For many of us, myself included, it’s difficult to visualise the variety of skills we may have and how these translate into generalist or specialist skills and abilities. As such, I thought that it may be helpful if we gamify the process of discovering this somewhat.
The aim of the Skill Tree Visualisation exercise is that by the end you will have a piece of paper, or graphic representation, of a number of skill tree’s that have your various abilities, talents, skills, knowledge, interests and so on, on it. This will then give you an overview of what you are truly specialised in, which have some depth and which are simply surface level. This collection will be part of your generalist’s mixed bag.
To do this I would recommend doing it physically, but it can be done on a pc, it’s simply more fun to do it physically in my opinion.
First find an open space, with a clear wall, a desk, a block of sticky notes and a magic marker. These are your weapons of choice when creating a Skill Tree.
Take the block of sticky notes and write done as many abilities, talents, skills, expertise, knowledge points, interests, and so on, as you can think of. Limit them to only one per sticky note, as you will be ordering them into similar themes and groupings later. Having multiple on one sticky note will just confuse you and make it impossible to arrange later.
While you are doing this, don’t forget to ask family, friends, partners, colleagues and so forth for help and advice on what your skills, abilities and talents are. As not all may be obvious to you immediately.
Once you’ve exhausted everything you can think of, with the help of others, you will then start to arrange the various sticky notes on the open wall. Arrange them into similar themes and groups that fit together, initially just put them into single piles or groups, don’t try to make any linear or hierarchal sense out of them just yet.
Next, when you have your groups, see which of the points on the sticky notes is the most basic form of that theme and what is the most complex form of that grouping. Have the simplest one at the top and the most complex at the bottom, much like with the example of the Skill Tree earlier.
When you’ve done that, start going through the remaining sticky notes and order them in terms of simplicity to complexity between the starting and finishing sticky notes. Don’t worry if some are of a similar level, this just means that there are two or more points to that tier of complexity that allows you to go from the simplest to the most complex point at the end of the tree.
At the end of the exercise, you should have a variety of skill trees that each represents a specialisation and shows the breadth of your generalist personality.