Matthew Lindfield Seager

Matthew Lindfield Seager

Exceptionally Ordinary

I have surrounded myself, virtually, with successful creators, developers and entrepreneurs. The blogs I read and the podcasts I listen to are full of people who have found, or sometimes carved out, a niche.

Some deliberately chose an under-served area and went deep, gradually building up a reputation and an audience. Others have “laddered up” from one opportunity to another, refining their skills as they go.

I look at what nearly all of them do and think to myself, “I could do that”. As best I can tell I am smart, articulate and capable.

Capable of writing. Capable of developing. Capable of designing interfaces that make sense. Capable of thinking strategically, weighing risks and making decisions. Capable of learning just about anything. Capable of teaching others.

And yet there seems to be one big thing I am incapable of. I am incapable of staying focused on one thing for more than a few weeks. Incapable of coming up with a long term plan and sticking with it. Incapable of mastering a topic once I’ve got the basics (or at best the intermediates) down pat. Incapable of finishing projects without external motivation.

I’m a big believer in focusing on your strengths, building them up until you stand out. And yet I wonder, are there some weaknesses that are too big to ignore? Can a big enough weakness hamstring a person, negating any strengths. Should I focus on my strengths or try to overcome my weaknesses?

But maybe it’s a moot point. Perhaps both approaches require a level of determination and grit that I’m not capable of.

And so I drift. Accumulating shallow learnings. A jack of a great many IT trades. A master of none.

But that’s okay isn’t it? Not everyone can be a master. There are a lot of people happily existing at levels below master. There‘s hobbyists. Amateurs. Prosumers. Juniors. Apprentices. Professionals. The proficient. The competent. The ordinary.

Perhaps I need to stop surrounding myself with the exceptional. They are, after all, exceptions. Maybe I need to settle for being ordinary.

Or maybe I need to look for different opportunities. To look for people or places where versatility is what’s needed. Perhaps that’s on smaller teams that don’t have the headroom for exceptional experts? Or finding a partner with complimentary strengths and weaknesses?

I’m not sure what the answer is. I’m not even sure I’ve figured out what the question is.