The origin of this phrase is uncertain. Simon Sinek has attributed it to Zen Buddhism, which when you think about it, makes sense. Simplistically speaking, Zen favors knowledge through spiritual practice, and not only an understanding of texts. In practice then, one thing done will lead to how everything is done.

In business, this belief could be seen from two very different perspectives. One perspective is mediocrity and the other, over-analysis leading to inaction.


There are going to be tasks on your to-do list that have an unequal priority. While all tasks should all be in place to bolster your business strategy and move towards your business goals, there will always be things that are more important than others.

Say, for example, you are working on an email. In this email, you are outlining your new product launch and in error, a few typos creep in. We all know, and have experienced the good and the bad of “autocorrect”. In any event, your email goes live, and some customers note these typos and in their judgment, they see you as a mediocre business person. If you communicate like this with errors, where else in your business will errors show up? How you do one thing, is how you do everything.

Of course, in other areas of your business, you have focused more time on the actual product, for example. You have nurtured and developed it and while we all strive to perfection, there comes a time for action.

Over-analysis leading to inertia

Your product is developed and you are ready to introduce it to the world. You sit down to write your advert copy, and you become so over analytic, so obsessed with the perfection of the content, that you become inert and miss your deadline. How you do anything, is how you do everything.

If you do one thing perfectly, then everything is weighed to that standard if you are living in complete alignment with this phrase. The question therefore is, can living by this phrase be possible?

Finding a workable balance

This is a time for greatness. We all need to the better and strive towards bigger things. Especially if we are looking to change our lives and the lives of others. In our endeavor to look for the best ways to add value, we might in some instances, cut a few corners. Is this us accepting mediocrity?

In order to find a balance between “how we do one thing, is how we do everything” and becoming inactive because we over analyse everything, is to check how our business goals are aligned with this very powerful mindset. It is to understand our deadlines and our agreed upon milestones and what our success will really look like.