February 26, 2017

Jack of all Trades, Master of None

Jack of all Trades, Master of None

When I was 27 I received some excellent advice which I’ve been following throughout my career. One evening a fellow Toastmaster announced he had just been promoted to be the plant manager of a major manufacturing plant in the city I worked in.  After the meeting I went up to congratulate him on his success and found the courage to ask him ”What do you attribute your success to?”

His response has stuck with me to this day.  He said, “You know Larry, I’m not a very smart guy.  In fact I didn’t finish high school.  Oh, eventually I got my GED when I was in the service, and I tried a couple of courses in college, but they didn’t seem to fit very well either……and, he went on to say…. “But, in the area of production planning, I’m not trying to be braggadocios, it just happens to be the way it is, I think 3-4X faster than the people that are next to me.”

“So this is what I think is the secret to success. Find your natural gift and talents.  Not your skill set or what you’ve learned how to do, but your true gifts and talents.  Then, be creative in your gifted area. And the third and most important thing.  There are a lot of people with a lot of great ideas but they don’t do anything with them.  The most important step is to implement your creations.

I said thanks for the info and left that meeting in deep reflection.  I felt I was a jack-of-all-trades, but a master of none.  I thought I was reasonably bright but I sure didn’t know what my natural gifts and talents were.  I left that meeting with the question…what are my natural gifts and talents?”

I made a declaration. I declared that from now I would creatively capitalize on my natural gifts and talents wherever they would take me. I’m happy to report it’s been a great life journey.

I must admit.  At that time it took me a while to discover some of my gifts.  About 6 months.  The way I finally found my gifts was to look at the places where I had achieved considerable success and had the most fun in my job.  Places where I lost track of time and would work beyond the call of duty to get a good job done. Having fun in my life and capitalizing on my gifts became very important to me.  Is it important to you?

Questions to Ask Yourself

  • What gives you real joy when you lose yourself in the work?
  • What natural gifts and talents are you using when you’re joyful?
  • Where do your talents and people’s needs cross?
  • What contributions have you yet to make?
  • What action do you need to take to be more fulfilled?



  1. Congratulations on the launch of your new site. Having known you and worked with you for several decades I have no doubt that it will be a success. I thoroughly enjoyed the first edition and look forward to more.

  2. Larry,
    This is a great idea and it is YOU!..Your gifts and your talent in communication.


  3. Christine Mays says:

    As always Larry, you inspire me to seek more happiness in whatever work or play I choose to do. This is an awesome reminder to be true to myself. Chris