Too many interests to pick a career? Not sure where to focus? Learn what it means and what to do when you have multiple interests and it’s hard to choose.
[You can listen to or read this post (about 6 minutes).]
I used to think I had too many interests to find a career path that would fit. This problem of “too many ideas” happens to me now too whenever I have too many ideas for my business. Big head spin. I even had that today.
On the one hand, ideas can be energizing. I love ideas!!
But when it comes to choosing a career path or a path for your business, it can feel like a swirl of question marks that has at times left me feeling stuck, hopeless, or sometimes just exhausted waiting for clarity to come.
However, now I see that the concept of “too many interests” is out of an old playbook that says I have to choose one narrow direction for life, and that’s that. But life and work are more complex and interesting than that. Right?
I do think some people might have more broad ranging interests than others, and they are perhaps lovers of Ideas Ideas Ideas, or what some call a “Renaissance Soul”. I’m raising my hand on that one. (By the way, being an idea-generating person is actually a unique talent, and it’s a marketable skill that could be a clue for your path. Aha.)
Over time, with seeing the inside stories as a career and business coach, I now think we all have multiple interests. Don’t you? Maybe your interests don’t all seem relevant to your career or business, at first, but you do have multiple interests, I bet.
I’ll explain one simple method for choosing a path that incorporates multiple interests.
So, How To Get Unstuck?
This might sound crazy at first: You don’t have to choose just one thing. Often your best gifts and satisfaction are where some of your top interests intersect!
Imagine a Venn Diagram, of 3 intersecting circles, that include your top 3 interests. Then make up some things that would fit in the middle (intersection) of that diagram. Make it a brainstorm and enjoy it.
I’ve done this brainstorming for myself and I’ve done it with my clients. It’s fun. (I get to use my love of generating ideas in my work as a career and business coach. I found a path to use this strength. Yay.)
Intersecting Interests Examples
For instance, maybe you’re interested in: 1) health/wellness, 2) leadership, and 3) environmental concerns. One thing at that intersection could be working for a wellness-related organization, as a leader who is helping them be more environmentally responsible, or to go organic with the products. And that’s just two of many things that could fit at that intersection.
For me, I have wondered how to wed my interests in: 1) helping people enjoy meaningful work, 2) social justice, and 3) coaching. One way I’ve brought these together is to coach people who want to have a bigger impact through their work. Another way is to offer ways of helping people in more affordable ways. Again, that’s just two of many ways to bring these interests together.
I have found that bringing my interests together is actually clarifying and energizing. I’ve felt more focused and more excited, not scattered.
Combining interests improves your odds of success.
A great example from the creator of the Dilbert cartoon:
Everyone has at least a few areas in which they could be in the top 25% with some effort. In my case, I can draw better than most people, but I’m hardly an artist. And I’m not any funnier than the average standup comedian who never makes it big, but I’m funnier than most people. The magic is that few people can draw well and write jokes. It’s the combination of the two that makes what I do so rare. And when you add in my business background, suddenly I had a topic that few cartoonists could hope to understand without living it.”
~Scott Adams, creator of Dilbert cartoon, quoted from his blog.
Your Turn to Try It
I think using the intersection for your brainstorming will generate interesting ideas for you. No more having to choose between multiple interests. This way, you can have it all, and your heart has an easier time saying Yes to it.
If nothing else, I hope you’ll stop saying “I have too many ideas” or “too many interests.”
You’re fabulous the way you are and you can find something that honors the multi-interested you. You might even find an intersection waiting for you right where you are working now, right in your current workplace, or in your current business, with a bit of a tweak.
Try the exercise and see what comes up.
If This Feels Hard
This exercise is not that simple so don’t be hard on yourself. I encourage you to do it along with someone who gets you, like a trusted friend or a trusted career coach. It’s more fun and goes much better.
On your own, you might have one or two ideas that don’t feel realistic to you, so it can feel discouraging. You might dismiss ideas too quickly. With someone with you, you’ll generate many more ideas, including ideas for how to get past the worries about how realistic they are.
The more ideas you generate, the more likely you’ll find a few worth exploring further.
If you think your ideas are unrealistic, check out my other post:
What If Your Career Ideas Feel Impossible?
Sending love and ease to you,
P.S., Thinking of ideas where your interests overlap is just one step. You also need to find where your interests intersect with your natural strengths and what is in demand. I explained that other critical intersection here: Work-Life Harmony Roadmap.