Friday, October 14, 2016

Renaissance Man or Court Jester?

This isn't a list of "everything Eric is doing and needs to be congratulated for."  This is a challenge.  You see, I've always wondered if I might be more successful, make more money, and do better at things if I stuck with them longer.  I'm struggling with this dilemma because I, of course, want to succeed.  Should success, though, be my ultimate goal?  What about constantly trying new things, keeping my brain active, dipping my toes into things that I may hate or end up loving?  

I've read Malcolm Gladwell's Outliers among dozens of other books (yeah I like to read like some people like to drink).  I've studied some of the most successful people in the world.  I've met people who have made millions of dollars or seem to have found their calling.  The world seems to push most people, or maybe encourage is a better word, to focus on finding one passion.  The people who are the most successful at something have focused on that for all of their waking hours.  

I've tried that....and I HATE IT.  

I spent time when I was a fundraising consultant using all of my waking hours to do fundraising work or fundraising volunteering.  I'm good at it.  I'm proud of the work I do in it.  BUT, I felt very unfulfilled when I had to focus on that and that only.

Not one to sit still, I find that I sometimes take on a lot of different projects, arts and crafts, goals, training, adventure, etc.  This isn't something new.  In high school I was involved with everything from the FFA to the Speech and Debate Team, the Yearbook staff, the choir, band, the musical, and was the Class President. 

At Hartwick College I was a tour guide, a Resident Advisor, involved in theater, Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia (men's national music fraternity), international club, and a bunch of other clubs and organizations while trying to keep my grades up at a high level.  Even with all of that stuff going on, I sought out new adventures.  My best friend Karyn was usually right next to me.  We went skydiving our junior year.

Fast forward almost 20 years and I still seem to get bored with what I'm working on.  I have to keep it fresh and real.  This year, I've been on some obstacle course races (Spartan with my awesome friend Greg who is also a fraternity brother).  

I've recently picked up fashion photography, although I've always loved photography and learning new aspects of it.  Part of my fashion work has been helping my husband prepare for casting calls and managing his Instagram, his portfolio, ad his schedule. 

Because this hasn't been enough to occupy my brain (not that I have enough time to do more), I decided to sell pampered chef products and do shows.  This has been amazing and fun and challenging all at the same time.  

Never mind the fact that I have a full time job that requires a lot of energy and concentration.  

I'm proud of all that I have done.  I'm not giving up on anything.  The arts and crafts box, the sewing machine, the guitar, the sign language book, the graphic design class, the movie script, the half written book, the investing guide, and the dozens of other projects I have started are not going away.  I will pick each one up in its own time and work on it some more.  I may find the one that becomes my lifetime hobby. 

In the mean time, I guess I'd rather be well-rounded and have tried everything instead of being the guy amazing at just one thing that I focus my life on.  I'm going to make costumes, raise money for charities in and out of work, sing with my fraternity and church choir, and photograph more people. 

I'm also going to keep writing here.  I may be sporadic at times when other projects are higher on my "keep your brain occupied" list, but know that when I come back I'm ready to share something that I hope is at least enjoyable to read if not helpful.  

Here's to fighting stereotypes and being normal.  I'm going to be me dammit.  :)

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