I’ve always been a person who has a full-plate. I like to keep busy – so life for me is my family, work, volunteerism, hobbies, etc. For many years, my volunteerism (i.e. being involved with SHRM) has been related to my work. So I didn’t feel like I was spreading myself too thin where work/life balance was concerned.
But in a few months my volunteer role with SHRM will be coming to an end and I’m trying to figure out what’s next for me. Do I want to seek out new opportunities with SHRM, or offer my talents to a local board or maybe even focus on something completely different?
I think it’s a part of human nature to want to be “known” for something. Maybe it’s with a hobby like Build a Better Burger competitions or in social media as a Twitter influencer. Either way, it’s cool to be recognized as the “go-to” person for something.
But I’ve come to realize you can overdo that “thing for which you are known”. If you rely upon your strength too much, it can become a liability for you.
For example, I spent several years volunteering on the planning committee for a conference. I really enjoyed it – met wonderful people and really learned a lot. But it wasn’t until after I stopped volunteering I realized maybe being a volunteer was a liability for me.
Not a liability in terms of the relationships or experience, but because the conference became the “thing” people associated me with. They thought of me as a volunteer meeting planner and forgot I’m a training consultant. Now that some time has passed, my conversations with those people aren’t about the conference but about other things closer related to who I truly am.
This realization really came into focus for me because I’ve seen it with other people. People who constantly go on and on about one event or one book or one thing. You know, like a broken record. Like the whole world is going to come to a screeching halt if you don’t get on board with what they’re talking about.
As individuals, we should definitely be cognizant of our strengths and passions, and leverage what sets us apart from others. But we can’t rely on it completely. Real rock stars and gurus aren’t one dimensional. We can’t be either.
Image courtesy of adria.richards