The most important thing I’ve learned during my relatively short tenure as a business owner and¬†entrepreneur¬†is that I don’t need to learn everything.

Being able to say “no” – being able to pass on the things you don’t know well and hand them off to someone who does – it’s the only way to stay sane. Being a jack of all trades may work for a little while, but will ultimately drive you nuts.

It’s simple, you can’t be everything to everyone - if you’re trying to be – if you see yourself going down that path, it’s time to take a step back and re-assess your focus, your passion – how to do more of what you want to do – and how to be great at that.

You can be good at a lot of things and be successful, it’s true – you can disguise what you’re not so good at with the things your better at – but you’re going to wear yourself thin, you’re going to get burnt out, and eventually, the “not-so-good” stuff you’ve been wasting your time on will catch up with you.

What are your greatest strengths? What are your greatest weaknesses? Yes, it sounds like a bad interview – but recognizing both – for your own sake – and so you can answer those lame-o questions in an interview – is very important.

Focusing on what your great at means firmly saying “no” to a lot of things that come your way – and being okay with that. Embracing the power of “no” opens up many more opportunities to say “yes”.

Your best bet? Partner with others who compliment your own skill set. Business building 101 is bringing people on board with complementary skill sets and sharing the love. Doing so means you can focus on YOUR best, and delivering that best to your clients.

What have you had to say “no” to this year? How have you discovered both your strengths and your weaknesses?

Check out the full rundown of my #reverb10 posts here | Photo c/o Rob Williams

Join the conversation! 9 Comments

  1. This is so true Matt. Becoming an expert at something is what gives our work real value. Besides, if we knew everything already we’d miss out on some great JV opportunities where we get to work with new people on exciting projects that we would have just tried to do on our own otherwise! And it is so much more fun to play with other than to play by ourselves (and yes, work is play if you love your job like I do!).

    Reply
  2. Matt, great points. A great read for a Friday morning when I was planning on goal setting for myself which included a whole bunch of “good” things when I could focus on a few of those to make them “great” things. Keep it up.

    Reply
    • Defining what you’re great at is no easy task, to be sure – it’s a work in progress for myself – but a heck of a journey along the way figuring out what to spend my time on, and what to let other, more experienced people handle. Cheers!

      Reply
  3. While I would love to be able to prove you wrong because I’ve thought I’ve been a “jack of all trades” before, I can’t. You are absolutely right, and I am so discovering that in my job right now. With the tight economy and all the cutting and trimming, my company has turned my position into a “dumping ground” of sorts where anything having anything to do with communications is my responsibility. Doesn’t matter where the communications are going, who the target is, how it’s distributed… it all gets dumped on my desk.

    You’re right, I can’t do it all! So frustrating.

    Reply
    • Good luck with streamlining everything, Jen. Unfortunately, often times companies hire based on need and not based on your individual skills. So, you get hired as an accountant and pretty soon you’re planning events and writing PR pitches – not only is it a bad use of talent on their part, it’s extremely frustrating on your part to have to shoulder all that work you didn’t sign up for.

      Been there…no fun…but I’m sure you’ll figure out how to make it better! :)

      Reply
  4. I agree with Jen – it’s very frustrating to not be able to do it all, but I think that maybe “saying no” will be one of my themes for 2011 ;)

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  5. Where people go wrong is when they think they have to improve a weakness instead of making a strength even stronger. I think we waste too much time trying to be okay at something than being the absolute best.

    Reply

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About Matt Cheuvront

I empower folks to do the work they want to do and live the life they want to live. Connect on Twitter or check out the work I'm doing at Proof.

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