Back to Basics

Back To Basics: Creating a Breakthrough By Focusing On ONE Thing

Last Saturday I gave a talk at a Women’s event called “Back to Basics.” Thank you, Tammy Dean, for inviting me. There’s a twist to this story; so bear with me for a moment.

I decided to call my talk “Embrace Your Brillance and KISS Your Mission.”

If you guessed that KISS has a double meaning, you are right. Other than the kissing you do with your lips, it also means “Keep it Smart and Simple.”

I told the attendees that they are brilliant. By that, I mean each person’s unique combination of expertise, experience, and wisdom. It is worth leveraging. It is worth sharing and making immortal.
My “Declaration of Brilliance” seemed to resonate with the audience.

Then I shared a simple way to “KISS your mission.” I call it the KISS business plan. It consists of only 5 sections.

  1. The vision – Answer 6 questions and there you go! Pretty simple.
  2. The mission – What is your purpose for being in business (in 8-12 words)? It better be about more than making money.
  3. Your goals – I invited them to write down both business and personal goals because they have to work hand-in-hand.
  4. Your strategies – Not too many all at once, I cautioned. Focus on one or two over the next 90 days.
  5. Your action plan for the next 90 days. – Even a shorter one will do as long as you step into action. Consistent little steps get us far further than the occasional leap forward.

“What is the Twist?”

I challenged myself to share my own vision, mission, goals, and strategies as an example. I had to KISS them. I couldn’t give them anything lengthy.

“What Is Your Focus Now?”

{One of the 6 vision question of the KISS plan]

I got to talking about the vision question “What is your focus now?”

I said, “Finish my Brilliance Mining course.” I declared ONE thing. No list. Not this time.

I also had committed the completion day to a dear Rotarian friend of mine. Smart move! The date coincided with the date of the conference. The date came. Yet, I was not finished with the course.

I confessed to my friend that I need another week. I know he is watching (Good! Thank you!).

Yesterday, I recorded nine video lessons. By this Saturday, I will have finished the course. It will be “provisionally complete.” This means I will roll it out, put it into action, get more feedback along the way. I already got feedback on the material during a live workshop in July. I will continue to improve the course. It is living and breathing.

What Are The Take-home Thoughts From This Brilliance Nugget?

  1. There is a time and place to get very focused on ONE thing (next to serving my clients and writing daily Brilliance Nuggets). Get it done. Create a breakthrough.
  2. Give yourself permission to escape the “perfect” trap. Perfect does not exist. Strive for excellence but not perfection. Noone can make a course, a book, any product, even a service perfect without extensive and ongoing feedback. Make it “living and breathing.” Rapid production techniques allow us to do that.

I’m Curious

What is ONE thing you could focus on that will create a breakthrough for you or help you achieve a milestone?


  1. Neal Ostman on at

    Great advice!

    • Stephie Althouse on at

      Neal, yes, we often balance a bunch of things. Often that is both okay and probably unavoidable. Yet, sometimes we need to make an extra push on something to get it done!

  2. Tammy Dean on at

    Love it! Thanks for the shout out, and thanks for helping us to see that our mission and goals can be achieved with a simple plan of execution! I look forward to digesting this article fully and gleaning the many nuggets you shared.

    • Stephie Althouse on at

      Awesome, Tammy! It was fun!

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