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Never Abandon Work You Are Exceptional At

Harrison Barnes
By Jul 06,2023
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If you are very good at something, you should improve on it (try to stay inspired) and continue doing it. The biggest mistake you can make is abandoning something that is working. Do what you are good at.

In the movie industry, when a movie studio makes a successful movie that becomes a blockbuster, they generally will make a sequel. They would be crazy not to. They have a formula that works. It is the same thing with books, television shows and other products. If you make something that is successful, you start making and doing more of the same.

Amazon has recently gotten into the business of producing shows and has been coming out with more “pilots” than I can count. It is a brilliant strategy. Some of their pilots will be popular and others will not. If something works, they will scale it up and make more episodes. They have found something that people like. If it works, then you should continue doing it. That makes sense.

Movie studios also use the same stars and over again. They would be crazy not to. The stars work. Making a $200 million movie with an unknown actor would be suicide for most studios. Instead, they use someone who is proven.

In everyone’s life and career, there is a “formula” that works. When you look back on your life, you will find that good things occurred when you applied yourself at something in which you had a certain type of skill or talent.

Your skill could be

  • social,
  • it could be academic,
  • it could be inspiring others,
  • it could be leadership,
  • it could be sales,
  • it could be public speaking,
  • it could be being critical and finding fault,
  • it could be being detail oriented,
  • it could be being funny,
  • or it could be singing, writing or acting.

Regardless of what it is, you have a certain type of skill, and this skill is meaningful. This skill is something you need to embrace and work with.

I know a woman who grew up in a household where her parents were always fighting. They had long, hostile and drawn-out fights with tons of screaming. These fights would often result in the police coming to the house, neighbors stopping by and asking them to quiet down, and other embarrassing events.

For whatever reason, when this girl was growing up, she understood instinctively how to mediate these arguments. She would tell her father in simple language why her mother was upset and vice versa. She would calm down the neighbors and police when they came by the house. She had a real skill in mediating emotionally charged disputes. This woman was not very gifted academically; however, when she got out of college, she began receiving promotions in companies where she was used to mediate disputes between different employees and divisions.

Several years ago, she was making hundreds of thousands of dollars a year in this type of role for a giant, multinational corporation. She was able to do well and succeed because of her unique skill. Her employers recognized her abilities, she continued to grow, and she has had a good career as a consequence.

I know another person who is so obsessed with details that he literally “goes off the rails” mentally when stuff is out of order. He smokes pot several times a day to calm his mind down because he is always agitated about various details. He, too, was not gifted academically (in fact, he barely graduated from college in six years). Yet, today, he designs complex medical devices that surgeons use in heart surgery. He is extremely successful.

Another guy I knew was extremely interested in girls: their looks, how they presented themselves, and their physical features. I grew up with him and never understood it. He would call me on the phone and discuss various girls for hours at a time. I found it completely boring after a few minutes. I remember often putting the phone down and going into another room. When I would come back, he would still be chatting away. He became a famous photographer. He was so interested in women that he dedicated his life to taking their pictures.

Everyone is very good at something. Your skill could be technical in nature or it could be something else. Regardless of what your skill is, you should do everything you can to honor and develop your talents. This will ultimately make you more successful.

The biggest mistake people make in life and business is not honoring their skills and fully utilizing them. When you find something that works for you, that others are embracing and you enjoy, you should take advantage of it. There is never a need to do something new. Once you find a formula that works for you, just keep repeating it until it stops working.

When a company like Apple comes out with an iPhone and everyone wants to buy it, Apple does not say, “I’m bored with making iPhones and think I am going to do something else.” It makes as many iPhones as it possibly can sell, continues to improve them, and then makes some more.

This is the same thing all companies do when they have something that works. They do more and more and more of it until people stop buying.

Why is it, then, that people do not understand this same lesson when it comes to their careers and their lives? You should do more of what works.

I have seen a lot of people get on the road to success doing a variety of things:

  • I’ve known very talented gamblers who really knew how to win.
  • I’ve known people with extraordinary talents as scientists.
  • I’ve met great attorneys who really seem to enjoy the work they are doing and are good at it.
  • I’ve come across people who are gifted actors, writers and performers who actually make money doing this sort of thing.

In each of the examples above, the people were genuinely talented at doing something but decided to do something completely different. In almost all cases, when you are really talented at something but ignore your talent, it does not go well. Regardless of why you have a given skill, you do, and you need to take advantage of this skill.

I know a very successful attorney who went to medical school and then had a difficult time getting a job. I once saw a very talented scientist give up a very successful job to become a stand-up comedian.

Who cares why something worked? The fact is, you did something and it worked so you should continue doing it and do everything you can to get more mileage out of it. This is what businesses do, and you are a business too.

Not too far from my house, there is a theater that puts on a show every few weeks from bands and musicians that are all but forgotten: Jefferson Starship, Wilson Phillips, Burt Bacharach, and The Tubes. These musicians have not had a hit in decades, but they are still “milking it” for all it is worth. They have something that people are willing to pay for and they continue travelling around the country selling what they have. They found a winner long ago and are doing everything they can to extend this and reuse it.

These singers and bands do not get up and sing new songs that no one has heard of. They perform the songs that made them famous decades ago. They sing what worked in the past because that is what people want to hear.

When you find something that you are good at and that works, the smartest thing you can do is to continue doing more of the same. The more you repeat this process, the better you will do in the long run. Many people are constantly interested in new paths and ways of doing things. This is not the smartest position.

I know a guy that makes an incredible amount of money in the financial industry. Despite his massive success, however, he is always interested in trying and doing new businesses. Over the past several years, he has started one business after another (outside the financial industry) and has failed. He has come very close to losing everything his family owns several times. In a recent conversation with his wife, she expressed doubts to me about their future together. She felt they could lose everything at any time.

In contrast, everything this guy does in the small corner of finance seems to work. He understands this intuitively, seems to enjoy it, but for whatever reason seems to get bored and try new things all the time. This is crazy. He should do what he is good at. I have no doubt this guy will one day lose everything in his business ventures outside of his specialty.

One of the most successful products in history, Coca-Cola, made the reckless decision to change its formula in 1985. Within days, the company faced an avalanche of letters, phone calls and angry customers protesting the decision. Within three months, the original brand was returned to store shelves. They had taken a product that worked exceptionally well and tried to change it.

In 2012, J.C. Penny hired Ron Johnson (a former Apple executive) to be its new CEO. For years, J.C. Penney had a very successful strategy of offering constant sales and prices that were not “real”. For example, if they wanted to sell a coat for $50, they would tag it at $100 and then mark it down to $50 during a “blow out sale.”

For years, J.C. Penney has been losing market share to larger companies in the retail industry. Johnson believed that J.C. Penney could reverse its sales slide by discontinuing the “on sale” strategy and just having “everyday low prices” instead. In addition, he redesigned all of the stores to have a more modern feel.

This strategy was a disaster and sales plummeted, nearly putting the chain out of business. Instead of embracing the lower prices, consumers assumed that the products were of lesser quality (people like to feel they are getting a $100 jacket for $50 and assume a jacket that is just $50 is of lesser quality).

RCA was once the largest television manufacturer in the United States. In fact, it was the first company to mass market television in the United States. However, beginning in the mid-1960s until the mid-1980s the company expanded into an incredible variety of fields: (1) It bought the car rental company, Hertz, (2) the frozen food maker, Banquet, and even (3) Random House publishing. These acquisitions ended up making the company unmanageable. Even though the company expanded its product offering, it stopped doing aggressive research and development in its electronics businesses. When the company realized its acquisition strategy had not worked, it tried competing in the television market again; however, by this time it had to compete with Asian manufacturers who were now producing better products. RCA was eventually sold to General Electric in 1986.


If you are very good at something, you should improve on it (try to stay inspired) and continue doing it. The biggest mistake you can make is abandoning something that is working. Do what you are good at.

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About Harrison Barnes

Harrison Barnes is the Founder of BCG Attorney Search and a successful legal recruiter himself. Harrison is extremely committed to and passionate about the profession of legal placement. His firm BCG Attorney Search has placed thousands of attorneys. BCG Attorney Search works with attorneys to dramatically improve their careers by leaving no stone unturned in a search and bringing out the very best in them. Harrison has placed the leaders of the nation’s top law firms, and countless associates who have gone on to lead the nation’s top law firms. There are very few firms Harrison has not made placements with. Harrison’s writings about attorney careers and placements attract millions of reads each year. He coaches and consults with law firms about how to dramatically improve their recruiting and retention efforts. His company LawCrossing has been ranked on the Inc. 500 twice. For more information, please visit Harrison Barnes’ bio.

About BCG Attorney Search

BCG Attorney Search matches attorneys and law firms with unparalleled expertise and drive that gets results. Known globally for its success in locating and placing attorneys in law firms of all sizes, BCG Attorney Search has placed thousands of attorneys in law firms in thousands of different law firms around the country. Unlike other legal placement firms, BCG Attorney Search brings massive resources of over 150 employees to its placement efforts locating positions and opportunities that its competitors simply cannot. Every legal recruiter at BCG Attorney Search is a former successful attorney who attended a top law school, worked in top law firms and brought massive drive and commitment to their work. BCG Attorney Search legal recruiters take your legal career seriously and understand attorneys. For more information, please visit www.BCGSearch.com.

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10 Responses to “ Never Abandon Work You Are Exceptional At”
  1. Avatar Dana Davis says:

    This is truly inspirational because I tend to get bored and burned out on projects and move on. Maybe that is my true problem..I haven’t found the right formula that really works for me. I need to check Harrison Barnes’ Career Transformation System you are recommending.

  2. Avatar April Harrison says:

    I need to find my “skill”, that is what I am lacking. I have a job but it is just a job, if that makes sense. It is not meaningful and it is not something I want to do the rest of my life. I need that formula that will work in my life. This is a great article to get me motivated.

  3. Avatar Tiffany Jones says:

    Totally agree April, I do not have my skill. I needed to read this post because it really pins down what I need to do to get going in my life. There are things I
    have done in my life that I really enjoyed and were successful so I need to
    step back and see if that is what I should be doing.

  4. Avatar Tina Gallegos says:

    I wonder what my skill is?
    Is that what the question is or if something works you develop that into your skill? This post really makes me think about my past and things I have done that have worked.

  5. Avatar Susan Kohrer says:

    I am going to read the “8 reasons you are not motivated…” article and then come back to this article and read it again. This site has really helped me but sometimes I have to read a few articles for everything to click and make it work.

  6. Avatar Joseph P. says:

    I am good at working on cars and this is how I built my business. Some days I really enjoy it and some days I don’t but this is where my skill lies and this is how I made all of my money. Trust me, I even went to college and tried other things, but I always came back to working on cars.

  7. Avatar Bob Boyce says:

    Joseph, I am terrible at working on cars and my skill is computers. I found this out the hard way because I tried to work on my car and it didn’t work out well, but going back to this article I understand where it is coming from an utilizing your skill. Computers are just embedded in my head.

  8. Avatar Colleen Ross says:

    This is a very good article because you
    do have to know what you are doing and what works for you in order to
    be successful. When you fall off course you have to know how to get
    back on and to do this you need to understand what works for you.

  9. Avatar Traci Geisler says:

    Hear, hear Collen Ross ! This post pretty much spells it out for a person and even gives examples. Great article.

  10. Avatar Sara Starkel says:

    Great site with great information and articles. Have been sending these articles over to my facebook friends and they have been coming over and reading them. Love it!

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In this article Harrison explains why the ability to close a sale is the most important skill in selling. Many people may get consumers interested in their products and lead them to the edge of making the sale, but it is the final push where the customer makes the actual purchasing decision which is the most important. Similarly it is good to be able to secure an interview, but what actually counts is the ability to push the employer to make the final hiring decision. There are a million possible closing techniques ranging from using the power of money and the power of issuing a deadline to identifying with a particular cause that could be important to the employer. All you need to do is tap into your instinctual ability and push employers that extra bit to ensure you get the job.

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