Do you ever feel that everyone else has a career plan except you? Do you worry that you don’t feel a strong calling toward any one profession?
Not to worry. The good news is, you are not alone. There are many people who say “yes” to those two questions. In fact, Barbara Sher in her Book I Could Do Anything If I Only Knew What It Was calls these individuals “scanners“. Scanners have multiple talents and can adjust to many situations. However, scanners typically don’t want to settle on only doing one thing… and they don’t have to!
Sher has an exercise in her book that can be helpful for scanners:
If you had 10 lives, instead of one what would those ten lives be? (examples: a photographer, DJ, a world traveler, a chef, a pilot).
Then she asks the individual to list out the following:
- which life you can devote yourself to this year
- which life you can do after life #1 is complete
- which life you can do for 20 minutes each day
- which lives you can do on the weekend
- which lives you can do every once in a while
This exercise can help individuals understand that you do not have to make one choice for a career. You can write an article for a magazine as a freelancer and spend time on the weekends as a photographer even though your 9-5 job is one as a graphic designer. You can have more than one life at a time. It doesn’t have to be an ‘either-or’ situation. Think about how your interests can fit into your life without them needing to fall into an all-or-nothing or now-or-nothing framework.
This exercise is useful for many individuals who have diverse interests, not just scanners. Even if you enjoy your “day job”, think about ways you can incorporate your interests into a larger part of your life. You don’t have to wait until retirement to become a clothing designer. Instead think about what you can do each day for 20 minutes that allows you to incorporate that interest more fully in your life now. Incorporating your interests into your life is easier if you can break them into small steps. Then they don’t seem so overwhelming or impossible to do.