Are you a Jane of all trades and master of none?
In these exciting times, you can be the stylist, photographer and model. You can be the designer, manufacturer and sales person. And in my current case, I can be the writer, art director and music curator. But when you’re wearing many hats, it can be easy to look at the person that kept one hat on the whole time and feel like crap in comparison because they seem to be further along their path. And now you find yourself looking for a whole new set of hats to wear, leaving past passion projects undone because you’re simply over it. I know this too well and I come with good news.
You’re exactly where you need to be. Right here. Right now. Whatever hat you’re wearing.
Elizabeth Gilbert, who wrote Eat, Pray, Love and Big Magic, introduced me to the idea of jackhammers and hummingbirds. She says that some of us have one clear passion in life and will work away at it with tunnel vision, never second-guessing their path. These are the jackhammers of the world. Their passion consumes them and they make shit happen.
Others of us are hummingbirds who don’t have just one singular passion but instead have many curiosities that take them in different directions. They fly from flower to flower and rarely stay still in one place. While doing so, they pollinate the flowers, spreading the sweetness of life. The hummingbirds are interdisciplinary and responsible for spreading ideas.
If you’re a hummingbird not knowing you’re a hummingbird, you may be looking at the jackhammers and wondering what’s wrong with you.
I hope you stop this mental abuse to yourself and realize your job is to simply follow your curiosities. If one stops being appealing, move on to the next. God leaves us clues for what Elizabeth Gilbert calls the “scavenger hunt of your life” and you only have to concern yourself with one clue at a time. You readjust each time and gain clarity on the next step. I believe that we’re constantly being guided by an inner GPS that recalculates based on where you decided to turn, always guiding you home. If you trust that, the hummingbird life can be both exciting and fulfilling.
I relate more to the hummingbirds of the world but I also think that most of us just go through phases of jackhammer and hummingbird. And I’ve realized that my one singular passion has been to follow my curiosity. It has taken me from design to sociology to photography to marketing to non-profit to insurance to fashion to writing to spirituality and back to art. Each time I have taken a skill or understanding from one and transferred it to the next, pollinating seemingly separate worlds and bringing them together. Curiosity is also a resume builder. I’ve always been curious about origami and stop motion video. I’m following my curiosity in this very post and learning a new skill (see below).
The magic here is in the idea that there are a variety of ways to go about life.
There isn’t just one right way. It’s more about who you are not what you do. Who are you throughout all these hat changes is what will determine how fulfilled you feel. As millennials, we have the world at our fingertips and are simultaneously paralyzed by all the options we have. If you ask me what’s for dinner, it can easily turn into a 15 minute conversation. The indecisive struggle is real. But when I remind myself that I’ll always be exactly where I need to be, I can enjoy all the flowers the Universe wants to send me.