03 February 2021

In business, the worst thing is to become a Jack of all trades, master of none

Have you heard of the Shiny Object Syndrome (SOS)? It is the tendency to chase something new — an idea, a trend, or a goal — rather than to stay focused on your current pursuit. I’ve worked long enough and with a lot of business owners to say that this is a very common trait, especially among new entrepreneurs. They allot time and energy into learning about one thing, but as soon as another thing comes along, they try to learn about that, too, until they end up trying to learn too many things that they’re no longer learning anything.

I suppose it’s part of human nature to become attracted to something outside of what we’re already working on. It’s like a child playing with a toy and gets distracted by another shiny, new toy. But having this kind of behaviour when you’re a business owner can be very destructive. If you’re always chasing the next exciting thing or trying to do everything at once, you will find it hard to master anything. And, as well know, it’s crucial that you master the different important aspects of running a business. The trick is to master them one at a time.

You must become good at one thing

Mastering something takes time, and most times it takes a lot of mistakes, learnings and do-overs to be able to say that you’re now an expert at that thing. Now, that’s hard to achieve if you’re engaging yourself in multiple endeavors at a time. You need to allow yourself to fully develop your knowledge and skill in a certain area, and only when you feel that you’ve reached a desired level of mastery can you then move on to the next thing.

Learn to manage your time so it won’t eat you up

To master your time, you need to know the difference between important and urgent. Something is urgent when it is crying out for immediate attention, one that demands your attention. Important tasks are those that, once done, will add significant value to your company. These are the things that help grow your business. Tasks can be one or the other or else neither urgent nor important.

Don’t go around chasing your own tail

Business owners often get frustrated when they feel like they’re not moving forwards with anything. They wonder why, despite all their effort and dedication, they’re not becoming masterful at anything. That’s what happens when you try to take on everything at the same time. The trick is to learn how to stay consistent in dedicating your focus and energy into one thing. I know there are a lot of things that call our attention and are hard to resist, but if you really want to master something, you need to be disciplined enough to fight the urge to do everything at once.

Remember: when you try to do everything, you do none of them properly. The only effective and sustainable way to deal with things, either in learning a new skill or putting out fires, is to deal with them one at a time. No matter how super you think you are, you’re only human. There’s only so many things you can dedicate yourself into, so use your time and energy wisely.

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