You’ve heard it before. A jack of all trades is a master of nothing.
And you’ve heard this one before, too: Cast a wide net.
Two seemingly opposite, yet totally true clichés. How do you reconcile them?
I have been wrestling with that question for a long time. And, at the risk of sounding weak, I still struggle. Do I have too many irons in the fire? Does something need to give, for my own sanity? Or am I doing okay, keeping myself open to as many doors as possible? Where’s the line?
More and more this question seems to be popping up, not only with myself, but with others to whom I talk. A friend of mine recently told me about a friend of hers who just received her PhD in a highly trained scientific field, and, at least for now, wants nothing to do with that field. She’s had enough. She wants to write fiction.
Another friend of mine did a photo shoot this weekend, to start putting together a portfolio for modeling agencies. She is a church worker who is also dabbling in a few artsy endeavors. She is trying to figure out what works best for her, where her niche is.
A colleague with whom I attended graduate school recently put herself out there as a writer, a consultant, and a speaker. The newsletter I received from her detailing her area of specialty was so polished and put together, I contacted her immediately to ask: How did you do it? As in, how did you weed your way through your many interests and strengths to establish a niche that gets you totally excited?
Her answer: Four years of processing and a lot of coaching from others.
I don’t have all the answers as to how we as curious, intrigued people can rake our ways through the day-to-day and find our true vocational purpose. But I can assert that such a discovery has a better chance of taking shape if it is pursued within community.
In other words, don’t go it alone. Talk to friends, people in your areas of interest whom you admire. Test the waters to see what feels right, and what doesn’t. There is nothing wrong with taking a step or two backward if you think you might be headed down the wrong road.
And here is something else I know: All around us, people are struggling for purpose. You are not alone. Very few of us ever figure out what we want to be when we grow up (hello, real world!), but it doesn’t mean we don’t stop trying or moving forward.
More thoughts and insight on this from myself and others later this week. Stay tuned! And in the meantime, tell us what you struggle with when it comes to finding purpose, or how you have managed to carve out a niche for yourself.