During the past year I’ve said “no” to a lot. The reason?
I’ve said “yes” to waaaaay too many things in the past. I’ve said “yes” to things like:
- Virtual coffee dates with anyone who wants to… with no filter around the purpose of the call.
- Discovery calls with prospects that aren’t a great fit.
- Producing content for a podcast, a newsletter, a blog, and social media.
- Having multiple offers that I need to market, sell, deliver and support.
- Keeping my email, social media and other notifications turned on at all times so that I can be “responsive.”
And it all keeps me busy, but not effective.
In fact, saying “yes” to so many things is the perfect recipe for being average at everything.
And saying “yes” to everything feeds the ego monster. The ego monster wants to feel productive, desired, busy.
But when the ego monster is running the show, it thinks it can (and should) do everything.
Here’s a classic example from a couple of months ago…
1) A new prospect reaches out and books a 60-minute discovery call.
2) The ego monster says “yes” without question. He thinks he can help everyone.
3) Upon reading the intake questionnaire for the discovery call, the “sage” knows that this client isn’t a perfect fit. But the ego monster decides to do the full call anyway, even though he KNOWS the potential client isn’t a fit.
4) A full hour is spent on the discovery call and another hour is spent making introductions to another coach because the ego monster wants to feel like the hero.
5) I end up feeling frustrated that I spent 2 hours with someone that I shouldn’t have.
Can you relate to this scenario?
My inner sage (the wiser part of me that knows the truth) realizes that this entire situation could have been avoided and handled in a much cleaner way.
Hours and energy could have been saved by spending no more than 10-15 minutes introducing the potential client to another coach without the extra drama brought on by my ego monster.
You might be thinking, yeah… but you’re a coach! Isn’t it your job to listen and figure out if you can help people?
Yes and no.
One of the reasons I set up processes to screen potential clients is to figure out if I can help them ahead of time. And to be honest, I usually know within the first 5-10 minutes if someone is going to be an absolute “hell yes” to work with or not.
Why am I sharing this story with you?
Because I want you to have as much joy, simplicity and profit in your business as you possibly can.
I mean that’s why most people go into business for themselves in the first place. To create a more enjoyable environment, to have more freedom and flexibility, and have more control over their time.
And any amount of time and energy spent feeding the ego monster will just slow you down and keep you stuck in a perpetual state of hustle.
Am I telling you to turn down opportunities left and right.
No, not necessarily but I am saying that spreading your focus too thin will dilute your ability to become truly great at anything.
Why is it so important to narrow your focus to doing one thing really well?
HA… I’m glad you asked.
This is one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned from building a coaching business over the past 8+ years.
Too many irons in the fire leads to lack of focus, lots of hustling, and mediocre results at best.
Who do you think has an easier go of it?
- The relationship coach who helps anyone that’s facing dating issues, marriage problems, or anything else under the sun?
- Or, the relationship coach that helps couples that have been married a minimum of 5 years and are facing a possible divorce – helping them rebuild trust, improve their communication skills, and be the happiest they’ve ever been in their marriage?
I hope the answer is obvious.
The coach with more clarity and focus wins on all levels. And the same can be said for business builders of any kind.
Building a highly profitable, predictable, and joyful business requires focus – doing one thing really well, maybe better than anyone else, and then leveraging this in a clear and focused way.
THE biggest failure I see with business builders today is a lack of focus and clarity. Focus is a discipline, a muscle, and if you don’t practice it then it’s going to atrophy your business.
Right now, for instance, the only reason I’m able to think and write is because I am sitting in my office, with email turned off and notifications on my phone silenced. I’ve blocked off 90-minutes of distraction-free time to write this article.
It’s only happening through extreme focus because, contrary to what you might think, I don’t just sit down and have content magically spill onto the page.
It takes thought work. It takes time to think and focus and type words on a screen.
Too many business builders have so many outcomes and goals they want to reach all at once. So many different directions and projects… that they can’t even think clearly.
There’s always too much to do and this is the perfect system for being average at everything.
This brings a recent client story to mind. As soon as he’d get one thing sort of working, he’d shift gears and start something else.
He would just start to build some momentum in his business and then he would begin chasing another project that would kill all the momentum he had just created.
Because he couldn’t see that the ego monster was in complete control. One of his patterns in business (and life) was to never really get anything going before he dropped the ball and went on to something else.
But he was too close to it and couldn’t see the pattern. And that’s one important thing coaches do. They see patterns and habits that others can’t see and they bring them to light.
But once he was aware of the pattern, he could take responsibility and be more intentional with his actions.
Focus is boring as hell. It’s unsexy. You’ll constantly have new ideas that you want to pursue, but you must create boundaries around these.
A lot of us look around and say… “I’m missing something, I’m missing something. Everyone is doing podcasts, YouTube Channels, blogs, newsletters, speaking, writing books, and that must be why I’m not doing $20k/month.”
Doing too many things at the same time will crush you (and your business). The problem, most of the time, is that you’re trying to do too much at once. If you cut off most of your activities and only focus on the ones that are truly most important for the stage of business that you’re in, your workload will decrease, your confidence will rise, and your bank account will explode.
Every. Single. Time.