I have spent my working life so far as a generalist. I know a little about a lot of things, master of none. This is not conducive to a driven and purposeful career.
How do you create something essential when you are not a subject matter expert? How do you become essential to a project if you are not the central producer? I see a couple of options.
You can learn. Become a specialist with dedication. Never in the history of the world have we had so many learning resources at our fingertips. You do need the time to dedicate to learning. This gets harder with things like family and children tugging at your attention. Practice makes perfect though, So plugging away at something will make you better, and therefore more marketable.
You can become a coordinator of experts. Imagine a goal and assign roles for those with the expertise to cooperate and create something bigger than the sum of its parts. This is what I have seen in business. The energy to talk and link people with each other is priceless. Having a role in mind for all the experts and relentlessly networking, calling, meeting, discussing with them the best way to achieve that goal. This leads to success.
Today was a good day in a good week. But I’m only realizing now after supper. Strikes me that it often goes that way.
When you are busy, focused and enjoying yourself, almost by definition you stop noticing time pass and stop analyzing what you are doing.
Only looking back now am I surprised at a good patch.
Here’s hoping for more blind, ignorant, closed off, unthinking good patches 😉
The next guest on my podcast has not one but two masters degrees.
I worked with Dan for a couple of years in a corporate, and since then I have always been curious about his LinkedIn bio which reads as follows: “Thinking in curved lines of interdependence rather than straight lines of causality”
I pinned Dan down recently to explain himself. We had a nice long chat which I will release on Friday as the fourth episode in my podcast series.
The world is your oyster. (Or as they say in Kenya, the world is your ostrich). This is a fine saying full of hope and optimism, but how do you know what part of the world/oyster/ostrich to focus on? How do you define scope for your next project?
Scoping your work is probably the most important part. Scope is what lets us understand where to allocate time and resources to a project. It sets the boundaries, and it is very subjective.
How to decide on a focus and a scope of a project then? Stick with what you know. This is hard because the internet and TV can convince you that you know about all sorts of stuff. But to quote Seth Godin: “There’s a difference between being aware of the emergency of the day and having firsthand experience and firsthand empathy for different people in different places.”
Focus then on something which you understand through first hand experience. Perhaps you can show people how to do something (check out my mate Martin’s excellent Vlog series for his art). Or perhaps you know exactly where there is a gap in the market. The point is – take the real, personal interactions you have in the world and grow the project from there.
Every now and then you will run into conflict. At work, at home, or inside your head. These moments are normally due to expectations that have not been met. They’re best treated as an opportunity to set or reset expectations around the topic.
Almost any destructive behaviour I can think of is the result of expectations not being met. A missed deadline is a missed expectation. An angry spouse is likely a missed expectation. A compulsive obsession is a missed expectation.
Be clear about what you expect of yourself and others. It matters perhaps more than anything else.