This week millions around the world paid last respects to Kofi Annan, the Ghanaian-born former Secretary -General of the United Nations. It has been a mix of sadness, inspiration, and even conspiracy theories like ” …the body never made it to Ghana”. (What?!!!). For me it is mostly the second: inspiration. I am inspired by one who was able to achieve much and make impact in his lifetime. He was a consistent performer academically in his early year and throughout his career in the United Nations, rising quickly through the ranks.
One key characteristic I have noticed about anyone who makes impact in this world is focus. Thing about all the great heroes of the past and present. Most of them were all know for one thing or the other. Be sure that as bright as they were they must have had many talents. Mandela was known for activism even though he could have made a great motivational speaker. Usain Bolt is known for athletics but maybe he can do well in football. Kenneth Hagin was known for Christian Ministry though he could have made stand-up comedian with his sense of humour (with all respect). I am sure Kofi Annan was skilled at a number of other things other than governance, negotiation and transformational leadership – his roles in the UN – but we recognize him for one thing: he led the UN!
You see, we do not have enough time in this world to explore all our capabilities. If we really want to go deep in any area of life and fly high in achievement in that area, I think we each stand a better chance sticking to one thing or a limited set of related items for a significant period of time. Focus is the first law of success.