How you do one thing is how you do everything

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It is normal to have trepidation about going down the entrepreneurial path from the perch of a corporate job.

That’s why I was not surprised when my new client expressed concern about learning all the things required to go into business for herself.

“I know how to work. I do great work,” she said. “But I have no clue how to do sales and marketing on my own behalf.”

I asked her if she had ever had any other significant challenges in her life that she had overcome, with little information and tough odds.

“Sure I did. I was the first person in my family to go to college. I was determined to go, and arrived on campus alone, with $137 in cash and no idea how I would make it through the first semester. I left with a BA in Economics and an MBA  in finance, and a lot more money in my pocket.”

I was more than impressed.

Then I asked if there was anything else.

“Oh, I also lost 100 pounds on my own,” she said.

“100 pounds?” I said.

“Yeah, I found myself really uncomfortable with the extra weight, so I just took things into my own hands. I learned to swim, changed my diet, and started to work out every day. Over time, I dropped weight, and then started training for triathlons.


My client, Elana Carter, just launched her website yesterday.

(Nice job on the design Willie Jackson and Chris Jordan!)

And she had this introductory video on her site to familiarize clients with her services.

(view it on YouTube here)


I cannot see a trace of the woman who came to me afraid she could not start a business.

I see a strong, powerful college student, career professional and triathlete. And now entrepreneur.

Elana Carter taught me that how you do one thing is how you do everything.

What experience are you discounting as not relevant to your current goals?

Channel it, and the sky is the limit.

I am very proud of you Elana. Thank you for trusting your incredible track record for kicking ass.

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19 Responses to “How you do one thing is how you do everything”

  1. […] this is nothing new. The reason I tell this story is that I was inspired by Pam Slim’s blogpost how you do one thing is how you do everything: “ you do one thing is how you do everything. What experience are you discounting as not […]

  2. […] It is normal to have trepidation about going down the entrepreneurial path from the perch of a corporate job. That’s why I was not surprised when my new client expressed concern about learning all the things required to go into business for herself. “I know how to work. I do great work,” she said. “But […] Original post […]

  3. Usama says:

    Just the thing that you lost 100 pounds all by yourself because you were determined to do it for yourself provides how motivated and terrific you are. Good for you.

  4. I think once we master something we start thinking of it as none relevant (or at least thats what happens to me) Why? Because once you master it you think its no big deal and anyone else can do it, but the truth is…not everyone else can do it, you did it and you deserve credit for it! If someone else can do it as well, good for him/her! 🙂

    Thanks for the post, loved the phrase “how you do one thing is how you do everything”

  5. Kevin Hoctor says:

    April: I believe success comes from doing what you love to do and sticking with it no matter how long it takes. This is the fifth company that I’ve started — three of the others were downright flops and one was a failure to maintain a partnership. My current company is custom fit for how I want to work and who I want to service. It took me 30 years, but I’m loving what I do now. My failures taught me so much.

    Most of all, I learned to keep pushing forward. This post may be worth reading:

  6. Chris Jordan says:

    April, don’t be discouraged. Life is a long trail. And giving up isn’t a permanent thing… it’s temporary. You can always pick back up, start over, or even start something else. Just pick that thing and give it everything you’ve got everyday… even if you only have an hour a day to put into it. You’ll find both satisfaction and progress through consistency, and you’ll be amazed at the results! Anything is possible, I promise.

  7. Rick Wolff says:

    April, I know it seems logical to look at your past life as a preponderance of evidence that you won’t “make it”, because you haven’t thus far. I tend to think that way too. This blog post doesn’t apply to you and me (and probably many others who’ve read it and not commented). But some other one, on some other blog, might. And since we’re all humans, equally capable of change whether we believe it or not, we, unlike this lady Elana, have to IGNORE the lack of brass rings in our past, and find some other thought to cling to. When I find it, I’ll let you know. I’m sure it’s out there.

  8. April says:

    True. This only saddens me because I have given up on lots of things. It seems like my life is a trail of things that I gave up on. every area.
    I’m feeling doomed right now 🙁

  9. Chris Jordan says:

    Reading this makes me feel so much certainty about my own journey. Willie Jackson and I met at a conference just about one year ago. At the time I was an insurance agent who was dying to get into web design/development. Willie gave me that kick that I needed, and shortly thereafter we collaborated to work on Elana’s website. Because Willie orchestrated much of the efforts, Elana and I haven’t had much of a chance to connect… until just recently when she left a very kind note on my blog. And I have a feeling that we will be connecting much more as we continue to grow as budding business owners. I’m looking forward to following Elana’s progress and I’m excited about all the opportunity this world presents us with. There are some marvelous people out there doing great things!

  10. Tim says:

    Hi Pam:

    This is an absolutely brilliant post and a great inspiration to a lot of us. I especially like what you said: “how you do one thing is how you do everything.” Elana thank you for rockin’ it!

  11. that is a completely fantastic video! Go Elana! That video makes me want to find some way to hire her, even though I’m not anywhere in the vicinity of the field she works in. WOw.

  12. elana carter says:

    What a great story. I’m reading and then I see it’s about me! OMG! You always look to other people to find sources of inspiration not really thinking your own experiences can be a source of inspiration.

    Thanks for featuring me Pam.

  13. Elana says:

    Absolutely inspiring! There is definitely something about women named Elana ! I’m only slightly biased ; ) Elana’s site looks amazing and – the takeaway? – determination and inner strength rises to the occasion *every time*.

    Go Elana go!!!

  14. Katherine says:

    I almost wish I was in the high-tech industry so I could hire Elana! Outstanding. Truly.

  15. Debra says:

    Very inspiring, Pam! Sometimes we CAN give ourselves a shove forward by taking a look back. Thanks for Elana’s story – I’m sure she’ll do fantastic things.

  16. Chris Mower says:

    Stories like Elana’s are awesome. It’s amazing what people can do–and it’s an excellent point to never discredit any experiences you have.

  17. Sharon A says:

    I put myself through four years of college. That may not sound like much, but I did it while I was living in my car. I stayed in my car for two more years after I graduated (seven years in all) until I’d saved enough money to get an apartment and start supporting myself.
    Six years ago, I left my job to start a business doing what I love (landscaping). People told me I’d never succeed because I am perceived as being physically disabled. I proved them wrong. My clients have all been word of mouth—I have never once advertised my services.
    Now I am starting my first web site. I want it to replace my business income so I can move my business into the non-profit arena. Then I can really start making a difference.
    I’ve had plenty of people tell me it’s no use trying to become wealthy in this economy, and that I’d be better off getting a job. But I am unemployable and quite proud of it, and I plan to stay that way. I had too many years of trading my life for a paycheck and I’m never doing it again.
    My one thing: I always keep my sights on the end result. I know where I ultimately want to be, and I will get there no matter how long it takes. I can be anything I want as long as I put in the effort. The rest just doesn’t matter.

  18. OK, Pam, come clean. You were listening in while I was on the phone with a coach-buddy friend last night, weren’t you?

    I soooooo needed this today! Thanks!

  19. Rick Wolff says:

    It’ll take some concentration on my part to remember any kind of triumph like that in my past. I hope I find one. However, I won’t let my inability to find one stop me. The closest thing to a triumph in my life may pale in comparison to parlaying $137 into an MBA. Too bad.