There are two sides to this coin that I want to discuss and get feedback on…
Do you feel you are good at a particular something that you just don’t enjoy doing?
Do you feel that you are not so good at something you enjoy doing and would love to do more if the opportunity was there?
An example for the first would be the math whiz kid who absolutely refuses to go into engineering, mathematics, computer science, or any other great field that requires good math skills.
An example for the second would be the girl who loves to sing, has been singing just about as long as she has been talking, but couldn’t get past the first round of American Idol to save her life.
For the most part, and correct me if I am wrong, we seriously wonder about the first, and simply laugh off the second.
Why doesn’t this kid make more use of the God given talents he has been given? Why is he squandering it? Why is he so good at something he isn’t meant to pursue?
It is implied that if you are good at something you should do it. This is the assumption of many who don’t feel they have any strong specific skills, but wish they did.
Although I would consider myself strong in a fair number of areas I feel like I would still fit into this category. Jack of all trades, master of none.
Nothing from birth till now has really stood out like a light bulb in terms of what I am good at.
I won the Army scholar-athlete for my high school. If that doesn’t say well rounded I don’t know what does. To get it I just had to excel enough in all the criteria areas. Most people didn’t qualify because they were good at sports, but bad at academics, or vice versa.
I went through high school and college without much of a clue about what I wanted to do as a career. I eventually fell into business management for a number of reasons. One, I am “well rounded” and have a big picture view of business. Two, I am great with people. Three, everyone else kind of sucks at it. You know, its kind of like winning that scholar-athlete. I win by being the last man standing.
Before you start thinking I am being overly pessimistic and hate my life just know that I love my career and I love working with the great team that I do. I have a lot of autonomy and decision making power which I love. I am well respected by nearly everyone and my employers let me know on a regular basis that I am a valued employee.
This post comes out of my post about monotony being a good thing from last week. What do you do when you feel you have reached the limits of your career and don’t have much higher to climb? I’m not quite there, but I feel like I am getting close. How close I really am is a different story…
The point is that I am starting to believe that my main strength is my adaptability. I can do well in just about any situation and I thrive in chaos. No one thing stands out for me, yet nearly all things are within my grasp. That is, with the proper amount of training and study of course. Like many of our parents said to us when we were young… “you can do or be anything you want to be”
And I am feeling like I don’t want to be so adaptable. Like I want to be really good at just one thing instead of fairly good at a number of things. Instead of the guy that everyone comes to when they need a problem solved I’m thinking maybe I’d rather be the guy who solves the problems in the first place. Be on the front lines. Be the expert in my field.
Maybe I’m all wrong. Maybe I have truly found the best thing for me by following my desires all these years. Maybe I am meant to just be that guy who does what he is good at. Adapts to the situation at hand and helps people solve problems. Maybe I am not meant to be the expert in any one particular skill. I still feel the need to be, but maybe I am wrong.
The verdict is still out. In today’s economy there seems to be no certainty as to whether the generalist or the specialist wins out. Time will tell as usual…
In any case, I would love your thoughts and opinions on the subject. Please leave them in the comments below.