Anything, Just Not Everything
By: David Freund, Chief Leadership Officer
The lessons we learn are often found in the strangest of places. The lesson I would like to share with you today is no different. I was reminded last Friday evening about a line in an episode of MASH where Charles Emerson Winchester III says to another character “I do one thing at a time, I do it very well, and then I move on.” This line is so memorable because it depicts accurately how pompous and arrogant Charles was. It was so characteristic of the character he was playing.
At first blush, this statement appears very arrogant. In reality, however, it is a very smart way of working. We have been taught to accept the myth that we can multitask and keep multiple balls in the air at one time. Yes, we can keep many balls in the air at one time, but we will drop some, and we will not be doing anything very well. So if you are seeking mediocrity in your work and life, go ahead and keep as many balls in the air as you like. However, if you would like to pursue excellence, slow down and focus on what it is you really want to do. As one of my mentors often says, you can do anything, just not everything.
This is a lesson that I am slow in learning. As you read this, I will be celebrating my one-year anniversary as MACNY’s Chief Leadership Officer. It has been a wonderful experience, but as I prepare to enter my second year I need to make some changes. I simply cannot do everything, and if I want to do things very well, I need to focus and do less. While I was able to keep all the bases covered and I believe our members were served well, they did not receive excellence. Don’t get me wrong; I did not hear any complaints, but I know that I could have done better, and I will.
As I approach the New Year, I will be making some changes. I will be making and taking the time to do things better. You might even say I will be striving to do things very well. Charles was right, let us all focus on doing one thing, doing it very well and then move on to the next. We might be able to do anything, but we certainly cannot do everything.
Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas, a Happy Holiday, and a Prosperous New Year!