Cut & Focus: The Discipline of ‘Less Is More’

Books like “It” by Craig Groeschel, “Simple Church” by Eric Rainer, “Strengths-Based Leadership” by Tom RathGood to Great” by Jim Collins and leaders like Andy Stanley have popularized these ideas:

* Less is more

* Cut, cut, cut

* Simplify in order to focus like a laser-beam on only a few things

* Focus on only what you can do

* Work within your strengths.

* Create margin by doing only what you can do

* Good is the enemy of great

* Do a few things very well, not many things pretty good

I have lots of cognitive knowledge about these ideas. But I don’t have a lot of applicable knowledge.

It’s showing.

Whether it’s my personality or some other character flaw, I find myself drifting into areas I have no business being in. Meaning, I have a job to do. That job takes up a serious amount of time. I could focus all my energy on this job and do it very, very well.

But for whatever reason, I get distracted by lots of nominally important activities.

Here is why, I believe:

* Satan: First and foremost, Satan wants to keep us distracted and busy. As C.S. Lewis said, if Satan can’t get us to sin, at least he can keep us busy.

* Trust: Getting your hands in areas outside of your own shows a lack of trust in your teammates to get things done.

* Discipline: It just takes serious discipline to say no, to create margin, to not do things that will distract you from your primary one or two things you are called to do very well.

* People-pleaser: It’s hard to say no. It’s hard to not do things. But frankly, one person can’t do it all. However, it is difficult to not doing something especially when it hurts someone.

As I grow as a leader, I know this: I must learn how to discipline myself to focus intently on my primary strengths and say no to everything else.

What are you doing right now that is so important that it’s taking you away from your primary objective or mission?

What is distracting you from doing some great rather than many things very well?

What do you need to cut or eliminate?