Hard Lesson 2: Why F.O.C.U.S. Doesn’t Work for Me

March 18, 2016

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Good morning wannabes and creators! Welcome to another hard
lesson from your friend Russell Nohelty. I hope we are friends at least.

Today I want to talk about an adage that’s been thrown
around a bunch of times in podcasts I listen to: FOCUS. Or more accurately

Have you ever heard of it before? Probably not unless you
listen to tons of business podcasts. It comes from one of my favorite
podcasters, John Lee Dumas. John started Entrepreneur on Fire, one of the most
popular entrepreneur podcasts in the world. If you are liking what I’m putting
down, JLD is a huge influence on what I do.

Except that his is rigidly formatted and my show is very
loose, and his is 30 minutes and mine is an hour, and he asks the same
questions every time and I pull questions seemingly out of thin air.

But I love his authenticity. He really, really loves helping
people. You can tell with every single word he says that he’s just digging what
he’s doing, and his audience is digging him.

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His big saying, and he talks about it almost every episode,
is F.O.C.U.S. or Follow One Course Until Success. His basic premise is that you
should niche down and concentrate on one course until it bears fruit.

And it’s great advice, as long as you have a course that is
going to be successful. However, that has not been the case for my career. In fact,
usually it’s more like F.M.C.U.F. or Follow Many Courses until Failure.

And that is a recipe for failure. You will very rarely
succeed if you don’t niche down. However, if you are starting out you won’t
know what you really love UNLESS you follow many paths.

Look, I talk about this all the time. I started as a
photographer, then became a DP, then a director, then a writer, then a sales
person, and an entrepreneur. But I didn’t know what I was doing in any of those
fields for a long while.

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In fact I did follow the path of a photographer single
mindedly, then a DP, then a director, and finally a writer. And even though I
didn’t succeed at writing at first I totally kept going with it while I focused
on learning sales to augment and supplement the rest of my writing/creating.

See, I don’t think either of those paths is a good one. I
don’t want to follow a path until success or follow a ton of paths until
failure. I think there is a third path.

So I’m going to tell you about F.U.F.T.R.S.B or Follow Until
Failure Then Relaunch Something Better.

Why do I like this better? Because failure is a guarantee.
Success is not a guarantee, and following something until success makes it seem
like success will happen. But it won’t instead, it’s going to make you keep
going down a crappy path for way too long, until it’s too long to turn back.

It’s going to cause you to keep following something that isn’t
right for you just because you are following a path expecting success.

But I want you to follow a path expecting failure. Because
then when you get failure, you’re going to pivot quicker than the next person
expecting success.

And pivoting is what’s essential to success. When you can
leave one path even though you might love it because it’s not getting you the
results you want, that’s when you’re going to break through.

I was never a great photographer, or a great DP, or even a
great director. Moreso I wasn’t about to bang my head on that door to be great.
I was willing to bang my head on the door of writing though, and when I got to
that moment I had already seen what failure looked like. I was even willing to
pivot from screenwriting, to tv writing, to comic book writing, to novel
writing, because I saw where the success was leading me.

I think we are too consumed with failure as if it’s a bad
thing. But failure can be fantastic. Failure can be the thing that leads to
success, especially because it’s hard to know what success is. It’s hard to
grasp it. But we can all understand failure, and as we get more attuned to what
failure smells like, we’ll be able to hone into what success is all about.

If F.O.C.U.S.-ing works for you great, but most of us are
going to be failing well before we succeed, and I think that we could all try
F.U.F.T.R.S.B-ing on things and perhaps be a little bit better for it.

Because there is no shame in failing, and I think that
focusing on success diminishing failure. In fact, I think failure is so much
more important than success. It’s where we learn. It’s how we adapt. It’s how we
know what works and what doesn’t.

It’s very hard to define success, and success becomes a
moving target when you have it. But it’s easy to judge failure. If nobody is
responding to your work that could be considered a failure. If you can’t make
enough for rent that is a failure, and it’s also easy to fail. It’s hard to
succeed. So if we focus on failure then we can get that out of the way, learn
the warning signs for it, and prepare better for success.

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One comment on “Hard Lesson 2: Why F.O.C.U.S. Doesn’t Work for Me

  1. Thank you for your blog article.Really thank you! Will read on…