I have a friend who is a brilliant carpenter. He truly has a gift. He does high-end wood finishing for private homes. His work is incredible. We are talking some very intricate finishes that are amazing to see in person. His manipulation of wood is second to none. His use of stain makes the woodwork come alive. Woodcraft has always come easy to him, and he had gone to school for it, becoming an expert at fine woodworking. His website reads like a best hits of some of the most advanced woodworking you have ever seen.
Yet, there is a problem here. He is unemployed.
You see, in our race to get super specialized in one very specific thing, we have forgotten that being an expert at something is only the beginning. In this day and age, it is no longer good enough to be an expert at any one thing. What I mean here is that, in order to earn success, you must have other skills in addition to what you are an expert in.
It is simply not good enough to be a brilliant surgeon anymore. Sure, you might have some incredible expertise and lengthy training and the gift of precision, but if you cannot appeal to a patient on a human level – or connect with them in a way that allows them to understand the procedure or predicted outcome – then your talent is wasted.
Now, this might come as a shock to some folks. We are taught that the more we excel in one specific path in life, the better. We are taught this by colleges and universities across the country, yet it is all a lie.
In order to harness the power of the Creator Mindset, we must realize that being an expert is important. But equally important is a whole host of other related skills in the journey along the way.
My carpenter friend simply cannot maintain work on a regular basis because he understands little about client service or the constraints of working on a schedule. While his work is great, he is often doing what he feels is best and not what the client wants. He is rude to customers, talks over people, cannot tolerate mediocrity, and has no patience for late deliveries or incorrect orders. His way is the only way. And his way is best.
Yet he’s often baffled as to why he is not working because he is so good at what he does. But I challenge you to re-evaluate your assumption of what makes someone “good” at their job.
Now, I wonder how many of us are like my carpenter friend? I know that from time to time I am. And how many of us are really good at that one thing and insist that the world accept it as it is, with no supporting skills around the expertise? Like the kid who graduates from college and shows up for an interview saying, “Hire me. I have a degree, therefore, I am an expert.”
I think it’s a dangerous position to be in. I think it’s a dangerous position for our country to be in. Specializing is important. Being an expert is critical. But without experience and supporting skills – especially with an ability to connect with people – this talent is shamefully wasted.
Nir Bashan is an executive creative director/managing director with over 18 years of advertising, entertainment and business development experience. He helps teach folks in non-creative fields how to think creatively to solve problems. He leads workshops and lectures on topics relating to The Creator Mindset. He is publishing a book on The Creator Mindset that will be released soon. nirbashan.com