Periscope: A lesson from Roosevelt Franklin & Sesame Street

Not sure where the memory came from this morning, but the name “Roosevelt Franklin” was there. For those of you not raised on Sesame Street, especially in the 60s and 70s. not only was it the name of a darker puppet with fuzzy black hair, but it was also the name of one of the elementary schools in the skits on the show.

The mission of Sesame Street was to help those kids in the inner city get excited about reading and they wanted to help these kids read and be prepared to succeed in school and life. A lot of the focus was the lower income kids so the characters reflected that. They had a mission, the funding supported the mission and they stuck to it. They had Hispanic human cast members (Miguel, Maria Luis & Gabi), black ones (Gordon & Susan and their adopted son, Miles) and not until later decades did they add in Asian cast members. They stuck with the focus of allowing the viewers to relate and learn.

I talk about missions because in this day of “the latest tool” and methods, we can become distracted from our mission – our target audience – in all that we do. This especially relates to work, but can also relate to volunteering, our family life and time with friends. Let’s tackle the work aspect.

If I continuously learn to stay on top of current technologies and tools, I have to make the time to try them out thoroughly to see if I can recommend them or use them for my clients. With so many distractions, it’s easy to go down rabbit holes as exhibited by the SXSW debut of Periscope by Twitter last week. The newness, excitement and call to explore it to determine if it is a fit for my clients, or can be of use to them or to me, sucked up half a day. I got off easy. Some were gone for days exploring, testing. Periscope was only the latest of these distractions. It may fit for some, but I had to pace myself and set it down to get back to my mission of serving my clients timely.

Identifying the mission of your business in a simple, bold statement and reviewing it daily is a great way to stay focused. All tasks, explorations and conversations need to have that mission in mind. Will it serve the purpose of that mission? Sometimes the answer you give will let you off the hook to jump on the “latest and greatest free online tool known to mankind” and allow you to stay focused to get your best results. If you must explore, set a time limit on how much time you are willing to give away to the exploration and then STOP.