Narrowly smart.

When I was young and in school, I used to think as being smart as something that could be measured as knowing more than anyone. That might be possible in elementary school, middle school, and part of high school. At the college age, and much later in life, it is impossible to know more than everyone. As you age, smart becomes more recognizable as the potential to be the best in a narrow field. A great writer is smart. A great businessperson is smart. A great athlete is smart. A great scientist is smart. A great therapist is smart. A great investor is smart. A great engineer is smart. A great mechanic is smart. All different versions of smart.

I’m in a new job, surrounded by incredibly smart people who have highly niche knowledge areas. It is easy to feel like an impostor, however, that is the wrong way to look at it. The right way to look at it is crafting the “smartest” team. The right group of smart expertise brought together to represent the strongest, broadest version of knowledge that is required for a given challenge.

It’s possible to be smart and clueless about most of the world. In fact, that’s everyone in a nutshell. However recognizing the gaps and whose knowledge is needed is a skill and it’s worth getting good at it.