The Dangers of “If I Just Do This One Thing” Syndrome

one thingI’ve noticed a phenomenon I’ve dubbed the “‘if I just do this one thing’ syndrome”.

This syndrome seemed so familiar because I used to fall prey to it all the time. You see, when I first began my career coaching business I constantly thought my success was just one step away. “I’ll speak at this one event,” I thought, “and my business will immediately be bursting at the seams with great clients.”

Uh-uh. It didn’t go down like that.

When that didn’t work I switched tactics. “Clearly, if I just write this one guest post then everything will finally click into place,” I assumed.

Yeah, that didn’t really work either.

When I took each of those ‘one steps’ my business did grow, but it was a gradual process.

My business turned into the successful practice I have today not because of just one thing that I did, but because of a multitude (hundreds?) of efforts I made to connect with people, improve my marketing, and grow my community.

I don’t mean to discourage you, but I do want to give you a reality check.

Are you assuming that going to that one career fair will provide the answer to your job search? Or that reaching out to that one person in your network is going to be your golden ticket? Or even that doing a great job on just one project at work is going to get you the promotion you’ve been gunning for?

Believing the ‘if I just do one thing…’ syndrome will slow you down.

For example, back in the day, I would arrange that one thing… a speech or a guest post… and then wait for it to occur. “Why bother doing anything else when this one effort was surely going to catapult my business to new levels?” I thought.

Well, inevitably, once the event occurred I learned that doing just that one thing didn’t add up to the results I wanted. I would have been better served by continuing to do other ‘one things’ while I was waiting.

It takes a concerted effort over time to build a career, grow a business, or survive the job search process.

Help yourself achieve success by realizing it’s going to take more than ‘just one thing’ to get where you want to go.

Have you adopted the ‘if I just do this one thing…’ mindset? How did it affect you? Was there an attitude that served you better? Leave a comment below!





For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at Alison Elissa Coaching!



Alison ElissaAbout the Author: About the Author: Alison Elissa Cardy is a career coach who specializes in helping men and women around the world figure out their career direction. She trained with Martha Beck, Havard PhD and columnist for O, the Oprah Magazine. Alison’s career advice has been featured on Brazen Life, Forbes, Learnvest, and Monster. Visit to learn more and to receive your complimentary copy of “The Career Unstuckinator”. Follow Alison on Twitter!


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