Bill Gates And Warren Buffett’s Single Most Important Factor To Success

Robin Robins IT Managed Services, IT Marketing, IT Sales

Celebrate SuccessThe new year has started and we’re back in full force around here. I have and will again share ideas with you to kick off the new year for your business. But this week, I wanted to speak directly to you, the person, about the one factor that can drive success in any initiative you have planned for the year.

A quick story: When Bill Gates first met Warren Buffett at a dinner party, their host, Gates’s mother, asked everyone around the table to identify what they believed was the single most important factor in their success through life and write it on a card. The story goes that both Buffett and Gates gave the same one-word answer, without collaboration or discussion of what it should be. And both provided the same answer: “Focus.”

The BIGGER question: what are you CONSTANTLY focusing ON?

I don’t mean “focus” this time as a time-management strategy, although it certainly is. I’m suggesting you consider “focus” as a lens through which you are filtering all experiences, a way of “seeing” situations, people and YOURSELF.

For too many, the focus is constantly on what is wrong. The mountains of unfinished work. The “Should” pile. The “Important But Not Urgent” quadrant. The messes and mistakes. When I look in the mirror, like millions of women, I often focus too much on what I don’t like, never seeing what IS good, what IS right.

As a marketer, that emotion, the feeling of inadequacy, IS potent. It’s what drives $16 BILLION in elective cosmetic surgeries and $12 BILLION in cosmetics, an average of $200,000 per woman in her lifetime.

It can also be used quite effectively in selling IT services. BUT…you have to be extremely careful to not let it be used against YOU. Not to let it take your focus in an unproductive direction.

Too often, good ideas in business are shot down by naysayers who can only see what’s WRONG with an idea. Ask a businessperson what’s really working well or what they like about their company, and you’ll get sarcastic answers or a flat “Nothing.”

Ask them what’s wrong about their business, and you’ll get an instant flood of items. This is the opposite of the entrepreneurial mindset.

During the New Year, we’re expected to create “New Year’s Resolutions” to improve ourselves, implying a focus on what’s missing, what’s needed, what’s not perfect. To set a GOAL for the FUTURE. But how often do we take a minute to look BACK and see how far we’ve come, to notice the progress made and CELEBRATE IT?

Yes, it’s dangerous to stick your head in the sand and ignore what’s broken and needs work but it’s just as dangerous to ONLY focus on what’s wrong. Children are crippled by well-meaning adults who say, “She’s good at reading, but she really needs to work on her math.” Focused effort is then put on bringing up the weaknesses, focusing on them, RATHER THAN noticing and building on the brilliance and genius she already possesses. No focused effort is put there, so the message “heard” is that I’m stupid, incompetent and “less than” because I’m not good at this thing that is clearly important, deflating confidence in everything they do.

In our company, we hold a debrief after every event, every major project. The process is a simple list of “What WORKED that we want to repeat and keep doing,” and then “What went wrong, and what do we need to do to fix it or prevent it from happening again.” The first focus is always on the positive and documenting and noticing what WORKED so it can be built on and repeated. This is just as valuable as noticing the mistakes and flaws, but it must be a discussion that is forced or too many will see only what’s wrong and the mistakes.

So this January, why not take a minute to make a list of all the things you’re doing well or even excelling at. Notice what’s right, what IS working, what IS profitable and build on it, before the focused lens of dysfunction and dissatisfaction you’re looking at everything through smothers any progress or good idea you might have.

Our annual IT Sales And Marketing Boot Camp is coming up! It’s three and a half FOCUSED days packed full of our most powerful strategies, templates and actionable blueprints you need to build a stronger, more lucrative IT services business AND the motivation you need to implement. Go to to get more information and take advantage of our $500 extreme early bird discount!