Working as a freelance or consulting Editor, Writer and Content Strategist provides me with the opportunity to see inside of a variety of businesses of various sizes. Some of my clients are larger organizations with hundreds or thousands of employees; some are smaller one or two person startups trying to build something special. One thing has become clear to me no matter what the size of the business: you cannot truly excel at ONE thing while the rest of your world (or business) is in disarray.
Earlier in my career, I was a wholesale sales rep. and I enjoyed a good deal of success. I used work as the outlet for most of my creative energy, and I was absolutely obsessed with it. It was my singular focus, and I thought I was really good at it. Yet, at the time, I wasn’t excelling at many other things in my life. I was in a mediocre, unhappy marriage, and I’d neglected many of my long time friendships to spend more hours working. I was making a lot of money and measured my success that way, but it was not a fulfilling existence.
Fast forward years later and I am a single mother working from home doing what I love. I do not work as many hours as I once did, but I know that in the hours I do work I perform on a much higher level than when I was work obsessed. This isn’t simply because I’m happier, which I am, but it because my world is the opposite of disarray. It is organized and harmonious, and therefore so is my business.
None of this means that I have the perfect life or that I’ve figured out “the secret;” I have merely figured out one secret to business success. Your life and your business must be in order. You cannot excel at one thing – let’s take sales – if the rest of your business life and personal life are in disarray. Or, perhaps what I mean is that you won’t reach your peak performance level. I am 100 percent convinced that if I had enjoyed the kind of organizational harmony that I have now back when I was a full-time sales person, I would have been even more successful. My focus on the important things would have been clearer, and I would have had less to worry about overall.
So how does one become organized and create order and harmony at work? By focusing on what is most important. That may seem like the answer of a simpleton, but most of the businesses and people I see struggling do so because they don’t focus on the few important things, and instead try to do everything well. Figuring out what the most important things are isn’t really difficult – most of us, deep down, know exactly what we should be doing, we just allow ourselves to be distracted from those things. Turn off the distractions. Focus on the few really important things and you will make time to create order.