Derek Sivers

Get specific!


This has been one of the most important lessons I’ve learned in life.

Whenever you’re feeling stuck or not sure what to do next, the solution is to get specific about what you want.

Let’s look at some examples:

Many musicians say, “I’m looking for a booking agent.” So, which one? What is their name? How can you expect to find someone if you don’t know who they are?

How do you get specific? Just do a little research! Search the web, be resourceful, and you’ll find the name of the agents that represent the artists you aspire to be like.

Once you have the names, guess what? You’re no longer looking! You’ve found them.

Make a list of twenty, and contact them. Now that’s something you can act on! The vague idea of “I need an agent” doesn’t make you jump into action. The contact info for twenty agents does.

Get more specific and decide exactly what you want the agents to book. What venues? What festivals? Opening for which other artists?

Many musicians say, “I need a manager.” So, what do you need a manager to do?

Make a list of everything that you need a manager to do. Probably most of it can be done by an assistant.

Getting specific helps the most when you’re asking for help. Don’t just dump a mess of an inbox or thoughts on an assistant. Take the time to write down very specific instructions for exactly what you need them to do.

A life coach tells me that helping people get specific is half of his job.

Someone says, “I want to lose weight.” That’s too vague to act on. He helps them pick a specific weight and date, with a plan to get there, that goes all the way down to a specific list of what they need to be doing each day.

You can do this for yourself.

Whatever you want in your life or career right now, take the time to get specific.

It’s amazing how this one step turns goals from impossible into easy.