A note from Christine: Jack of All Trades
For the last few years, I have walked a pretty intense walk. Max effort workouts, hitting the road to the next activity, friends, family, life. There was so much that I wanted to fit into my day, but life doesn’t always like to wait. In 2017, I started my masters degree. I also simultaneously worked three jobs, all while training for the 2020 Olympics.
I want to take this moment to remind you of the rest of the quote in the title:
“Jack of all trades, master of none.”
Every day of my program, I learned and I grew. I became a better student, better teacher, and better athlete. But I also began to see a trend: I would soon reach a point where I couldn’t grow in one area without shrinking another.
If I wanted to train harder, my studies would suffer. If I wanted to earn more money, I would have to compromise sleep and recovery. If I wanted to take harder courses, I would have to yield time for my other “trades.”
The opportunity to train and go to the Olympics is a journey that so few people are able to embark on. It does not yield to anything else. It is a once in a lifetime chance. And if I procrastinated, I would lose my window of opportunity.
My balancing act was putting me on a guaranteed path to be “good.” Just good. I was caught up in the small details of each moment. But in following that path, I was throwing away the chance, however small, to be excellent. To be the best. I reached a decision – that this was my Olympic dream and the risk was worth it. After that, life became surprisingly simple.
Now, I am NOT instructing you to drop everything to pick one “trade” to master. To the opposite point, I think having diverse interests helps keep us all balanced and keeps life in perspective. And I certainly plan to go back to school to finish my degree in the future, which is why I also recognize that I don’t have to put that on my plate right this minute. I have always had an overachiever mentality – I don’t like to concede anything, but when it comes to my dream, I had to focus my energy on this particular challenge.
What I can suggest is that you give yourself permission to truly pursue the things that matter to you. Reduce the noise and allow yourself to live in every moment. When you sit down for that meeting, that dinner, or that workout, you turn the world off and embrace each moment as it comes.
Part of the beauty of rowing is that it’s a full body exercise — your muscles are fired up and ready to go. Take every stroke as it comes, but know that this is your opportunity and the cards are stacked in your favor. So, as each small challenge or decision comes along, I challenge you to embrace this new quote:
“Jack of all Trades, master this one.”
Now go ahead and pick up that handle. I’ll see you on the water soon.