Archives For The Jack of One Trade

…is a lie.

You can be anything or go into any career you want are related lies.

Dear graduates (and others who are continuing your education), if you think that you’re going to be an engineer but hate math class, you’re not going to be an engineer.

If you want to be a nurse but get sick every time you see blood, or can’t spend all day around people standing on your feet, you’re not going to get very far in medical school.

We’ve been told that there are unlimited opportunities in today’s marketplace. There are. However, that doesn’t mean you’re well-suited for all of them.

You’re created to excel in a few specific ways.

Your job, while you’re young, is to experiment and found out what you’re great at doing. Not just good. Great.

One great resource to use to start this journey: Stand Out Strengths by Marcus Buckingham (play to your strengths, instead of fixing weaknesses). If you get the book, take the assessment: it’s only 15 minutes and really cool!


“grandma #1” by flickr user Piotr | cc by 2.0

A year and a half ago I met a local author at a craft show. She is a retired schoolteacher and was selling her series of three children’s books. The books were beautifully done and even included matching bookmarks.

I asked her about the books and why she wrote for children. I quickly looked through one of the stories and complemented her on her work.

Then I asked, “You have three. Will you write more books?”

“No,” she said, “I’m too old for that.” Continue Reading…

There’s an old saying that I hear at least once a year: “Make hay while the sun shines.”

Before farmers cut and rake hay (alfalfa, grass, red clover, etc.), they check the weather forecast to determine if they can get the hay “put up” before it rains. If you aren’t familiar with the process, it is best for hay to be cut, let the sun start drying it out, rake the hay (turn it over), let it dry a little more, then bale it and put it in storage before it gets rain on it.

Make Hay While the Sun Shines: John Deere tractor and round baler

Make Hay While the Sun Shines: Round bale of hay with tractor and baler | Photo by Ryan Eidson

Rain decreases the quality of the hay.

If it rains too much, the hay will spoil. You won’t have any to sell or to feed your livestock in the winter when the snow covers the ground.

Recognize the Season

Make hay while the sun shines applies to all of us. Continue Reading…

Two generations ago, high school graduates chose one of these options:

  • Continue education at a university (at least four more years of school)
  • Learn a trade at a trade school (one to two more years of school)
  • Join the military
  • Find a job now and figure it all out later

The choice for high school graduates a generation ago was: “Which college do I attend? There are so many options for where to go to school and what to study.”

Here’s the choice facing many high school graduates this year: “With college just so stinkin’ expensive these days, is it worth going at all?”

Continue Reading…

Do you consider yourself a creative person?

All of us are creative in one way or another. If you cook a meal, sketch a chart with a pencil, design a new game for kids to play outdoors, you are expressing creativity.

Some people downplay their gifts. Even though they have written original poems for family members in greeting cards, played an instrument from time to time, and danced with their spouse in the living room, they don’t think they are expressing creativity. Yet, they are.

When it comes to your life’s work, if you know what you need to share with the world and don’t do it, you’re selfish.

If you know how to:

  • connect ideas in new ways for a Renaissance-type book,
  • connect people that need to meet each other to do business, and/or
  • connect chords in a progressive way to drive that new song that runs through your head each day…

…and don’t do it, the world is missing out on your unique contribution.


Does it matter?

Continue Reading…

There comes a time when, after years of study and practice, you get really good at what you do. World-class. Linchpin. Expert.

You’re excellent at your work. Like cream, you’ve come to the top of your game.

Yet, deep down, you feel lonely. The higher you go, the fewer people (it seems) you can relate to. More people watch your every move, and some will criticize your slightest error. Fewer people understand the stress you have and the mental energy it takes to pull off your job. Continue Reading…