Focus. Specialize. Do less. Those are good ideas, but that that’s not who I am.
It’s taken me a while to figure that out.
I suffer from listening too much of this kind of advice. I have more than one dimension to who I am. We all do. Yet there is a seductive desire to refine and shrink ourselves down to be something focused. Often I do this to a fault.
It’s easy to see why people do this. Look at Michael Jordan, or Metallica, or even Barack Obama. These people lived large chunks of their life in pursuit of a single minded goal. That is one way to become the best in the world. But, what you sacrifice in the pursuit might not be worth it.
For me, I have tried to distill myself down to one purpose or goal. It is challenging. I am not driven by the same things that many other successful people are, so it’s difficult to pick one thing to be best in the world at.
For example, I am good at building software. It would be easy to say that I should focus on that one thing and become the best in the world at building software. Yet, when I build software, I am not driven by the idea of building software. I am driven to do great work. Software is one way to do that.
Doing great work doesn’t feel like my life’s goal. I love doing great work, but my family is more important to me than my work. Living my faith, what I believe in, is also important to me. So is building connections with people. So is living simply. So is telling the truth. So is making silly jokes.
Those things are important to me. That is where the tension lies. I am not just one of those things or two of those things. I am all those things.
If I were to try and be just one thing, I would be less.
I am not just one thing.
I am me.
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