Focus, Focus, Focus

“Focusing on one thing and doing it really, really well will get you very far”, Kevin Systrom, Instagram.

In my months of finding a new career path, I have dabbled my feet into many different areas just like a kid in a candy store. Coming out from the rigid framework of the corporate world, I was like a caged chicken running wild. This was in part, fun but also very draining.

The keyword that keeps coming to me from different people is “focus”. Pick one thing that you are really good at and can devote almost all your time to and focus on perfecting that. That is your best bet that will probably take you a long way.

This philosophy is applicable to entrepreneurs building businesses too. Businesses often try to expand their offerings to be too wide and lose their central focus. Likewise, conglomerates  expand into different industries that are completely unrelated to their core business only to lose control over some areas as different businesses grow in different directions and cannot be attended to in full focus by central management.

Take GE, the large American multinational conglomerate, for example. Expanding from its core business of electricity into various areas to the extent of being a quasi-bank in GE Capital has seen it suffer during the global financial crisis in 2008 which led it to have to sell its financial portfolio due to the loss of control of a complex area that requires a significant amount of focus that it does not have the core capabilities and resources to.

On the flip side, what about McDonald’s? Selling Big Mac hamburgers, fries and soft drinks and perfecting that art by focussing its energies and branding on it being a burger and fries joint has helped it grow into a behemoth around the world. Trying to broaden its offering to healthy salads, gourmet burgers and fancy macarons have not really gone very far, and if anything, threatens to dilute its branding of being the powerhouse for quick, cheap and scrumptious burgers.

Humans get greedy. We want to do it all when we have something going well sometimes. We think we can master it all….

However, jack of all trades ==> master of none. Take time to master one area before you look to expand into others.

It takes a while to find that field that you are comparatively best in. Recently, I watched a video by Jack Ma, the founder of Alibaba and he said, “In your 20s, learn from someone, in your 30s build your own things and in your 40s, stick to what you are best in”.

To be able to figure out what you are ultimately best suited for, you will need to either know yourself really well naturally or experiment with all your possibilities to be able to narrow down to a few and zero in on that one thing. Do take your time as I am taking my time in exploring in all my opportunities. The search for the one is just a rich and fruitful experience as finding it itself.

Til Next Time, Dee Dream

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