I recently hosted Startup Canada’s weekly Twitter chat (#startupchats) and the title of the topic was “Keep Grinding: An Entrepreneur Toolbox”. The purpose of the conversation was to find out why entrepreneurs are “Jack of All Trades” and what are the tools that help them stay focused and on their Grind.
What caught me right from the top of the chat was that most people agreed that they are all resourceful and tend to learn many things because they had to. But none of them would label themselves a “Jack of all trades.”
Not really a jack of all trades, but you need to be flexible and a quick learner in order to succeed #startupchats
— TickiT (@ShiftHealth) August 13, 2014
It got me wondering if there was some kind misnomer of being labeled a Jack of All Trades? I know in the past, I’ve been told that if you are a jack of all trades, you are a master of none. They were telling me that I could not be a master of any skills. Is it not possible for people to strive to have excel in multiple skills or disciplines. Are the days of Da Vinci gone? Can we not be an artist, engineer, scientist, and more?
In Tim Ferris’ blog post “The Top 5 Reasons to Be a Jack of All Trades”, he states:
The specialist who imprisons himself in self-inflicted one-dimensionality — pursuing and impossible perfection — spends decades stagnant or making imperceptible incremental improvements while the curious generalist consistently measures improvement in quantum leaps. It is only the latter who enjoys the process of pursuing excellence.
With that, I pride myself on being a Jack of All Trades. The beauty of being an entrepreneur is the freedom. The freedom for you to learn new things in your business. I came from a computer engineering background. I moved to marketing, then sales, then operations, back to marketing, and then back to sales… it’s an endless loop, but I love it. I love to learn. Most importantly, how can I hire an expert (aka a consultant) if I have little or no idea of the topic on hand. Don’t get me wrong, I am not telling you to become an expert in CSS or Ruby on Rails, but if you have a good base, and an understating of the hardships that a developer goes through, you will most likely appreciate how much they are worth.
In my personal life, I strive for excellence in everything I enjoy doing. From snowboarding to cooking, to running, and to writing. Do you consider yourself a Jack of all Trades? Let me know your thoughts!