A friend once said to me, “You’re like a kid in candy shop. Can’t you decide on one thing?
This well-meaning friend went on to say, “If you could just focus on one thing, you would be a huge success.” I fiercely resented those words. I was defiant about the idea of only doing one thing. I had too many ideas and interests I wanted to try, sample and experience.
Lesson 1 – Small business owners need to find a singular focus
I believe this is the very nature of entrepreneurs – we are so filled with ideas, we are compelled to strike out on our own. We must ‘play’ with many of these ideas and prove to the world we can do it all.
Unfortunately as experts have put a kibosh on multitasking and insist we find one focus, I am afraid they are right. With March Madness upon us, watching the NCAA basketball championships reminds me of extraordinary athletes and what it takes for them to excel.
They work to master their skills and teamwork. They play hard, practicing diligently on their weakest points. They need dedication and not only their own, but the all in support of their family and friends. Plus, great athletes have a coach. They have a game plan. They have responsibility and accountability.
The point is, to be exceptional in one area – we first must find our true passion. Then we need to hold true to that goal. Just as these young adults seeking a contract with the NBA, drive, dedication and accountability to ourselves and others must be constants in our lives.
Lesson 2 – We need to tune into our passion
I’ve often struggled with deciding. I was running two businesses before I made the leap to growing The Contained Gardener. Once I sold the business 15 years later, I knew I wanted to help other small business owners achieve success, but I was unsure of my niche and how I wanted to serve them.
My true passion has always been growing people and business. People may be surprised that my passion was not gardening. The Contained Gardener was a means to an end. I wanted my own business and found a niche that allowed me to spend my time doing many things I love. (Building business, growing staff and creating art in a living garden)
As I sought my true ‘what’s next’ in my pursuit of a more narrow focus, I thought about the legacy I want connected with my name. Would it be gardens created, books published or business owners helped?
Lesson 3 – We need to find our balance
Semi-retirement not only requires me to be more focused in my “work” time but to be content and have a sense of balance, it is vital for me to be conscious of making time to have fun. I gain a tremendous amount of satisfaction in learning about new tools and strategies to grow small business. My creativity needs previously fueled by designing gardens are now satisfied by writing. I spend every morning on the beach writing my journal and working on one other publishable piece. And of course I play competitive badminton 2 times a week.
Business owners, no matter what stage of business they are in, also share with me they are seeking this balance. Few want to have the 24/7 mentality that seems to have become the norm for small business.
My legacy? I guess I am still figuring it out. I do know it will be about business owners.
Perhaps helping others find that magical balance while creating a successful and satisfying business will define me.
And what about my kid in the candy shop? Between my clients’ needs and my various writing topics, the variety I crave will always be there.
What is your passion and your legacy? Have you decided? Leave a comment below and let me know!