When Ron and I opened our Pizzeria di Napoli in 2000, we faced the question of diversification every day. Why don’t you serve pasta? Why don’t you serve hard liquor? Why don’t you open earlier? Why don’t you deliver? How about Mexican pizza?
Each and every day well-intentioned customers lobbed suggestions and we listened. We were even tempted a few times but we maintained our focus. We kept it simple NOT because we didn’t want happy customers, but because we already had them. They kept coming back because we knew we could deliver what we were offering on-time, with passion, and consistency, every day. We also knew if the menu kept growing or we strayed too far from our vision, we would lose our focus and that was the main ingredient to our success.
Today we face similar distractions disguised as ways to diversify “livology.” What about merchandise or advertising? What about affiliate marketing? What about trip planning services? We also face temptation wherever we spend time . . . Can you teach English at our school? Will you tutor our employees? What about selling real estate or listing our property here in Europe?
Each offer is so enchanting and we take time looking at all the possibilities. What we know is that at the center of living a deliberate life is freedom and choice. We also know that sometimes we diversify when we need a distraction or we lose faith temporarily in our chosen path.
Sometimes diversification IS the answer, but when you diversify to early and then decide to focus, it looks like downsizing or scaling back. When you put in the work upfront and trust your focus and vision moving forward, you will succeed.
The only way to know if the path we are on is the right path for us, is how it feels to stray from it (or to believe in it with unwavering focus). So far, there is nothing as alluring. We are grateful to the many paths that reveal themselves as “diversification” because they give us time to recommit and move forward into the unknown with even more certainty and purpose.