Something happened last year. I realized I didn’t want to be only a writer forever Amen. I wanted to explore other interests and passions of mine, including fitness and nutrition, so in January, I became a certified personal trainer.
I’m v. excited and proud of this new foray of mine, so obviously I’m v. happy to introduce myself as “Brianne Hogan, Personal Trainer.” It makes me feel powerful and accomplished and hot, like Jillian Michaels or Tracy Anderson (or, if I’m being honest with myself, Mickey from Rocky).
Most people are pretty psyched about my latest venture and congratulate me and for some strange reason ask me to drop and give them ten. But then there are those few who respond with, “So I guess this means you’ve given up on writing now?”
Ugh. [Insert rolling eyes emoticon] For the record: No. I didn’t give up on writing. I am still a writer. (I’m obviously writing this piece now, smartie pants). When someone asks me that question, I can’t help but think they are saying in order to try something new in your life, you must cash in on another dream. Or that you can be only good at one thing, and one thing only.
May I remind y’all about a woman named Oprah who is a former talk show host, producer, actress, magazine EIC, network honcho, Weight Watchers spokesperson, dog lover, Steadman lover, etc.
Okay, so we can’t all be like Oprah. But that doesn’t mean we have to narrow our thinking and limit our options because we can only have one profession or one dream or be just this and NOT that.
I know, I know. We are usually taught that in order for us to be truly amazeballs at one thing, we must only practice that one thing FOR THE REST OF OUR DYING DAYS, but that is stupidly narrow-minded and wrong. Practically speaking, being involved in other fields and industries can give you a leg up on skill building and problem solving, while helping you tap into other areas of your creativity that you may have ignored or didn’t even know existed.
Also, having another passion and/or career can help you channel your energy and refine your focus. There’s a common belief out there amongst intellectual and creative types that we are more open to creative breakthroughs when we finally “let go” of whatever is holding us back. I was having trouble balancing both freelance writing and my own personal writing, including finishing a TV pilot and starting a novel. One of my goals with my personal training business is to alleviate some of my freelance writing obligations, which will (hopefully) refocus my attention on my long gestating creative writing projects that are in much need of TLC.
For some, “letting go” may mean taking up a new hobby; for others like myself, it means pursuing a different passion to dissolve the tension and get the brain back to feeling excited about tasks it previously thought were B-O-R-I-N-G.
But there’s something magical and expansive about believing you are more than just one thing. When you accept that it’s perfectly okay to try something new – to allow your creativity to flourish in new ways – your world gets a little easier. You let yourself off the hook a bit. The pressure is taken off from unnecessary promises and deadlines and other rigid things that probably make you feel gross.
On the flip side, when you don’t try that other thing you’ve been curious about because you’re stuck on being ONE thing, your life becomes like that guy who declared a major in first year of university and stuck with it throughout the next four years, even though he was miserable AF. That’s no way to live.
I don’t believe we are here to have only one great adventure in life. Sometimes we need to let things die off and/or have radically different experiences that sing to our souls in order to grow and embrace all we are capable of being. That’s when the magic happens.
If you are an accountant who yearns to paint, paint. If you’re an actor who wants to explore carpentry, build some cabinets. It doesn’t mean you’ve given up on yourself or your dreams. Please tattoo that on your arm (with henna ink) if you must. You can be good at more than one thing in your life. In fact, doing so can make you GREAT. And if someone asks you if you’ve given up on your dreams, tell them to Google Oprah.