2012 has proven to be one of the most interesting and eye opening of my life so far on a number of different levels.
I started out with the intention of rebuilding my lost internet business. Then I decided that I wanted to share what I was doing on a blog.
Right as I started to ramp up both of them, Google rearranged the
deck chairs on the Titantic.
My previous background online led me to question whether or not I wanted to continue in that vein and play a game of cat and mouse with Google.
Ultimately, I decided against it.
From there, I bounced around a bit, trying on several different hats but never feeling fully comfortable in any of them.
Then I found out that I had been living with un-diagnosed brain damage for 30 years.
Then I learned that my daughter may have epilepsy. (Doctors have determined at this point that she does not, thankfully, but there’s still something going on there (a sleep disorder is the next best guess) that is going to need to be investigated further.
At times I’ve thought that I wanted to be a content builder
- …then a list builder
- …then a writer
- …then a marketer
- …then a Benefits Administrator
- …then a hot dog cart vendor
- …then a Hypnotherapist…
It’s enough to drive a guy crazy (or crazier anyway).
Here’s what I’ve finally determined…
I want to be ALL of those things, and NONE of those things (well, except the Benefits Administrator. That was fear-based, something I’ll talk about in the next post.)
Here’s what I mean…
Every time I look any of the above items from a “this is what I’m going to do, and all I’m going to do, from this point forward”, I throw up a little in my mouth.
Because the so-called “experts” are wrong.
Why “Going Deep” Isn’t Better For Everyone
This could just be the brain damage talking, but I firmly believe that there is a healthy percentage of people who are made completely miserable by trying to focus on one thing, to the exclusion of all else, for a majority of their lives.
We only get one shot at this life, and there are no guarantees. The richness and fullness of life is immense….and intense.
I for one can’t fathom the idea of shutting myself off to other ideas, other concepts, other possibilities, other ways of living, or other ways to earn a living.
Societal pressure to specialize is prevalent everywhere you look. It’s ingrained into our society.
Don’t believe me?
What is one of the most common questions you are asked shortly after being introduced to someone?
So…what do you do for a living?
The person asking will expect a short, simple answer that starts with “I’m a…(fill in the blank).”
What do you think would happen if I answered with my current “job description” on Twitter?
I’m a blogger, list builder, marketer, author, aspiring Hypnotherapist and hot dog cart vendor.
Either their eyes will glaze over, they will give you a “deer in the headlights” look, they will quickly change the subject…
…or their eyes will light up and they will start asking you questions.
If the latter happens, you may have just found a new friend and a kindred spirit.
The pressure doesn’t always have to be external either. Family pressure – either direct or implied – can be even worse.
I come from a family that defines “stability”. My parents have been married for 44 years. My grandparents marriages lasted for 52 and 64 years respectively, until death did they part.
My father worked for the same railroad for 38 years until retirement. My grandfathers had two jobs in their lives – railroad men and truck drivers, until retirement.
You can imagine how much pressure I’ve always felt (mostly implied, but occasionally directly) to continue to “proud” tradition of stability.
For all of my adult life, I’ve been conflicted. I’m what most people call a “scanner”. I live to dip my toes in all of the different, intriguing waters of life, but I’ve never wanted to dive into a single one.
The result has been a strange hop-scotch life where I tend to take random, halting, awkward steps in one direction, only to feel compelled to leap to the other end of the spectrum.
It hasn’t been pretty.
Embrace Who You Are Despite What Is “Generally Accepted” To Be True
Maybe you’ve heard the argument that states “you’ll never be truly great at anything unless you focus on it and master it”.
But there are a few problems with this generally accepted idea.
First off, if assumes that whether or not you like (or especially love) what you are doing is mostly irrelevant. And for some people it is. There are those among us who can become exceptional at something they don’t enjoy doing.
But those folks are rare.
The other problem with the statement above is that it also assumes it isn’t possible to become a “micro master”.
Here’s what I mean by this…
Among the several things I want to do on an irregular basis is to build a list, help some people and promote a few products along the way.
The “go deep” people will tell you to focus 100% of your energies on this above ALL else, learn everything you can about it, buy tons of materials, read, learn, test, become an expert and build an empire.
Instead, I purchased one learning program, built a brief business plan (which involves creating an excellent free email course delivered over 3-4 weeks) that will promote a trio of products through the free course.
Once they’re through the free course, I may not do anything else with them.
Because that’s the extent of my interest in list building. To carry it on any further will take time away from other things I want to do.
Now within that little bubble of time, I’ll get very good at what I do. It will never take more than a few hours a week of my time to maintain and improve.
But it will bring in a solid stream of income, and eventually, no one will be as good at this little micro business as me, because everyone else will be trying to go deeper. They may make more money than me in this specific area, but it will consume all of their time and they may eventually burn out.
Meanwhile, I will have moved on to one of my other fun projects.
You see, the idea of a “scanner” is a bit of a misnomer. Most scanners want to learn a ton about a very specific subject, then move on.
Where someone going deep may have an interest/work level that goes like this: (please forgive the horrid image)
A successful scanner will have an interest/work level that looks more like this:
We pick a narrow area of interest, learn it well enough to get started, commit a finite amount of time to it, then move on to the next thing.
In the process, we naturally become better at all of these things, because we never become mired in any of them long enough to burn out or get bored with them.
Where To Go From Here
If you have ADD, ADHD or you just can’t seem to commit to that single “life path” that feels as if it’s almost being forced upon you, I would encourage you to find it within yourself to walk the alternate pathway(s). Despite ”conventional wisdom”, the reality is that there is no one single path to successfully make your way in the world.
Today more than ever, we have an almost infinite number of choices. Don’t deny that fact. Instead, immerse yourself in the possibilities. Drink deeply, but quickly, from as many pools of water as you’re interested in.
It will be terrifying at first, but if you can overcome your fear and inertia, a diverse, delectable life is out there waiting for you.
Blogger, Author, List Builder, Marketer, Hypnotherapist, Hot dog cart vendor