Are You a Jack of All Trades?

Well, then, you get to be a Master of None. Congratulations!

Imagine that title on your business card: Master of None.

Instead (as an individual and as a business), specialize. Differentiate. Be narrow-minded.

A jack of all trades has no unique identity. A JOAT is never a top-of-mind go-to resource.

“Jack of all trades” is not a compliment. Instead, Find Your Two Things. Or, even better, be the Master of One.

(very similar themes in the blogosphere this morning: John Jantsch and Christopher Penn)


I help people and businesses become narrow-minded with my Clarity Therapy process <—learn more

Go With Door #2

There are two ways of looking at the world.

Behind Door #1 is everything that has been pre-built, pre-defined, and pre-established by others in the past. You are invited to fit in.

Most people fall into the trap of planning their career using Door #1. Why is this a trap?

Because it was built by someone else, not by you. It was built for someone else’s purposes, not for yours. It was built to meet past needs, not necessarily future opportunities.

It’s not always the best deal.

Behind Door #2 is a blank screen, waiting for you to project yourself upon it.

Your skills. Your direction. Your goals. The opportunities you see.

Door #1 is the default choice. Door #2 is for the courageous.

Go with Door #2.

Thank YoUtilities

A couple of days ago, I was on a 3-hour drive from North Jersey to Gettysburg. Anyone in the Jersey area knows all about traffic, but on this trip, westbound on I-78, I watched a remarkable sight.

A parade – no, a fleet – of utility trucks, all heading out of NJ after (I assume) many long days of hard labor helping out after Hurricane Sandy.

As I passed truck after truck, I saw this badge on each one. North Houston Pole Line.

Surely, I thought, there must be a “Houston” in a nearby state to which all these folks were returning, in time for the Thanksgiving holiday. Surely these folks didn’t come all the way up from…

Then I spotted the license plates. Texas.

Countless dozens of these fine skilled workers had driven halfway across the country to help us out, and were now returning, caravan style, before their prolonged absence triggered a population redistricting in their home state!

Saturday morning, I enjoyed a pancake breakfast at IHOP with my son Ben, and (as has been the case for a couple of weeks now), the restaurant was loaded with utility workers, fueling up for another day’s labor in someone else’s neighborhood (these guys were clearly from the South).

One of the men had lost both arms at some point in his history. He had two mechanical arms ending in hooks. And he was still working.

Seeing these dedicated strangers/citizens/neighbors/workers helping us out after a crisis warmed my heart like nothing else in recent memory. It made me thankful to live in a country where people pull together, even at great personal sacrifice.

Thanks, utility folks. You may labor mostly unrecognized, but we see you. And we appreciate all you’re doing for us.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Dear Client; Be Realistic.

Many of us who are consultants, small business owners, vendors, or agencies know how frustrating it can be to work with clients who don’t seem to understand the “other side” of the fence.

I worked on the vendor side for 10 years, so I know this pain. And now, for the last 6+ years, much of my work involves client-vendor matchmaking, so I’ve seen how things can go off the rails on both sides.

One of the best things we can do, as suppliers of services, is to pro-actively set the table with reasonable expectations.

Here’s the first step:

Your turn: what are some of the client/vendor issues that loom large to you?


Is your professional direction and message CLEAR? Hire Steve Woodruff for Clarity Therapy!

Recent posts on Connection Agent:

>> Find Your Two Things

>> De-Fragmenting Your Business

Find Your Two Things

You are capable of doing 10 things.

You CAN sell. You CAN manage a project. You CAN do manual labor. You CAN teach. You CAN design floral arrangements.

We all have a list of things we’ve done in the past, or do in the present.

But our focus should be the one or two things that we SHOULD be doing.

Each of us has uniquely differentiating strengths. Something to offer the world, to offer potential clients. Something where we can be at our best.

We need a career role that is not a commodity. If you’re doing what lots of others can do, and it isn’t  your unique gift, you’re in the commodity zone.

Just because someone else has defined a role and its responsibilities doesn’t mean that you have to fit that uniform (which was never measured around you).

You are probably doing one or two of your SHOULD things (or have done them), but don’t recognize that all the rest of your capabilities need to become subordinate. Your current role may be 90% “can,” and 10% “should.”

Step back and take an honest look. List out 10 things you do. Then cross out eight of them. Maybe even nine.

There is your future direction.


Is your professional direction and message CLEAR? Hire Steve Woodruff for Clarity Therapy!

Recent posts on Connection Agent:

>> Discovering Your Professional DNA

>> De-Fragmenting Your Business


For many of us, this past week has been traumatic. Our world has been rocked, by an unusually destructive storm and its unusually disruptive aftermath.

The beautiful canopy of trees that has always filled our backyard now has ugly gaps slashed in it by the loss of a handful of once-proudly-standing trees. Far worse, a neighbor’s house was punctured by a huge tree that will cause months of disruption to their busy lives. And many people, especially nearer the shore, lost everything.

The mess will take months to clean up; and the stress, in some cases, may take much longer. Sandy has disordered a lot of lives.

Here in America, we live in a privileged bubble where major pieces of infrastructure are simply assumed – water flows, lights work, temperatures are regulated, fuel is around the corner. 24/7, or nearly so.

We all know that we live in relative first-world luxury, yet we all still become dependent on the “normal” that surrounds us. Take away that normal for a season, and we experience trauma. Major disruption, of any sort, does that.

So many of you “came alongside” me (and others) via our virtual networks during the darker days, and I want to tell you how helpful that is. Words of encouragement, and sympathy, mean a lot when everything familiar is disrupted. In the midst of the storm’s destructive effects, we got to witness real neighborliness happening in our streets and towns here in New Jersey – people coming alongside and helping each other with shelter and water and chainsaws and (even) re-charging stations for starving mobile devices (a neighbor down the street, who had a generator, would turn on the outside light as the signal that power strips were hooked up and ready in their porch for those who needed to re-charge)!

But in our social networks, there was also a lot of support. Dozens and dozens of messages were exchanged via Twitter and Facebook. And, it meant a lot to know that people were concerned.

So, how can you help? Sure, there’s giving to the Red Cross and all that. But, on a more personal level, just reach out and care. Little expressions of concern and love go a long way in the recovery from trauma. We’ll get through it, even while fuel is scarce for another week or so. And words of kindness will fuel our spirits as we steer our way slowly back into normalcy post-Sandy.

Thanks for your friendship.