense and productive.)
She managed to put together a few pages. Then she picked up a new client and the book was back-burnered. Understandable. But then she went to a seminar and came back with approximately one million new ideas on what her business should be which changed what she thought her book should be. In short, her focus changed.
She jokingly told me her problem: “I don’t know what I want to be when I grow up.”
Very few people, no matter what age, know what they want to be when they grow up.
But here’s the thing: You don’t have to be just one thing forever. Ben Franklin was a printer, assistant candle-maker, inventor, writer, politician/diplomat, real estate investor, scientist, run-away apprentice, soldier, and a pretty darn good swimmer. (He invented wooden flippers.)
But here’s the other thing: You do need to do one thing well in order to finance your other things. And, in order to do one thing well, you need to focus on that one thing until it is done or mastered.
You need to be focused to write your book. You have to focus to succeed in your chosen field. The people who seem to be doing many things well are really doing just a couple of things well: creating a clear vision, organizing what needs to be done, then doing those things and/or delegating those things to competent people.
I recently read The One Thing by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan. The book is based entirely on the premise that you need to focus on just one thing at a time and they are absolutely correct.
You can’t multi-task important things and you can’t put in the effort required for success when your energies are divided.
Growing up takes a long time. Be something while you’re growing up. Build it to a successful level and use it as the jumping off point for your next adventure. If you are truly successful, you may never have to grow up.