If you peek at my Pinterest account, you’ll see that I’m interested in so many things. I love communications and marketing and graphic design, food and cooking and gardening, reading and writing and science fiction, vintage and mid-century and modern design, astronomy and space and adventure. I’m assuming that you, as a fellow child of the Internet Age, are similarly diversified in your interests.
So how in the world do we wrangle all of these interests into a career? How do I choose when I could easily see myself as an astronomer or an interior designer or a marketer or a small business owner?
As we discussed before, success in your work is “born from faithful stewardship of what God has given us.” The following are 3 tips to help learn what exactly God has given you for gifts and talents.
Utilize Personality Tests. There are so many free or cheap tests out there with scientifically-developed typologies to help you understand yourself. Most of us have heard of the Myers-Briggs personality test, which really helps you understand how your brain works, and is great for team-building.
One I highly recommend is StrengthsFinder by Gallup. Whereas Myers-Briggs has 16 types, StrengthsFinder has literally millions. It also focuses on your actual strengths (hence the name), which easily translate into understanding your gifts and talents.
Ask a Mentor. Often times other people can see things in us that we can’t, and when they are older and more experienced, they can even provide additional insight and understanding. They’ve traveled down this road before and can let us know about some of the twists and turns that they faced.
If you are looking for a mentor, keep in mind that they should be someone who knows you well enough but is also objective enough to be honest with you. You don’t need to ask them directly to be your mentor if that is uncomfortable for you, but seek out opportunities to spend time with them and make the most of the time you have with them by asking good questions.
Keep Four Pots Going. I recently heard a nugget of wisdom that apparently comes from Jewish tradition, which is to keep four pots going. When you are cooking dinner, you might have multiple dishes simmering away, but you can only focus on one pot at a time.
In the context of your life and your vocation, that main pot is what you spend the most time doing—your classes or your job or your family. But if you have three other pots staying warm, maybe your idea of starting a small business or your interest in going to graduate school, you can switch over to them quickly and make them your main pot.
Most of us can’t focus on more than three or four things at a time, but also, most of us would get bored with only one main thing. Having four pots keeps us balanced, so the advice goes. I’m not sure how robust this analogy is, but I’ve certainly found it helpful when I begin to think about all the things that I’m interested in.
So how do you keep your side pots simmering? Read some blogs to stay up on the industry, take some practice GRE tests to keep your skills fresh, or attend an event at a local non-profit to meet some people who work in that field. I try to do something at least once a week to simmer one of my side pots. Doing something regularly to keep one of these side pots warm makes it easier to open the door to something in that field if the opportunity presents itself.
Hopefully some of these tips are helpful to you as you navigate all of your various interests. Do you know what your main pot is right now? What can you do to keep some of your side pots warm?