why finding your purpose shouldn’t mean splitting your soul…

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Hey everyone, how are you? Today I want to talk a little bit about how difficult it can be to choose a job and find your purpose.

I mentioned in my post on Sunday, that recently I’ve been getting a little more serious about my freelance theatre work, and that this has led me to rethink how I label my work, and how all the different roles I take on make sense with one another.

I read a lot of blogs, from wonderful inspiring women, men, entrepreneurs and general creative spirits, and they all have one thing in common. They all seemed very clear about what their purpose is. They had a product to sell, a message to give, a role to fulfill. I looked at my theatre website and my blog, and thought that the maybe the reason i’d felt a bit blah about it all lately, is because I had too many roles to play. So many that I couldn’t give any one my full attention.

But I loved them all.

I didn’t want to pick a niche. I don’t want to be just a children’s performer, or just a lifestyle blogger, or just a programmer. I want it all, but everything seemed to be telling me, you can’t have it all. I couldn’t decide whether to separate my blog from my theatre site. I couldn’t decide whether to separate my theatre site, into separate theatre sites. I couldn’t decide how to split all my passions up, because although on paper, they didn’t seem to fit together, to me they felt inextricably connected.

So I started to think differently about it. I started to wonder what linked all the things that I did together, and then I realised, that the thing linking it all together was me. I couldn’t separate my passions up, because unlike Voldemort, I can’t split myself up into tidy (but deadly) little chunks.

The reason I’d felt a bit blah about it all recently, wasn’t because of all the different roles there were to play, but because I’d forgotten why I wanted to play these roles in the first place.

Maybe, it is just me because I am, in some ways actively looking for it, but it seems to me the world these days is built for multirolers. People who don’t do just one job. This is particularly obvious in the blogging community. Bloggers are writers, marketers, photographers, pr specialists, stylists, wise and wonderful people, who seemingly do it all. Sure some of us are better at the words than the pictures, and we don’t all know what a social media strategy looks like, but if we don’t know how to do something, we know somebody that can, so I guess you can add resourcefulness to that already impressive list of things.

Coming out of university with a degree in English Literature and Theatre Studies, I’d been forewarned by parents, and grown ups all around me that, ‘it wouldn’t lead to a job.’ And they were right. It wouldn’t. Because guess what? So few degrees actually do. I mean do you know anyone who studied history and became a paid historian? I thought not. All I had was a creative skill set and a passion.

A passion to tell the worlds stories. To tell my own story and to help other people tell theirs.

That’s what led me into arts marketing, where I could help other people make sure their story was heard by an audience. That’s what led me to start a blog where I could tell the story of the everyday things that normally go unnoticed. That’s what has led me to become a programmer, where the local community choose the stories they want to hear. And that’s what has led me to make my own theatre and to run workshops with children and old people a like. At the root of my many branched tree was the drive and desire to make stories and theatre happen.

Have I said the word story enough?

When I looked at all of this, I realised that all my passions did make sense sat together, as long as I told the narrative (thank you thesaurus) behind them. That my theatre website didn’t have to be a boring old cv, that looked like a simple dot to to dot. This job led to this one, which led to that one, which leads me to hear. Instead I had to paint the picture, I had to make sure the different colours brought out the best in one another and most importantly of all, I had to go outside the lines. Having a purpose doesn’t mean having only one interest.

Working in the arts, it isn’t uncommon to have one person playing many different parts (both on and off stage) and I think this is becoming increasingly true in other careers too. I know a lot of people who read this have felt or do feel confused about which road they should go down, about how all their roles and passions sit side by side. Maybe you don’t have to put them all on a website, because you’re not interested in working freelance, but you probably do have to find a job that matches at least some if not all of those passions. For you my advice would is this: Work out what all these things have in common, what is it that makes you passionate about them? What is it that means you can’t pick just one? Is it because you’re driven and want to do ALL OF THE THINGS? Well, don’t let that scare you into thinking you’ll hate being tied down to one job, because one job very rarely has one task. If you want to, you can make any job role uniquely yours. Maybe you’re not involved in the marketing department but it just so happens you’re a wizz at social media, why not ask? Maybe you’re a blogger worried that you’re trying to write about too many things and trying to appeal to too many audiences? Well I don’t just read one type of blog, so if you want to offer me a whole plethora of posts then I’m more not less likely to follow.

Or maybe you’re a newly graduated twenty something year old girl wanting to work in the arts, with no idea of what specifically it is you want to do. Try everything. Because you’re a human being with more than one skill and one passion, and whatever job you get, it will almost certainly ask you to play more than one role.

Live life & rlearn from Voldemorts mistakes x

ps. If you were wondering I’ve decided to keep my blog and my theatre website linked up. When I finish the new site I will share a bit more on this!

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6 thoughts on “why finding your purpose shouldn’t mean splitting your soul…

  1. I loved this post! This is completely me. I love teaching, but I love blogging, DIY’ing, and making my own music. I’m the girl with many talents that can’t do anything perfectly (or that’s how I feel sometimes). Sometimes I think people will look at me weird because I’m jumping from one thing to another, entrepreneuring. But now I feel like I have found my place with my blog. It incorporates little bits of my day job (teaching kids) and maybe one day I’ll start making music again and sharing them too. I don’t know. But I fell ya, the multirole is right up my alley!

    • I think I would get very easily bored if I only had one string to my bow, but it really helps me stay motivated if I feel that all those strings are linked in some way. And not just in that they are a messy knot I am always trying to untangle myself from! xx

  2. Such a lovely post and one that is so very true. Nowadays most of us are multifaceted with skills and talents and I think it would be a crying shame to just try and fit in one box. It’s what makes us uniquely us after all x

    • Exactly, I think half the reason as a generation we are labelled as ‘fickle’ is because we’ve been brought up and educated to play to many many strengths, but the job roles, and career paths that our parents and older generation trust in and understand all want you to narrow it down to one speciality. I think that is luckily quite rrapidly changing, but that might just be from where I stand, lucky enough to work in an organisation that encourages me to develop all areas of interests x

  3. I so agree that nowadays, people generally don’t study to become just one thing, and there are so many different careers that you hadn’t even heard of twenty years ago! I know doing English Lit won’t give me a proper job, but I’m hoping that my degree along with my other experiences will still lead to some sort of job that I really enjoy doing. And why settle for one thing at once, when you can try things out until you find what works for you?

    • Well, if it helps my degree was actually combined English Literature and Theatre studies, and weirdly I’d say my background in literature actually shapes my theatre performing and writing far more than my theatre studies did! My number one advice is don’t do the sensible thing, do the thing your passionate about, because ultimately investing in yourself and making sure the career path you end up on lasts and is something you love, is the truly good sense thing to do xx

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