[If you want to skip my bit about how this workshop came to be, here's the link to its page. I'm not insulted that you want to tape my mouth shut and just skip to the end. Really. Pretty much.]
My dad once gave me some simple advice. “Kim,” he told me, “just become an expert in one thing.” Then my career would be made and things wouldn’t seem like such a slog all the time. From my commitment and hard work, the rest would follow.
The thing is, that was the worst advice EVAR (for me, anyway) and I was miserable.
No offense, Dad. I know where you were coming from. You’d spent my whole life watching me flit from one thing to another, and at the same time not know what I wanted to DO. I’d get high marks in school and have all manner of opportunities unfold before me, and I’d be unable to choose. And all the while, I wanted so much.
Eventually I fell into working in the crafts world, and I got a heck of a lot happier. And I learned that my suspicions (and other people’s, I’m sure) that I was lazy were unfounded. I could work like a madwoman as long as I was passionate about what I was doing.
And then one day, someone decided I was expert enough in my work, and I was hired at an alarmingly young age to be the editor of a major crochet magazine. It was an incredible experience, and I loved it.
Until I hated it and I needed to quit. And all those voices I’d silenced years earlier came back – “You just can’t follow through. Just finish something – anything! – you start. Why are you unable to do something nearly everyone else in the world does without complaint or question and just do a job every day of your life?!”
But I’d done my therapy and I knew what my gut was telling me. I was burnt out on that one thing, and despite being fairly convinced that the colleagues and fans I’d developed wonderful relationships with over years would judge me harshly and lose their respect for me and my work, I knew that quitting my job was the right thing to do. It was, indeed, the only thing to do.
And so I did quit. And I sold the business I’d spent five years building. And I blogged about it, and I braced myself for the firestorm.
But the firestorm never came. What came were notes and comments and emails from people, most of whom I’d never met, saying they understood. And not only did they understand, they had experienced a similar feeling themselves. And not only that, but they thanked me for explaining my experience because they felt it explained their own experience better than they’d been able to explain it themselves.
Instead of having to push my bruised ego forward through mud being slung at me, I ended up feeling perfectly understood and appreciated.
In the four years since I left that job, I’ve accomplished several things I set out to do, the most daunting of which was very specifically not to be an expert in one thing but rather to always be doing work I’m interested in, even if there doesn’t seem to be rhyme or reason to my choices. Why? Because for a very long time, I’d felt like I’d had to stifle some very important parts of myself. I’d felt like I couldn’t blog about things unrelated to my one thing. I’d felt like people would think it was inappropriate if I went off-topic or shared my opinions about things that might be controversial.
I wanted to have the option to do work that related to any of my interests and passions. And since, for example, I’m as interested in writing as I am in encouraging people to take creative risks, I wanted to allow myself both to pursue freelance writing contracts and to start a project involving creativity workshops.
It wasn’t easy to do, but I did it. I had many, many doubts. And if I’d talked about the details with my dad, I bet he’d have ended up in hives. He would have supported me totally, but he would have worried.
Which is all a lead up to announce that I’m teaming up with Tara Swiger, who knows from having a multitude of interests and wanting them all to be a part of her business, to lead an hour-long online workshop NEXT WEEK! Here’s what Tara has to say about it.
During our live video workshop next Tuesday, September 25th at 2pm Eastern/11am Pacific (which will be available after the fact for any registrants who can’t watch it live), we’ll cover:
- How to know it’s time to move beyond doing or being just one thing
- What to do to prepare to introduce your multitudes into your business
- Several possible ways to handle the transition
- Ways to check in with yourself to make sure you’re doing what you really need to do
- Questions and concerns you share with us ahead of time
We’ve put together lots more information about the workshop right here on the registration page.
If you’ve been feeling like you need to have more of you in your business but you’ve been struggling with how to make it work, I hope you’ll join us!