I’m a traditional competitive perfectionist. So, when I left my traditional job just about a year ago, I had a singular focus of writing a book. When it turned out that I would require a tribe of loyal followers before said book could garner a publishing deal, I prepared for the long haul (meaning I would need some income).
One of the perks of working for oneself is the freedom to pursue any career objective. You can finally align your passion with your day-to-day work, ostensibly to create and sustain fantastic levels of motivation and success.
The drawback that stands in the way is picking which passion to pursue, since we all come with a few built-in and then often discover additional career cravings along the way.
Suddenly there is no strict, prioritized pathway to a single goal with related milestones along the way. There are now multiple goals, sometimes conflicting, with very different pathways that instill a very real sense of ADHD into the once calm, cool, collected master of getting things done.
There is a growing awareness of “multipassionate” career jugglers and entrepreneurs who have still found a way to reach fantastic success. Marie Forleo (marketing guru blogger) addressed this topic back in 2011 with a focus on moving out of the “gray area of indecision”.
Certainly investing one’s efforts into multiple disparate directions is a handicap, and we all know how many small businesses fail in their first few years so a handicap is basically a death sentence to the entrepreneur.
However, how do you decide which direction to pursue first, or which to pursue the most doggedly, when you are just starting out?
This is my situation.
I am passionate about escaping the confines of a traditional 9-to-5, hence the eventually published book and this blog. I also do some coaching in this arena, creating individualized strategies for economic freedom for motivated clients.
I am also passionate about undermining the learning curve for new business leaders, who are nearly always change agents from the start. As a former young executive with no training or support for the transition from productive follower to persuasive pipe-player, I made many, many mistakes. This is completely unnecessary and a waste of resources. Therefore, I offer both consulting and coaching in leadership onboarding and development of resilient, accountable organizational cultures.
On the surface, these two passions conflict. If a business client should come across my blog, they might be hesitant to put me on a platform in front of their employees, whom they certainly don’t want exiting the 9-to-5.
I would argue that the folks who are enlightened and independent enough to desire a 9-to-5 exit will be doing so without any prodding from me; I simply hope to prepare and support them in succeeding. Businesses should also be preparing for a shift in career perspectives anyhow, as it a well-researched fact that millennials are looking for non-traditional income sources and we are headed for a workforce composed with more contractors than loyal employees.
Back to my dilemma and a common challenge for the new entrepreneur: where do I invest my time and effort? Do I sideline one area until I have achieved a level of success in the other or do I invest in both for a time until one takes off, signaling the answer?
Brazen Careerist recommends focusing on one at a time, for say 2 weeks at a time, while ensuring that you finish what you start.
Marie makes an excellent point in her video on the topic: Clarity comes from engagement.
She recommends going after your goals with intensity, feeling your way through to the combination that is going to produce your desired results. How would she pick which goals to pursue? By asking:
In 10 years, will I regret not doing this?”
After a year of “feeling around” I would agree with Marie: these things happen organically. Following one passion can lead or transform to another and you have to have the patience and resilience to pursue the signs and let go of paths that have become irrelevant, regardless of how much you have invested in them. It’s not a loss, that investment led you to your new path.
What would you recommend?