A Jack of Nothing

I bite off more than I can chew. I take on too many projects. I say “yes” too often. I over-commit. I want it all. 

Whew, it feels good to get that off my chest.

Yes, I’m guilty of all of the above. Over the past few years I’ve taken on as many projects as I’ve been able. I’ve learned an incredible amount about myself and what I’m capable of – but perhaps the most important thing I’ve learned is that you can’t, and shouldn’t be trying to do it all. 

In fact, “doing it all” often leaves you doing, well, not very much at all.

The old creed “Jack of all trades, master of nothing” rings more true than you’d think. And while having a range of skills can serve you well, it ultimately leads to a mastery of nothing. And in today’s world, we need masters. We need, and you need to master a craft, your craft, with laser focus.

Jim Collins is quoted with saying, “If you have more than 3 priorities then you don’t have any”. This is an idea I’ve taken to heart myself. Instead of making a lengthy to-do list each day with 25 things to cross off, I focus on 3-5 things that I want to and must accomplish.

Whether it be coding a website for a client, writing a proposal, or going for a run. I write these 3-5 things down first thing in the morning and know that, however crazy the day may become, I’ll feel satisfied if I accomplish those things.

It all goes back to being a jack of all trades, and why you shouldn’t be. As my friend and (very-soon-to-be) colleague Micah so aptly puts on my company’s blog today, “do what you do best, and forget the rest”. 

  • Great writers write.
  • Great designers design.
  • Great programmers code.
  • Great entrepreneurs build and manage businesses.
  • Great athletes practice, train, and perfect their position.

That’s not to say a writer can’t code websites. Or an athlete can’t paint pictures. But in order to be great, in order to be the best, they put one focus above all others.

What do you do? What do you want to do? Focus all your energy and become one of the best who can do that. 

(Photo credit)