April 2016: Specialization: Closing Doors (4 posts)

April 27: Specialize in Everything?


Through a lot of this discussion on specializing, closing doors, and mastering a craft for the betterment of you, the questions keep coming to many about taking on heavy dedication to perform multiple crafts expertly. Why not just give more time or spend more years to specialize in many areas?

Listen to “Specialize in Everything?” to get a better understanding.

Your future is not at risk when you specialize. It is empowered.

April 20: How do you specialize?


I’ve kinda got an easy way for you to cipher between some of these markets and determine where you really should be specializing. And it’ll help close some doors.

Consider that you must have:

  • 100 Hours: Of learning for every hour you will lead a subject
  • Willingness: To gain the background to become the expert
  • Experiential Education: Reality is key for lessons to truly “click”

When you view it from that angle, hopefully it makes it a little clearer. Not that you don’t love the others, but when others don’t fit those benchmarks above, you know what are recreations and may be detracting from you. You know what it is you’re really pounding for inside.

Check out this week’s audio for a little deeper look into it and some analogies that may bring it into sharp focus.


April 13: Broad Markets [No audio]

Several months ago in “The Value of Your Time” we introduced the idea of “markets” in our personal and professional life. Sometimes we forget to think of just how much our time and energy is spread in things—and how many “clients” we are serving. Those clients come in a variety of markets in our professional and personal lives—every place you put your time you can consider a market.

In the professional world those markets include the work environment, a program committee, the customers you serve, a special project, a new training, or any of the other places putting demand on your time. Little or big. These markets prevail across our entire life. And when you feel you aren’t putting enough in one place, it may be because that investment is going in many places.

Mutual funds are very similar; the goal is modesty for the consumer because it is in many places. When you pick a specific stock, however, the investment is very narrow and gains can be tremendous with patience. While diversification is key in stocks for long-term success, that diversification is progressive in life and work. As one investment begins to ripen, it can be time to take that skillset and invest in a market you’ve been eyeing.

A habit in stocks and life is that when you don’t feel you are putting enough in one place, you tend to overcompensate. You work “harder” or add more to feel that pressure as though a tougher plow will yield more.

Successful and well-invested family-focused professionals will tell you it is actually the opposite that is true. No matter how counter-intuitive it may feel to you. The point is to pick few markets and stay in for the long-haul. It doesn’t mean you cannot change mid-course, but there are two things to consider:

  • Avoid chasing shiny objects—because there’s always another one.
  • Being a serial chaser for each increased gain, in the long-term, will have disastrous effects.

Next time you feel you aren’t getting enough out of one place, step back and look the array of markets you have. And then drop a couple. You will be shocked at how that one place—and more!—grows.



April 6: Specialization: Closing Doors


This month’s Work-Life Chemistry theme is Specialization: Closing Doors. Becoming an expert or achieving mastery is one of the greatest underlying ambitions of most high-performers. Yet closing doors is the greatest fear. Leaving them open always pulls up short from where a path can lead.

This week we address how attempted achievers sabotage their own possibilities by giving themselves reasons to avoid specificity, and how specificity can make you greater in more things than leaving open doors can.

After you listen, I want to hear from you! What doors are you choosing to close (or have closed)? What is it you will master before opening another?