Maintain Focus, Avoid the Shiny New Thing, Hunt One Rabbit

Expanding the Core

The last little while I’ve devoted Sunday Success posts to your core interests, first on protecting your core, then on expanding your core and most recently on taking time and care when expanding your core. Most recently I got to reminiscing about the changes around here, the development of my interests and writing, and how to use that to develop a brand.

Maintain Focus

One of the great problems I have encountered in life has been a product of being curious, reasonably bright and somewhat lazy. I have developed a broad range of interests, and a new thing can grab my attention fairly easily, whereupon I find it relatively easy to learn the basics of said new thing. Then the problem of my general laziness rears its ugly head.

Learning the basics of a new thing may be relatively easy, but mastering it, or even becoming moderately expert at it, is much harder, and takes a lot more time. Being lazy makes it is easy to drop a new thing before really experiencing it.

If you too easily let news thing go, if you don’t give then an honest try, you will begin, and then drop, many things which could be extremely useful, interesting or wondrous.

Shiny New Toy

It’s the shiny new toy problem, writ large. When you’re 5 years old, and you get a shiny new toy for Christmas, it’s easy to glom onto, and equally easy to forget after a week or two. When you’re trying to build a brand, and build a business, shiny new toy syndrome is a major failure point.

I’m working to build my first online course with the fine folks at Mirasee. The founder, Dany Iny, said something pretty cool a few weeks back:

The hunter who chases 2 rabbits catches none.

Although he didn’t attribute this to anyone particular, and I doubt it’s his own formulation, that’s not important. What is important is the principle. Focus on one thing until you’ve got it, before moving on to the next.

Ben Settle, master of email marketing, regularly writes about the problem of shiny new toy syndrome. In his business he actively drives away people who are just looking for the latest hack or trick. He constantly pounds on the idea of learn the basics, apply them to your unique business and don’t get side tracked by the latest “goo-roo trick.”

Scott Adams, in his book “Loserthink” writes at great length about how he continues to add new things to his skill stack, the latest being podcasting.  He was laughed at, and told at great length he was too old, too ugly and his voice was no good for the medium. He did it anyway, made a crap ton of mistakes, learned along the way, and added a valuable new skill.

This is what I’ve been trying to do here. I started with posture, added back pain, added exercise and lifestyle, added stress relief, added ergonomics and finally this weekly thing on success. I’ve gone something like 14 straight weeks posting every day. Then I started researching podcasting to add it to my skills.

Mirasee and Launch My Course.

Then, out of left field came Dany Iny, Mirasee and Launch My Course. It was the final piece of the puzzle, which I was truly looking for. The Underpants Gnomes middle step would not only be explained to me, but I would have coaching, a cohort of like-minded people, and a guarantee which literally made it the right choice for me, at the perfect time.

Unfortunately, the two rabbits problem appeared. Creating a podcast takes a lot of time, research and effort. Creating an online course takes a lot of time, research and effort. Being a full time engineer with three kids takes a lot of time and effort. And I don’t have time for all three.

Decision Time

Which meant I had a decision to make; pursue my course and finally monetize my efforts in this space, or pursue my podcast, with the hope that somewhere, a year or two down the road, I could monetize my efforts in this space.

The decision was easy, and yes, I’ve put off launching my podcast. I have not given up it; I most certainly will launch it, just not on my original schedule. Which is to say, it’s not coming in July this year, I’ve got too much to do with my course research and planning. At best, I may record a couple of practice episodes in the bits and pieces I can scrape out of my copious spare time.

Interestingly, though, it doesn’t feel like failure. I have learned enough about discipline and habits over the last 5 years to know that I will get this course created and launched, and that will open up time to go back to my podcast research and planning, and I will get it launched.

And I’ll have two more skills in my stack, and two more successes under my belt.