- Jun 13, 2018
Back when I first got a social media account, I decided to like and list all my interests. I started with movies… then books, then music. That alone took me the better part of an hour!
And from there, I moved on to my favorite businesses, sports teams, tourist traps, writers, chefs, pet trainers, astrophysicists, beauty bloggers, interior designers, meditation teachers, sculptors, stunt women… I just kept going. I had originally set aside a few minutes for this task, but I ended up spending a day just listing down the stuff I was into. And as you can tell from this paragraph… I have lots of interests.
The thing about these interests is I’ve participated in some way or form in most of them (doing stunts is an exception - my boyfriend is grateful for that). I’m not really into being a spectator - I gotta participate as well. Now, I’m not saying I’m this awesome person with a plethora of skills. The truth is actually the opposite. I’m a Jill of all trades and a master of none. I lack focus, and keep hopping from one interest to another.
The same goes for jobs, too. I’ve worked in marketing, human resources, and merchandising. I was totally into those jobs, but I kept getting distracted by that new, shiny job opportunities elsewhere.
After a few years of this, my boyfriend patiently sat me down and told me it was time I found my own niche, and stuck with it. And he was right. As much as I wanted to be a successful writer while moonlighting as an amateur paleontologist and famous beauty blogger, it wasn’t going to happen.
I had decluttered my old clothes and other stuff before. Now it was time to declutter my interests and find a niche. I learned quite a few things during this process, and I’d like to share them with you now. If you’re overwhelmed by the sheer amount of choices and opportunities life has to offer (a good problem to have, for sure!) read on. Hopefully, you can pick up a few things, and maybe even share your own nuggets of wisdom.
Find What Centers You
Before you start making plans, you need to ask yourself first: what centers you? If that sounds too esoteric, ask yourself what your greatest goal or motivation is. Don’t think about jobs or your career just yet. Just think about what motivates you to get up in the morning. Some of the more common motivations I’ve heard include:
- Becoming a better provider for your family
- Providing better employment opportunities to the community
- Raising awareness about the environment
- Ensuring at-risk youth get a shot at a decent life
- Promoting animal rights
By focusing on the motivation and not the job, I learned it’s easier for me to find that center. And for me that was my daughter. I wanted to give her a bright future. Everything else, all my interests and hobbies, are secondary.
Find What You’re Good At
Now that you have your goal, it’s time to work on achieving it. And you’re only going to achieve your goal by doing what you’re good at. So ask yourself: what are you good at? And note that what you’re good at may not be what you’re super-interested in.
If you focused instead of what you thought would be an interesting job… well, you wouldn’t have any focus at all. Because interest is fleeting. But a certain aptitude in a particular skill can be built upon and made to last.
I mulled it over, and accepted that I wasn’t really good at paleontology, stunts, working in HR, and the many other activities I was into. But I had three skills I felt was pretty good at:
- Interior decorating
- Playing volleyball (I was on the varsity team in college)
Find What’s Lucrative
Now, if the first two items were a bit difficult, this one is even more so. Because now it’s time to ask which of those skills you’re good at are actually lucrative. Now, before we go on, I need to explain why I used the term “lucrative.” Most of our goals require money in one way or another. Money doesn’t have to be a motivation in and of itself. But it does help get stuff done.
So take the stuff you’re good at and list the appropriate items under “Career-able” and Hobby Skills. The first list is something you’re good at that you can build a lucrative career around. This is the skill that will help you achieve your goals. The items on the second list are just that - hobbies. Here are my lists:
- Interior decorating
- Playing volleyball
As for the hobby skills, well, as good as I am at dressing people up and playing volleyball (not at the same time, of course), I wouldn’t be able to make a career out of those. But that didn’t mean I had to forget about them – on the contrary, I kept at them. But I didn’t feel pressured to make something more out of them. They were just hobbies, and that’s okay.
Bring Them All Together
By now you should know what your goal is, what your skills are, and which of those skills can help you achieve your goals. You’ve reduced the mental and emotional clutter, and now have a clearer view of the road ahead.
As for me, I decided to go back to school and complete my missing units. I recently graduated, and will be taking my licensing exam very soon. I'm super-excited, and it feels like after all these years, I've finally found my niche.
Whichever skill you can build a career around will be your niche. Keep at it, and you will eventually achieve your goals!
If you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed by all the choices life gives you, don’t worry. You can simplify and find your professional and personal niche by following the tips I’ve listed above. There will be times when life will seem directionless and pointless – all you need to do is toss all the non-essential stuff overboard.
This article is based on my own experiences trying to find my own niche amidst all of life’s distractions. Now it’s your turn to share! Have you ever been overwhelmed? How did you find your own niche!
Let’s hear your stories!