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Building Excellence: The Power of One Habit Done Well

Reminder: Business is hard for everyone, not just you

If you own a business, you are probably overwhelmed by all of the tasks involved. Business owners, whether they have a one-person business or a multi-million dollar empire, have a lot to deal with: customer acquisition, marketing (especially social media) global competition, taxes, talent management, and staying relevant with customer’s tastes and technology.

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Many business professionals respond by doing more. They try to beat back their fears of being overwhelmed with more work, more stress, and more demands.

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I know because I’ve been caught up in that cycle a few times in my life. I still struggle with reaching that point today.

I didn’t learn that lesson until my body and my mind was pushed to the limit.

The Amazing Power of Overwhelm

I had reached a point in my life where nothing was working. I didn’t have a job or any prospects of one. I had a negative balance in my checking account. I was tired, angry all of the time. I was just hurting.

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I happened to come across an article one day (while I was applying for my 400th job), entitled “Do One Thing Well“. In that article, Zen Habits blogger and productivity guru Leo Babauta shares the power of doing just one thing well. This was revolutionary to me because I had always believed that successful people did many things well. I decided to try out this idea and see where it would lead.

Finding “One Thing”

At first, I didn’t know what my “one thing” would be. After all, I didn’t think I could do anything well. I continued to think about it and decided fitness would be my “one thing”. you don’t need anything special. I decided to do something brave and utterly foolish at the same time: I did one wall pushup and one situp and then walked away. That was my accomplishment, my “win for the day”, despite having every other aspect in shambles.

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 I kept going. Each day I added a rep, so Day 2 was 2 situps and 2 wall pushups. I reached 30 wall pushups and 30 situps in 30 days. Like any Millennial, I shared my achievement on Facebook and people responded. They shared articles with me, invited me to Facebook groups and chats, and offered insight into how I can get better.

That “one thing” eventually blossomed into many things. That was five years ago and over 20,000+ situps, pushups, dips, etc. ago. Since then I became a freelancer, started getting up real early (member of the #0445club on Twitter), meditate, eat Paleo, and started to use fitness to help other people.

All of this, however, did not start until I decided to one pushup.

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The “One Thing Done Well” Rule Applied to Marketing

Good for you, you might be saying, but how can the “One Thing Done Well” rule apply to the constantly changing world of marketing?  The answer lies in the principle, not the strategies you used to pursue that principle. As this article in Business Insider points out, the most successful entrepreneurs and businesses all started by focusing one thing. For Google, it was improving online search. For Sara Blakely, creator of Spanx, it was creating shapewear that actually made you look good in that dress that you haven’t worn in years.

No matter how complex Google and similar companies are, it all started when they decided to do one thing well.

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The Invitation: Using Your “One Thing Done Well” to Help Others

The power of marketing “one thing done well” rule lies in the competitive advantage of focus. Businesses who choose to excel in a specific “area” or type of product have an opportunity to develop “top of mind awareness” with their customers. This means that your business or service is the first thing that people think of when they are ready (or almost ready) to buy. That advantage is powerful in a highly competitive global marketplace with so many options for consumers.

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So, the key in establishing a dominant prescence as a business starts when you do “one thing well”. This doesn’t limits your options(Apple, Facebook, and Amazon are examples of that), it sharpens your focus. It means that you one have a primary area of business that people can associate with you.

Ask yourself what that “one thing” is. Then take a step, today, to improve your skill at performing or marketing that “one thing”. Keep practicing that habit and you will end up with success that you never dreamed possible.

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About the Author Charles Franklin

Almost-graduated turned freelance marketing/tech writer, future web developer, social justice advocate, and Millennial on a mission but still confused about the path

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  • Hey Charles — this is SO INSPIRING. I remember when you told me about this and it’s so very true. I remember when I was taking a meditation class and the one revolutionary thing the teacher said was “Start by THINKING” — thoughts turn to actions and actions turn into results. You’ve shown us how this works in this article — thank you.