You Can Only Do Two Things

Impact Coaches Inc. – Articles

One of my clients is a very senior leader at her organization. She works hard, she’s smart, organized, and a really nice person. She’s a mom to two young children, whom she and her husband raise without outside help. And she’s massively successful and very content with her life. She always has a big smile on her face when I speak to her. Why? Because she focuses on the two things that are most important to her – work and family.

She’s figured out a valuable formula for success: You can only do two things. Now, two things works for many people, but everyone is different. The key is to focus – and not on too many things. Because if you want to do things well and not feel out of control all the time, you can’t do everything. You need to be deliberate and make choices. It means you’ll miss out on a few things, but you’ll be happier and more successful at the things you focus on.

Focus on the areas you value most

It starts with understanding yourself and knowing what you want most out of life. Then, focus on the two areas you value most, and eliminate the activities that don’t contribute to achieving your goals in those areas. This includes everything from work or personal opportunities that aren’t core to who you are, to time wasters like social media scrolling and TV.

It’s simple, but it’s a lot of work. It requires you to keep thinking about and rethinking your priorities. To keep being accountable for your choices. Opportunities arise that can distract you. Situations can develop that challenge your strong boundaries and force you to make tough decisions. But if you understand yourself and your motivations well, then returning to your core areas of focus will always be the right choice.

Realize that your choices have impacts

It’s also crucial to realize that your choices have impacts. If you place significant focus on work, there are other parts of your life that won’t receive the benefits of your time and attention. So if you want a leadership role and more responsibility, or if you enjoy building, creating, and leading initiatives and teams, then you make a different choice from the person who doesn’t want those things.

And we all struggle with these choices all the time because life changes constantly. That’s why staying focused is so important.

Developing the habit of focused hard work in two areas early in your career, when you have fewer responsibilities and more time, is easier. It can still be done later in life, but it becomes more challenging.

Have open and honest conversations

Also critical is having open and honest conversations about your goals with the people around you. When my children were young, I explained to them that I wouldn’t be able to come to everything they did because I wanted to build a career.  

The quality of our conversations even at a young age were meaningful for all of us. And I had a full life, with lots of family time and lots of good, challenging work. Some things didn’t work out as much as I wanted them to. My husband and I both worked so we couldn’t entertain as easily, for example. But overall, we focused our time in the areas that were most important to us and brought us the greatest fulfilment. And now our children are making their own life and career decisions and their maturity around that is impressive – maybe due to these many conversations.

It’s equally important to have similar open and honest conversations with your employer. About what’s important to you, how that aligns with the organization, and what you need to achieve your goals. This is how mass customization at work can play a significant part in creating a role that works for you and your organization, contributing to everyone’s success.

It’s why quiet quitting doesn’t work for the person who’s mailing it in. They miss out on the chance to co-create the role they want with their employer, achieve their goals, and be successful.

Instead, we could all take a page out of my client’s playbook. Understand yourself. Focus on the two things that are most important to you. Work hard. It’s one of the best formulas for success and balance that I’ve seen. And it works.

Impact Coaches Inc. – Articles

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