A few years ago I read “The ONE Thing” by Gary Keller with Jay Papasan and it changed my life. The central tenet of the book is basically this: a narrow focus yields extraordinary results. In plain speak – set your focus on ONE thing at a time and the benefits will be HUGE.
As I think about the upcoming political administrations – local, state, and federal – I’m thinking about how to focus my attention and efforts. Trying to make progress on all fronts or oppose all changes, will be futile, frustrating, and dis-empowering. I need to pick my ONE thing and focus.
A priority by definition is singular, having more than one negates the definition. I have used this approach extensively in my corporate job and it consistently works. As I look across the issues at hand, my limited time, and my determination to make a difference, here’s how I’m going to work my priority.
Step 1: Consider the issues. The potential areas of focus include Health Care, Economy, Trade, Immigration, Abortion, Civil Rights, Marriage Equality, Gun Control, Climate Change, Tax Reform, and The Supreme Court; just to name a few. I think about which one speaks to me and why? Am I willing to compromise on the others? I’ve learned compromise is a requirement to create a true priority.
Step 2: Pick ONE primary focus. After some reflection and meditation, my primary focus will be Equal Rights for all Americans (e.g., Women’s Rights, LGBTQ Rights, Minority Rights, Immigrant Rights). Equal Rights are non-negotiable for me, I can compromise on taxes, gun control, trade, etc. I have several other issues that are important to me AND I will prioritize Equal Rights first.
Step 3: Get informed. There are many perspectives and opinions on each issue. I am reading them all so I am clear on what I am FOR and what I am AGAINST. Useful reads include: Speaker Paul Ryan’s A Better Way, the National Democratic Party Platform, the National Republican Party Platform, the Texas GOP Platform, and the Texas Democrat Platform. We also have President-elect Trump’s positions to incorporate. That can seem like a lot to read – over 200 pages to be exact. And trying to act on all of it would be overwhelming. I’m focused on the elements that relate to my priority.
Step 4: Be in action. For me, being in action means actively communicating with my representatives on local, state and federal bills that impact Equal Rights, researching and evaluating news articles and information sources, and attending events such as lectures, marches, or rallies. I am committed to having conversations with as many people as possible to understand and share perspectives.
Step 5: Stay focused. General George S. Patton said it best, “You must be single-minded. Drive for the one thing on which you have decided.”
My final two cents: As I have many friends, family members, and acquaintances start to plan to travel to DC in January, organize local events, and develop action plans. I ask: How will you focus your energy and your voice? What is your ONE thing?