Do you have it all figured out yet? Do you know the one thing you were meant to do in this life?
Do We Need to Pursue Just One Thing?
A few months ago, I wrote about my troubled experience with the productivity book, The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results. You can take a good guess on what the book was about.
The book stresses the advantage of focusing on one thing for the majority of your day to get ahead. I have a problem committing to only one thing (other than my loving husband 😉), and I have a feeling I’m not the only one with this issue. There are multiple things I want to pursue as an entrepreneur – magazines, blogs, short stories, essays – I can’t justify minimizing any of them to give all my attention to only one area. Yes, I write. That’s my thing, but what I write breaks down into so many genres, niches and platforms that it feels like a chaotic web of skills to master.
They say that focusing on one thing allows you to become a master of something. You then have a better chance of success because you’re known for one thing. When you dabble into several things you become average at all of them. At least that’s the theory, but does it have to be the reality? This conundrum keeps me from fully committing to things because I wonder if I should even be dabbling at all.
After months of frustration with this, I went to the person who knows just about all of life’s answers. My mommy.
Why It’s Okay to Have Many Things
Wise in her years, Mom allowed me to see the value in pursuing multiple passions. We were talking over cake and vodka, where our epiphanies most often happen, and she advised me that it may take some experimenting in different areas first to find my one thing. She made me see that this is actually the time – the time being that I’m in my late 20s and biggest responsibility is a black lab – to pursue the “many” things and find out what it is that will stick.
Mom has always been in health care, working as a nurse for several years, but she also sold Pampered Chef for a while and had several hobbies and things keeping her busy, not to mention the impossibilities of raising a teen princess daughter. It wasn’t until she was in her 50s that she realized her true purpose in her career as a breast care navigator.
Everyone has their own path. Some know their one thing early on and spend years mastering it. Others find it later in life after experimenting. Some of us will always have several passions.
Right now, I like variety. I love writing short stories, but at this time I don’t think I could spend 40 hours a week doing it even if I had that luxury. I’m passionate in 3 different things, and which area gets my focus tends to ebb and flow with the seasons, or the particular mood I’m in. But at the foundation of each of my passions is my purpose to write. I am a writer, and that’s one thing that will always be true.
So, maybe you are a multi-passionate entrepreneur, but is there one common theme that runs through all of your side hustles? Stay grounded in that foundation, but experiment with your passions. Always aim to serve your purpose and enhance the skills that allow you to do so. That may mean staying the course in one path to mastery, or seeing how your purpose comes through in different areas. You may find that certain niches allow you to fulfill your purpose in different ways.
Sometimes, the more outlets you can shine in, the bigger impact you can have.
For now, I’m going to continue to pursue the many things. What about you?