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We’ve got a bit of a different show today. It’s a shorter recording that was previously streamed live just to the Community members while we were still on air after an earlier episode. It wasn’t going to be a show that we released.

Essentially, I had a bit of an intervention with Cory (he’s our video guy and live broadcast producer). He’s recently been saying “yes” to a lot of things and making a lot of commitments. I voiced concern for his focus given that he’s saying “yes” to more things than he’s saying “no” to.

Cory decided we should share the recording publicly with others who are also struggling with saying “yes” to too many things and not focusing.

We talk about how you can be unaware of opportunities you’re missing if you’re not giving enough margin to the things you want to be focusing on.

Highlights, Takeaways, & Quick Wins

  • It takes most people too long to realize they’ve made no progress on a million things.
  • How successful could you be at any one thing if you gave it all your attention?
  • Right now is time you could be investing in something that becomes an asset.
  • Just because you’re saying no to something now doesn’t mean you’re saying it’s not a part of you anymore.
  • Do you care about something enough to either say no to it now, or say no to everything else now so you can focus?
  • There will be potential opportunities for your main thing you will not see if you are allowing something else to take up your time.

Show Notes
  • 00:55 Sean: Basically, I’m getting concerned that Cory is saying yes to too many things. We feel like this is a message a lot of people need to hear.
  • 02:06 Cory: I have my first table read today and I’m so excited! A table read is when the director, sometimes the producers, and mainly the actors of a film get together and read the script for the first time together. It’s the first stage of the movie process.
  • 03:12 Sean: So…that’s why you joined a band?
  • 03:13 Cory: I am actually in a band.
  • 03:19 Sean: Oh, you must have quit your Monday night group.
  • 03:21 Cory: I still do that too.
  • 03:22 Sean: Oh, so you stopped meeting people every week, you got an easier day job, or you decided not to do a video show? I’m concerned. I feel like you’re doing too much. I feel like you’re saying yes to all the things and the list of things you’re saying no to is small to non-existent. I’m concerned because I care about your projects and I want them to be successful. It’s not that I don’t think you can make all your projects hit mediocre success, but I want you to experience significant success.

It takes most people too long to realize they’ve made no progress on a million things.

  • 06:30 Right now is the time you could be investing in something that becomes an asset. Having split focus and saying yes to all of these things means that none of them have enough of your investment to get enough momentum to stand out, go on auto-pilot, or to be something that could stand alone.
  • 07:29 Cory: The main thing I want to succeed at is film—the films I’m working on right now. Once things start getting in the way of that, they go.
  • 07:56 Sean: Right now you’re committing a day a week to really focus on film and you’ve got five other things you do every single week. You’re thinking that as soon as something encroaches on film, you’ll say no to it, but you’ve got all these other things. What you won’t ever see is the potential to invest more of your energy into film and the opportunities that would present themselves if you opened up your availability to work more on film.

You don’t see yourself saying no to things because you haven’t given yourself the capacity to say yes to one thing.

  • 09:07 Matt: The way I justify my madness with all my businesses is that I get a return out of it. I’m not saying I’ve always gotten a return from the beginning, because I haven’t, but if you have a plan with a return on what you’re working on in sight, then it’s ok to have multiple things going on. Not everyone can handle madness, but I think if you’re doing something that’s not going to have a reasonable return, then it’s wasting time. I’ve said no to family and friends on a weekly basis, because I have a goal.
  • 09:58 I’m not saying there’s no return from those gatherings, but I have a Lambo Goal right now. The faster I can get to that goal, the faster I can hang out with friends. I still hang out with friends, but I don’t hang out with them every other day. I don’t just go do things that aren’t going to help me in the future. I’ll take time out of my day to help other people, but I also know I’m going to get something from that later on. Sometimes it’s monetary and sometimes it’s not, but I know it will help me in some way.

How successful could you be at any one of your things if you gave it all your attention?

  • 10:44 Sean: I feel like, of anyone, I’m able to make things successful by most people’s standards without giving it my all. I work really hard, but I also have some level of talent. With piano, school, business, etc. I could easily coast through life. I could give 20% and do better than 80% of people. It’s easy to spend eight hours the night before your paper is due when you had three weeks to do it and get a 78 to pass the class. Other people got a 68 and worked for five days on it.
  • 11:50 I could play piano and do everything fine to where I don’t completely get scolded by my teacher, but she knew I didn’t put in as much practice as I should. What would I be if I had really put in the practice? What if I had practiced two hours a day instead of practicing haphazardly right before the teacher came? How much better at piano would I be? How much better would any of us be if we focused on one thing? You say you care about film, but do you care about it enough to either say no to it now, or say no to everything else now? A lot of people say they care about something and maybe it’s not the right time. Maybe they need a day job or to get their priorities straight.
  • 13:01 Do you love this thing enough to say no to it now so that you can set up the ideal scenario to work on it later? If it’s the right time and you say you love it and want it to be successful, do you love it enough to say no to everything else? I love music and I would love to make more music, but it’s about seasons. Just because you’re saying no to something now doesn’t mean you’re saying it’s not a part of you anymore. Sometimes the best thing you can do about something you care about is to say no for right now.
  • 13:55 Matt: Even with all my madness, when I start a new business, I make sure the rest of my businesses have a solid foundation and could run if I died tomorrow. I’m confident they could, because I’ve put systems and people in place for it.
  • 14:13 Sean: My guess is to get it to that point. At one point in the past you were focusing on them and now they’re assets.
  • 14:22 Matt: Exactly. When you start something, you say no to everything else to make sure it gets going. You’ve built this machine that can run by itself with someone maintaining it. I’m not saying I’ve figured out how to clone myself, because I haven’t, but make sure you’ve built solid whatever you want to say yes to. Give it 100% and once you’ve done that, you can either extend off that existing business or start another one—that’s what I do. It probably could do better if I focused on, but it’s difficult to focus on one in what I do. There’s so many different pieces and companies that feed the one thing. If I didn’t own those other companies, someone else would own them and I would have to use them, so why not own them and make more of the cut?
  • 15:40 Sean: Why not own them and then systematize? Get it to where you still own it, but someone runs it so it’s an asset.
  • 15:49 Matt: Right now, we’re making a podcast and I’m making money because people are working on all my things. There are systems in place, but I like to be around so I can make sure the quality is up to my standard. You have to say no to other things if you want to make one thing a golden egg.
  • 16:27 Sean: This is how we internalize things and this is why I repeat things a lot on the show: we hear things a lot, eventually it sinks in, you think about it more, and then very slowly you start to say it. You start to say it before you even believe it, but it’s the saying it that leads to believing it.
  • 16:56 Matt: Lots of times you’ll say it and realize you might be getting off focus. This is where brainstorming comes in. To make sure you have enough time to focus on what you need to, you need to write everything down and start crossing out the things that are interfering with the overall goal and the overall return.
  • 18:37 Cory: Right now, I know my film situation, the people in it, and how much time they can give. I know what I have to work with so why would I say no to this thing on Wednesday when I know I can’t do anything else to help progress my filmmaking?

There will be potential opportunities you could take advantage of for your main thing that you won’t see if something else is taking up your time.

  • 18:58 Sean: You’re going to have to be mindful of it not being able to grow beyond the availability you’re giving it, but you need to raise the ceiling proactively. Before you’re hurting, free up the time to allow it to grow without being stunted.
  • 19:36 Cory: I believe that 100% and that will come in the future. Right now, this is my first short film so I don’t think it’s necessary to say no to everything. It’ll be a gradual thing and I’ll take one thing at a time.
  • 20:01 Matt: And if you’ve taken on too many things, then start crossing them off one thing at a time. It hurts to cross things off sometimes.
  • 20:13 Sean: It does hurt because it’s usually the things you want to do.