Five Steps to Become a Jack (or Jill) of all TradesAug 30, 2022
Have you ever felt like your skills don’t fit into one neat category together? Or like you have interests that seem to almost conflict one another and make it hard for you to find that one thing you’re passionate about? I’ve felt like this my whole life and it’s often left me feeling like I was destined for mediocrity.
We hear so many stories of people who find their passion and spend hours on end thinking of only that, allowing them to become a master in their field. For years, I was waiting for this feeling but it never came.
At some point, I decided to accept that my path was going to be different. I would have to create my own job description based on my passions and my skill set.
I always heard people use the phrase ‘jack of all trades, master of none and it would make me feel pretty bad until one day I found out that the end of the quote had been cut off. It’s actually supposed to be, ‘jack of all trades, master of none, oftentimes better than a master of one.
As I was deciding what to write about today, this quote came into my mind and, I thought, there must be others out there who have felt this way and, surely, at least one person will benefit from me sharing my experience. So here are my Five Steps to Become a Jack of all Trades.
1. Identify your current skill set
The first thing you need to do is identify your skills vs what you enjoy doing, I use the ‘Love/Hate Matrix’ for this! It helps you decide what tasks you can do well and enjoy, which ones you want to focus on improving, and which things you want to completely avoid.
It will show you very clearly where the majority of your focus should be, on the things you genuinely love! Here is an example so you can create your own.
2. Expand your skill set
Now you know where you want to focus your energy, you need to find ways to develop your skill set further so you can become a master in each area. For me, this meant finding freelance work which involved at least one of my skills and provided an opportunity for me to improve that skill or develop in another of my desired areas.
3. Don’t get attached or settle for less
The important thing to keep reminding yourself is that you will get bored and demotivated if you are not using your full skill set or including all your passions in your work. You’ve already established that you can’t find what you’re looking for because it doesn’t exist yet.
It’s easy to find work that encompasses part of what you are passionate about, your goal is to use the work that doesn’t meet all your needs as a short-term solution until you are ready to create your very own job title.
4. Know when to move on
Be cutthroat and follow your gut! I always felt like I was running away from things because as soon as I got bored I’d be out of there. Now I realise I was actually just done learning in those roles and it was time for me to find a new challenge.
This strategy can feel tedious but, trust me on this, it’s much better to find new opportunities that challenge you than to stay still and get bored. Keep checking in with yourself and be honest! ‘Am I running because it got too hard or because it’s the wrong type of hard?’ ‘Will I be able to grow in the ways I’m hoping to in this role?’
You can always come back to the Love/Hate Matrix to identify how your skills are growing and to remember what really sparks joy.
5. Don’t waste time forcing things, trust the process
The things that are meant for us tend to become clear when we stop looking for them. Stay open to everything but be very aware that when the right thing does come you will know. You will know because you won’t get bored. You might want to run away because it’s hard but you won’t. It might take years, even decades to find this, and it probably won’t happen overnight, it may even be so slow that you don’t even realise until you look around one day and see that you are doing everything you never imagined you could. You’ve found your calling.
We are part of a generation where the options are limitless, where we can learn about anything we want just by using the internet. We have the privilege to spend our time finding what really brings us joy. Don’t be fooled by the people out there who are lucky enough to have their skills and passions fit neatly into a ready-made category. You may not know what your future looks like but at least you have the power to make it your own.
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