Focus or Suffer

by | 32 comments

Many years ago when I was in my twenties, I used to walk around with 4 different business cards. I was so confused. I would go to a networking event and someone would say, “What do you do?” Then I would roll my eyes and start thinking what card I am going to hand out.

Yes, I know it may sound humorous to you. But it’s downright stupid! No one respected me. In fact, people would often walk away from me fast. I mean fast! I think at the time I was insane. Fortunately, I was able to diagnose my problem.

I realized that I had to do something about trying to be all things to all people. I took immediate actions to fix the problem. I can honestly tell you if I didn’t come to that kind of awareness, I would be still struggling to get by. By the way, I was a doorman at a hotel in Atlanta, Georgia when I decided to focus.

What about you? If I ask you what you do for a living, what would your answer be? Will you roll your eyes and give me some vague and meaningless answer? Do you still believe you can do this, that, and the other? How many jobs have you changed lately? How many businesses have you thought about starting lately?

Stop the insanity! Okay, it’s true if you keep trying different things eventually you will find what you want to do. But how old are you? How many years will you keep trying different things? Is your clock ticking rapidly and you are not settling for the one thing? Recognize that your indecisiveness is stealing precious moments.

You Are neither Superman nor Superwoman!

Listen, I know you are good at many things. There’s no doubt given the right circumstances, you might even be able to walk on water. That’s how talented you may be. But remember this: The jack of all trades NEVER prosper! This is great advice. When I turned twenty eight, I vowed to be known for one thing only. And I did just that.

Have you ever wondered why the guy you talk to so often is still struggling to get by? It’s exactly because he’s too talented. He goes around impressing people with his skills. Yet, he never focuses his energy and efforts on being the go-to-person for one thing only.

Truth be told, the next best and attractive opportunity to make more money will always come along. But it doesn’t have to mean it’s for you. Money is a means to an end. It’s not the end. You can be very successful and wealthy in any line of work even if it doesn’t look like there’s money to be made.

I have a friend who is a nurse. She chose that path because the money is good. But in my opinion, I think if my friend doesn’t walk away from the nursing field, she’ll die from stress. Now I am not saying all nurses are unhappy. But my friend definitely doesn’t have a love for it.

In my case, I am very good at a lot of things. You’d be surprise to know that I am very good at graphic design, internet marketing, copy writing, web design and cutting hair. In fact, my millionaire mentor Ken Doble really thinks I should start an internet marketing firm.

Now, do you think because I am good at these things I should pursue them all. No! My calling in life is to touch millions the world over and impact their lives in a positive way. I absolutely love keynoting conferences. There’s something magical about standing on the platform and communicating with the audience. I own every stage.

For years, I have devoted every waking hour to my speaking business. Oh, did I mention that I learned the other stuff out of necessity. Yes, when I started in the speaking business, it was such a struggle financially that I forced myself to learn many other skills so that I didn’t have to pay others to do them for me.

There you have it my friend. I am begging, urging, imploring and praying that you see the value of sticking with one thing and become a master at it. The world will respect and shower you with money as a result. The people in the medical field who are really making boatloads of money are those who are known for one thing–the specialist.

Again, do not let money be the deciding factor for you. There’s always a more profitable venture on the horizon. Find a way to make what you love profitable for you and go for it.

To your success,


  1. Don Sturgill

    I had to laugh at this one, Rene’. You hit me right where it hurts…in my card wallet. Right now, there are four different cards there, and I bought another pack of print-your-own blanks just yesterday. I wrote about this topic (lack of focus) recently, in my blog ( I am wondering what you think of my conclusion.

    My dream is to make my living via researching, thinking, and communicating. A manufacturer up North, has asked me to help introduce his products to the Florida market. Am I diverting from my dream, by helping with his? I don’t think so. It fits under my banner of thinking, researching, and communicating. Here’s the thing, though–I designed a card that highlights his product, but names my company (Two Roads Group) as my employer. Reading your post, though, I am thinking that I just need to design one card and stick with it…not make up a different card for each client.

    Does that sound right to you?

    I very much appreciate your hard work and encouragement. I received your autographed book a few days ago, and have it placed among my most prized and helpful authors.

    Thank you.

    • Rene Godefroy

      Hi Robert,

      I am very aware that sometimes we have to put food on our table. Yet, I am a firm believer that we must focus and be known for one thing.

      My advice to you is to find a way interconnect everything you do. Think of it as a table. There’s the base of the table and the legs. Try to make the legs relate to the base.

      This is called congruency.

  2. Mary Minton

    Thank you for your much needed SHOT of reality. It seemed to come at a time when I needed it the most. I will reflect on your letter again. I know what you say is true, but I just needed to hear it from you.
    Thank You
    Mary Minton

  3. Camille

    You are 100% right. Thank you for this aritcle and your honesty in admitting that you also were once “there” – unfocused and confused. Thank you, also, for the advice “do not let money be the deciding factor for you”. This article is a timely answer to prayer. Now I pray that the “one thing” I decide on is also the “one thing” that is God’s will for me too. Thanks, Rene.

  4. Erica

    Hi Rene,

    Your blog today really hit home for me. I will be 26 in less than two weeks and am struggling with what I want to do long term professionally. Currently I’m involved in both corporate america, as a dept trainer, and the fitness industry, as a fitness instructor. I really enjoy working out and it doesn’t even seem like work. What I enjoy most is the relationships that I build with the women, all female fitness studio, and watching each of them come into their own. In the corporate realm of things, I’m in the process of obtaining my degree and it very important for me to reach that goal. I’ve said all of that to say, anything that I involve myself in, I’m normally good or the best at it. Having read your blog, I understand the importance of centralizing my focus to ensure my success.

  5. Jean-Larice Despagne

    You could not have said it any better than that. Your writing has been an inspiration to me, because you, my brothers, and I had the same experience. My brothers and I came from a town named Soulette, a section of Leprette, Aux Cayes, which is past Ducis, Dubreille, Fort des Platons. I have lived in Miami for 20 years, and I moved to Panama last January, for I realize that the stress in the U.S. would have killed me. I think you and my oldest brother, Pierre Prevu Despagne, a doctor in Haiti, are people that our generation needs to hear in order to know that one can do anything if he/she focuses.
    Thank you again for your inspirations.

  6. Letshwiti Tutwane

    Very brilliant stuff Rene. As a man of colour like you, I am very proud of you. You remind me of Les Brown. From where I am writing in Botswana, Africa I am very proud of this powerful stuff that you are giving me.

    I am going to England for my doctoral studies (PhD) in September and will make it a point to come to America, just to see you. I am an upcoming motivational speaker and a university lecturer in my country. Keep up the good work and God will reward you for that.

    Continued to be blessed.

  7. Kenyata Frazier

    Thanks for the recent email titled “Focus or Suffer.” It really blessed me today and came at the most important time in my life. As your article indicated, I am attempting to juggle three jobs, which neither seems to be satisfying. I have a desire to open a community center for young women struggling to survive day to day. Everytime I receive a message from you, I am inspired. Your articles give me encouragement. Just reading your articles and reviewing your Web page brings me closer to my dreams. Thanks for being a inspiration to me.

  8. John

    presently, i seems to be at lost with what to do. I desire to impact and
    touch people’s life but im afraid that no one will listen to me or even buy
    my book if written. I love to gather people and motivate, inspire and courage
    them. I don’t know how to go about. Im working as an helpdesk system engineer
    but that is not what i want to do all the days of my life. I really want to be known
    for something.

    im so much afraid to lunch out. what could be the problem.?
    i want to stay focus as soon as possible.


  9. Cynthia Beckles

    “Focus or Suffer” is a great column. Thank you so much for this important article. Your motivational gift is truly refreshing and inspirational. Keep reaching for the stars!

    Cindy Beckles

  10. Eveline Pierre

    Hello Rene:

    I am thankful that God made a way for you with you working right next to him as he pushed and encouraged you along. Continue to do what you do best with your focus and love you will continue to draw and help others.

    Many Blessings

    Eveline Pierre
    Executive Director
    Haitian Heritage Museum

    “Building Our Community One Block at A Time”

  11. Michelle

    Hi Rene,

    Over the years, I have noticed that it has become more and more difficult to set aside those special moments of the day when we can remove ourselves from the hectic, frenetic pace of everyday life. Yet finding time to get away, to reflect, to concentrate, or to just let the mind wander freely is important for our overall health and thanks to you i have learn t that

    I also think I have finally found my answer to a question i Ive been struggling to realize for so long , “What is love?”

    I have been looking back to the times I spent with my Grandmother. I grew up with her. I was not very nice to her at times – as most teenagers are not. As I was growing up, I really did do some nasty things to hurt her.

    You know Rene, she was always there to forgive me, once I realised my mistakes.

    She did this openly and honestly and with her arms wide open. Her love never judged me. Her love never condemned me. Her love never knew spiteful words. She would tell me that my actions had hurt her, but never did she lash out in retaliation by saying mean things or even to punish me – ever.

    She held me up, she let me become myself and then she let me go.

    To me, if you can’t love without judging, then you do not love. If you can’t love without expectation, then you do not love. If you can’t love just because you can – then why would you do it? Does someone have to show you love in return, for you to feel it for them? My grandmother’s never did. She just loved all of me. No matter what my actions displayed.

    I believe that to love, you have to be patient. To love, you have to be kind. To love, you have to forgive.

    I’m not saying that you should put your life on hold, but all the same, I don’t believe that you should turn your back just because that person hasn’t yet found the strength to know who they are yet. And let’s face it – this is the only reason people lie. They are lying to themselves really – not to us.

    Sometimes people just make mistakes. This is their walk – not ours. Their life lessons – not ours. Who are we to judge? And if you truly did love in the first place, then you will be there to forgive. To me, this is real love.

    I just want to extend my sincerely appreciation for inspiring my life in profound ways which you can never know even if we have never met.

    Am truly blessed and inspired by your writtings

    Have a lovely day


  12. Shoua

    Dear Rene,

    I know and I understand what you’re saying is true. Now, how do I give up all, and focus on one? I know I need to focus, but it is so hard when you’re living pay check to paycheck. Then, marketing is very different these days. I’m finding myself backup against the walls many times over. Every source I turn to says don’t give up, but how do you keep going when you have no clue how or where?



  13. Bernard

    you definitely is the oil of people lamps. There is no doubt about that. Any time I receive something from you, I walk 5 miles faster. As you know I think that I ask you this advise before, don’t look at my writting to think that my speaking is as good as my writting. I sound not the same. Now what is your advise to me. Specially my pronounciation.

    Paske se kreyol mwen pale.

    Bernard Sejour

  14. Edward W. Smith

    He Rene, great article, this is something we need to learn and relearn everyday, the opportunity to go off track is coming at us constantly. It is great to want to do lots of wonderful things, but we have to have the judgment to realize we can usually only be successful if we limit and focus our activities like a laser beam. We need to make those tough decisions as to what we will focus on but the payoff is worth is. As you know I publish a free, daily email of the One Minute Motivator and here is one that speaks to your point:

    “Everything counts. When you are working on accomplishing something, you need to realize that everything you do or don’t do, counts. If you take a “vacation” from your goals, it counts. Realize that if you are not working on your goals, you are either not gaining, and you could even be going backwards. Avoid the temptation to go along with the crowd on things that take you away from your goals, stick to your plans and make all your movements, forward movements.”

    OK, Rene, keep up the good work, I love what you do, Ed.

    • Rene Godefroy

      Great to hear from you Edward!

      Thanks for your feedback. You are right my friend. Every moment counts. We must decide how we spend those moments. It’s all about choices. I applaud you for spreading the word. Keep inspiring and motivating others.

      More than ever, the world needs people like you and I.

      Press on!

  15. Michael Billingsley

    I believe that the older I have become, the more focused I am. You learn from your mistakes and hopefully try not to repeat them. As far as my career, I have always known where my gifts were, but sometimes the settings/people never listened to what I was saying.

    In fact, they are now realizing the dream some ten years later. What I have discovered is that you have to deal with people on the level where they are in hopes that what you have provided them will move them forward. When you keep doing the same thing in the same manner hoping for a different result, you will soon discover that you will always get the same result, unless you CHANGE. Thanks for the email! Keep up the good work.

  16. Argylle DeRego

    Mr. Godefroy, I’m so amazed at how you and I have such similarities. What you have just written about describes my life at the present; from the graphics to the web design, even to the hair cutting. I’m now learning to focus on my passion instead of spreading myself thin. I want to do exactly what you do. I want to be able to travel the world and share my story with people. I am serious about honing my talents to become an inspirational speaker. I really admire you for who you are and what you do for a living. I can’t wait to work with you.

    Argylle DeRego

  17. John

    Hello Rene,

    I too am very good at several things. I can also be very focused as well. I have a request from you. I too would like to be a very successful motivation speaker. As you might remember when we meet I suggested that you talk personally to a motivation speaker to find out what it takes to become one. You did and know you are. I to need to talk personally to a motivational speaker to find out how to become one and you are the only one I know. So lets talk.


  18. Yusuf

    Hi Rene,

    Now days i have not being replying to your mails b’se i was a little busy on some personal stuff but any way back to point,Your ideas always inspire me and your book you wrote about no condition is permanent was really touching b’se their was a lot of stuff which was really motivated me and i thank you for that and i pray that God keeps you strong and continuing.Their is a time when i was sleeping in my life but b’se of your book and ideas have kept me to stand up,focus and commit to my self and what future holds for than giving up excuses and so far now am changing.

    By the way, Keep on your project you doing now b’se it’s really good but i know it’s not that easy task to fulfill b’se it’s challenging and it requires a lot of support from different people and organizations who an assist you but thank you for being really a good person and you are really a “village’ hero has being said and God bless you in what ever you are doing and what you are planning to do.

    Always yusuf.

  19. Anthony

    I appreciate the encouragement you give in your newsletters,i think that my age (52) is a hinderance mentally. I am trying to focus on one thing and move toward this with massive action ,but the anchor of my age keeps tugging away at my drive. What i really would like to develope hinges on two items,one is public spaeking,the other is opening health centers for all comers,with the ability to have sports rehabilition,regular workout programs,nutrition lectures etc. well,thats what is going on with me,once again thanks for your encouragement.


  20. Samuel

    Hi Rene,

    WOW!! I love this blog post of Focus or suffer.

    Yes, it is true, one needs to focus on one profession and try to be a master of it. That way you become a specialist and people will respect you for it. The JACK OF ALL TRADES perosn nerver prospers and that is true.

    Thanks for sharing this…….

  21. Samuel

    Hi Rene,

    Thanks for posting this. It is true that one needs to focus on one profession and try hard to become a master of it. The Jack of all Trades never prospers and that is true.

    Thanks for sharing this…

  22. Thom Wert

    Yes so very true… I’ve been a student of success for a few months now and have found that what you taught here is taught by all the great teachers of success! When I moved to the USA I knew what I wanted to do but it was general and vague! Now I didn’t have four business cards 🙂 but I moved from one idea to the other and have never started a thing!

    Now the funny thing is over the last 9 years I have made my boss rich! I started a business from the ground level to 6 offices and we planning to open another 1 in a couple of weeks, and 2-3 more in the next six months! But I’m a bit like your friend that’s a nurse I make good money, but if I don’t make a change sometimes soon, stress will take it’s toll. I just thought that when I get better at my job it would be easier less stressful but I since learn that it is the job match that’s important and you have to be passionate about what you do!

    For years I felt limited on what I could do, as I struggled through the high school year ahh who I’m I kidding I struggled in school since I started 1st grade, I left school at 10 grade because I gave up …started work. The stigma that I self imposed on me kept me from success for many years. I just couldn’t believe I could have success because of my lack of education. What also is funny when I finally realized that I could be what ever I want to be that education is important but passion is more important and the real reason I got demoted 10 years ago was not my staff who complained to home office but it was me and the what I thought about myself! It finally clicked… and I was able to truly see myself.

    It happen when I was at one of my lowest times about mid last year, I felt so unsuccessfully, business was flat, I was stressed to the max I felt like a loser! I was looking at the company figures for my area (which were under budget!) but noticed that it was way higher than last year! I exceed 1 million in turnover! and shortly after I was recognized in the company for the supervisor with the highest growth for 2006 (guess business wasn’t as flat as I thought) and my area was the third highest in turnover! WOW I’m A SUCCESS and I now truly believe it. I’ve been a sponge for learning and now I’m figuring out what I want to hang my hat on. In the next few months I should be well on the way to starting my own speaking business (which has been my dream for years) I will do part time until I’ve build it to the point where I can go full time.

    I suppose that the last thing I would like to say to everyone that reads this is Believe… Believe in yourself! Nothing can hold you back if you believe in yourself! If you lack formal education go to the local library just walk through the library look at all the books on the shelfs… then go to a big book store walk through and look at the shelf of all the books. If you lack education there is no reason you can’t educate yourself! there is plenty of books, e-books, audio programs and people to learn from. I’ve been able to get tons of learning and so far I’ve spent less than $100 in the last year. So I challenge everyone to do as Rene saids and “Kick Your Excuses Goodbye”

  23. Denise


    I too am very talented, and my focus shifts from one idea to another. I have so often thought about developing a business plan for this idea or that idea, only to stop and move on to thinking about going to law school, or then perhaps becoming a counselor, and here I am 10 years later….still in accounting. It is so frustrating. Because unlike yourself, I have yet to be able to focus on one thing! It is insane! And when I read your blog, I honestly was relieved to know that what I have experienced isn’t just something I was dealing with.

    Thank you. I am going to try to just find that ONE thing, and focus on it.

  24. Jigar

    Dear Rene

    You have changed my life a lot. Since I encountered your website you have been my inspiration. Whenever I feel down I read your articles. Its a great source for all the required positive energy.

    Wish you best in life.

    Jigar Kantharia

  25. Pastor Maxwell

    i really love dis article it has answerd my questions since past week God Bless U Rene… plz i sent u an email sometime about coming to HAITI to support your mission i got no reply yet plz try and reach me fast.God bless U.

    pastor Maxwell.

  26. Nana

    Hi Rene,

    I tell you I am really touched by these words. They are pure and true. I have forwarded it to my friend too and I hope you will get to hear from them soon.


  27. Sami Nderitu

    Hi Rene,

    I hope you are doing well. I want to thank you for the motivational notes you have been sending me lately. Since i subscribed to your website, my life has taken a turn for the best. You have taught me how to focus my mind towards pursuing my dream.

    My subscription to your site is indeed an investment that i will always cherish. Right now i am developing a career in mass media journalism and i know that through your inspiration and God’s help, i will make it to the international level.

    I am currently looking for a job, here in Kenya and your notes have kept me going even when i have felt like giving up. This note above, ‘focus or suffer’ couldn’t have come at a better time. I have been facing pressures from some relatives to consider doing something else or whatever job i can get other than having to focus so much on media. I am glad to know that there is someone out there, you i mean, who thinks that one should focus their energies on pursuing their passion. Thank you for cementing my belief; i am giving up on my dream just yet.

    I wish you God’s blessings as you continue to impact more lives.

    Your’s son,

    Sami Nderitu,
    Nairobi, Kenya.

  28. zama

    hi Rene,

    Thanks for ur suggestions, whatever u have told is correct I have lots of skills I know lots of softwares in my field but unable to master in single one the reason being i wanted to be master of all and show my skills to all but at the end i am not satisfied with my job and lost the intrest in continuing with the same organization, also my superior in the company is not assiging me the job which i would love to dol i am working on different software as i can work on that software well and fulfil the current requirement of organization.

    Please give me some motivational thoughts to come out of this


  29. Harjit

    hi Rene
    I was just going to through the net by chance I clicked your address. but now I like to have chat with you. But now a days I am busy very much as I am the ZONE President in JCI India My Zone consist of 6 states i.e. Punjab, Harayana, Delhi, Chandigarh, Himachal PArdesh & Jammu & Kashmir. I will be regular with your mail.

    Jc Harjit Bawa
    Zone President Zone – 1
    JCI India

  30. Isperkens Mesidor

    Dear Rene,

    I feel like you are talking about me now. I tried many of the marketing business lately, at this time being I have three different business card in my pockets. You are so right, I have to fix that. I try any positive thing I can put my hand on, just to get my financial freedom. To tell you the truth, I am so happy to see that I am not the only one in my situation. Please, keep being positive and do not change for no one. May God bless!


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