Do one thing really well: the power of focus and specializing
All my life I have been somewhat of a “generalist”- meaning, I am interested in a lot of different things. I had a tough time deciding on a major in college because, again, I liked a lot of different things. When I finally graduated from law school (which I went to because I didn’t know what to do with myself right out of college), I had a tough time deciding on a career path, because again, I was interested in doing a lot of different things. Sounding familiar?
I am not saying that it is a bad thing for us to be curious and have a variety of interests. Being informed about different topics and enjoying a variety of hobbies makes for an interesting joy-filled and adventurous life (and perhaps good Jeopardy contestants). It is also great for socializing and making conversation with people. Alas, if you are anything like me, this generalist aspect to my personality has been the source of much anxiety. It has caused a lot of great dreams, ideas- but not a lot of finished projects. Not achieving all I want has been a big source of frustration and anxiety. I have a lot of candlepower. I know that if I were to just stick with one thing and give it all I have, I could move mountains! It’s keeping that focus that is the key and can be so empowering.
The areas in my life that I have experienced the most success are where I had a focus, I was decisive about it, and I stuck with it until the end. For instance, I was clear when I went back to school to become a teacher. I got my degree, certification, and a good job teaching second grade in Florida immediately. I love my work. I feel this way about this blog. Although this is still a new project, I am passionate about this subject and I intend to work on this everyday: reaching out to fellow anxiety and insomnia sufferers, helping people, learning more about insomnia, ways to become the healthiest and most centered people we can be, and learning and ultimately becoming an expert on blogging itself. I am determined. I am focused. I am the Warm Milk Journal lady: offering support to people out there who are not sleeping their best.
What are your passions and what are you or can you become an expert on? I believe that if we find something we care about and we just focus on it, we can achieve much with whatever we want to do with this specialty (a business, writing a book, volunteer work, hosting a blog, etc.)
Get out your journal and ask yourself these questions:
- What is something I feel passionate about?
- What is something I really care about?
- What is something I am naturally good at (it helps to play and work to our strengths)
- What could I do with this passion? Turn it into a business? Improve my current job situation? My relationships? Have it become a really enjoyable hobby? Something to do during retirement?
Once you have your idea and you feel with certainty that it is a good idea for you, then go for it! Do it, research about it, take those baby steps, talk to people who are doing it already (mentors are highly recommended), talk to everybody you know about it with enthusiasm, join groups or clubs so you can connect and network with people that have this interest too, write in your journal daily about your idea- stay focused. Don’t give up!
Napoleon Hill in his class book Think and Grow Rich writes over and over again how important it is to have a definite purpose, be persistent, and have an obsession about the thing you wish to achieve. He even has a special chapter entitled “Specialized Knowledge” (chapter 5, page 75).
What is your passion? What is your obsession? Figure that out and then be totally focused and committed to it. Become a specialist. Become an expert. What we focus on grows.
I can tell you that when I am focused on something I truly care about I am not anxious or worrying. I am energized. I feel really good about myself. My creative juices are bursting. I am productive. I am contributing to the world and helping others. I have a sense of purpose. I am happier and more enthusiastic about life. I enjoy better health, better relationships, and have more fun. Finally, I sleep better at night.
Goodnight, all you specialists out there…
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