Diane: “What do you want to do after college?”
Jack: “I think I want to be a football coach.”
Diane: “Does coaching football make you happy?”
Jack: “If I could get a coaching job in the NFL, then I’d be happy.”
Diane: “But what about when you’re actually coaching football? Are you happy then?”
Jack: “Well, not really. It feels too much like work. My mind wonders about other creative things I wish I were doing, such as reading, writing or helping people with a problem.”
Diane: “Hmmm. Then maybe you shouldn’t be football coach.”
In my experience, people want to be something more than they want to do something, and they often confuse the two. Jack loved the idea of being an NFL football coach, but it was not suited for what he wanted to be. It was not suited for his craft.
Discovering who you want to be means understanding your craft and becoming a Jack of One Trade™. It’s different from the old adage “follow your passion” because it’s more ordinary, more durable and less grand. It’s what you’re good at, what you like doing from moment to moment, day after day, year after year. It’s your work that does not seem like work.
Becoming a “Jack” isn’t limiting. It’s liberating. People who seemingly make the complex simple are “Jacks” who apply their craft in many different ways to many different problems. Their craft gives them the confidence and freedom to develop other parts of themselves while serving others.
My craft is expressive oration. I often find myself diving into a problem by thinking about how to solve it using my craft. I eliminate distractions, focus on what I want to say, put myself in the audiences’ shoes, factor in how I want them to feel, scrutinize my choice of words and say everything with as few words as possible.
Funny things happen when I’m in my “Jack of One” zone. I forget myself. Time flies. It does not seem like work. I forget to eat.
My grandmother used to say, “If the Devil can’t make you bad, he’ll make you busy.” Everything is permissible, but not everything is helpful. Maintain a front-sight focus on this universal truth, make a commitment to discovering who you want to be and become a Jack of One Trade.