What are you willing to sacrifice?

A woman trying to carry too many books

What is a strength of yours that is also a weakness?

My buddy asked me that last year and it led to a wild conversation. My answer?

“I obsess over the things I’m interested in.”

I’ve never dabbled. If I’m going to learn a new skill or embark on a new project, I commit to it 100%. Whether it’s a career path like building a coaching business or a personal hobby like chess or jiujitsu. If it stops being interesting to me, I quit and move on to something else.

How is this a strength?

Well, since I’m able to put my head down and stick with something consistently for months, I can learn things pretty quickly. I created a full-time coaching practice in nine months. I got cast as the protagonist in a play after my second audition ever. I became an advanced chess player in less than a year.

None of this is to brag. It’s just to emphasize the impact of commitment and consistency.

But how is this a weakness?

My hyper-obsession can get in the way simply because I get interested in too many things. This leads to suboptimal performance and occasional burnout.

We can do ten things to the first degree or one thing to the tenth degree. I also love this quote from Chris Williamson:

“You can have anything you want, but you can’t have everything you want.”

That’s a harsh truth for someone who wants a lot of things. But it’s true.

We can’t be an incredible parent and be in perfect shape and start a business from scratch and coach baseball and read tons of books and have a thriving social life and travel all the time and be a great musician and…you get the point.

Everything’s an opportunity cost. Time spent with our children is time not spent working on our side hustle. Time spent on our side hustle is time not spent with our children.

The question is: What are you willing to sacrifice?

Here’s an image to help illustrate this phenomenon—the Four Burners theory.

From jamesclear.com

We have four areas we can add flame to. Friends, family, work, and health.

When we turn up the heat on one, we reduce the heat from the others. And vice versa.

So another way to word the question from earlier is: How much heat do we want to give each burner? They can’t all be at 100%.

That answer should be different for each of us.

For example, I’m a single entrepreneur with no kids. It makes sense that my family burner isn’t as turned up as my friends who have a one-year-old.

Right now, I’m trying to hone three areas of business to provide me financial freedom in the next year:

  1. One-on-one coaching.
  2. Writing—this blog and books.
  3. My podcast/YouTube channel.

That’s a lot. And maneuvering through all of these without burning out can be difficult at times. But that’s the definition of sacrifice.

What am I willing to give up (temporarily) to accomplish my goals?

  • Tons of family/friend time.
  • My morning routine.
  • Connect calls with people.

A year from now, my burners will look completely different.

What do your burners look like? What do you want them to look like?