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Eighty percent of people want to be successful, but only 20 percent will be. This equation is derived from the Pareto Principle (also referred to as the 80/20 Rule), a theory that states 80 percent of the output from a given situation or system is determined by 20 percent of the input. How does this equate to individual success?  

Identifying the top 20 percent of tasks needed to accomplish your goals will provide you with a laser focus on where to put your time, effort, and resources.  

It’s true there will be things you must spend time on that don’t fit into your top 20, but not as many as you may think. Practice assessing every task you do against the 80/20 rule. “Is this task in my top 20 that will help me reach my goal?” If the answer is no, is it something you still need to do? If the answer is again no, turn your focus back to the top 20 that will get you where you want to be.  

Honing your ability to focus in this way is paramount to success, but focus alone will not get you over the finish line. You must also be willing to give your highest level of commitment and be willing to make sacrifices along the way.   

I’ve witnessed many successful business leaders employ the Focus, Commitment, and Sacrifice (FCS) trifecta that gets them over the finish line time and again. But never had I seen this level of dedication to FCS from a kid—until I met Brian Cameron.  

I met Brian through my son’s lacrosse coach. When Brian was in college, I offered him a summer internship at my company if he was interested. He replied, “Thank you, but my career’s going to be in coaching, so that wouldn’t be a fit.” I was blown away that this young man had such a clear vision for his future and was completely focused on what he needed (and didn’t need) to get there.  

Little did I know that his high level of FCS began when he chose to commit to a lacrosse scholarship with the University of North Carolina (UNC) at the young age of thirteen. Brian’s goal was to be a Collegiate Division I lacrosse player and this scholarship would help make that possible. But to realize that scholarship, Brian had to maintain a certain GPA throughout high school while continuing to increase his skills as a lacrosse player. Talk about needing focus.   

When I was young and first committed to UNC there was a lot of outside noise from people saying all ranges of things about me, both good and bad. At first, I let it affect me, but as I grew up, l learned to cancel out the noise and stay focused in the moment. What other people say and do has no effect on my daily actions and ability to complete my goals.  

It would take more than focus to get Brian across his finish line. In middle school, Brian struggled to maintain Cs, and while his dream high school was Bishop Guertin—a lacrosse powerhouse—he knew he wasn’t ready for the academic rigor of BG and decided to go to Brewster Academy to focus on improving his grades. His commitment to his academic success paid off, and Brian transferred to BG in his junior year.   

If you truly crave the end result you’re striving for, you do whatever you need to do to get there. 

Brian’s level of focus and commitment to achieve his goal required sacrifices like not attending BG in his freshman and sophomore years. It also required sacrifices that most teenagers wouldn’t be willing to make.  

In high school, my friends would be going to the movies or just hanging out, and I would have to decide whether I was going to go with them or stick to the goals in front of me now, goals that I only had one chance to get right if I wanted to be a Division I lacrosse player. 

Brian’s combination of Focus, Commitment, and Sacrifice paid off. He attended UNC as planned and went on to become a National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I college lacrosse player at both UNC and Rutgers University. 

It’s pretty cool living the dream that I had when I was thirteen. 

What level of Focus, Commitment, and Sacrifice are you willing to dedicate to achieve your dreams? 



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