When you have multiple interests, it’s easy to feel paralyzed about what you should be working on. Here’s how to focus while still keeping your hands in everything.
Discovering your career purpose is tough work, especially when you have multiple interests. Too many choices, the feeling of potentially missing out and the inability to decide can all act as roadblocks to finding that elusive dream job. When you have multiple interests, it’s easy to feel paralyzed about what you should be working on.
Here are five ways to get in the game:
1. Acknowledge that you’re blessed
No, I don’t mean you’re supremely talented. But having multiple interests—and actually being able to choose one or more to pursue—is a luxury. Back in the day, people didn’t have a choice. Some people, especially in underdeveloped parts of the world, still don’t have a choice.
So take advantage of your situation and show some gratitude. Being multi-passionate isn’t a burden; it’s an opportunity. When someone asks you about your interests, instead of doing the humble brag (“Oh, I don’t know. I have so many things I’m good at, it’s so difficult to choose!”), proudly describe your latest project and revel in it.
2. Freely offer your time
The chances that you’ll discover a dream job encompassing all your desired interests and skills for the rest of your life are slim. Careers aren’t linear these days. Instead, you’ll design a career in bits and pieces that, when looked at as a whole, will create something wonderful.
So consider volunteering. Perhaps you can join a committee as part of your local social media club or help organize monthly events around design thinking. The point is to add another passion piece to your puzzle so that you can feel more fulfilled and harmonious about your career as a whole.
3. Choose to work in a “connector” field
Certain jobs, while only utilizing one set of your skills, do allow you to interact and engage with a wide range of other industries. If you enjoy constantly learning and are interested in being exposed to new ideas and people, choose one of these connector positions.
Fields like event planning or sales can expose you to a wide range of experiences. In fact, many jobs fit this bill if you have the right attitude. Find a job in one of these connector areas, or start thinking about how you can gain exposure to new ideas from your existing set of responsibilities.
4. Schedule your focus in waves
Don’t worry; I’m not asking you to choose between your passions. (We all know that’s impossible.) Instead, dedicate your focus to one particular passion for a period of time—say, two weeks or two months. Put the others aside for that period and really go deep with this one particular interest. You can return to the other passions when the time is up.
This will allow you to stop feeling manic as you bounce between all the ideas in your head and will also let you experience some satisfaction from fully exploring one idea.
5. Make sure you finish what you start
The problem with being multi-passionate isn’t the long list of interests, the bouncing between ideas or even wanting to “do it all.” The problem is when you don’t finish something. If you make a commitment to yourself and back down, you’re going to feel crappy about it.
Instead of trying to narrow your passions, just make sure you finish what you say you will. By completing whatever passion projects you start out on, you’ll get an extreme high that will continue to motivate you in pursuing your other interests.
Accepting who you are and being deliberate in your work will help you achieve fulfillment and success as a multi-passionate careerist. Go on, get out there, and put your hands in everything.
Rebecca Thorman’s weekly blog, Kontrary, offers tips to create the career, bank account and life you love and is a popular destination for young professionals. Her goal is to help you find meaningful work, enjoy the heck out of it and earn more money. She writes from Washington, D.C.