Fanatical Focus

Glen Jackson talks with Andy Stanley about being a preeminent organization by listing Seven Pillars. Number 6 is “Fanatical Focus.”

Find what you do best and do that. Do what you do best. Outsource other things to release you to do what you do best. Pastor A. R. Bernard adamantly says, “Manage your weaknesses and increase your strengths.” Glen Jackson says, “Stay in your swim lane.”

The ironic thing is if you try to do what you are not gifted to do you will undercut your premium gift(s) or become discouraged with your weaknesses that you will abandon or undersell your pathway to achievement.

Andy Stanley says in the podcast that when the cash flow is strong and the opportunities are many, it is easy to lose your focus. That grabbed my attention hard. I’ve been obsessing over the oil boom and bust of the 1980s. Let this statement set up the discussion:

“Of all the deals that Aaron Giebel had made from his base of operations in Midland during the boom, the hardest part, by his own account, was figuring out which one was the worst.” (Friday Night Lights, H. G. Bissinger, Da Capo Press, 1990 & 2015) Page 234.

Giebel had degrees in geology and petroleum engineering from Texas A & M. He says, “…I was a heck of a businessman. I became a fast-moving promoter type.” He was generally a cautious and careful business man. He knew how to do oil. He had the Midas touch. He drilled 195 wells with a 55% success rate. The oil boom was seductive. As Andy Stanley says, the cash flow was deep and the opportunities plentiful.

“The moment was suddenly at hand not only to make ungody sums of money but to build an empire, a lasting monument.” (Page 236)

He lost his focus.

“Had the five planes, and the three full-time pilots to fly them, really been necessary? Should he have bought the Brangus bull for $1 million? Should he have paid cash for the thousand head of hybrid cattle. Did he think it through as carefully as he should when he took a multi-million position on a method of breeding ‘super cattle’ by hormone injection and embryonic implant? Had it been reason enough to pay $17.5 million for the 7000 acre ranch with the palm trees that had been flown in and the private runway and the breathtaking view of Mexico when he used it largely for entertaining and hunting? Should he have planted 28,000 pecan trees when the only thing he knew about pecans was that ‘they’re all named after Indians?’ Had it been smart to go into the home construction business and end up losing $1.2 million? Had he really needed the trucking business that cost him $4 million? Had it been slightly impulsive when he decided to open five additional offices in San Antonio, Oklahoma City, Denver, Calgary, and Lafayette, Louisiana?” (Bissinger, Page 234)

What I have read about him, I like him. I think I  would enjoy sitting on the porch looking across 100 miles of flat West Texas with the view broken only by pumping oil rigs and listening to his stories.

“He spoke about it with candor, as if he saw a danger in what had happened that needed to be exposed, materialism and a desire for money and wheeling and dealing that became as impossible to resist as any addiction.” (235)

He lost a lot of toys and things and about $55 million. He declared bankruptcy and by 1988 he was back in the oil business “although on a far reduced basis.”

I don’t know his heart or thinking, but it seems to me that it was not greed that drove him into the ditch, but his loss of focus. He knew little or nothing about the businesses he diversified into. He knew the oil business.

I’m  just gonna make a huge guess here that most of us—you and me— will never get to make the decisions to diversify at that level. I’m guessing our greatest hazard is not knowing what we do best and then doing it.

Ephesians 2:10 has bright insight on this. What if our abundant life—our “more than enough life” is connected to knowing what we do best and then doing it?

What do you best? What imbedded talents? What Spiritual gift(s)

©2016 D. Dean Benton   Writer, Wonderer—and at least one more thing.

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