Why you can’t just hedge your bets

Here is another interesting take on the notion of not keeping all your eggs in one basket. The lesson is twofold: first, spreading your efforts is the same as diluting your efforts. That single vocabulary change really makes you stop and think. It slaps me in the face and I just came up with it.

But life moves on and the lessons aren’t always there at the beginning (multitasking used to be considered an asset; people put it on their resumes). So what do you do, today, when you stop and look at your life and there isn’t an obvious 10,000 hours of violin practice behind you already?

The alternatives:

  1. give up and accept that while you have built skills over the years, you haven’t become great at any one easily defined thing;
  2. pick something that you think will fulfill you and dedicate the next 10,000 hours to that (5-10 years is not a big deal if you’re 25 – trust me – but it might be when 43 is two weeks away, or now, as I actually publish this, three weeks in the rearview mirror);
  3. figure out how to think about what you’ve done in a way that captures your possible expertise in a brandable way that you’d like to continue.

I’m opting for #3, which means I’ve got to push off a writing project to push the personal branding exercises to the shortlist. But I’m not sure I need, meaning I’m sure I don’t, to solve the personal brand question before finishing that project. (Wow, I’m glad I talked myself out of that detour.) That’s prioritization in real time — that’s exactly the stream of thoughts that just ran through my head.

I’ve learned the hard way that you can have too many priorities. But that’s a post for another day.