I remember at the tender age of 12 when people started asking ‘what are you going to do with your life?’ What was I going to do with my life? I hadn’t even worked out who I was or what options were available. Yet knowing what you were going to do, was branded about as the flag of the successful, even from this very young age. At that point I had aspirations of the following: fighter jet pilot, ballerina, international dressage rider and nurse to name but a few of my diverse options. I was not ready to choose and I spent a significant portion of my life feeling guilty about not knowing the answer to this question.
Many people think those who can’t decide are simply indecisive. At times I have been indecisive, usually because I’ve allowed myself to be too heavily influenced by concern for the expectations or beliefs of others, for which of course, I am responsible. Moving continents despite being a massive decision didn’t take me long to decide – I’d rather go than wonder what if. Simple. To be labelled indecisive or flaky because you don’t yet know your specific goal or path is highly unfair. Not everyone moves at the same pace, not everyone has, nor can have the same experience. Things that are forced are often not the right fit. Sometimes trying a variety of things and moving around is the very thing that builds your future.
The more the world is specialised the more it will be run by generalistsMarcel Masse
In the corporate world my ‘generalist’ nature is ultimately what found me heading to LA, because I can successfully turn my hand to various areas of business and I have the aptitude, flexibility and resilience to try new things and work them out for myself. It is strange that people don’t pick up on the great benefits of a generalist. Most General Managers and many CEO’s are huge generalists. It gives you the ability to see multiple view points, multiple outcomes and variations on the bigger picture. From a mindset point of view if you can turn your head to, see the benefits and pitfalls of different things, you generate strong emotional intelligence, greater idea generation, and creativity thereby strengthening your ability to work with and inspire various different people and groups.
Do I think I’m great? Am I saying ‘up yours you’ve all been wrong all along, my way is best’. No way. I, as with anyone, remain a work in progress until the day I depart this planet. My generalist or multipotentialite (go read http://www.puttylike.com by Emily Wapnick) nature has great benefits, in the same way that a specialist such as a doctor or lawyer has great benefits. They are both of great importance. It’s about finding the direction and application of your very own ‘Jack of all trades’ skills and preferences so you can then take control of your own destiny.