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A Quick And Fun Way To Pick Your One Thing To Focus On

Alright, I think at this point it goes without saying, but it is almost impossible to focus on only one thing. In many ways, the idea of “balance” is a myth. 

We have many things in life that we need to focus on; family, friends, self-care, work, and unfortunately health at times.

This is where counterbalance is the true reality.

At times we will be so focused on parenting for example because our kiddo is home sick. And that’s o.k. We can drop the other stuff for a bit.

These things are the foundation for life.

The One Thing

The foundational priorities of self-care, wellness, friends, and family are not the goals that I would include when referring to your “one thing”.

As busy as we may be with those areas of life, at other times we’ll have the chance to go head down, work our ass off, and be super focused on the one thing that is our greatest goal at any given moment.

I just want to point that out quickly because I understand there is more than “one thing”. Please do give yourself the time and space to be able to spend energy on all of the other priorities. Because goal setting is an infinite game. 

We get to play forever.

So what do I mean by “your one thing” then?

Refresh Your Hero’s Journey Map

Every one of our lives tells a story. Whether we write the script or not, there is a character arc. And every story, simply put, has a beginning, middle, and end. Often referred to as the three acts.
This is true of our lives as a whole. But if we try to control our entire story we will fail. There is far too much beyond our control.

What we can control are some of the smaller stories that develop within the big narrative.

I like to think of this as being the hero in your own story. You are a hero on a specific mission and to attack that mission, we could really use a map.

If you’ve ever used an app like Google Maps to find a location or directions, then you know that sometimes we need to hit refresh and recalibrate. 

Well, deciding on “our one thing” at any given moment is a lot like hitting refresh on our map after we type in a new destination, or toggle a different mode of transportation,

The cool thing too about using this example of Maps is that so many modes of transportation exist.

You could select walking, car, bus, train, boat, and even flight.
Or your trip could include a combination of these things.

That’s kind of how I feel when it comes to planning our own big dream. 

Our one thing will in all likelihood combine different methods to make progress. We will have to pivot to a different mode of transportation, to a different route altogether, or both. 

But, in the end, we’ll get to the destination that is meant for us if we understand how to define that “one thing”.

The Definition Of The One Thing

This is where things get super contextual and can be challenging to help everyone with at the same time. If we were talking one-on-one I would share insights, or learn things about you that make the idea of your one thing a lot more specific.

However, over the years I have been able to build a bit of a framework for explaining this, so here it goes.

It can change over time. But, at any given moment, there is always one goal that is most intrinsically motivating for us. One thing, beyond our foundational priorities in life, that we would love to accomplish more than anything else in the world.

It is usually tied to our purpose, our meaning, and our “why”. 

And Remember, meaning can be found in three ways:

Through achievement by setting goals and working towards them.

Through relationships by giving and receiving love.

Through suffering by transcending challenges and emerging stronger.

In the book titled “The One Thing” the concept is defined by asking yourself,

What’s the ONE Thing you can do, such that by doing it, everything else will be easier or unnecessary?”

The Continuum Of Your One Thing

Now, we’re going to pick one thing here to focus on. But I have one last thing to add. When you go to focus on your one thing you need to bear in mind that this one thing could be a hobby that brings you incredible vitality. It may also be a full-time job. Or anywhere in between.

The amount to which our one thing contributes to our financial life can change based on a combination of our money needs and our desires for the one thing. It exists along a continuum from a fully creative hobby with no strings attached to full-time career pursuit.

This continuum can shift and evolve over time.

But some things do not change. The one thing is based on our values and purpose. There is a single, clearly defined mission to go on. We can work on it, at least in a small amount every single day. And sharing the journey would inspire others.

How To Pick Your One Thing In Three Steps

Now let’s get it.

After all the work we’ve done to build a foundation and come up with a bunch of ideas, how do you pick that one thing?

  1. Take all of the ideas you have about interests, passions, and strengths and come up with a list of 1-20 ideas. If you really know what it is already, then you have one. Congrats, if you don’t, then think of up to twenty missions you could go on to achieve a life goal. List them all out.
  2. Now, give each of the ideas a score from zero to one hundred, by asking the question: “how excited would you be if this goal came true?”
    NOTE: To rank each idea, turn your brain off. Ignore your inner critic, don’t worry about what others might think, don’t second guess your idea, don’t reflect on how original it is, or the likelihood of success, and don’t even worry whether or not you would do it as a job, hobby, vocation, or career. Simply ask the question, and see what your heart and gut say back!
  3. Now, take a look at the top three scores, plus ties. Now that you have top three list, pick one of them to be your One Thing for now. Simply pick. If you can’t pick, put the names in a hat, or random generator. We’ll talk more about it later, but this does not mean you’ll never do the other things. Take the pressure off by recognizing that it means we are going to give it a fair chance to see if it’s something we truly want to pursue.

If somehow after all of this work you are still struggling to come up with ideas, we need to do a couple things. In the next episode we’ll review the dreamblockers that could be getting in the way. And, we’ll talk about the dangers of not coming up with one thing, and share a bunch of ways that you can come up with ideas if you are really stuck.

Thanks for reading. Your pal,
Justin @JustTries 


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