Magpie syndrome

Can I tell you the hardest bit about my job? It is staying focused on just one thing. And I am not just talking about focusing on one task either. I am talking about focusing on one business, one theme, one project to land as well. Because I am an entrepreneur and I like to chase shiny things – just like a magpie. Oooh – new business idea! Oooh – new gadget! Oooh – new shiny object! Oooh – new shiny thing!


Here’s the thing:


There will always be shiny things.

You will always have lots of choice.

If you let this shiny thing go there will be another one.

What you have to do is FOCUS and stop being distracted by the next shiny thing.


It’s hard when it’s in our nature to chase shiny things – we are ideas people after all.


I have an associate that could be very successful. But he cannot for the life of him stick at a business for too long. He has changed his business three times since I have known him and that’s in three years – there is no time to build up wealth – proper wealth – if you keep chopping and changing.


I know that this is completely contradictory for most entrepreneurs – we love change, new things, start ups – but the biggest wealth builders will be those who persist and stick in a field until they have truly established themselves, and then they can go off and diversify.


This is not to say you should stick in a field that is going nowhere – if you are in a business facing obsolescence then of course you need to get out, but I am warning you of the perils of not sticking at what needs to be done in your successful businesses and diverting your attention when what you really need is FOCUS.


In my experience I ran Diamond and a consultancy alongside it for maybe 12 years. Now the consultancy gave me a wealth of experience in startups and turnarounds and adding millions to their turnovers – all of which I didn’t do at Diamond. What I know is when I said goodbye to my final consultancy client in 2011 that is when I had the time and focus to really look at Diamond and actually propel it from small time to big time.


And at that time I also asked myself ‘Do I want to do this in logistics’? I mean I fell into it by mistake really. I could have changed my business too. There is lots of opportunity EVERYWHERE.


But I had TRACTION in logistics, I could use my experience to short cut to success and I could build a substantial business – although not a necessarily glamorous one – in an industry that the world needs so I knew I had a good market for it. So I shut down all other distractions and focused on the one thing. I stopped looking for shiny.


And gosh it’s been hard – there has been all sorts of opportunity. I am asked to consult in great businesses every day – earning thousands a day to give advice which I love – but I just keep saying no. I am not being distracted by those shiny things. I know those opportunities will arise again – my 23 years experience reassures me of that. The most important thing I need is longevity (check) and focus (check) and no distraction from shiny things – check, check, check.


So do you tend to pursue the next trends, the next business, the next big thing? Would the fastest way to your business dreams actually be to focus on what you are good at and just give it your pure undivided 100% attention and stop being distracted by shiny things? Maybe that’s you?


Anyway I need to get back to work – so have a great week, and stay focused!