Remember Your Focus: All That Glitters is Not Gold

by Frank L. Williams

It has been said that “If you chase two rabbits, both will escape.” This is a lesson I’ve learned during my more than 15 years in business, although it can be difficult to apply. Sometimes it seems like I keep learning it over and over.

This lesson is about knowing where to focus your time, energy and resources. No person or business can be all things to all people. No one can be an expert in everything. Not every good-sounding idea or opportunity is one you should pursue. 

In my experience, I am most effective when I work in my areas of strength. However, my inner entrepreneur is naturally intrigued by and attracted to new ideas and opportunities.

Over time, I’ve learned that it can be bad to pursue a good idea. While this may seem counter-intuitive at first glance, experience has taught me that an otherwise good idea can be harmful if it distracts you from focusing on your core strengths. 

The Pareto principle, also known as the 80/20 rule, states that roughly 80% of our results come from 20% of our efforts. Imagine how effective we could be if we focused more of our time, energy and resources on those items that are truly generating results!

If you are to maximize your effectiveness, you should carefully consider whether new opportunities will be beneficial or serve as a distraction from your primary focus.

When presented with an idea or opportunity, ask yourself the following:

  • Do I or my organization have the skills and expertise required to effectively take advantage of the opportunity?
  • If we do not have the in-house expertise required, do we have reliable partners who can perform the service?
  • Will the opportunity allow us to better serve our existing clients?
  • Will directing time, energy and resources required to this opportunity harm our ability to serve our existing clients?
  • Would the time, energy and resources directed to the new opportunity be better spent working in your existing markets and areas of strength?

These are just a few of the questions you should ponder before jumping at every new “opportunity” that comes your way. Not every idea is one you should pursue; all that glitters is not gold.

Frank L. Williams

Frank is the founder and president of Pioneer Strategies.