What we can all learn from ABBA

This last week was again a short week, and being an extension of Easter it involved a short trip to London to see Hamilton, the musical, which together with my trip to the ABBA museum in the prior week, has made this a very musically themed fortnight.

Outside of widely popular songs, and great performances this did set me thinking. There was a common thread to greatness in just how hard, deliberate, and diligent people at the top of their game are in their work. 

I know it can look easy, like a natural talent, but once you scratch behind the surface you often find an almost obsessive compulsion to be the best in the field and intense focus… sometimes at the cost of other aspects of their lives too.  It almost seems to define success or at least be a close relation.

Basically, hard work matters… and yet you cannot do everything… so choices also matter and choices need to be made on where to focus.

Hard work and choices

This, of course, also translates back to work and our lives in business, it is not that dis-similar.… albeit, without the spandex and glitter (…maybe?!)

I mean, how many of us know people at work, brilliant in one area but not that rounded in others; businesses that aspire for huge growth but actually take more of a lifestyle type approach; or those with intense focus that burn out employees without the same mindset.

Just like in the world of celebrities, we are sold on the dream of having it all.

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Success is often defined one-dimensionally, looking solely at achievements and not really acknowledging the consequences of getting there. 

Telling the whole story

We are all attracted to the story of the human genius, the amazing business with growth, and the perfect employee culture. Just like much in social media, it is not that it is untrue, it just does not necessarily tell the whole story. 

Getting there takes hard work, along the way there will be failures and disappointments, you will have to keep picking yourself up again and again, decisions need to be made professionally and personally to meet one goal, dropping other goals and aspirations to maintain focus.

Real-world trade-offs 

In truth we live in a world of trade-offs, our time and focus is limited.  A key is deciding what we want our trade-offs to be and more importantly being comfortable , on balance, with the decisions we have made (and if not changing them).

We are after-all, all on the same journey, just to maybe slightly different destinations. More transparency and honesty in our own journey can certainly help. Being human and talking about it can help others too.

To borrow a phrase… knowing me knowing you is the best [we] can do!

Have a good week everyone


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