Watching the 2020 Prince tribute concert was a reminder of how Prince could do anything
Write a new song per day, play multiple instruments, dance, choreograph, arrange music, create careers for other artists, and claim the color purple. He was raised by a musical family to excel in different venues. Many talented artists can accomplish one or two of these objectives. We don’t expect artists to serve as a one-person recording studio.
So why do we expect this of ourselves? We’re busy—we have ideas—we feel time is of the essence—we’re productive and creative and want to move projects forward. We wish we could clone ourselves so as to not rely on others. We hate waiting…
We’ve also derived this mentality from certain work environments and employers. I remember once applying to a position in which they were asking for an experienced writer, PR liaison, social media director, and…as I came to find out, a graphic designer, all in one person. And for a just out of college salary. Their offer didn’t match the value of the person they sought and honestly, what they were looking for was a two-person team. They were asking for two different skill sets, both integral but very different. They require different educations and experiences. By expecting one person to excel at both, you diminish the effectiveness of each, but when those two skillsets are brought together, you create a complimentary impact.
The ‘everyone should do everything’ mentality creates unrealistic expectations and frustrations. Increasing your value by leaning new skills is a worthwhile effort when it complements your strengths and sharpens adjacent skills used to transform and provide success to clients. Trying to do everything turns us into carbon copies of each other. It spreads your skill set thin, rather than providing special value. Trying to be everything to everyone doesn’t work in personal relationships nor in business, and is the surest way to experience burnout.
- Focus on the unique skills you offer and how your education, talent, and experience help you stand out in the market. Determine the ways your talents help clients transform and achieve goals. What do you do better than anyone?
- Have a niche. For example, my writing wheelhouse (for clients) is creative, editorial, sound bytes, essays, blogs, social media, human interest, ad copy, and long form. I don’t write technical or medically-based content. Not even a little! To ensure my best work and zero anxiety, I share my focus immediately to ensure I’m the best fit for an opportunity and if not, I stay available and focused for the right client. I’d rather be a strong writer, promoter, and strategist than a “sort of OK” something else. We’re often brought in for interviews because our resume aligns with keywords. Don’t become trapped in a stressful situation, struggling to be something you’re not, just to be hired. The goal should be to work on a project for which your skills, personality, and essence are the best fit. If you’ve ever worked for an organization that suddenly expected you to perform tasks for which you weren’t suited and utilized skills you don’t possess, you know how disorientating and frustrating that position can feel. Stay confident in your talent and that the right job will align with you.
- Communicate your goals and abilities with potential clients ahead of time—state these in a creative manner on your website, Linked In, business cards, etc. Illuminate what you bring to the table. If they need someone with opposite skills, offer a dialogue about the possibility of creating a team to bring about optimal results. Stand out to the public and potential clients through your niche and what kinds of work you would like to do more of in service of their goals.
It’s always wise to learn new skills. Why not try to be the most well-rounded and interesting versions of ourselves? Doors open and positive experiences make their way to us when we learn something new, especially if it pushes us from our comfort zones. But remember—no one person we should be expected to possess the skill sets of an entire team for an employer. That’s not how anyone performs most productively. Unless you’re Prince. And in that case—let’s go crazy, already.