There are a few potholes that, despite my best efforts, I hit over and over and over again. One of these, which is not uncommon, is the feeling that I’m not achieving as much as I think I should be. The thing about this particular pothole is that I can’t always see it coming. I might be cruising along, feeling pretty good about myself, and, without warning, I end up skidding into the guardrails, frantically trying to avoid going over the cliff. Sometimes I’m more successful at that last part than others.
I don’t know what it is about these last couple of weeks – perhaps Mercury was in Retrograde (whatever that actually means, I’ve never really known) – but I’ve really struggled to stay consistent. I’m up. I’m down. I’m sideways. I’m backwards. I’m over the cliff. I climb back up, dust myself off and just as I get myself centered, the bus comes from off the screen and takes me out. (You know, like those scenes in the movies that always make you jump out of your seat.)
Even as I’ve rediscovered my fundamentals, however, I feel like I’m missing a kind of balance that allows me to take a shot and stay on my feet. Or, as I told a friend this week, “I don’t mind falling down. I need to learn how to get back up faster.” What do they say? It’s not about the number of times you get knocked down; it’s about how many times you get up. I agree, but only if you get up quickly.
At any one time, I might have five or 10 projects in some state of development. From TV shows to apps and books to apparel, I’m always working on the launch of one idea or another. What happens, however, when the development on ALL of those ideas simultaneously comes to a halt? I come to a halt. I hit the “underachieving potholes.” And, if I’m hitting those potholes at the same time I’m reading about the achievements of others…no guardrail can hold me from going over the side.
Clarity comes at the strangest times, sometimes. So, this last week, as I was cooking chicken and rice (yes, for my dog – that’s another story), I realized that I try to do too many things. Having too many balls in the air at one time is a recipe for disaster. Not only can the balls all come crashing down, they have a tendency to crash into things you weren’t even juggling in the first place and make additional messes.
I found the magic of focus in chicken and rice. I discovered that I needed to let go of a few of the projects I was developing (at least for the time being) and focus on the two or three that brought me the greatest sense of joy. I needed to focus only on the ones that were closer to my core fundamentals.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m proud of my friends’ successes. I don’t feel any sense of jealousy when I read about some great achievement. Quite the opposite. As I’ve said before, I appreciate the opportunity to celebrate their accomplishments. I celebrate them.
When I hit those potholes, my feelings are about me…not them. It’s not about jealousy; it’s about fear. Fear that I spend too much time on the ground when I do get knocked down. Fear that I’m running out of time. That’s how I ended up with so many projects. I figured the more I started – the better chance I had to seeing one of them through. But, frankly, the opposite proved to be true. Every project actually suffered with each new idea. Just as there are only so many hours in a day…there’s only so much focus.
And with a little Focus Pocus…I can make projects disappear and more focus appear. Presto!