The Renaissance Soul is a book for those of us who have so many passions we can’t pick just one. Other books always go on about the importance of finding your passion, and we’re out here thinking, “Why is that in the singular?” Margaret Lobenstine believes that a “Renaissance Soul” is a person who was born to do more than one thing. Why limit ourselves unnecessarily when there are so many advantages to being good at many different types of skills?
One reason is the negative judgments and beliefs of the other part of society. This is why we sometimes think we have ADD, or that we’re engaging in some kind of avoidance mechanism rather than “settle down” and “get a real job.” What a sad loss this is. It doesn’t have to be this way.
Lobenstine builds The Renaissance Soul around ways to create a satisfying career using multiple gifts. The book is especially strong in suggesting ways to get around common bottlenecks, such as perfectionism, anxiety, and pushback from family members. She also teaches ways of selling without selling, for those whose main stumbling block is a vehement rejection of any form of marketing or self-promotion.
The Renaissance Soul is full of case studies and examples of people who have found happy ways to combine their many interests into fascinating and satisfying careers. These might be “umbrella” careers like writing or journalism that combine many skills into one profession; a Two-For-One Approach like musician/yoga instructor; or a free agent, such as a consultant or entrepreneur.
Another way to look at career options is how they are structured over a period of time. Doing two or more things at once is not the only possibility. Seasonal shifts work for some people. Others prefer a side hustle. Still others have serial careers, doing something until it isn’t fun any more and then switching to something else. A strategy that is probably underused is to get a “J-O-B” for the purpose of the perquisites, such as a discount on computer equipment, dead time to work on personal projects, or the ability to network and pick up new skills.
Crunching numbers is a way that Lobenstine helps us find time for our passions. Choose four Focal Points that work as “sampler plates” for indulging our many interests. Then calculate how to find time for all of them. Another formula estimates how many years we have left, which in my case was in the negative. That means it will be another 25 years until I have as many years left as I’ve been alive, if that makes sense...? It’s another way of saying that we have more time left than we think we do, and that age is no reason to give up on our dreams.
The Renaissance Soul is that perfect rarity, the inspirational and motivational, yet entirely practical, handbook for a better life. Read it, and feel a bit of pity for those who only have one idea and only one plan for the rest of their lives.
When you decide to work with your Renaissance Soul nature rather than fighting it, you actually welcome distinct economic benefits into your life.
Would your work life have been more productive if your employers knew how to make the very best use of your interest in the new and the different?
I've been working with chronic disorganization, squalor, and hoarding for over 20 years. I'm also a marathon runner who was diagnosed with fibromyalgia and thyroid disease 17 years ago.
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