There’s No Such Thing As Single Minded Focus (For Guys Like Me)

Or Is Doug Dayhoff an Olympic Putz

Cody Miller at the summer Olympics in Rio.

Cody Miller at the summer Olympics in Rio.

I’ll never win an Olympic gold medal, or a bronze, for that matter. I know this because I just hung out with a guy who recently won both, and I can say with the certainty of a righteous preacher that he has more focus at age 24 than I have ever had in my professional life. For the past six years he constructed, then executed 7/24/365, a disciplined life program that prioritized his time into activities guaranteed to move him closer to success. He treated success in his sport as non-negotiable.

Guys like him would beat me every time.

I came away from that night lamenting my inability to manage my time and focus in a similar way. I haven’t had a single month in the last twenty years when I accomplished all the things I set out to do. This guy does it for years in a row. I’m a putz.

Then again, he swims in a simple pool: one stroke, a lane to himself, a couple similar distances, a starting gun and a clock to beat. My world in craft beer is like the swimming pool in “Caddyshack,” before the Baby Ruth showed up. It has an unlimited number of chicken fights and fun games begging for me to join in.

Maybe the trick in the real world is not the Olympic focus, but the recognition of entrepreneurial leadership as a chaotic jumble of contradicting competitions – then having the discipline at the start of every month/week/day to pick which small number of those games you are going to compete. Create for yourself some sort of lane with room to swim and a touch pad somewhere in clear sight. Ignore the other stuff, then go for it.

No one will give me a gold medal for reaching the other end of my baby pool, but maybe I’ll have some shred of dignity next time I hang out with an elite athlete. And then maybe I can challenge him to a cannonball competition, which is my kind of sport.



I wish you could swim

Like the dolphins, like dolphins can swim

Though nothing, nothing will keep us together

We can beat them, forever and ever

Oh, we can be heroes, just for one day

~ David Bowie, “Heroes”