What is the one thing you love? Some of us are searching for it. Some of us know what “it” is, and we are trying to hold onto it. During a lunch conversation with an old friend the other day I started thinking about how to define a “calling”. We talked about one of his former students from a long time ago. This kid was a master of graphic design. At first I thought his student was just a prodigy. One of those naturally talented superstars. But as we talked, I came to learn he worked for it. Yes, he was talented, but he was all consumed by his passion for design and never lost focus on this single goal. What if we are starting to have too many ideas? Up until recently I had been focused on only one thing: the oboe. All consumed, if you will. But after I graduated with a music degree (in oboe), I found myself branching out. I started playing different instruments, and different genres. I got lost in the possibilities. It was when I found myself playing 7 instruments all at once one summer that an old quote came back to taunt me.
A jack of all trades is a master of none.
It felt silly because three years prior to that someone had mentioned that quote in passing. My response was, “that will never be me”. Are we heading into a time when our attention is too divided? A multi-stream income seems essential anymore. Our external environment is also in a constant state of change. Plus, there are a vast amount of ideas you can generate from the internet (I’m not saying they will all be good, of course). Despite wanting to narrow my focus, my music business ended up expanding into two different teaching studios and two separate performance genres. Then, I added a whole new career in digital design a year later. That has multiplied into a multi-focused business as well. Did I mention I still own 7 instruments? I play most of them. And, I still continue to wake up in the middle of the night with more ideas. The problem isn’t generating too many ideas though; it’s trying to follow too many at once.
- Know the one thing you can’t live without. That is, and always will be, your top priority.
- Try one new thing at a time. I pledge this one based on experience. Trying several things at once will make it impossible to get an accurate trial on anything.
- Write it all down, but not in a to-do list! Find another way to save creative ideas. Try a notebook or a vision board. Don’t get too excited and try to organize your ideas by project and due dates right away (you’ll burn out).
- Get feedback (and not just from your friends). Do market research. Ask some people in your field of interest to get a sense if your idea will have any traction.
- Experiment with your schedule. I found I have it’s best to focus on just one priority a day. You’ll need to find what works for you personally.
- Plan on sacrifices. Life is not perfect. Each idea will come with a list of pros and cons.
- You can always change you mind. Life IS change. We didn’t get a manual when we were born. If something isn’t working, stop and try something else.