How to Focus When You Have Multiple Interests

What does it mean for your career path when you have multiple interests and passions? How do you pick one path? Do you even have to pick one path, and if you don’t, how can you focus? 

With freelance and entrepreneurship becoming the norm, we have more options and opportunities available; however, for many of us, it also means more confusion and overwhelm.

This is why I’m so thrilled to interview Lindsay Jean Thomson, co-founder of Women Catalysts this week. Lindsay is an entrepreneur, a brand consultant, and a writer. She juggles multiple projects and is an example of what it means to be successful doing several things.

If you have a lot of interests but struggle to connect them or bring them together, this interview is for you.

Meet Lindsay and learn how to manage multiple interests with focus and purpose.

Lindsay Jean Thomson_Work Bigger Stories_how to manage multiple interests

Give us some background. Where are you from, and where did you start out?

I grew up in Southern California and studied English at UCSB. Like a lot of humanities majors, I wasn’t sure what to do when I graduated. I thought I had to go get a “serious job,” so I moved to the East Coast and worked in PR.

I was really lost for a few years and ended up doing a lot of yoga just to cope with stress and anxiety, eventually doing a teacher training and teaching a bit on the side. When I moved back to California at the end of 2008, it was right when the economy was collapsing – not a great time for a 25 year-old with entry-level PR experience to get a job. Which ended up being a real blessing for me. I realized the job I kept because I thought it was “safe”…wasn’t. That gave me the freedom to pursue teaching yoga and to start my own business.

What is your mission, the work you want to do?

It’s less of a mission and more of a guiding light. From a Sanskrit mantra: may all beings everywhere be happy, healthy, and free and may my thoughts, words, and actions be a contribution.

I have lots of projects and I love them all – I do business and brand consulting, writing, leading Women Catalysts with Kim, and I’m currently co-leading The Creative Collective with my friend Elle Luna.

What led you there? Can you recall any experiences you had that pushed you to your mission?

I give myself permission to pursue the things I’m interested in and for those things to evolve.

I think sometimes people have this idea that we have to pick ONE thing we’re good at or ONE thing we love; however, you’re an example of how to manage multiple interests successfully. Can you share more detail on how you balance working on several things at once, and how do those connect to the Sanskrit mantra that guides you?

Full disclosure: it’s hard to constantly be shifting gears. It helps that I can see all of my projects connect back to my why and to each other.

From a branding perspective, it’s definitely easier to be known for doing one thing (and doing it well!). But if your other passions can support your main thing, they can also help to differentiate you and show depth and authenticity.

If I had to pick ONE thing – and that’s hard for me! – it’s writing. Storytelling is a thread that shows up in all of my work – brand consulting, Women Catalysts, The Creative Collective, and even yoga. My other big passions are teaching and community building and they absolutely serve my role as storyteller. For example, branding clients often want to grow and engage their community. They don’t just want to sell something; they want to make something that people love. They care about impact. My experience building community adds a lot of value.

And if you want to get practical, chunk out your time, spend less time on email and social, and prioritize your own priorities before anything else. No one else can do that for you.

Other times I just have to embrace the chaos and that’s good too!

At Work Bigger, one of our goals is to build creativity among readers and community members. We know this is a key skill required to thrive in the future of work. Can you share your definition of creativity?

  1. To remove the barriers that hold you back and to open yourself up to more possibilities.
  2. To make and share something that wakes people up.

When are you most creative?

When I travel – nothing like getting out of a place you know to open your eyes.

What are your favorite go-to resources or experiences to help you build your creativity?

Morning pages. There’s a lot of great voices out there, but you’ve got to find your own.

What advice do you have for 20 to 30-somethings who want to make an impact through their work but are currently feeling stuck?

Don’t worry so much about what you don’t know – those big, existential questions are hard for everyone. Every day you have the opportunity to choose to do more of the things you love. If you do, you’ll make progress in the right direction. Promise.

To learn more about Lindsay, check out www.womencatalysts.com. And now that you’ve read the full interview, let us know how you deal with juggling multiple projects. What’s the greatest insight you’ve taken from this interview, and if you’re multi-passionate, how can you connect all the things you love?