First Focus, Then Expand

“First focus, then expand” reminds me of the old adage: “The only place that Success comes before Work is in the dictionary.” You don’t hear that one too often any more. Too old-fashioned and Calvinist even if it’s still true.

But Work isn’t the problem for most people I know. Most people I know are perfectly willing to do the work. The more frequent challenge I see is the need to focus what they’re working on so that they’ll get the results they want.

My third year Latin teacher gave me a pin that said (in Latin) “he who chases two leopards catches neither.” She knew what she was talking about (and as testimony to the gift’s aptness, I had to ask her to translate the pin for me.) Chase one leopard at a time and you may soon have a cage full of them. Chase two at a time and you’ll have none.

By the way, this lesson does not apply if your business model is to chase after things like grubs and bugs that you can pick up by hand in quantities sufficient to keep your belly full. If that’s your business model, you don’t need much focus at all. It’s not a very exciting business model (to me) but you’ll survive. On the other hand, if you want to do more than survive — if you want to build something sustainable and interesting — you’re going to be chasing leopards, and that requires focus.

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