A few weeks ago I posted “Majoring in the Minors”, speaking towards your energy and vital focus. Without narrowing concentration and surrounding yourself with more talent, you’ll hit a ceiling. We’ve all seen it.
Right after that post hit, an executive and friend of mine replied with this:
“Matt – Awesome post! One of the things that’s been the toughest for me as I’ve grown and the team/company has evolved is understanding what are those major things I should be focused on. I get that I need to let go of the minor stuff but specifically what are those major things I should be working on (leadership, strategy, innovation, relationships, etc.)…just a thought for a follow up post to this one would be what constitutes the “majors” and where should my time/energy be focused.”
Her question got me thinking; just exactly how do we determine the major activities to focus on? It’s a great question.
(Right here I previously had paragraphs of thought laid out. Stories about Richard Branson & Joel Osteen, advisor examples to back it up, all the good stuff. Then when I read it, it uninspired me. So I deleted everything. Instead, here’s the simple answer.)
How do you know the major activities to focus on?
- What do you ENJOY most?
Not by mistake, this is also where you provide others the most high-level value. Also not by mistake, if you start with the enjoyment question, you’ll find fulfillment in your career (and life as a whole). Smiling more is a good thing.
- Where’s the biggest RIPPLE effect?
A ripple effect happens regardless, it’s inevitable. But where can you deliberately place your focus and see the biggest impact elsewhere?
- What’s the FUTURE?
You want to be there, but are currently here. So what major activities are going to take you there? Because hopefully we agree, it’s not doing the same things you’re doing today. See – Albert Einstein’s definition of insanity.
In my friend’s response above, she could answer her own question. She already specifically stated she should (could) be working on items like: leadership, strategy, innovation and relationships.
- Which does she enjoy most? Focus there and find surrounding piece (internal or external) for the others.
- Where’s the biggest ripple effect? When performed at an astoundingly high level, which item bleed over to show the largest marked improvement in other areas?
- What does her future look like? 5 or 10 years from now, what does she want to be known for? An unbelievable leader, crafted strategist, unmatched innovator or someone with more and deeper relationships than all her peers?
Enjoy, Ripple, Future.
Figure out those handful of items to focus on, then shed the minors. We still need your major contribution more than ever.