Essentialism, Business & the ‘D-word’

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In Essentialism, Greg McKeown challenges the core assumption of ‘we can have it all’ and ‘I have to do everything’ and replaces it with the pursuit of ‘the right thing, in the right way, at the right time.’

Now here is an idea whose time has come—essentialism.

According to Greg McKeown, author of the New York Times Bestseller “Essentialism—The Disciplined Pursuit of Less,” essentialism is a mindset; a way of life.

“It’s about regaining control of our own choices about where to spend our time and energies instead of giving others implicit permission to choose for us.  By applying a more selective criteria for what is essential, the pursuit of less allows us to regain control of our own choices so we can channel our time, energy and effort into making the highest contribution toward the goals and activities that matter.”

Greg McKeown

It’s not only a great read but a timely and impactful lesson in finding joy in the journey of life and business.

The Essentials

2020 has forever changed the meaning of “essential,” as the world has been forced to re-examine what is truly important and needed in our lives.

Hopefully, it has made us appreciate everything we have a lot more and provided an entirely new context around what is “essential.”

What is essential in your business?


Better yet, clients who would truly miss you if you were gone.  

For businesses it’s the ultimate question—would the market and your existing clients miss you if you were out of business?

Would there now be a void in the market?

This is a scary, but healthy and necessary, way to think about your business.

Because if your business is truly replaceable and wouldn’t be missed, then you’re just a commodity with little to no perceived and real value in the eyes of the market.

That’s not a good place to be right now, (or anytime.)

When you’re thinking about becoming essential in the market, focus on what’s essential in your client’s mind, not your business.

Yes, of course you need sales.  But clients and the market don’t care about your sales!

What unique, valuable and distinguished product or service are you providing that enable your clients to get what they need to live better lives?

The answer is your essential.

The “D” Word

The COVID-19 pandemic has the business world convinced that “digital” is the new “essential.”  The pundits of the day will say that if your business model is not digital-centric, then your toast.

Pundits like “silver bullet” solutions—it’s the best way to steal attention in the short-term.

To be clear, we now live in a “digitally connected world” and certainly that is the new normal.  To be relevant and sustainable today, every single business needs to be “digital” in some form or fashion.

But I prefer the “R” word—RESULTS.

Results are the bottom line—they don’t care where they came from.

You either provide them, or you don’t.

For clients, this is the deciding factor on what makes your business “essential.”

The “D” word is the economic ecosystem that helps us connect and communicate but results are what really matter in the end.

Let’s hope that “essentialism” is here to stay.

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