The “Magic” Formula for Getting Faster Results, Going Full-Time & Doing It All

Written by Scott August 6, 2015

“How Do I Get Faster Results?”

I get asked this a lot.

Or more specifically, something like, “How do I speed up the transition from side project to full-time?”

This year alone I’ve heard versions of it from LYL members in over a dozen countries where we’ve hosted events and connected with many of you during our World Tour.

It can be a dangerous question, as most attempts to speed up results tend to lead to short-term decisions that sacrifice long-term potential.

But there’s one honest answer I’ve found to be true…

It comes back to something my dad casually mentioned to me during one of our strategy sessions in my office a couple years ago. I was considering winding down my investment fund (that I’d run for five years with a good friend) to go all-in with Live Your Legend. His opening comment pretty much made the decision for us…

He quietly sat back and said, “Well, focus is the key to the world.”

That quote lived on my whiteboard from that day forward.

As it turns out, the honest answer to getting faster, more meaningful results is simple…

Less dabbling. More focused action.

If you want to do it all, stop trying to do it all.

Focus on one thing right now. Save the rest for later.

I’ve been guilty of this off and on my entire life, which is why I’m constantly revisiting it.

We have a million ideas, many of which sound pretty cool and exciting. But we hold off on going all-in on any of them because we’re afraid we’ll pick the wrong path or that the one we choose will fail. So we try to work a little on everything.

But in doing so we deprive all of them of the two ingredients most important for making them work – focus and action.

Our fear of failure leads us to act in a way that dramatically increases our odds of failing. Go figure.

Perpetual dabbling kills possibility.

Yes, exploring and experimenting are crucial steps, but at some point dabbling becomes an excuse for not drawing your line in the sand, going all-in and doing the work.

And it’s not until that point that you can actually give an idea, interest or passion a chance at coming to life.

It’s only then when you can create the space, time and focus to get traction – to make real progress, master your craft, build your brand and make a difference for others. And that focused action then leads to more progress and results. The snowball begins to roll and grow.

Or it allows you to gather the data you need to realize you picked the wrong path, and to confidently take the steps to correct course. Remember, learning what you don’t want to do is also tremendous progress.

But none of that can happen until you give your focused attention to something. And that starts with mentally deciding to go all-in.

Less dabbling. More focused action – No matter what your stage or how advanced you are. 

This applies just as much to those just starting as it does to those already building and working on your thing full-time. The shiny objects and dabbling always have to be reigned in. I’m no different.

And the solution is not to decide to cram every idea and interest into one venture or career. That’s the same problem in disguise. The only way to effectively do that is to start with just one right now. That focus might give you a chance to incorporate some of the others later on.

For years my projects got nearly zero traction as I tried to cover as many interests as possible – my first site talked about fitness, learning, relationships, stress, travel, careers, productivity, etc., etc. – with no clear focus. And I experimented with all kinds of things before that (like teaching speed reading and attempting to sell my travel photography – that one picture someone bought for $20 was still damn exciting!).

But when I decided to put all of my energy behind one thing – helping people find and do work they love, and create Live Your Legend, is when things started to take off.

That focus not only allowed my project to thrive, but it also gave me permission to get creative on including many of the other topics I’m excited about.

If you want a chance at pursuing all of your wild, crazy, fun ideas, you have to be willing to put them all on hold for now. All but one.

To do it all, start by doing just one.

I keep a long list of ideas and future projects that grows much much faster than what I’m able to build and accomplish. Sometimes that’s frustrating. Sometimes that causes me to try to do too much (like my ridiculous decision to attempt to start a stand-up desk “side-project” a couple years ago – live and learn).

But then I come back to the formula…

Less dabbling. More focused action. 

Plus, it’s exciting knowing I have a stockpile of possibility saved up for later. Leaving a few stones unturned is a good thing.

Going All-In doesn’t mean you drop everything or quit your job right now.

It means mentally choosing what you want your full-time focus to eventually be and putting whatever energy you currently have behind it, instead of dividing your limited creative time into a million different directions. It means going all-in on one side project, one pure focus, while you’re still at your current job.

That is the only way I know to accelerate the transition from side-project to full-time.

And it’s the same formula for getting more results if you’re already doing your thing full-time. Give one project, idea or product your attention. Reign in the dabbling and build something.

I like how Swami Vivekananda puts it…

“Take up one idea. Make that one idea your life – think of it, dream of it, live on that idea. Let the brain, muscles, nerves, every part of your body, be full of that idea, and just leave every other idea alone. This is the way to success.” – Swami Vivekananda

And I’m not necessarily talking about dedicating a lifetime to just one idea.

Even if you just applied two years of focused action and attention to something, you could likely be in the top 10% or better. And two years is nothing! Think of what that kind of focus could create in a lifetime. There’s so much you could pursue, build and create. Your impact could be insane!

Give yourself a chance.

It’s a never-ending process: Say no to good ideas so you can let the great ones breathe – or so you can discover if they’re truly great in the first place.

You’re scared of taking action and going all-in because you’re afraid it might not work out. But the only way for it to have a chance at working out, is to go all-in.

If you spend your life dabbling, you never end up getting great at anything.

When you go all-in, the world starts to take you more seriously.

And more importantly, you begin taking yourself more seriously.

And that, of course, leads to less dabbling and more focused action.

Give yourself a fighting chance.

-Scott

Need more help on deciding what to go all-in on?

It’s a big topic and we’ve covered it a lot. Here are a few free LYL resources that will help:

  1. Warren Buffett’s Process for Prioritizing True Success (and Why Most People Never Do It). I learned this from Warren Buffett’s pilot a few years ago and created a free workbook to go with it. It’s also a part of our free Passionate Work Toolkit which you can access below each article on LYL.
  2. How to Avoid Making the Wrong Big Decisions (like choosing the wrong path)
  3. Our Most Challenging Choice: 6 Steps to Ensure You Don’t Pick the Wrong Path
  4. Fearful Focus: How & When to Kill Your 2nd Most Amazing Idea (+ free ‘Avoid At All Cost’ workbook)
  5. I’m Going All-In with Live Your Legend! The Difficult Decision to Close My Investment Business
  6. 11 Steps to Insane Focus: Do More of What Matters

Image Credit: My wife striking a pose in the Sahara Desert a few weeks ago. Follow me on Instagram for the latest World Tour pics.

We’re currently on day 208 in Southern France. Next planned stops are Croatia, Serbia, Turkey and Tanzania. We hope to see some of you!

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