“The number one priority of an entrepreneur who gets out of their creative vortex… is to do whatever it takes to get back in it.”
…Said my friend Julie, a few weeks ago when we met up to chat. As fellow entrepreneurs, meeting idly mid work day, the topic of conversation naturally gravitated toward business, thinking and success.
This creative vortex is Julie’s (and Abraham Hick’s) metaphor for what you might know as “The Zone” – that place you go where your work just flows, the best decisions get made and your success is created. Getting people there is what I do for a job. Staying there should be your biggest concern.
There’s a number of factors that can pull an entrepreneur out of this sweet spot. One of the most unexpected and deadly is the act of juggling multiple projects.
It’s a tricky issue to define. As entrepreneurs we see the big picture; every project requires us to juggle. Every business contains many moving parts.
Multiple projects hurt us when we treat them as multiple horses in the race. It’s dangerous to hedge your bets by not betting big on one important thing.
Were you to dedicate yourself to nothing but the single biggest project or business idea you have, you run an enormous risk. What happens if that project fails? You’ve just spent the last year(s) betting big and when your horse doesn’t finish, you’re humiliated.
At an unconscious level, you know this. That’s why you juggle three projects at once – if one fails, at least you can tell people you were juggling two others. Those other two are still full of potential and might just work out, right?
Entrepreneurs juggle multiple projects to insulate themselves from the Failure Bogeyman.
To commit to that one thing, the thing that matters most, requires enormous courage. It requires you to believe that the commitment and the risk of failure is worth it. It demands that you eliminate all your secondary horses-in-the-race. It insists that you lean into the the fact that if your single remaining horse falters, you have to make it get back up again or admit defeat.
It’s tempting isn’t it, to have a few horses? It feels good.
“I’m working on a couple of things right now – and X isn’t going so well, but Y is looking good!”
This might as well be the meta-motto of every networking group ever, where terrified business owners meet to chat about big ideas.
So why is it better to commit to one thing?
It comes back to the question of creative vortexes. AKA getting into (and staying in) The Zone.
When you’re flipping your focus between three different business projects, it’s too easy to hit resistance in one then switch to the other. There isn’t any reason to try to outsmart your obstacles or do the inner work required to overcome them. If one horse stops moving, you just start focusing on (and talking about) another. Easy.
You fail to do the most important work an entrepreneur can do: Finding your creative vortex and figuring out how to stay there, even when things get tricky.
This failure means that your three (or seven!) horses all proceed very slowly. Unless you’ve developed herculean powers of delegation, the rule “Energy flows where attention goes” remains true. Your pack of horses fall behind as you jump between them, losing precious time and energy with every switch you make. Every time you start to get into the zone, you have to pull yourself out to attend to one of those other projects.
Admittedly, the people who bet big on the one important thing sometimes lose. Just don’t get sucked into using those examples as proof that the “many projects” way is better. Ever met anyone who simultaneously hit three home runs?
Entrepreneurialism has always been a crazy game. It’s always been high risk. You’ve always been insane to try in the first place. This is why you’re awesome.
Don’t let the fear make you “diversify”. You’re an entrepreneur not a stock broker, so act like it. Pick what matters and crush it.
What do you think? How do you decide what to focus on? Are there any examples where more projects are better than fewer? There’s no wrong answers, just quality discussion to be had in the comments below…