I always liked the idea of being a Jack of all trades. I wanted to do everything: fix computers, play several instruments, speak well, play sports, join community groups, write expressively. Being able to do it all seemed like the best way to demonstrate my success.
Since I started running my own business, my perspective has changed drastically. Last year, I hit a series of potholes in pursuing my own success. Some of my product launches failed, my social media growth stopped short, and I just wasn’t making money. I was busy all the time but I wasn’t getting anywhere. It was frustrating and left me feeling lost and confused.
My mistake? Thinking that I could handle it all. Being good used to seem good enough but this string of failures changed my mindset. Being a Jack of all trades isn’t the right strategy to start a business. When you try to hit too many targets at once, you end up missing a lot of them. You don’t have time to improve and you start to flounder instead.
To change my direction, I had to stop trying to be a Jack of all trades and pick two or three things to concentrate on. These changes put me back on track to achieve my goals. Things could have gone a lot differently if I wasn’t willing to pull back and get an idea of what mattered.
To be successful, you can’t do it all. Remember these points to bring out your best and move forward in your career—or your life.
Your success can follow a lot of different paths but all of them involve having a goal that you want to achieve. You need to narrow your focus to things that are directly helpful in meeting your personal targets. As the saying goes, you want to be one inch wide and a mile deep. Scratching on the surface of different things is a good way to figure out what you want. But once you’re on your way, you have to develop a laser focus to be successful.
Trying to be a Jack of all trades means trying to do everything. This is a recipe for disaster. You’ll stretch yourself too thin. You have to release some of the control to get better at the things that really matter to you. You shouldn’t do everything to get what you want—the most successful people in the business world know how to delegate. You need to let go of the smaller stuff to push through the obstacles and be successful.
Ultimately, you may just be spreading yourself out too far. Even with delegation and focus, your idea may be too big to tackle all at once. Trying to be a Jack of all trades can be overwhelming. Instead, pick your top two or three goals—and just those! Don’t pull in extras until you can handle what you already have.
Being an entrepreneur and shooting for the stars is hard work. You’re going to be stressed out sometimes—if it isn’t hard, then your dreams aren’t big enough. But you can’t lose yourself in all the tiny details. Focus on your goals, delegate repetitive tasks, and scale back when you need to. Remember what you really want and forget the rest.