I have been speaking with a career coach for about a month now. If you are familiar at all with coaching, you’ll know that in a lot of ways they are getting you to come to your own realizations. Often they do this by asking you questions (rather than feeding you the answer or assuming that they know what you want or need). So when my coach asked me today what I wanted most, the answer wasn’t so simple. First I said I wanted focus, but as we talked, I realized that focus is what I thought others wanted from me.
I am often seen as someone who is all over the place. I am constantly reading three different books, working on several different craft projects and watching half a dozen different television series. And while they don’t get completed quickly, they do get completely eventually (I finally watched the last season of Friends a few months ago!). One friend used to always say, “Leah, you always have 10 irons in the fire.” At many points in my life, I have felt that this was perceived as an inability to focus or commit. That this was somehow a bad thing, which needed to be fixed.
Now, as a mother and a wife, my tendency to run in all these different directions at once can seem to me to be a bit selfish. Why should I be wasting time on a variety of projects? Is this even a good use of my time? But as I spoke with my career coach today, I realized something. I told her that history, especially biographies of famous people, is something else I enjoy. And the people I enjoy reading about and admire the most are those figures who society would call ‘renaissance men.’ The Oxford dictionary defines a renaissance man as “a person with man talents or areas of knowledge.” (Thank you, Oxford, for altering the definition to ‘person’ so as to include women.) I think of someone like Benjamin Franklin as a renaissance man. He was an inventor, diplomat, politician and author, among other things.
I am not trying to compare myself to Mr. Franklin (I tried to speak French and wasn’t very good at it). But I do enjoy having different interests. I have never been someone who desired to commit to one thing, say violin, and become the world’s greatest violinist by practicing 10 hours a day (I have played the violin before, by the way). You can say I don’t have the commitment, patience or discipline. I see it more as there are so many things to do and explore in this world, that I don’t want to spend all my time on one or two of them. I am certainly committed to being a mom and a wife, and that is what is important. The other thing that is important is that I am happy. My piles of books, various art projects and new ventures all make me happy. They keep my mind stimulated and allow me the variety in life that I desire.
Some people desire a lot of consistency in their lives, and many hope to become an expert in one or two areas. That is fine for some people and there is nothing wrong with them. They are just wired different than me. I am more of what some might call a
jack jane of all trades. And while you might say this means I am a master of none, I look at it more like this: I am a renaissance woman. And that makes me happy.
Do you have a variety of interests? What is/are your hobbies? Focused experts, feel free to chime in, too!
This post is linked up at Sharing Saturdays.