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The Pursuit of Less

From the Harvard Business Review blog…

Why don’t successful people and organizations automatically become very successful? One important explanation is due to what I call “the clarity paradox,” which can be summed up in four predictable phases:

Phase 1: When we really have clarity of purpose, it leads to success.
Phase 2: When we have success, it leads to more options and opportunities.
Phase 3: When we have increased options and opportunities, it leads to diffused efforts.
Phase 4: Diffused efforts undermine the very clarity that led to our success in the first place.

Curiously, and overstating the point in order to make it, success is a catalyst for failure.

I see this personally at work, too. When you do something really well, people wonder what you’ll do next. You get requests to more cool, interesting stuff.

And that thing you did really well? You have less time to focus on it, so it’s not so awesome anymore.

Does that mean I shouldn’t branch out? Of course not! But I do wonder if I might benefit from being more methodical and deliberate about how I choose to.

Have any questions or comments about this post? Email me at chris@gomakethings.com or contact me on Twitter at @ChrisFerdinandi.

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