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Stepping Back For a Bit

Stepping Back For a Bit

I am going to stop blogging on a regular basis for the next couple months. I know I don’t need to justify my personal actions to you but I thought that by explaining them, you may learn something or look at your own life from a different perspective.

The One ThingIn his outstanding book, The One Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results, author, and real estate giant Gary Keller encourages the reader to think of work-life balance not as being balanced at all. He would rather think of your time and attention sitting on a pendulum moving back and forth. For a while, you really need to focus on one area of your life, i.e. family, and then there will be a time your family life is stable and you can really focus on another aspect, i.e. starting a new business project, training for a marathon or in my case right now, completing a book. I have been two weeks from finishing my next book since June because I haven’t made it my One Thing.

My personal view of balance is an object suspended in time, not moving at all. When things aren’t moving at all, they usually get run over and besides if you are in perfect balance, you are not moving forward and for me, I always want to be moving forward. This is also the reason why Lance Armstrong called his hugely popular podcast The Forward.


This is not acceptable to me. For me to be at my best, I want to be riding the wave or at least climbing near the top of it.

I may not have a history of producing ‘extraordinary results’ but I do pride myself on the things I have accomplished over the last few years. And as Keller describes in his book, these results usually come from exceptional focus on ‘the one thing’. When I look back at the accomplishments I am proud of competing in the last 8 years (finishing two Ironman triathlons, 5 marathons, writing and publishing a book, completing a masters degree, and facilitating 3 family moves to 3 new cities in the last 3 years), all of these would not have been possible without laser focus on ‘the one thing’ at the time.

Right now, I find myself focused on 20 things, not one thing, and that is causing me to feel as if I am slowly drowning and not thriving as I am used to and want to be. Some of this is because of our latest move to Ottawa in August and lack of patience with myself in achieving results. Despite all the moves, I still underestimate the time it takes to settle into a new home and way of life.

On top of this, it has been 4 years since we had a baby in the house and again I underestimated the time and attention they need along with the sleep deprivation they bring. Our third daughter, Aspen, is only 4 months old and requires more time and attention right now than I am giving her when many of my thoughts and desires are focused on moving my business forward.2017-10-31 07.44.14

Let’s not even talk about my personal fitness. I had a goal of running an ultra marathon this fall. Then I scaled that back to running a 20km trail race, neither of which happened. I am currently not getting the regular stress relief and confidence boost that I crave from endurance training, which is integral to making me happier and a better person to be around.

In the last couple of weeks, I discussed these internal challenges with my wife (who has also just started a new, very demanding job), accountability partner and mastermind group. I have come to the realization that I am not coming close to focusing on ‘the one thing’ right now. I have come to the realization that I need to clear my plate a little and re-examine my priorities.

Having tried to look at my situation from the outside, it is clear to me I need to focus on the family and completing my next book now. I am not dropping my business commitments, just taking a step back by taking a break from blogging and not pursuing any new business ideas (which I have many of and will get to when the pendulum swings back) for the next couple months.

Stratton FamilyI will still be here to answer your questions but I may not get back to you right away.

I hope this post wasn’t too personal for you and I look forward to be back blogging consistently in the next couple months.

Action: Find the One Thing that needs your attention most right now and focus on that each day before attending to your other commitments and desires.

P.S. I wrote this after coming off a night of sleep training my 4-month old so perhaps after I get a little more sleep I may have a different perspective on life 🙂


Shawn Stratton is an international leadership and team building consultant, professional speaker, bestselling author, and Ironman competitor.

Click here to learn more about how Shawn can help your organization.

© 2017 Shawn Stratton. All rights reserved

  • Sharon Kimble

    First of all, kudos to you for identifying this need in your life and for pursuing a way to meet your need. It is difficult to stop doing things to make room for others. I just read How to Work for Yourself: 100 Ways to Make the Time, Energy and Priorities to Start a Business, Book or Blog by Bryan Cohen. He too discusses stopping things we are doing to make room on our schedules for the things we truly want to pursue. Doing 20 things at once is frustrating for many of us; I don’t feel like I do any of them well. I think we need to stop feeling bad about only doing one thing. Stephen Covey talked about the “big rocks” in our lives and the need to remain focused on them in order to be successful. I think we need to focus on fewer (or even one) things at a time to simply find more enjoyment and satisfaction in life. I wish you much success in your focus on finishing your book.

  • Alex Cardenas

    Thank you for sharing Shawn. You have an incredible support group and I’m sure many of us will be eagerly waiting for your next book, your next run and your great advice!

  • Susan Madden

    I totally get it. Good for you for doing what you know you need to do! Actually, I could hardly believe this is the topic of your blog. I am a new subscriber and this is the first blog post of yours that I have read. Interestingly, I am currently reading “The ONE Thing” right now! I am exactly where you are… needing to focus on that one thing that is stalled out. Your message is another confirmation to me that it is time to refocus and get moving. Thank you for that.