I know; this might as well be a rhetorical question as I’ve yet to speak to a renaissance person who doesn’t find organization challenging. Or most people, come to think of it.
When you have so many different interests pulling at you, it’s almost impossible not to have a hard time managing them all.
Yet many renaissance personalities I work with or have interviewed are pretty organized types.
I’m not one of them.
To say that organization and planning are acquired skills for me is the understatement of the year. Ok, let’s not lie: it’s a skill I’m acquiring – present tense.
To Organize…Or Not
I’ve come to the conclusion that I have a love/hate relationship with organization. On one hand, I crave structure and organization, and on the other hand I just want to ride my crazy, go-with-the-flow-or-the-energy-of-the-moment wave.
Enter Michelle Ward of www.whenigrowupcoach.com, another renaissance personality. Michelle sat down to talk with me (by phone) about her renaissance challenges and lifestyle.
From Acting to Coaching
Starting her career as a musical theatre actress in New York City, she decided after several years that working multiple day jobs to support herself while spending entire days on a single audition for a 2-minute part in a show she didn’t care about wasn’t her idea of a fulfilling career. So she decided to switch fields.
After her fair share of soul searching, Michelle found life coaching and realized she loved it. She started training to get certified and…worked her plan.
Here’s a great example of how to make your dream come true: solid planning.
What does this mean?
In Michelle’s case: she wanted to set herself up for success, so when she started taking coaching classes, she also started a day job to secure a regular income with bennies. She had a multi-year plan. She did not want to crash and burn, having to go back to work for an employer after trying to launch her business full-time from the get go.
She’s been building her coaching business in her evenings, weekends, and lunch hours. Michelle works with creatives – often renaissance personalities – and is leaving her day job behind as we speak – 2.5 years later. She has successfully built her practice, has some money saved, and can now kiss her executive assistant gig goodbye.
Pick Your Day Job Wisely
What’s great about Michelle’s story is that it exemplifies a great strategy: holding a day job that fits your purpose. In Michelle’s case, she just wanted a stable income, not a career. So she opted for a position (executive assistance) that didn’t require late hours and being “on call” outside of work. She needed that time to herself to work on her coaching practice.
The other thing I love about Michelle’s strategy is that it’s such a nice example of how chipping away at something pays off. I know so many people who can’t get themselves to move forward at all, or who jump right in and realize it’s not for them or “fail” because it’s not taking off fast enough to sustain themselves.
Michelle took out the roller coaster factor by going slow, yet steady.
Not everything happens overnight. In a society and a time where instant gratification is the norm, creating a plan such as Michelle’s seems almost old-fashioned. I say it’s hot!
Of course, it’s also your typical renaissance life style story: working a day job, coaching in your off time..Oh, and she’s also making sure her hubby casts her in his plays on the rare occasion she can spare some extra time. (Her husband is a writer, comedian, and film maker).
Michelle’s Tips For Living the Renaissance Life
– Trust that you’re ok, even though you’re different than most people.
– Write down all the things you’re interested in and might want to pursue.
– Narrow the list down to those things you want to make money at.
– Figure out how pursuing these passions will fit in with your schedule and other obligations.
– Make time for what’s important to you.
Then there’s the day-to-day organizing. This is a topic in and of itself as you need to find your own way with it. There is no “one size fits all.”
Michelle makes sure she schedules 45 minutes of “me time” each day (90 minutes a week when she still had her day job as well).
I have found that writing down what needs to be done on any given day is helpful, and estimating the amount of time it will take. Some people advise to then shorten the amount of time you’ll schedule for it.
I have not found this helpful. I understand the concept of increasing pressure to become more productive (give a task to the busiest person to get it done fastest), but the truth is, I underestimate the amount of time I need for any given task to begin with. To retain a sense of reality and not get discouraged by ending each day with a list full of to-do things not completed, I now figure in the unexpected.
What’s been working well for me is making sure I got the most important things covered. Do them first. Or whenever you know you’ll be most effective. Then you can go with the flow later on, indulging in whatever activity fits your energy at the moment.
What has worked for you? Please share your story so we can all learn from each other! Just leave a comment below…