How to pick a new career path when I have many interests?
For the longest time, I beat myself up for having so many different interests and curiosities, for having a flexible and broad enough skill set and mind that allows me to do a variety of different things.
I used to think of myself as fickle and non-committal, which couldn’t be further from the truth. “Why can’t I just find ‘my one thing’ and master it? (like a violinist!)” I kept asking myself.
Over time, I discovered that these aren’t weaknesses or liabilities — they’re the core of my strength. Thankfully, through trial and error, a lot of experimentation and self-inquiry, I found the kind of work that really leveraged this broadness and variety of skills, knowledge and experience.
Maybe you can relate.
Perhaps you’re considering changing your career path and you’re judging yourself about it. Perhaps you want to learn something new or apply your skills in a new way and aren't sure how to combine it in your life and career. Perhaps you’ve already made the decision to change your career path, but you have hundreds of possibilities buzzing around in your head and you’re finding it hard to focus and narrow down on the right option for you.
If you’re judging yourself for being fickle, for wanting to change paths, or for wanting to indulge in more than one of your interests, I’m going to share with you some core principles and possibilities to calm your mind and set you on the path to clarity.
YOU’RE ALLOWED TO CHANGE.
To be human is to keep changing and evolving throughout your life. What we value in our 20s probably won’t be the same as what we value in our 40s or 60s. Our interests and what brings us joy may change. Our priorities are likely to change. What matters to us and what brings meaning to our life will keep evolving as we evolve. So it’s only natural to feel unfulfilled when our professional life falls out of alignment with who we are. THE WORLD OF WORK IS CHANGING.
This is good news for multi-passionate humans. Since the financial crash and the pandemic, self-employment and freelancing have grown rapidly. And alongside the rise in self-employment worldwide, there's another important phenomenon at play – Culturally, we're finally realising that people simply aren't wired to do just one job. We're multifaceted creatures with multiple interests, and we evolve and change over time. With that in mind, why shouldn't our work reflect our inner diversity and development? Broadening your career focus is no longer seen as abnormal. While breadth and diverse experiences used to be seen as non-committal and indecisive, in today’s world we’re beginning to see it as an indication of creative and interdisciplinary thinking, which are the new currency. YOU HAVE A UNIQUE BLUEPRINT
You have been given a unique set of gifts. Your brilliance and uniqueness don't come from one, main, virtuoso skill, but because of the way, all your skills are uniquely combined in you. Unique because you’re the only person with this magic combination, expressed through your personality, your life experience, and your outlook. No one else can be you when you embrace all those different facets of yourself. If you’re telling yourself that it’s too late for you to change directions because you don’t have the ‘right’ expertise or experience, focus on discovering your blueprint so that you can honour and own all that you bring to the table. YOU HAVE POSSIBILITIES.
You don’t have to make a binary either-or choice, which is likely what’s getting you stuck in indecision and inaction. You can design your life and career in ways that veer from the traditional script but work for you.
If you’re multi-passionate or want to explore new/different career paths, here are three ways you may want to structure your work/life to integrate your interests: Passion Grouping. Passion grouping is stacking your passions on top of each other so that you create a unique expression and perspective that feels authentic, cohesive and aligned. Instead of compartmentalising yourself, it’s bringing your interests, passions and experiences together. This approach to your career is defined by having a multifaceted job or business that allows you to wear many hats and shift between several domains. For example, I bring my knowledge and experience around wellbeing, spiritual wisdom and meditation into my career coaching programs. Grouping your passions allows you to take your passions and do some research to find jobs that encompass your most-valued interests. Another great way to stack your interests into one full-time career is to look for work at an open-minded organisation, small businesses are usually a great place to start. If you get the opportunity to pitch to take on a new job task outside of your job description, remember to tell your story effectively, in a way that will make it appealing to take you up on your offer. Portfolio Career. Portfolio Career is a term coined by author and philosopher Charles Handy in his 1989 management classic The Age of Unreason. In the book, he calls it the 'portfolio life', referring to the reorganisation of careers as portfolios full of different jobs. A portfolio career, simply put, is a working style where you have more than one string to your career bow – multiple streams of income – often creating a mix of employment, freelancing, projects and/or consultancy. You might be a teacher AND a potter. An accountant AND a yoga teacher. A business management advisor AND a personal trainer. A graphic designer AND a ski instructor. You might be part-time employed in marketing, freelance as a copywriter, AND sell your creations on Shopify or Etsy. You get the point, the options are endless! For example, when I graduated from art school, I worked as an artist (art commissions, collaborations, exhibitions, etc.), I was teaching yoga (at studios + privately), I sold mala bead necklaces on Etsy and did some ad-hoc simple graphic work for small brands. This approach is not for everyone. People who are likely to thrive in having a portfolio career are people who enjoy variety and change. People who feel dispirited by the constraints of a conventional career, lack of variety or growth. One of the great advantages of a portfolio career is that you’re not at the whim of a single organisation. You probably won’t be made redundant, and if one income stream stops, you have others already in place. The exciting thing about portfolio work is its unpredictability: you never know what kind of project or enquiry is coming in next, and you may be doing an entirely different mix of work in 12 months. This style of work is not for the person who thrives on stability and predictability. Hobbies / Passion Projects / Creative Endeavours. You don’t have to pursue all of your passions and gifts at work. Having a rich life outside of work may be your way to feel more expressed, fulfilled and whole in your life. This can be a hobby – something you do for pleasure, relaxation, distraction, or mild curiosity in your spare time. It might be a Passion Project or a Creative Endeavour, which is an activity done for creativity and curiosity but has more of a structure and often includes goals or milestones. You might profit from it, but it’s not the main goal, at least to start with. Having a passion project is a great way to discover more about yourself. By following the path to what makes you feel alive, you’ll slowly find yourself making a trail that might be different from what you’re used to following. This may develop into a ‘side hustle’ or even a whole new career path. Finally, if I can give you any advice at all as someone who went through a few career transitions and also had a million ideas, it's this – Clarity is not something you find, it’s something you create. You need to get your hands dirty to get clarity. Don't wait until you have 'the answer' before you start taking action. I know it's counter-intuitive to start on a journey when you don't know the final destination, but as the saying goes ‘you can’t steer a parked car’. You won't get anywhere if you don't leave the house. Thinking, list-making, hoping, waiting, researching, asking for everyone's opinion, pros and cons… none of these things will help you narrow down your options. Just start.
Start anywhere. Love, Naama