Master of None — How to Deal with Apparent Lack of Success

by Liisa Kyle, Ph.D. on 07/18/2012

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The biggest challenge of being a DaVinci — of juggling many talents, many projects, many ideas — is that the more you have going on, the less it seems you’re succeeding in any of them.  “Jack-of-all-Trades…and master of none” is the fear, the curse of multi-talented people like you.

It can feel awful.  It can seem like you’re spinning your wheels, stuck in the same place no matter what you do.

Worse, you can find yourself stressed out and, let’s be honest, frantic — unhealthy for you and unpleasant for everyone else around you.

It can be demotivating.  What’s the point of continuing to do all this stuff?  I’m not getting anywhere with any of  it.

If this sounds like you, understand that it’s a very common challenge of multi-talented people.  We tend to be much more aware of all that we haven’t yet done or achieved, rather than what we have.

So what’s a DaVinci to do?

1. Remind yourself of what you HAVE accomplished

Right now, stop and take stock:  list at least ten of your accomplishments to date.  (No really — stop and make a list right now).

See?  You are not a ‘master of none’ — you’ve already achieved successes — accomplishments that you probably take for granted in your daily life.  And you will continue to experience more, going forward.

2.  Expand your perspective

Rare is the DaVinci who fully appreciates themselves.  If you’re feeling less than successful these days, ask some trusted others how they see you and/or your work.  Odds are that those who care about you are better able to witness your progress.

3. Give yourself some compassion.

Take a few moments to acknowledge that you are a multi-talented person pursuing several projects, wielding several talents and juggling many ideas.  Reflect on everything you’ve got going on.  Now:  pretend that you are a friend — how would you see yourself?  What would you tell yourself?

Be your own best friend:  give yourself compassion, patience and understanding.

4.  Limit your “To Do’s”.

Most DaVincis are painfully aware of the many, many things they haven’t yet done.  It might be ideas they haven’t yet implemented — or projects that are languishing — or the many, many tasks they’ve assigned themselves for today/this week/this lifetime.  Some DaVincis have so many ‘To Do’ lists, they might have difficulty locating their desk or work underneath it all.

This isn’t helpful.  It makes us feel like we’ll never catch up — because how can we?  For as many things as we’re able to cross off our To Do lists, we add more and more things to do.  It’s overwhelming and demotivating.

Rather than listing EVERYTHING you have to do today, for example, focus on the one or two most important things you’d like to accomplish.  Ask yourself:  What is my top priority today?  Concentrate on whatever’s most important.

5.  Keep track of your “TaDah’s”, rather than your “To Do’s”.

At the end of the day, take a moment to write down all you got done.  Give yourself credit (literally) for everything you did. Major accomplishments and minor triumphs.  Julia Cameron (author of the Artist’s Way) calls this her ‘Ta Dah’ list.

It’s highly recommended for DaVincis.  This is a daily practice guaranteed to combat ‘Master of None syndrome’ — it will shift your attention and force you to acknowledge your successes.


For more, check out my workbook: SELF-WORTH ESSENTIALS:  A Workbook to Understand Yourself, Accept Yourself, Like Yourself, Respect Yourself, Be Confident, Enjoy Yourself, and Love Yourself.




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Are you struggling with too many talents, skills, ideas? You may have The DaVinci Dilemma™! Find tools, fun quizzes, coaching, inspiration and solutions for multi-talented people at .

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Lisa Rothstein July 19, 2012 at 7:35 am

This was a big comfort to me today. Thanks!

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