My Sponge Theory of Growth and Success
To grow, we have to expand beyond our current boundaries. Whether these boundaries are physical or psychological, we can't get where we want to go while staying where we are.
Like a sponge, we have to expand to take on more knowledge and resources. Also, like a sponge, we have to get rid of the extra weight we take on so we can grow the right way.
But, with growth comes extra things we don't need. Extra words in our writing, inventory in our stores, or books on our shelves. We take it on to grow, but we don't need to keep the stuff afterward.
Like a sponge, we soak up all the knowledge, tools, and resources we can hold, up to the point of bursting. We grow and grow, then we cap out. We can grow no more. At least not yet.
Now it's time to squeeze. It's time to get rid of the fluff and focus on the basics. When we squeeze, we focus on what got us to where we are, and cut back on the rest. Eliminate the excess.
Growth creates chaos. Chaos creates waste. Regardless of how fast you grow, you can't out-grow the chaos. You have to cut it back and manage it so it doesn't choke your growth.
By squeezing and focusing on our core strengths, we get stronger. Our ability to grow increases drastically when we enhance our core. When our businesses are succinct and we've enhanced our core, we can move forward again.
And that's how we grow while tightening up. It's a constant process of absorbing and squeezing; taking on more to enable growth, then cutting the parts we don't need.
How I Apply This
Whenever I write, I add as much information as possible. I want to get everything out of my head and onto the page.
Then, after I've done a brain-dump, I edit. I cut the fluff and tweak the rest. It's a sponge-like process of expanding and contracting; adding good stuff and squeezing out the extra.
Usually it's an eighty-twenty mix. I cut 20% and the remaining 80% is what I expand on. After 2-3 cycles of adding and taking way, squeezing and expanding, the work is transformed into something I can publish.
The same principle applies to creating new products and trying new marketing tactics. Create new material, test and retest, keep what works and eliminate what doesn't.
By applying the sponge theory to my business every few months, I'm constantly improving on things that produce results I want.
Question: How do you expand and grow? What's your process for focusing on the best and leaving the rest?