Today, doing one thing is hard. At least for most of us who really want to see our brands and our careers take off. You can get any combo of things in this era of slashers. A slasher is someone with at least one slash in their title and/or description. Me personally, I am an actor, slash producer, slash writer. However, I also sing and host; though I always see the hosting thing as part of being an actor. As for music, I could sing before I could talk, according to my biological father. However, singing and music overall are the things that help me stay grounded and sane as I pursue all of my other goals. It's my safe and happy place that recharges me when chasing all of those hyphens gets to be too much.
But...I digress. Today we are here to talk to and about being a multi-hyphenate, and how much you have a right to be just that.
Recently during a conversation, a friend said to me, "if you would just focus on one thing for like a year, you would absolutely blow up." I cannot even express in words how LIVID that made me!!!!! First of all, how dare you suggest that I lack focus simply because I have my hand in several facets of the same arena, considering it's ALL entertainment. Secondly, God's time is His time for my star to really take off and shine. The "perceived" delay is no delay at all, but simply me putting in the work, just as that person does. Even with all of these major stars doing it all, many people feel that if you are doing several things at a time that you are unfocused, unproductive or not a master of any of them.
Well friends, I'm here to tell you to stay encouraged! Be that mother, slash entrepreneur, slash chef, slash basket weaver if you want to be! Or that wife, slash personal trainer, slash school teacher, slash health coach (Hey Madi!). Whatever the mix is for you, do it. And though folks will have an opinion no matter what, I have put a short list together for you to check out. As I always say, this list is not all inclusive or extremely exhaustive, but just a few life hacks that may help with ensuring that you operate in excellence while you are doing it all!
A To Do List Will SAVE YOUR LIFE!
Now many of you may not be like me, a notebook for every purse or bag that I carry and a to-do list in my phone notes that I then e-mail myself to make sure I have it always. But even if your to-do list doesn't have to-do lists, creating a running tally of your tasks or of your goals along with coordinated timetables associated with it all, will make you efficient, and even better, effectively able to multi-task.
The Calendar Is Your Friend
In today's world of smart phones - even for not so smart people - carrying your schedule with you is eminent. When you are making plans, putting together meetings, etc., as soon as it's a possibility, put it in your calendar! Say you have a deadline for something you want to do, calendar that as well and add in a set of reminders for two weeks, one week and maybe a few days before the due date. This way, whether it's procrastination or just life happening, you are still on track to make your cut off.
Compartmentalize Your Skills
For me, when I know I need to focus on one thing, for that time - day, week or whatever - I am JUST that thing, and I put a pin in everything else. So if I'm working on being an actor and I have a show coming up, I choose blocks of time that I am only allowed to work on my craft. Whether it's a class, learning lines, doing exercises, reading up on techniques...whatever. I will not entertain any emails about ANYTHING else until that time I've allotted is up. This way you are able to complete a task.
Strive for Excellence...Always!
As a multi-hyphenate, it's alluring to add a new skill or title to your business card, resume or website. While that's all well and good, be sure that you are learned in that area and that you continue to make room to grow in that area as well. You don't want to be the cliche'd "jack of all trades, master of none." Before you add the title or skill to your calling card, be sure that when it's time to be that thing, you are the BEST at that thing that you can be. And not a sappy and soft "I did my best," but a solid and concrete best that comes from intimate knowledge and craftsmanship in the field, whatever it may be.
Be Selective About the Trees You Pick From
Many people are going to have stories, anecdotes, advice, etc. While it's excellent to have a source of information and input from external sources, not everyone's opinion should hold weight in your life and lifestyle. You want honesty and that tough love, but you also want to hear from successful people, positive people and people that have your best interest at heart. The fruit from trees that do not include those that have done something akin to what you are doing or just as tasking and amazing, is often rotten and sour. Strongly guard your eye gate, ear gate and heart gate from those that only want to hate on your ability to possibly do what they couldn't or wouldn't!
Believe You Can...and You Will
Most of the time true multi-hyphenates are the unicorns and aliens of the world. We are doing things at a productivity rate and capacity that most only imagine, if they look to this level at all. And so we usually must be the battery in our own backs. Be your solo squad, cheering yourself on and pushing yourself when there is no one there to do it. Provide yourself with weekly, monthly, quarterly and annual challenges to surpass whatever mark you hit prior to. Get that additional degree or certification so that when you talk about your multi-faceted self, you know there is not just blood, sweat and tears between each slash and hyphen, but also tangible proof that you worked for this.
Be Okay With Sacrifice
It is not easy to juggle many balls at one time. And just like a real juggler, it appears all of the balls are in the air at once, but they are not. At any given time, there are at least two touching the juggler. So be aware and alright with knowing at some point if you are tending to one, the other is not being dealt with...if you are doing it right. However, that is fine as there will be a moment for that one to be addressed, nurtured, celebrated or monetized as well.
Don't let anyone, especially yourself, stand in the way of what you want. If you want to be one specific thing that is awesome, and congrats on finding one thing that satisfies your soul. But if you are seeking to branch out and expand, then just be sure to do it strategically, wisely and coherently so that it's done in overall excellence. Be sure to be grounded and humble enough to know when you may be slacking or need to boost your skill set in something. And most of all, know that it's okay to diversify more than your investment portfolio.
Go be great, go be awesome and go be whatever you want to be. Shine on Starrs!!!!