Generalist versus Specialist. Generation Flux.

 What are the parts of us that we deny? Or ignore? Or push away for what ever reason?

It has taken me 52 years to really get that I am and have always been passionate about being a world change agent. And 52 years to get that I am never going to fit in a neat box that says Christine is an expert at “x”. ‘Neat’ and ‘boxes’ just do not fit my DNA. Positive Deviant has always been there.

I have often been envious of the person that had one glaringly obvious outstanding talent or gift. They had a fabulous singing voice, like Adele, or Beyonce. Or they could run like the wind. How easy was their ability to make choices about who they are. (Sure a whole lot of other skills are also required to bring their talent to the fore, but when talent is a shining star in one dimension, it is hard to argue with.)

When you are multi-talented, but not particularly outstanding in any one area, do we have to choose one area, or can we shine in all of them?

For years I denied being a specialist as a coach. ‘Niched!’. Despite the business case that this was the best path to take. It felt impossible for me to contain my interests in one skinny domain. This choice to walk a different path did come at a price, for it has been way harder to leverage (make money from) being a generalist.

We are finally entering the age where the generalist, trans-disciplinarian is becoming vital to the success of humanity. Fast Company magazine wrote two pieces about Generation Flux. Generation Flux is not a demographic, like Gen Y, but a psychographic. People who express their work in multiple domains. These people develop the skills to be able to see multiple aspects of the world through a generalist lens and not the specialised lens. This is a gift and talent in its own right.

And it if becoming OK for people to make their income from multiple skills. Where as in the past there was a general distrust of the person who was not a specialist. Surely they did not have the skills required to go deep?

We still need specialists. But we also need the generalist.

I want a specialist surgeon to do the surgery, but I also want the generalist to look at this surgery in light of my whole health, my whole well being.

I want the specialist alternate energy scientist to build fabulous ways to convert sunlight into power, and I want the generalist systems person to integrate this into the complexity of what we have now so that it works for everyone.

Today I celebrate that I am…in no particular order….skilled to a reasonable degree at the following…
…being a mum, global politics, some parts of history, the economy, systems theory, R.Buckminster Fuller, Integral Theory, writing, coaching, endurance sport particularly running and swimming, facilitation, world current affairs, theology and mysticism, baking cakes, healing, chiropractic, communication skills, teaching, pop culture, fashion, conflict resolution, anything to do with the relational dynamic, forgiveness, compassion, speaking the truth…

It is the comprehensivist view that is my ‘specialty’. My value is in seeing the whole and being able to apply that to the parts.

What are the parts of you you have denied, or suppressed..that need to be brought ‘out’?
And have you, like me, refused to submit to the specialisation demand of society? Was this easy, or has it been a challenge to maintain?

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One Comment on “Generalist versus Specialist. Generation Flux.”

  1. Pingback: Knowledge, gnosis and the pain of being discounted for your knowledge – Integral Accounting Part 4. « Christine McDougall's Blog – 2.23am A Call to Uncommon Action

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