The Multi-Hyphenate

Producer-Writer-Director

Singer-Songwriter-Pianist

Financial Analyst – Sports Blogger – Television Personality

Interior Designer – Commercial Boater – Actress

Coach – Security Guard – Poet

No, I didn’t make-up any of these titles. I know someone who represents each of the preceding Multi-Hyphenates. Interestingly, I’ve met people for whom the idea of having more than one profession seems ridiculous. Our natural urge to categorize everyone and everything in our lives, doesn’t come easily when discussing people of multiple means. They want to know what happened to the Doctor, the Trader, the Executive. I’ve heard people from the East Coast attribute Multi-Hyphenate “ism” to the effects of West Coast living, as if to suggest that people on the more conservative coast can be easily defined. In fact, one person described above lives in Washington, DC.

Now, whether or not having more than one profession is linked to the increasing need for people to get their financial hustle on, or to advancing technology, which allows people to pursue multiple interests, there are certainly positive effects. First, I’d argue that this allows some to lead richer and more experienced lives. Second, and perhaps most importantly, I think it signals a psychological shift. People are realizing that they’re truly capable of anything. Of course, it’s important to become a student of your craft, but there’s no need to pigeon hole yourself.

A few days ago, I met a girls’ high school basketball coach. He also worked as a security guard. To hear him talk about his athletes, I could tell that he was passionate about seeing them succeed, both on and off the court. Our discussion revealed that he dabbled in poetry. He agreed to read some aloud. His work was really amazing. Each poem had a clear message and rhythm. I instinctively asked, “Were you an English major?” Coach laughed, “No. Girl, I didn’t go to college. I read a lot of poetry and soon, just started writing.” I was amazed, but was quick to remember, sometimes that’s all it takes, just start. Once he finished reading some selections, I suggested that he go to an open mic. His work was well written, and amongst the two of us, well delivered. To my dismay, he immediately questioned his talent. “Nah,” he said, ” I’m just a basketball coach and security guard. I don’t have any business at an open mic. I wouldn’t know what to do.” I couldn’t believe my ears. Of course, I fired back, “By my estimations, you’re a basketball coach – security guard – mentor – poet. I’m sure you’re much more, but we’ve only just met.”

While some consider the Multi-Hyphenate scattered or unfocused, I consider them open and evolved. They’re able to fill more than one role successfully, perhaps leaving room to pursue Second, Third, and Fourth Loves. So, I say, take a hint from the Multi-Hyphenate. Stray away from the instinct to categorize. Recognize your potential. You can do much more thank you think.

~Thankful

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