By Tai Goodwin –

Margaret Lobenstine gets it – you don’t have to choose just one career!

Renaissance Soul. Finally there’s a term that fits my workstyle. Back in high school, I used to cringe when people asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. All I could think of was all the things I wanted to do. Writer, a teacher, a broadcast journalist, a fashion designer were all at the top of my list. Fast forward years later, 15 years into my adult career exactly and I have been a financial admin, teacher, training specialist, elearning developer, site manager for a service organization and instructional designer. And now I am a coach and writer. And to think I started my college career as a fashion designer.

Friends and family often wonder when I am going to “settle down”, even though they have long stopped asking the question, “You changed jobs again?” While some people change jobs and careers out of necessity. I have always changed jobs as a result of finding a new passion. Each position was different because I always wanted to try something different, something new.
In the Renaissance Soul, Margaret Lobenstine finally diagnoses my pattern. The sub-titles sums it up: Life Design for People with Too Many Passions to Pick Just One. I could never pick just one. And I marvel at people who can stay in one job for 5 years, 10 years or over 30 years like my mother.

If you have ever tried to force yourself into a more tame pattern of work because it is what’s expected, The Renaissance Soul will help you find the freedom to accept your desire to explore multiple careers and offer you a plan to make it work. I read the book through in one long rainy weekend and then went back and did the exercises over the next week. The real-life examples are helpful in realizing that you are not alone in wanting to pursue many different career options. One of the best chapters of the book centers on choosing your focal points. Lobenstine describes focal points as four or five interests that you want to pursue right now. She likens the process of choosing focal points to sampling different flavors of ice cream. And I loved the idea that these are the flavors that you are choosing for now – with the understanding that at any time you can swap out flavors and try something new.

Focal points don’t have to be just about work. They can include anything you want to invest time in, like learning about gardening or spending more time with your children. The key being to plan the time you will give to each of your focal points. She offers a Focal Points worksheet that assist in resolving one of the biggest challenges that Renaissance Souls face: managing multiple interest without giving up because of feeling overwhelmed. Giving the different focal points structured focus time allows you to move forward on all of your current interest.
At close to 300 pages, The Renaissance Souls is not only a great guide book it is something to keep as a reference to use as motivation and to spark reflection when it feels like it is time to change focal points. This book is a great read for those of us who choose not to choose just one option.