Learning to juggle
How many things are you juggling right now? Have you been generating ideas about your start up or small business? Are you burning the midnight oil to solidify your plan for the hiring process and what next steps to take? Do you have a networking group that you have to organize on a weekly basis? All the while, are you working at a full time job, writing your blog, and still managing your daily life? Let me guess, were you a Liberal Arts major? If not, don’t you worry, just take some notes:
Being the Generalist can still make you the Specialist.
I will never forget the day that my favorite professor, whose wife was the Dean of the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas, told us about how his wife was currently organizing the arrival of Vicente Fox, on top of everything else that she did with her position at the University. This was prior to Fox’s election to office as President of Mexico. I won’t forget this day because it was the day of his final exam, and Dr. Peter Ward, the coolest man ever, wearing mismatched brown tweed with a striped button-down shirt and a blue bow tie, hardly ever “got personal” about anything!
In his British accent that always sounded so superior, he said to our small group of upperclassmen right before the scariest exam ever about the society of modern Mexico, “You can handle this, you know why? You are Liberal Artists. You are generalists and the masters of all you strive for in your craft.”
He didn’t even look down at us while he handed out the exam. He just licked his fingers and thumbed through the exam papers and handed them down to us in our auditorium chairs. I was thinking at the time. Nice pep-talk, Ward. A generalist… that sounds sort of crappy. Thanks, but you know what? I’ll take it from the man who notoriously hands out big red “F” papers… Eeek. I aced the hell out of that exam, because I listened to every word that dripped from his bow-tie wearin’ face.
Make it work… for you.
We’ve spoken of mantras before and it may not come from a mentor, because we know it is supposed to come from within… say it to yourself again: I can juggle everything. I can handle it. I can take on the request to write another article; I will start another start up; I will be the leader of this networking group; I will be a full-time worker and keep on learning, because I am a generalist.
It doesn’t sound all that glamorous, but when you think about it- when there are people out there who dole out excuses as to why they can’t, and don’t and won’t do something… you have to think about why they are still stuck where they are and why you keep rising to the occasion. Were they a specialist? Probably. They know about one special thing and you have pushed yourself beyond just one thing.