Rashida Jones’ father, the legendary Quincy Jones, told her, “Always be good at two things.”
Quincy led by example too. He’d do music with artists and then score for films. This way, he explained, there was always work if one category got slow.
Rashida told Conan O’Brien it was the best advice he gave her.* It made her want to not just be an actor, but to have the determination to also be a writer, a producer, and anything else. She calls it “diversifying your skill stack.”
If we’re just good at one thing, it’s easier for others to put us in a box. If we’re good at even just two different things, no box can hold us. It’s true for our personal careers, our collective professions, and our brands.
A diverse skill stack also gives us a unique fingerprint. By drawing on our own mix of knowledge and experience, our skill stack can add optionality and create value.
It’s good advice from Quincy and Rashida: get good (at least) twice and diversify those skills. Then, keep bringing them all to the table.