February 13, 2019
Preschoolers are some of my favorite people to be around. (Once I have bathed them all in hand sanitizer and verified they have not been hospitalized in the last 72 hours.) They have no filters, saying whatever pops into their head. They are mirrors of the life they observe, reflecting words, habits, and mannerisms of the influential people around them such as parents and siblings. Three and four-year-olds have minimal inhibition, assuming limitless potential for anything and everything. Tiny humans in this phase of their life believe they can be anything they want to be. And why not?
Technically, I’ve never worked for a preschool, but I oversee a preschool as part of my current role at a local church in San Diego. During a transition from one director to the next I spent a LOT of time in the classrooms, supporting the teachers and helping with nap time, which happened to be my favorite part of their schedule.
Just before Halloween one year, I was asking some of the two-year-old students what they wanted to be on the holiday. All two-year-olds are adorable, but one especially cute girl piped up with her squeaky little-girl voice and confidently proclaimed, “Spiderman-princess.”
As a born tomboy who endeavors to be girly, I was captivated by her balance in costume choice, but more intrigued by her early aspirations of a multi-hyphenated lifestyle.
Often, I think of multi-hyphenated professionals being in the entertainment industry. There are many actor-writer-directors or dancer-singer-songwriters. I have viewed them in a separate category than myself. Entertainment is creative in my opinion and what I do is typically not creative in the same way.
Early in my life, think high school and even college, it never occurred to me to pursue more than one ambition or interest. Chalk it up to my personality profile or paternal role model, but I was laser focused on one thing at a time. In high school I planned on getting an associates degree to begin, becoming an au pair in Europe for a while and then eventually choosing a final degree once I got a little traveling out of my system. That idea was thrown out the window mere days before I started college and when I walked into my advisor’s office, I chose business as a focus and never looked back.
Following a few mildly successful years in the corporate world, I developed more of an interest to help people in some way. I pursued personal training and fitness instruction, totally walking away from the company I had once felt so committed to. My desire to find purpose made me believe I had to choose one or the other, climbing the corporate ladder or providing a more valuable service to people. Moving into the world of health and fitness met an intrinsic need to provide lasting value, but I still wasn’t satisfied.
My stint in the fitness arena didn’t last long - this was long before social media influencers, Beach Body, Plexus, and the fitness craze that is normal in today’s world. I moved to California, sought another corporate job that would be more stimulating that training and teaching cycling classes, and ended up working at a church marrying the best of both passions to help people become the best version of themselves and the business side of supporting an organization.
For nearly ten years I have had the most fitting role of my life, finally realizing I don’t have to choose a single path. I work for an organization whose mission is to develop leaders to change their world, positively impacting neighborhoods, schools, families and so much more while using the business skills so organic to my nature, it’s like breathing. I have been challenged and I have been fulfilled like never before. I learned to embrace being multi-dimensional and the opportunity to pull more out of myself than I thought possible.
You know that feeling of knowing there is something greater inside you?
Even when you love what you do, there is a drive to go to a deeper place, to explore more of the complexity of your potential. It was deep in my soul for many years and I never explored the pieces of my identity waiting to come out.
The more I broaden my horizons and dip my toe in new pools of curiosity, the more hyphens I discover. I became a podcaster in 2018. I started a blog around the same time. I decided to take on individual coaching clients instead of only volunteering with the leaders in my church who I loving pouring into. It’s like developing a new muscle - the more time I spend working on expanding my interests, the more new endeavors I want to take on.
I am learning not to limit myself to what I already know. There are possibilities for my life that I’m not even aware of right now. I’m focusing on my current hyphens and striving to improve in each area, but my eyes are wide open for the next development.
This multi-hyphenated life is wild and a little scary at times, but I’ll take it any day over safely living in what I already know and boxing in my potential.