The One Thing

by Don Sturgill
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    Don Sturgill

    A few of us have been talking in the Accountability section about how The One Thing concept works. I said I’d ask Sean on the call today. Here are brief notes from him:

    1. One Thing is a concept, not a law
    2. One Thing doesn’t mean you don’t do anything else
    3. One Thing must work for YOU… work it out for yourself

    My consternation is — and has been for years now — that my One Thing is to seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness (Matthew 6:33).
    Prior to that realization, I was working towards a home by the lake with a boat dock and an office upstairs with a deck looking over the dock 🙂

    Since then, it’s tough for me to set a niche. How can I (for instance) help entrepreneurs start businesses and focus my time there when my greater calling goes begging?

    So, with prayer and slow acceptance (on my part), I now believe my mission within that One Thing is to write a book and create a presentation about the Temple/Tabernacle/Tent. I see where my work helping writers promote books, book editing, and writing my own books fits in that One Thing… but the lion’s share of my money comes from helping entrepreneurs.

    Okay… that fits too. Everything I do for others will help me in my own (God’s) business and mission. There’s just not enough time in the day to do it all.

    Sean challenged us to start a weekly call. I’d love to. But on what? … SEO? Copywriting? Marketing? Advertising? Blogging? Health and Fitness? eBook writing? Book Promotions? The Temple??? … I do it all.

    Focus!!! What am I missing? Can I focus on 20 things and bring them into ONE?

    Trevor Dumbleton

    Obviously Sean does both with his IM and faith based calls.

    Weekly call – which one of your bucket list above appeals most? That’s the one you’ll put most into and that will almost certainly be reflected back to income (think Sean’s weekly calls where he aims to impact lots of people and get a few to pay him).

    Pick a direction, run with it, adjust & re-analyse after a suitable period of time.

    Rick Smith

    Don –

    I’m gonna think about this. I wanna think through how my ONE Thing became so clear to me.

    Sean Mize


    After some contemplation on our discussion on this week’s coaching call, I realized that you and I were talking about something different.

    You were discussing the idea of taking a “thing” (a one thing, or anything) and breaking it into monthly, weekly, and daily goals, and perhaps those goals being “one things” each day.

    But that’s not actually “one thing” thinking.

    That’s strategic planning.

    Which is great, if and where it works for you.

    But one thing thinking is where you apply this question, right out of the book “The One Thing” by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan, each day in the morning:

    What’s the ONE Thing I can do such that by doing it everything else will be easier or unnecessary?

    That’s the one thing principle.

    It’s more about each day – what’s the ONE THING TODAY?

    You can have 20 different priorities, or things you are working on –

    but in the morning of any given day, there is ONLY one thing.

    There is no possible way on earth, with current physics –

    to have more than ONE one thing.

    A one thing is, by definition, one thing.

    Now, once that one thing is done, you can now have a 2nd one thing, and ask this question:

    What’s the ONE Thing I can do such that by doing it everything else will be easier or unnecessary?

    And yes, you can have 20 things you are working on this year . . . but you will likely not complete any of them.

    Far better to choose 2-3 that you are actually able to complete.

    For more detail, read this blog post:

    The ONE Thing: How to Get Things Done Using The Focusing Question

    P.S. You can combine the STRATEGY of creating a 1-year blueprint with monthly, weekly, and daily goals WITH the ONE thing principle.

    But they are separate.

    And perhaps I’ve been using overlapping language so maybe that’s confusing.

    The keys are this:

    1) Set achievable goals

    2) Break into segments of work (how do you eat an elephant?)

    3) On a DAILY basis – apply the ONE thing principle

    Hope this helps, Don!


    Don Sturgill

    Thanks, Sean. There’s something in my thinking that stops me from grasping a vital component of my business, it would seem.
    I still don’t “get it.” And I especially don’t get how to narrow down a niche and focus. IF I could do that, my business would flourish quickly. I know most of the supporting tasks and I have most of the tools.

    On my plate today are: Love God, love others, eat healthy, exercise, serve my family, write two articles, take my daughter shopping, write my own stuff, finish a book edit for a client… there’s more… and there’s nothing that will make all of those easier… but for perhaps getting a bottle of whiskey and saying to hell with them all. That’s where I am right now (no, I’m not headed to the liquor store). I feel absolutely overwhelmed and without clear direction.

    I do what I have to do. I might as well be punching a time clock. Actually, that would be better. I could leave at five.

    Rick Smith

    Don –

    I’ve been thinking about all of this. I listened today to the replay of Wednesday’s call. (I was on it “live” as well, haven’t been able to do that as much I’d like. I was the one Sean called out “from Kaysville, Utah. 🙂 ). I had this answer all planned out for you. But after re-reading what you wrote and reading what Sean wrote, I didn’t like any of what I was going to write. So I guess I gotta let is simmer some more.

    BTW, know what Brian Tracy said about this? “Thinking is some of the hardest work you’ll ever do. That’s why so few people do it.”

    Sean Mize


    here’s the thing, you don’t even have to narrow down your niche to focus on one thing.

    You just choose one thing to focus on for NOW and build it out.

    You can always focus on something else different later.

    I have NEVER prior to right now, narrowed to focus on one niche.

    For 10 years, each month, I have taught one new topic and added it to my business.

    All you have to do is start with one thing, then grow it from there.

    Once you are building a list, you can add topics over time.


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