The Power of Being a Generalist

When we focus only on the superstars, we lose sight of the people who tie all the superstars together

Alicia Cressall
Modus
Published in
3 min readOct 15, 2019

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Photo: 10'000 Hours/Getty Images

WWhen I was a teenager, I thought I wasn’t good at anything. I was, in my own eyes, mediocre at everything, never the standout or the superstar. As I have navigated my career, I have come to realize that being a generalist, being good at a broad spectrum of subjects, is a superpower, not a weakness. I am constantly curious and learning new things, which sets me up to be able to lead people from different backgrounds because I have experienced their backgrounds, too.

We’re not superstars — and that’s okay

This might seem like an oxymoron, but the very fact that we generalists aren’t superstars is one of our superpowers. Superstars are specialists, people who stand out in one particular specialty — they are the people easily seen and noticed. There is nothing wrong with being a superstar, but there are aspects of being a generalist that give us advantages over specialists.

We speak your language

Generalists are always learning new things, which means there’s a greater chance we have dabbled in your specialty and can understand what you do and what is required for your job. At the same…

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Alicia Cressall
Modus
Writer for

A designer writing about design and maybe some other things. Senior Growth Designer at Parabol