You Don’t Want To Be A Jack Of All Trades

You probably have already seen a bio like this one on Twitter, LinkedIn or on some other social networking site:

John Doe is a web designer, programmer, SEO consultant, web entrepreneur, author, speaker, business coach, journalist and tech enthusiast.

Not sure about you, but when I come across bios like the one above I immediately conclude two things: 1) the person is not really sure about what she wants to do professionally and 2) she is not going to achieve outstanding results on any of the mentioned fields.

This concept applies to any aspect of our lives, and he is one offline example to illustrate it. I play the saxophone, and I used to study on a local music school. I remember that we had two sax teachers there. One of them had only played the sax his whole life. The other played the sax, but also played violin, guitar, flute, and a bunch of other instruments.

The first teacher was considered a sax master, and as a result he was requested to play around all the time, made a good living from giving private lessons and so on. The other one was seen just as an average player, on all the instruments he played. As a result he struggled to get recognition and financial rewards.

You can find similar stories inside the corporate world, too. There are employees who do a bit of everything. They do some marketing work, move to the finance department, then they spend some months working with the human resources manager and so on. But those usually have a flat career. Employees who are very specialized and deliver outstanding results, on the other hand, usually get promoted and reach leadership positions pretty fast.

If you want to achieve success, therefore, you must specialize in something and be among the best people who do that thing. Sure there are some cases of brilliant people who were the best doing several different things, but that is the exception that confirms the rule.

Great painters only paint.

Great programmers only code.

Great entrepreneurs only build businesses.

Great authors only write.

So on and so forth.

What about you, do you already know what you want to do? If you do, focus all your energies on it and become one of the best people in the world who can do that. If you don’t know yet, well, figure it out instead of trying to do a bit of everything. The least thing you want to become is a jack of all trades. In fact the figure of speech goes like this: “Jack of all trades, master of none.”

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