All the things, and your one thing

“We’re doing all the things right now, so I guess my question is…what do I focus on?”

Had a one to one Momentum session with a client last week, and when I asked what particularly she wanted to cover, this was it.

This is for those of you who ARE actually doing things. Loads of things. All the things.

You’re proud of yourself for taking action (and rightfully so). You’re thankful to be in a place where there are many things to do, and plenty of business.

But…you have this sneaking feeling you could be focusing your efforts in just one place to make more progress. Isn’t that how success happens? Consistent action, in the same direction, day after day, year after year?

I saw this on Twitter, a “fascinating fact about a grandparent”. I sat and stared at it for a while. Three bricks a day. Every day. For seven years. A LITERAL HOUSE.

I confess I even did the math. Three per day… that’s 21 per week… times 52 weeks per year….times 7 years. That’s 7,644 bricks. Is that enough for a house? Did some googling and yep, looks like it is.

It doesn’t seem enough, does it? Three bricks a day. Seems like he needed to be hauling an entire wagonload full of bricks every day. Gather an entire family or workforce together.

The reason he could build a house with those bricks is that’s all he carried home every day in the lunch pail. Three bricks. If he’d carried other things, or skipped it now and then until he stopped doing it altogether….no house.

Back to my conversation about doing “all the things”. This particular client felt she knew what ‘category’ of thing she wanted to prioritise (for her it was their onboarding system).

It’s easy to say “I’m going to prioritise onboarding”: but what are the three bricks today? How can you build your onboarding house if one day you’re carrying bricks, the next day nothing, the next day a few small bugs and a stick, then just one brick? It’s going to take you a lot longer than 7 years.

Answer all of these questions as they relate to your one area – onboarding, or prequalifying, or hiring, or scaling the firm, or project management. That way, you’re not randomly doing something every day, but you’re identifying what your bricks are, to build your onboarding house. Your hiring house.

  • What’s annoying you or wearying you right now? Is there a question you’re tired of answering, a task you’re tired of doing every day or week or month?
  • What question do you get asked all the time? Which, if you could simply answer by sending a blog post or video, would save you a lot of time?
  • What task is being done just a little bit differently every time (by you, or different team members)?
  • What’s been on your to-do list for absolute AGES? You’re tired of looking at it, or it’s ceased to have any meaning. You don’t actually believe you’ll do it.
  • Does it have to be…? Does it have to be as big a project as you’re imagining? For example, do you actually need a full, brand new website today…or would one new page on your existing site solve 80% of the problem? Does it have to be an entire online course, or would a few quick Loom videos cover most of what they need to learn? Does it have to be a detailed PDF guide, or could it be a few blog posts? We are thinking of the house when we need to scale it down to the bricks.
  • Where are you finding it difficult to say NO? If you and the team are swamped but you’re still taking on new clients, an actual waiting list page (with a form and a video explaining how it works) could help you to say no. If you keep hiring people and not long after letting them go, creating a checklist against which to review potential new team members will help you say no. Create that.


Whichever one of these questions was the easiest and fastest to answer, that’s your one thing. Work on that and get it actually done (not perfect but done!). And then move on to the next and the next.

Before you know it, you’ll have built your house.

And it might even take less than seven years!

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Well. So. Small update.

Was out hiking on mull and slipped on a rock crossing a burn, and broke my ankle. (I remember hearing an audible “crack” as I went down.)

No signal on phone. Managed to climb down a ravine to get to a more open place and hopefully signal. At that point still convinced it “wasn’t that bad”. Tried to walk along the path and realised yes, it was that bad.

Phoned coast guard, who were utter legends. Sent a boat AND a helicopter. Sun was setting and they didn’t want me sitting in the dark. Oh my word it was cold. Helicoptered out to fort William hospital (nicest people ever), then down to airdrie where I got a cast.

Ankle broken in one place. Doctors pleased (as much as you can be!) it’s a clean break & lining up well. I’ll be down for 4-6 weeks.

I’ve repeated myself a lot over the last few days so here’s the short version to all the questions, with appreciation for the care.

Yes, I’m okay. I’m also utterly exhausted & have hit the “damn, this is going to be a long road” phase. Taking it one day, one hour at a time. 

I’m being looked after. Very kind friends and things being delivered. My amazing sister @secondsunrise2 flying in tomorrow from america to be with me for a few weeks. SO grateful.

What do I need? I’m good on the basics. There have been unexpected costs and more coming so if you want to PayPal monies for deliveries or getting my car & belongings back or all the taxis or whatever, feel free. I’m hardly destitute so only do that if you want to send something useful and aren’t sure what. PayPal username karenlreyburn. Amazon wishlist in bio. Random care packages also happily received!

My car & belongings are up on mull. I have people to help and we are working on timing. But if you’re on mull and want to return a car near Glasgow, let me know :)

Shout out to the Coast Guard for being so swift, & that beautiful combination of sympathy and practicality.

Download the @what3words app. Literal lifesaver.

That’s all for now. All the love. Oh - and no, I don’t hold this against mull at all. It’s still my happy place. Things happen & the mull community has been beautiful. Shout out to @treshnish who couldn’t have been kinder. ❤️
Morning walk. I stood and watched the ferry come in and the sun lighten this little edge of the world.
Been going through old photos and letters - the last of the boxes i had stored at my sister’s house in america. 

When I first moved to Scotland, I only planned to live here for a few years and then go back. Then after a few years I wasn’t ready yet…then I got my residency…still not quite ready….then started a business…then Scottish citizenship…bought a house …finally accepted this is my home and I wasn’t moving back. 

And with every visit back to the states I would go through more boxes, more photos and letters and memories. I’d keep some and throw others away; take photos out of frames and give away the frames; and as time went on I was able to distinguish between the ones I definitely wanted and needed to keep, and those which were lovely at the time but didn’t need to be saved anymore.

Over twenty years on and this past trip I went through the very last of the boxes. I joked to my sister that I’ve now officially settled into Scotland 😆 

This photo of me and my Gramps is a fave and definitely a keeper. Most of the photos and letters I’ve kept are those of family - parents, grandparents, sisters, nieces and nephews. And as much as I love taking landscape photos, I noticed that 20 years later it’s the people photos I am more likely to keep. Thankful for the traditions and patterns of seeing family every year or so since moving to Scotland. They’re small things - baking Christmas cookies and going for walks and going for road trips - but it’s the time together and the continuing family jokes and the memories which remain. And a few photos.

My grandfather (and all my grandparents) have now passed on, but I remember with fondness sitting around at their kitchen table, eating fresh vegetables from the garden, playing scrabble, laughing and talking and drinking coffee.

It’s the small things, and the rhythms of family, which last. ❤️ 
#family #memories #grandparents #oldphotos
Made fresh mince pies for the first time ever. Over twenty years in Scotland and I’d never tried to make them from scratch, so I figured…now is the time! I’m doing lots of thanksgiving baking (yes, we stretch it out here so I’m still prepping!) and decided to buy the ingredients. 

Dried fruit…mixed peel…lots of spices…and Venezuelan rum :) I made up the mincemeat last night, and then today put it in the little pastries and even cut out the wee stars to go on top!

I think I can safely say they’re the best mince pies I’ve ever had. Fresh out of the oven sprinkled with icing sugar and with a glass of said rum alongside :) 

Now we are curled up with a Harry Potter marathon, with plenty of mince pies AND a thanksgiving feast still to come. Happiness! 

#mincepies #homebaking #maryberry #maryberryrecipe #happythanksgiving #happychristmas #harrypotter #hpmarathon