As a multi-passionate person, sometimes I feel overwhelmed by my interests. This applies both to my personal life and hobbies, as well as in business. I tend to overextend myself when I see things I like and want to be part of. And let’s face it: there is a whole world out there full of cool opportunities and ideas, and when you love finding community and living a fun and fulfilled life as much as I do, it’s easy to get whiplash.
If I had to list my interests in no particular order, they are spending time with my family, teaching kids, photography, writing, reviewing beauty products, health and wellness, shopping, and crafting. As much as I am filled with joy over these things, they have also given me a headache. I’ve been a stay-at-home mom for the past seven years. Since that means we’ve relied on mostly one income for that time, I’ve felt the pinch to monetize my interests. In an era where anyone can work from home doing anything, believe me I’ve swung and missed on many things that I thought would be a home run.
I like taking pictures of my kids, so I upgraded my camera and took some portfolio pictures for friends. I quickly realized that the hours people want photography aren’t the same hours I am free in my erratic schedule. I also realized I love taking pictures of my family and friends’ families more than I like dealing with strangers and their kids. Connecting in ways that aren’t my favorite is an inevitable part of this venture. Swing, and miss.
New and innovative trends in health and wellness are my jam. After becoming brand loyal to a company with awesome products and taking them daily, I joined the business. The camaraderie and the people were great, the products were great, but I found myself loathing the business building side of things. After trying to ignore the fact that it didn’t feel like a perfect fit for a long time, and trying to push through the negative feelings it was giving me, I finally realized it was not meant for me. Swing, and miss.
I have a music degree and I love teaching kids, so it only makes sense to give music lessons in my spare time…right? After a few years of doing this, I realized my heart was in giving affordable lessons to kids who might not otherwise be able to have them. In the process, I was busy too many weeknights, coming in in the red after paying a babysitter, and didn’t even have enough time to have my own kids in music lessons because I was so busy. Swing, and miss.
What did I learn from all of this? LOTS of things. If it feels you with joy, it doesn’t mean you should make it into an income producing activity; some things are best left as hobbies. Not every opportunity is meant to be taken, even if you’d be good at it. Just because I CAN doesn’t mean I SHOULD. Just because other people are doing it and kicking butt at it, doesn’t mean it’s MY calling. If it’s dragging down my energy, it’s probably not for me.
After trying to pursue many passions that were better left hobbies, I have a better way of determining whether I’ll pursue something. Here are five ways I gauge whether an opportunity is meant for me.
I know my priorities and passions well.
At this point in my life, my priorities are my family being healthy and happy, blog work, and activities my kids are in. I don’t have “free” time for much else. Some things I’m super passionate about are volunteering at both church and school, and anything that has to do with veterans or helping girls/women.
If I’m looking to invest time in something, it almost always falls into one of these categories. If I don’t deeply connect with something, I don’t pursue it anymore.
Pray about it.
I have great intuition, and my gut feelings about something are usually spot on. But it’s still good to pray about something if I’m unsure of it. These days, it’s rare that I will immediately say yes to something when asked, even if I *feel* like it’s a yes. I don’t like feeling put on the spot, so I’m usually someone who replies with “let me get back to you” whenever I’m asked a favor. When I pray about something I usually ask God to show me clearly whether something is meant for me, and then I pay close attention in the days following. Usually I get a nudge one way or the other when I’m trying to make up my mind.
Ask if this “yes” is for ME, or for someone else.
I’ve said yes so many times before because I mistake someone else’s excitement for my own. Just because someone else started a photography business and I own a camera doesn’t mean I need to. Just because someone else has a passion for sharing health and wellness products that I also like doesn’t mean I need to sell them too. Just because someone else sells makeup and I like to wear makeup doesn’t mean I also need to sign up to sell makeup.
As someone who is multi-passionate it is easy to see myself doing, and even being successful at a variety of things. But it is possible to simply enjoy something and not fully immerse myself in that thing. If I ate, slept, and breathed EVERY thing I liked, I would not be able to function!
Follow the 10/10/10 rule.
I’ve read this in many books over the years, and it’s great advice. If I do this thing…how will it feel in 10 minutes; 10 months; 10 years from now? When it’s something I should avoid, usually the answer is I will feel relieved not to disappoint someone by saying “yes” in the now. 10 months from now I will be burnt out and maybe even resentful. 10 years from now it might not even matter, or it could have led me down a path I wouldn’t want to be on.
Gauging how I know I will feel about something over time always serves me well. Take this blog for example. It seemed daunting in the first 10 minutes. Even in the first 10 months I really had no idea what I was doing, but over the span of 7 years I can tell it was a good choice. I’m sure at the 10 year mark I will feel the same way.
Don’t be afraid to walk away.
Sometimes I realize after the fact that I shouldn’t have done something. If I make a mistake and invest way too much of my time and energy into something that’s not for me, it zaps my energy, might take me away from other opportunities I would have loved to be part of, etc. It’s ok to walk away. In fact, it shows strength to walk away from something not meant for you. If it doesn’t light you up inside, if your WHY for being involved isn’t strong enough to keep you going when things feel hard or impossible, it’s probably just not for you.
And that’s ok. It doesn’t mean you’re a failure. It doesn’t mean you won’t find something else that fits better down the road. By saying “no” to this, you’ll leave space for a “yes” down the line to something else.
How do you gauge whether something is meant for you? Share with me in the comments below!