Are You A Dabbler?

One of the crazy things about life is how easy it is to get distracted.

You can be starting something HERE – and then leave it half-finished to go THERE.

In some ways this can be good, especially if you haven’t found your passion yet. But if you’re running a business then dabbling can be the your ruin.

Recently I read a story about Richard St. John, a successful marketer and best-selling author. He wrote the book 8 to be Great, which I recommend for every business owner.

He describes a time in his life when he wasn’t going very far, very fast.  He had spent 10 years in the workforce and was dabbling in many different areas.  Here’s his list:

• Research
• Design
• Project management
• Presentations
• Writing
• Advertising photography

And his personal life was the same way…. He dabbled in:

• Sailing
• Rowing
• Running
• Music lessons
• Art lessons
• Cooking
• And French Lessons


As he describes it “I never stopped in any one place long enough to become really good at something. “

IF This Sounds Familiar To You, You May Be A Dabbler.

Eventually, Richard got over dabbling and went on to massive success with both the St. John Group and with being an author. But it took a switch from dabbling to relentless focus.

I see lots of business owners in this same situation.

They try this and they try that, and they never quite spend enough time in any one place to master ANYTHING much. Their businesses either falls apart or stays at a level where they are barely making it.

When entrepreneurs let go of the dabbling and start focusing on one thing at a time their success normally skyrockets.

It’s pretty standard for businesses to start out trying out a lot of different things. And it’s part of the learning curve. But - when you hit on an idea that really appeals to you and shows promise, that’s the time to focus.



So How Do You Do That?
There are several ways.

One is to put away all the triggers that make you want to try new things. For me, I routinely unsubscribe from email lists that don’t fit my focus. And I’ll set aside large chunks of “distraction free” time to map out an implementation plan.

Another way is to define what you’re focusing on at any given moment.  For a plumber this may be “courteous and prompt customer service”. For an attorney it could be “getting your law firm name out into the community via listings on the first page of Google”.

By defining your focus you can easily say “NO” and file the other opportunities that may be of interest but don’t fit.

Your focus can change from time to time, but each thing you do should claim your 100% focus.

Mr. St. John explained very well how this plays out. “Over time, my passions and focused morphed from photography to research, to marketing, video production, and writing. But at any one time, I focused 100% on only one thing. No dabbling. And each time the intense focus paid off in terms of quality, satisfaction, and awards.”

If you’re ready to start getting the pay off in your business, then focus is the key.


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