in entrepreneurship

Addition by Subtraction

Addition by subtraction

The more I grow, the more I evolve, the more I appreciate the value of doing less.

I believe evolution is synonymous with simplification. Not doing more – not constantly trying new things and thinking in new ways – not always wondering “what’s next?”, but wondering, “what now?” and diving deeper and more passionately into what’s in front of you.

My friend Brett said something a couple weeks ago that’s stuck with me ever since I read it:

“In reality, I’m already exactly the artist I need to be. I’ve just lost sight of the need to let go in the wake of all this hunger for change.”

My greatest strength, and, contrarily, one of my greatest weaknesses, is that I am always tinkering. I’m always thinking about what else I can do – or how I can take on more challenges – how I can be better. But instead of realizing that my potential for great things is already within – I look outward for influence and inspiration.

What does this lead to? It leads to not giving myself nearly enough credit. It leads me to comparing and feeling like I can’t possibly keep up with the rest of the world’s innovation. Plain and simple, it leads to exhaustion.

Like Brett, I’m learning that the artist, the entrepreneur, the writer, the husband, the boss, the colleague, the friend, I want to be and need to be – isn’t something I need to look elsewhere to find, but rather, something at different times I’ve lost sight of in the pursuit and hunger for change.

All of these things are within me – and are within you. The only way to discover our true potential is to clear out the clutter and focus on what matters. (tweet this)

Getting to the heart of what matters involves letting go and making room for the important stuff. Start with the basics:

  • Say “no” (confidently) to projects that don’t fit so you can pursue the work you (really) want.
  • Shorten your emails and get to the point.
  • Pick up the phone to clarify things – and stop hiding behind your inbox.
  • Let go of fear by articulating your worst case scenario.
  • Ask for help instead of struggling to do it alone.
  • Instead of doing what makes sense, do what feels right.

The more I grow, the more I evolve, the more I appreciate the value of doing less. Your greatest strength and truest potential isn’t something “our there” but rather, something that’s been “in here” all along.

Now go find it.

(Photo credit)

Add Your Voice


  1. For awhile, all I did was compare my work to others and it’s THE FASTEST WAY to kill a dream, I swear. I’ve found what works for me is literally going into a bubble of not reading any other blogs, staying (mostly) off Twitter and just doing, creating and writing what comes straight to my heart.

    Something I need to work on from you list, though, is to ask for help when I need it. I often try to do EVERYTHING alone and end up exhausted and grumpy :)

  2. It’s like you read my mind and articulated why I’ve decided to embark on a clutter clearing project myself: because I want to create space for what matters most, to cherish the essentials and purge the baggage. While tinkering is your nemesis to focusing on a task, mine is distraction, especially with all the information that is so conveniently within reach online, and so many platforms with which to compare my own accomplishments, or lack thereof.

    I remember a teacher once said that he did not view his choice to become a Jesuit priest as an imposition on the many freedoms he could exercise , in the sense that he has to abide by so many rules (chastity, the vow of poverty etc.). On the contrary he sees his calling as a chance for expansion, an opportunity to really delve into his own spirituality, to zero in his singular task of serving his God and follow his own calling.

    Thanks for this post, really needed to hear it.

  3. Loving this post… I’m a work-aholic (and a constantly starting-a-new-project-aholic) and I’m learning (slowly) that I actually make more progress when I do less.

    It’s a challenge but I’m trying.

  4. Yes x1000.

    I’ve struggled mightily with the “should have” and “need to.”

    All it amounts to is a whole lot of trying to control what we can’t control, which equals a lot of wasted energy.

    One of the best pieces of advice I’ve received to date has stuck with me for over 2 years:

    “Don’t think. Don’t plan. Just turn off your brain and work.”