Making Life Better: From jack-of-all-trades to Master

“If you chase two rabbits, you will not catch either one.”
~Russian Proverb.

If you’ve read through any of these pages recently, you’ll know that we’ve encouraged you to use this unique timely wisely. Indeed, we are living in extraordinary times and we will never pass this way again.

We have taken this advice ourselves, examining our direction, our future, our finances, our health, our attitude and our purpose. While we haven’t received all the exam results back just yet, we’re moving forward. Some parts of the self-evaluation have been eye-opening, and other parts have brought us face-to-face with issues or realities we haven’t addressed or previously understood.

For years — okay, for most of of my life — I have considered myself a jack-of-all-trades and master of none. My journey has brought me to successful ventures in a variety of industries and fields. For some reason, though, this moment of interlude has presented an urgency for us. We don’t entirely know why yet and we don’t have an all-seeing eye about the future.

Now, however, at 61 years of age, after a successful time in radio, television and print media, accomplishment in sales organizations, after two books, two successful blogs, serving as pastor and worship pastor and now as a chaplain at a large resort, the “master of none” label is a bit nagging.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve treasured the jack-of-all-trades mantra and worn that badge with great satisfaction, if not delight.

Still, I’ve come full circle in recent years. I finished my college degree less than two years ago, after a 40-year “break”. I became chaplain last year in a job some described as “perfect” for my personality. I’ve read books recently that some tried to get me to read when I was in my 20s and 30s. And, most recently, I became a Master Financial Coach after training with Dave Ramsey and Chris Hogan.

All the while, I was learning, but unable to fully put the learning into practice because, you know, time and life just got in the way. Now, there’s plenty of time and life has come to a standstill. It’s time to become a master.

So, friends here’s the moral of the story: Focus on the one thing. Don’t get distracted. Whether you’re 16 or 61, dial it in, don’t just phone it in. As my old friend T.F. Tenney said: “Keep the main thing the main thing.”

Have you tried to do that recently? With a career, a project, a goal or anything at all?

Really, this one is pretty straight forward. If you want to succeed, if you’re going to complete a project, if you have a goal, if you have a to-do list, the best instruction is laser FOCUS. Take one thing at a time, don’t get sidetracked, don’t start the next item on your list until you finish the first one.

I’ve discovered that it’s a challenge to shut down everything but the ONE thing. Have you? Life just keeps rushing at you, along with all of its chaos and urgency.

It’s especially true if you have a significant goal in your life, whether it’s a bucket list or a dream or a considerable project like getting a degree, becoming certified in something, starting a business or even getting in shape.

Make your list a list of one thing. Become consumed, be obsessed and put all your effort into the one thing. Don’t get sidetracked and leave it undone. And, don’t be a jack-of-all-trades. It’s time to become a master of something. Yes, I’m preaching to myself here, but you can join in the fun and festivities.

It’s amazing what happens when you write things down. Even more amazing when you write down your thoughts in a brain dump. In other words, write down the answer to a specific question without thinking about it. Just jot down the words or phrases that immediately come to your mind. It’s not a test, but it is revealing! Ready? Get a piece of paper and go…

  • What do you want to accomplish in life?
  • When you think of your current profession (job), what are the first words or phrases that come to mind? Shoot for 10 words or phrases.
  • What one thing can you do the rest of this year that would change your life forever?
  • What would you do if money, time, resources and people weren’t an issue?
  • What are 10 words or phrases that describe who you are? (Not what you do, but who you are as a person.)

When you complete the above assignment, go back through and narrow your selections down. The goal is to identify what you really think and see it in writing. It should make a difference.

I often tell people that I’m 61 going on 35 and still wake up every morning trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up! Well, end of that story. Time to forge a new trail and grow up into a master. Stay tuned. In a few weeks, I’ll tell you what I’m going to trade in for this jack-of-all-trades mantle!

THOUGHTS FROM THE PEOPLE WHO HAVE BEEN THERE.
  • Most people have no idea of the giant capacity we can immediately command when we focus all of our resources on mastering a single area of our lives. ~Tony Robbins.
  • Be like a postage stamp — stick to one thing until you get there. ~Josh Billings.
  • Multi-tasking is the opportunity to screw up more than one thing at the same time. ~Gary Keller.
  • I don’t care how much power, brilliance or energy you have, if you don’t harness it and focus it on a specific target, and hold it there you’re never going to accomplish as much as your ability warrants. ~Zig Ziglar.
  • The real achievers do one thing at a time. ~Peter Drucker.
  • It is those who concentrate on but one thing at a time who advance in this world. ~Og Mandino.

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