#19 Focus on One Thing and Be Great at It (Sharing some advice that I'm currently taking)

Cliche advice is often cliche advice because it works.  Here’s some advice that I am currently taking:  Focus on one thing and be great at it.  The yogis may talk about this as digging 100 shallow wells looking for oil vs. digging 1 deep one - only the 1 deep one will strike oil.  Someone from the business world might call it “The lead domino” - one thing you can do that will make all other things easier.   People may have many talents - but they typically initially become successful at one thing.  After that, it becomes easier to branch out.  I’m taking this advice because I have been in such violation of it.  For example, here are some of the jobs i’ve done in the past few years: 


Bassist with organ trio (Kennedy Center, Jazz Foundation of America Gala)

Orchestrator (for several televised events, galas, and documentaries)

Pianist/Composer hired to write and perform music in the style of Jazz piano virtuoso Oscar Peterson

Nylon String/ Classical Guitarist for one woman show

Film Composer 

Producer (pop, folk, jazz, film) 

Music Director for several shows 

Non-profit executive director

Venue executive director

Talent Buyer

Music Director of spiritual music festival in Hawaii

Jazz Big Band and Quintet arranger      


Show Runner for talk show


The point is, I will never be the best at all of these things.  And in this day and age you have to compete with the best in whatever you do.  It’s great to be able to try many things and to learn, but in the end commitment and clear priorities are necessary to advance.  If you don’t declare what you want, you will put out an unclear signal to others who will then use you for what they want.  As the saying goes: “If you don't build your dream someone will hire you to help build theirs.”

Ok, I’m gonna go back to focusing now.