Not everyone is focused on reaching their potential in one area of life. Using sports as an analogy, most people have little interest in becoming extraordinary and great in just one sport. They like to participate in all sports. There is nothing wrong with this approach if your goal is to have fun and like to participate in a variety of activities.
Focus: Extraordinary Success Depends on It
However, if you want truly want to excel and reach your God given potential, you normally have to prioritize and focus your time and effort on your primary gifting or "niche" in life.
You can’t have it all. Rarely has anyone found a way to successfully serve two masters well when it comes to attaining big goals in life.
In business, the strategy and concept I am talking about is called creating a niche. You can't be all things to all people and expect to achieve extraordinary success in your field of endeavor. Your mission has to have the precision of a laser to create extraordinary success.
Narrow Your Focus
To be great, you must narrow your focus. Narrowing your focus is the key strategy for stellar success in business, sports, and other important areas of life as well.
Said another way, over diversification of activities may make you fair to good at many things but your much less likely to be great at one thing. Overdiversification of activities rarely if ever leads to extraordinary success.
Going for it all in one key event in life is a risk few are willing to take. However, the payoff is many times greater over the long term if you take the risk of laying it all on the line in an area where you truly have the talent, desire, and a great support system and team behind you.
Implications of Your Niche Decision
On a personal note, I made a “niche” decision as a young teenager. I was the leading receiver on the football team and the fastest sprinter on the team. However, I gave up a good football career to reach my God given potential in running. I never looked back.
That one decision decades ago helped me become the first person in my immediate family to graduate from college and set in motion an amazing life that allowed me to help others more than I could have ever imagined. The decision to focus on running rather than football changed the entire landscape of my life in a positive and life giving manner.
A few key niche decisions early on in life can either positively or negatively impact the long-term direction of life.
My decision as a young teenager to focus on a running career earned me significant athletic scholarships that paid for college. In addition, going for big goals in running dramatically improved my academic ability due to new found confidence through my athletic blessings and great coaches who took the time to mentor me.
On a more micro level solely related to running, I can’t tell you how many people I’ve seen in my lifetime who did not come close to reaching their potential because they were in the wrong event or the wrong "niche" so to speak.
For example, I have seen many good 400 meter runners not even try the 800 meters when I am certain they can become national or even world class in the 800 meters. They made a decision to be fair to good instead of great. The path of least resistance rarely leads to extraordinary success in any area of life.
Be Open to Change
Be open to change if you want to reach your God given potential in sport. "Find your best event/niche".
Any major change in life requires courage, challenging the status quo, and not giving into the pressures of others who want the status quo to remain the same for their own self-interests.
Build on the best gifts that God gave you and please "the one" (through prayer, expert consultations, and discernment), not everyone.
The next three questions are meant to help you think through your best "niche" or best events.
What if Roger Bannister (who became the first man in history to run a sub-four minute mile) had played another sport or ran the 400 meters instead of exclusively training for the mile?
What if Steve Prefontaine continued to stay on the football team as a bench warmer in high school? What would the world had lost?
What is the lost opportunity to you, and those around you, if you don't pursue your best niche?
You can play it safe or you can unlock the adventure of a lifetime by fully developing the unique and best gifts God gave you.
The decision is up to you.
Which niche will you choose?
Pick your "best event" and your life and the lives around you will never be the same.
A gift opens the door; it gives access to the great.