The Way To Pursue Multiple Interests (Especially If You Are A Multipotentialite)

Young funny man in glasses writing on typewriter

First, I must make a confession to you: I am not a fan of organization. I don’t like planning much either. I like freedom. I like to make things up as I go more than Indiana Jones.

Some days, it feels like the closest I can get to being organized is playing a game of Tetris.

I know what you’re thinking–How the HECK are you a full-time author, writer, editor and coach?

The answer is that I continually strive to make things as simple as possible.

“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”
Leonardo da Vinci

I don’t write two books at a time, I write one book at a time.

Otherwise, I have a folder full of partially written books. (True story.)

Okay, now I know what you’re thinking–That’s nice. I still don’t know what the heck I’m supposed to do. That’s the problem–I have TONS of interests because I’m a multipotentialite

And that’s fine–totally get that.

But here’s the thing: you can only do one thing at a time.

The real problem is fear.

You are afraid you will choose the wrong project.

Fear makes you confused and drains your mental energy.

It’s really difficult to make good decisions when you’re listening to fear.

Fear loves to tell you extreme scenarios.

Fear says things like that if you go out and shoot some photos, all you can ever do is be a photographer.

So if you land a gig shooting pictures at a wedding, you immediately assume you’ll be spending the rest of your days working for angry brides.

Well, at least that’s what fear tells me. And I don’t even own a camera other than my phone.

Sure, this sounds incredibly silly to write out, but this is what fear tells us. And then somehow these off-the-wall thoughts are accepted as truth in our minds.

A wise friend once told me, “Fear makes us stupid.”

To move forward, you must block out fear and do what you want to do in the simplest way possible.

Here’s the good news: you can use fear as a compass for which projects you should do.

Don’t believe the lies. A lie with an ounce of truth is still a lie.

When you hear negative voices say, “Hello fear, I know you’re there. I’m gonna do this anyways.”

Those two sentences are fear repellant. Don’t believe me? Try it. Go ahead, talk to yourself. If anyone picks on you, (99.99% sure they won’t) just tell them you’re an artist.

So here’s what to do:

1. Pick one thing that scares you and try it out.

2. Experiment and set simple guidelines for it.

3. See if you like it.

That’s it. Not too bad, right?

If you like what you are doing, keep doing it and add on another angle.

So for this example let’s say you like blogging. To add on a new angle you could include photography by taking pictures with your phone to use on your blog.

Since one interest flows directly into the other, you get a snowball effect.

The challenge lies in that you can not continually add more and more projects on your plate. This is not an all-you-can-eat buffet.

You can only pursue three or four creative projects at one time. Any more and you will get overwhelmed or put out work that is lacking in quality. Your attention is finite.

You have to crawl before you walk and walk before you run.

There is no shame in this AT ALL.

If you’re still not sure, try talking it out with someone you trust. I’d be absolutely honored to help you–just hit me up. Getting support for the journey is absolutely vital to your success.

Talking it out–even mentioning your doubts or fears– can propel you forward like nothing else.

Keeping it all in your head often leads to more confusion. Fear loves to attack you with those nasty nagging voices in your head. (My bad inner voices often sound a lot like Nickelback.)

When I wrote Focus Booster with Erik Fisher, we’d talk on the phone for hours and just hash things out. By asking question after question, we would then explain and analyze the content. See if there was anything missing and even plan out what move to make next.

But don’t let talking it out become resistance, stopping you in your tracks.

Once you have a game plan and you have clarity–attack it like Cookie Monster with a plateful of cookies. Darn it, now I’m hungry.

See cookie, eat cookie. That’s it. Got it? Good.

What Pursuing Several Interests Looks Like for Me

I like to theme my days using Mike Vardy’s NOW Year system. What does that mean? It is actually really straightforward.

Here’s my week: I have three writing days. I have a personal projects day. I have an admin day. I have two family days.

Each day lines up with the theme. I schedule tasks and work related to each day. I know that not everyone has this flexibility, but even if you don’t, you control the hours you’re not at work, right? Many times you can use your lunch hour to work on certain tasks, right?

Theming my days keeps things simple.

Keeping things simple is the best way to go.

I often do some tasks that don’t fit my theme for the day, but that’s alright. There are always distractions and things that pop up. The key is to figure out how your mind works and don’t fight it–especially if you are a multipod.

If you must have deadlines, put firm deadlines and have someone hold you accountable. Todoist is FANTASTIC way to stay in check. (More about Todoist here.)

Whatever you do, keep things simple.

Simplicity is the ultimate fear fighter.

It is the simple approach that allows you to get more done.

Do you think it is fear holding you back or is it maybe something else?

How do you keep things simple?

  • “You are afraid you will choose the wrong project.” – OK Jim you really need to stay out of my head

  • Good advice here, Jim.

  • Jim, you’re doing it man! Keep inspiring us.

  • One thing I’ve done recently to help simplify my life is start using gmail. I’ve had my e-mail setup through Bluehost and I used Mozilla Thunderbird as my software for it. I tried to use the built in spam-protection through Bluehost, but I was still getting 50-100 emails a day that were spam (this represents probably 90% of all the e-mails I got).

    About two weeks ago, I started rerouting my e-mail through gmail, and I’ve seen 1 spam e-mail in that time. It has helped me to save just that little bit of time going through and deleting all the e-mail, hoping I wasn’t deleting an important one in the process.

    • Love that Josh! Sounds like a big step forward!!

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