I guess you go too far when pianos try to be guitars…

September 2021

As the guitar collection grew during lockdown, while the piano looked on, it got me thinking of this lyric.

Should we try to stretch ourselves?  Or should we specialise and be true to who we really are?

I’m sure Jerry Lee Lewis would be a strong advocate of the former, as his piano discharged great balls of fire with as much vigour as Jimmy Page would later unleash a whole lotta love from his Les Paul.

Yet I’m still left wondering how far we should ever stretch ourselves and diversify, if our true strengths are embedded in what we have become good at and, in many cases, what we have become known for.

I’ve discussed previously that authenticity lies in not trying to be who we are not.  But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try to better ourselves, develop new skills and advance into a new version of ‘us’.  Our 2.0?

At the end of the day, I believe we naturally evolve; yet can at the same time steer our evolution.  I never intended to be the CEO of an international accounting network. My youthful desire to be a rock star was swiftly traded for a law degree, followed by a professional qualification in accountancy and which, via various digressions and progressions, landed me as a leader, business developer, strategist, international liaison, facilitator of cross-border cooperation and (pre-Covid…) globetrotter.  And yes, one could say, all wrapped up nicely into a package worthy of rock star status (no irony intended!)

Lately, we’ve all had to question our roles; how we should, and must, refocus and adjust.

Personally, I suppose I’ve always been ‘diverse’, exemplified by my selection of pre-university advanced level subjects in Economics, Mathematics & Spanish (not the most natural of combinations, especially when preceding a three year undergraduate law course).

Still, over the years, I’ve learnt that whatever you experience, which at the time may have seemed a futile exercise, often comes back to help you in future life.

And, as human beings, we have the ability to teach ourselves most things (to change our tune…), to learn and develop a myriad of techniques and to adapt to several different circumstances.  Just look at recent times!

Indeed, there is a thin line between focusing on what you are good at, becoming a specialist in your field, and hindering yourself from pushing boundaries, from being more creative and from expanding your skill set.

It’s all about balance; fuelled by ambition and spiced with passion.  And, of course, doing what you enjoy!

So… pluck the strings on that piano or strike a new chord with that guitar. But keep questioning what more you can do, what more you can give, and what more you can become; with an honest perspective on what is now appropriate and relevant.

And however you perform, keep running through those finishing lines; don’t just stop at them!

(I may have diverted onto a sports analogy there… and perhaps I should have stayed with the music.  Or should I?!)

Author: Stephen Hamlet

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