When you have many interests and many talents, it can lead to the delight of sampling a variety or even everything. It can also make it difficult to choose a single career, become focused as guidance counselors recommend. However there are a couple of dynamics that can be in play: 1) You enjoy the new experience and variety. You are thoroughly involved in the new idea or area of study and once it is transformed or understood you are ready to move on. 2) You want to dive into an option and become thoroughly immersed, but you think you will be stuck and what if it is the wrong one. As Barbara Sher in several of her books indicates, you can do either once you recognize what your make-up is; realize your choice is respectful; and you address what is holding you back head on.
Multiple interests can indicate you are a Scanner (Barbara Sher) or a Renaissance Soul (Margaret Lobenstine). Recognize exploring a variety of careers is respectable. You can approach this by finding the common thread that runs through the various interests and pursue the common thread. Now that may mean something like an inventor – creating solutions to problems in various fields, obtaining the patents (yes so you are financial rewarded for your abilities) and passing the production and implementation on to others (or find a company that does R&D in a variety of areas). Or you can set yourself on a schedule of exploring something new every 1-3 years (as an example). You can also choose an occupation that give you some satisfaction and then explore your interests with something new every month. Keep in mind there is the choice between employment and self-employment that provides different opportunities for discovery. In self-employment you many set up a variety of income streams to address many of your different interests. So make the choice to pursue a myriad of options.
Now, your preference is to get into a subject, a specialty and delve deeply. You want to learn, know, and be able to do everything possible in the specific field. However, you do not want to choose or know how to choose. If you think for a few minutes and are honest with yourself you know what area really catches and holds your attention, but you are fearful it will be the wrong one and once you make a commitment you are stuck. To really know a specialty you need to go beyond the first pieces of knowledge which you quickly absorb. You need to apply yourself diligently and persist to learn the material in depth. This may be uncomfortable and frustrating, because everything has come easy and you have not learned how to learn or apply yourself. Look at how you learned to walk – even if you did so early – it took trial and error, persistence, and an open mind to integrate the experience. Give yourself small steps to grasp a new piece of difficult information or concept, then the next small step and you will be processing and learning. Make a commitment and the effort, knowing you can explore interests avocationally or once you have mastered the subject you can make a career change.
Making a career choice is open to how you perceive “career”. Income stream to meet your needs can be defined differently also. Figure out what is most important to you; what is the process/concept that fits you best; then how to accomplish your goal or the means to the end. Having too many interests is an aspect of who you are, not a detriment. Have fun, enjoy, express yourself, and experience a life of careers.
Dr. Edith Johnston has been assisting individuals with career choices for over 30 years. She has a doctorate and masters in Rehabilitation Counseling. She has worked with youth, adults, individuals with disabilities and high abilities in making career and life choices. She is currently writing materials for those who have multi-talents that have not been developed to their potential because of life circumstances. She provides guidance in understanding, overcoming, developing, expressing, and connecting one’s every day genius. You can learn more about her work at www.howtoinlife.com