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Super-specialist or extraordinary generalist?

Jack of all trades or master of one? or none?

The phrase ‘Jack of all trades’ seems to have become something to be ashamed of and almost an insult, but it didn’t begin as one.

The phrase was once used to describe an actor turned playwright who was always hanging around the theatres. That playwright was, in fact, William Shakespeare.

The full phrase is “a jack of all trades is a master of none, but oftentimes better than a master of one.” it was intended as a compliment; the phrase means that a person is a generalist rather than a specialist, versatile and adept at many things.

Most business owners swear that being a jack of all trades brings benefits.

We all are or have been the accountant, social media manager, marketing team, strategist, brand designer, ops manager, the CEO, the office junior, IT, photographer, speaker, PR… the list goes on.

I’ve always found that it’s tricky to write about myself as a jack of all trades kind of person, so it’s taken me a while to embrace it.

It might put some people off because it might be confusing, I’m not a super-specialist of one thing, and I just dabble in different things. But my skills and experience are all connected. I can offer a diverse set of skills, flexibility and different perspective and insights.

I think about the big picture.

I’m a lifelong learner and I’m curious.

Yes to being a generalist and a non-nicher!

“Life is about using the whole box of crayons.”

Take some time to look back at what you’ve done throughout your career and what interests you have. Because if you want to stand out from the hundreds or thousands of other folks in your area of expertise, qualifications and business services/products – you’ll need to include the things that make you different.

What experiences have shaped your knowledge?

What have you learnt during your ‘journey’?

What hobbies have enhanced your skills?

What are you curious about?

What do you enjoy doing?

We don’t have to earn money from all the things we’re passionate about – but sharing something about yourself means you’ll connect with the right people.

Let me know what comes up in your list and see if you can try and share it by weaving it into your story…

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