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How to be a generalist who gets paid

If you're a generalist, your highest and best use is as a unifier of the "little bit of everything" you know.

In other words, use your understanding of the different moving parts within your domain(s) of expertise to form a birds-eye view of how they all FIT (and then WORK) together with the intention to DRIVE real-world actions that RESULT in desired outcomes.

Note that I am speaking of the above strictly in terms of the commercial marketplace where you are remunerated (in fiat money, payment-in-kind, crypto, etc).

If the area(s) where you are a generalist fall under your hobbies, then there is no strong necessity to have the ability to unify your relevant disparate skillsets. Go ahead, just enjoy it 🙂

But if you want to get paid for it by creating commercial value in the marketplace (and thus maintaining your relevance as a commercial actor), then your highest and best use of your relevant generalist skills is to help clients (including your "internal clients" - ie. your co-workers) make decisions derived from the big picture understanding of your chosen domain.

Taking myself as an example as a Go-To-Market advisor, I am not a top 1% expert in either sales, marketing, product development, launch, risk management, operational efficiency or consulting.

However, I'm competent in all of these areas - but what's far more important is I can understand how all of these fit together (ie. how they are situated with each other, including sequencing) and their relationships with each other (ie. what processes/components flow between them and in what direction(s)).

From this big picture understanding, I am then able to recommend an action (or set of actions - including order of operations) to my clients to create the business outcomes they hope to achieve.

Now to be clear, this is something that works for ME personally, but it's something you may want to ponder if you are a generalist.


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