The whole idea of growth can seem like a never-ending fight to find every extra thing to add to what you’re already doing to separate yourself from the pack. But is that really true? Maybe if I can just learn to play the guitar, I could be a more effective race car driver…? I know that’s an extreme analogy, but I hope it gets my point across.
In listening to a lesson from Mark Cole, the CEO of all things John Maxwell, I learned that we often look only at the things we need to ADD to our lives as ways we can effectively grow. In many cases, we could gain far more by looking at what we can step away from so we have more time (and energy) to focus on the things that we do best. This tied directly to the material I’m working through for a lesson on The Law of the Rubber Band, chapter 10 of The 15 invaluable Laws of Growth. In teaching this law, John talks a lot about stretching. His advice is to intentionally stretch in your areas of strength to get the best return. He goes on to explain that stretching in an area of weakness, even if it’s a hobby you truly enjoy, will rarely provide the same return on the time you invest.
So back to my guitar example… I’ve enjoyed 80’s hair band music since, well, the 80’s… At one point, I had a few roommates that played a lot of 80’s rock cover songs. I loved going to see them play or practice every time I had the chance. I enjoyed it so much, I bought a guitar (actually, I bought a few guitars). There was just one small problem: I had ZERO interest in taking the time to learn to play. I just wanted to be able to play… The learning part bordered on torture for me. I know this may come as a surprise, but patience isn’t a gift I was blessed with! Well, there were really two problems; the second being that even when I was willing to practice the incredibly mundane task of learning the basic cords, I wasn’t getting any better. OK, I guess there were at least THREE problems! Even if I had gotten some better, I would have had very little chance of ever actually realizing any true return on that investment of time.
Now John certainly isn’t an advocate of taking no time for hobbies or pure enjoyment, he simply suggests understanding the difference when you do. He often talks about the enjoyment he gets from playing golf but he stresses that since he’s not all that good, he rarely gets frustrated by the results. What a concept! Making a decision to not get frustrated when you’re doing something for fun…
In tying this together, rather than looking for what new thing you need to learn or do, is there anything YOU can do less or not at all that will allow you to focus more on what you do best? Could you add to your best by subtracting your worst?
Until next time,