My wife convinced me to attend a yoga class with her recently. I hadn’t practiced yoga in a few years, and right from the off I knew I’d have to pay close attention to my Lululemon-clad classmates, and mimic their movements, just to keep up.
A few minutes into the session, I felt OK doing the basic bridge pose to stretch out my back – until I sensed that some around me were executing a much more demanding wheel pose. And just as I’m thinking, maybe what I’m doing isn’t good enough, the teacher dropped some serious life knowledge on us. She said, “More isn’t better. More is just more.”
The financial lens, of course, is the traditional one by which many may approach my yoga instructor’s advice. “More (money) isn’t always better. More (money) is just more (money).” Certainly not a novel concept, and one that has been covered extensively with data from Stanford’s GSB, Pompeu Fabra University in Barcelona on The Price of Abundance and others. Besides, the Notorious B.I.G. already taught us all that we need to know on the concept of money and happiness 20 years ago.
But I think the point can be applied elsewhere – specifically when it comes to personal bandwidth.
We’re doing “more” at work than ever before – more projects, more tasks, more meetings, more ‘initiatives.’ The same is going on outside of work: I see peers joining Toastmasters Clubs, “advising” or “mentoring” startups as alumni of their universities, attending networking events. Not core, but more. It’s amazing we can squeeze in an episode or two of Narcos each night with these overflowing plates.
Everyone has their strengths, priorities, and KPIs to aim for: the core DNA that will make them (and their companies) a success. Sometimes we can achieve those core priorities with an overflowing plate, but I don’t think we can if it becomes the steady state: over-stimulated, complex, too much, too fast. Why deviate from our strengths? If your success is measured in client retention rate, then be extremely strong when it comes to customer success, client feedback, product usage, or any of the other factors that will drive retention for your product. De-prioritize other ancillary initiatives. Do less and be great.
Prioritization is crucial for success in business. Bandwidth is limited. Focus is key. It’s difficult but it almost always doesn’t include doing “more.” The startup founder who mentions during his first VC pitch meeting that he’s still working as a contract programmer on the side, is rarely given a serious look. Savvy investors aren’t impressed. “He’s not all in,” they’ll say afterwards at their partner meeting. “Just trying to do too much,” another will judge correctly.
We all know that our personal bandwidth is extremely limited, but if we’re honest and stick to our core DNA – we may just end up getting more from less. It’s worth a thought. And that certainly makes me feel much better about sticking to, and perfecting, that basic bridge pose.