Some people are too good for their own good.
What I mean by that is, some people are so capable, so competent, that they can take on almost any task and do it well.
Don’t you hate those people? ;>}
Whether it’s a broad spread of natural abilities, or sheer drive to perform, or a combination of both, these folks seem omnicompetent (actually, nobody is omnicompetent, so let’s call it “multi-competent“).
You know the type, right? Organized – check. Persuasively able to sell – check. Great marketing instincts – check. Loves data and analytics. Project management? -no problem. Manages people smoothly, yet still reaches inbox zero every afternoon. Worked successfully for several companies; launched a company; advises entrepreneurs; writes a weekly column in Fortune magazine. Enjoys kale smoothies, and works out daily.
I hate them too.
Multi-competence – what a blessing, right? And talk about a dream hire!
Well, yes. And, no.
I’ve had long discussions recently with multi-competent people who are considering new career directions. And along with multi-competence comes this: confusion.
Here are three distinct areas of confusion that occur with multi-competent people:
- When hired into a company, they quickly outgrow a limited set of duties. Leaders recognize the get-it-done employee and keep adding more work. That person, and his/her role, morphs according to external need.
- When such a person starts a consulting practice, it becomes a huge challenge to narrow the focus to a very specific domain and offering. This is especially the case when the multi-talented person also has a lot of curiosity, and interest areas.
- When constructing a resume or LinkedIn profile, it is difficult to construct a clear and compelling narrative – work history looks like a jumble of roles, tasks, and bullet points.
Now I think it’s a wonderful thing for someone to be multi-talented. But nobody achieves world domination as a utility player. Even if you can do 10 things pretty well, it is highly likely that there are one or two things at which you truly excel (your “magic superpower“) – and which should be your main professional pursuit. Too many options can be paralyzing.
Also on the blog: Please – Any Job Will Do!
Need Clarity in your professional life? Subscribe to the weekly Clarity Blend e-newsletter! See samples and joing our mailing list here.