Niche for Success? Nah.

Since I was 15, I’ve always had all kinds of stuff on the go – all at the same time. I worked full time hours while going to high school full time (and still managed to participate in two extra-curriculars per year, while writing poetry, too. I worked two jobs all through my university years, had a blast swing dancing with friends every week, and still managed to graduate on the Dean’s Honours List with a dual degree. After university, I worked three jobs while continuing my swing dancing outings and still managing to hang out with my husband. Then I had kids. Now I homeschool, parent (and waste time with my kids), play sports for fun and hang out with friends, and I have a writing business on the side (which is doing pretty well, considering how little time I spend on it). Whenever I slow down, it’s usually because someone tells me to do so. And I’m never happy when I listen to that advice.

I’m always happiest while having lots going on at the same time. This type of lifestyle doesn’t stress me out; I thrive on it. I do my best scheduling and committing when I’m busiest. I wouldn’t call myself a workaholic – I do enjoy reading for fun, having a bath and just chillin’. But having a lot on the go gives me energy. It seems the less I do, the more tired I get, and the busier I get, the more I want to do.

After living life happily like this for many, many years, I started listening a little too well to people who judged me for my way of being – people who didn’t understand how I could possibly keep going this way. I hunkered down and tried to pick “one thing.” And you know what? I’ve discovered that I’m miserable when I stick to just one thing.

I love being a stay-at-home, homeschooling mom. But when I do that to the exclusion of all my other interests, I get depressed (and I don’t use that term lightly). I love bodyweight training, but if I do just that and quit swimming, my heart’s not happy. I love cooking, but if I stop working on my blog so I can stick with creating every meal from scratch, I’m miserable.

For a long time I looked down on myself for “never finishing anything” or not being able to “stick with something.” I had worked 10 different jobs by the time I was 28, and while I had always thought those experiences gave me amazing perspective and breadth of knowledge, I started questioning myself when my resume no longer fit on a page. I started judging myself based on other people’s expectations. I tried to stick to just one thing (or maybe two). And it just wasn’t working out. But then I found Barbara Sher. And Nick Darlington. And Emilie Wapnick.

These people showed me that there’s nothing wrong with me. I learned about whole legions of people who are as multi-talented and have just as many interests (if not more) than I do. And I stopped listening to the naysayers. I bought a copy of “Refuse to Choose,” and I am devouring it while revelling in my use of my very own “Scanner Daybook.” I am learning to give all my ideas the credit and love they deserve – even if they don’t go anywhere. I no longer stop myself from going on another tangent. This is who I am – a creative, multi-talented, energetic soul. I need to follow my interests and help people while doing so (helping, teaching, and coaching – that’s my common theme).

This blog is a reflection of that (as well as of the fact that I think niching is overrated). On this blog, I write about my interests (and there are many). As a Registered Kinesiologist (inactive), as a writer, and as a homeschooling parent in an out-of-the-box family, I write mostly about these topics (gasp! i have three completely unrelated niches! Oh my, I’ll never amount to anything. Ha! – Is the sarcasm getting through?) But as a citizen of the world, and as a renassaince soul, multipotentialite, scanner, lifelong learner, or whatever name you want to give to someone who thrives on learning everything there is to know about many different topics… as that person, I’ll write about anything. So when I feel like writing about something that doesn’t quite fit into the headings already exiting on my blog, I stick it in the Odds and Ends section. And I make my mark as someone who’ll always march to her own drum, no matter what others may think of my “scattered mind.” Because what those naysayers don’t understand is that in the 5 minutes it took them to criticize me for my “scatteredness,” I’ve already accomplished five other things on my “things that interest me” list.

If you’re a multipotentialite/scanner/lifelong learner, I do hope you’ll enjoy this blog. I also hope you’ll send me a quick note at mcdougallmariana@gmail.com to let me know what you’d like to read about. Chances are, I’d love to write it.

And if you’re a writer who has a hard time niching, join me in a mastermind group for versatile writers. Answer this quick survey to be considered for this group, where we help each other to create writing businesses that honour our personalities.

‘Till next time,  keep living life on your terms.

 

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