It’s not always easy when you feel different to those around you. Growing up, and even still to this day, I often ask myself why I’m unable to stick to just one thing, to focus on one area and work on developing it, becoming an expert in it. Instead, I have always appeared to flutter from one thing to the other, never landing in the same place for too long.
As a child, I danced for about 10 years, but following that, I tried all sorts of sports : basketball, handball, athletics, skiing, snowboarding, rock-climbing, volleyball…
As an adult, a similar pattern emerged with my jobs. I’ve worked as a till hostess, sales assistant, recruitment officer, night time security guard (still hilarious!), waitress, bartender, virtual assistant, events florist, lawyer, HR manager. Sometimes it feels as though I have already lived numerous lives despite not yet being 40!
It makes for interesting stories, and meeting lots of different people as well as collecting an eclectic mix of experiences.
Sometimes though, it can leave me feeling as though I’m having an identity crisis and I no longer know who I am. I can feel like the main character in The Midnight Library (a great read!!), going from one life to another… And trying to describe to people what I do is never a simple task!
This has become very obvious recently as I jobhunt. Since my job as an HR Manager came to a sudden halt in April, I have been home contemplating what I would like to work in next.
Needless to say in light of the above, my CV is a little colourful, and doesn’t exactly flow in a linear way. As much as I can defend my choices and career path when face to face with a recruiter, I am fully aware that it needs someone with a little imagination to see my potential and transferable skills, instead of deciding that my CV is a mess and doesn’t show any commitment or long term growth. I also live in very rural France, where local businesses tend to have a more traditional approach to recruitment, which can hinder the process further.
At the same time, I find myself wondering if I want to go back to an office job, with set hours. Having been self-employed on several occasions, I can’t help but think that perhaps the reason why the last job didn’t work out, is because I’m not meant to be an office job anymore. I mean there were other reasons, sure, not least that the children are growing up so quickly I’m very aware I only have them home for a few more years. But also, perhapss it simply wasn’t meant to be for that reason : I crave more flexibility.
Perhaps I need a more creative career, a career that offers me the flexibility I love. Flexibility in terms of time and working hours, but also in relation to the tasks I get to do. Flexibility in terms of allowing me to explore creativity in all its forms. I am currently unable to be precise in naming the job I want, but this I do know. I seek a job that provides me with the flexibility I crave, the creativity I thrive in, and that aligns with my values, allowing me to collaborate with other creative minds and inspire them.
A career that allows me to take full advantage of my curiosity in all things creative and small business owners, fluttering from one activity to another, and creating a successful business from it.
Back in my university days, I remember going to see a counsellor in my final year for a little guidance in my career options. I told them that I felt as though everyone around me had a passion, something they were invested in and would work on for long periods of time, over the course of several years. I didn’t seem able to do so. Instead, I would go from one activity to another, trying lots of different things, and usually not doing the same thing for long. I felt as though this was a disadvantage, and wondered how to fix it. How could I find the one thing I would like to commit to? Something I would become passionate about?
To this day, almost 20 years later, I still remember the counsellor asking me why should this be a negative point? Instead, I should see it as one of my strengths, as it meant I had lots of interests.
This keeps popping up in my mind on a regular basis.
I have been job hunting for a few months now, and I find myself struggling to know what job I would like to apply for. There are jobs coming up that I could do, having done them before. But I already know that it won’t be long before boredom kicks in and I’ll want to change again.
When I recently met up with a friend, she told me that she’s the same. Her daughter recently told her that when it comes to business, she’s a butterfly, fluttering from one creative activity to another. She has realised that in order to thrive, she needs to be involved in various activities at any given time, instead of focussing on just the one activity at the time. The hardest part of knowing how to monetise all of these ideas into one cohesive business plan.
I loved that : creative butterflies. I can completely relate to this. In order to thrive,I like being involved in different businesses at any given time.
I think that one of the main things I am struggling with at the moment is that I am not busy enough. I have this gift of time, allowing me to take the time to consider what it is I would like to be doing, but I have been struggling to find an obvious answer.
My conversation with my friend the other morning reminded me of who I am, and what I need to thrive. I thrive on working on different businesses at the same time.
Things are starting to take shape. We are once again taking bookings for a gîte, which I’m enjoying as it involves setting up the holiday let, making it look cosy and welcoming for guests, and ensuring it has everything they need for their stay. It also involves marketing and taking good photos to help share it online. Customer service is also vital throughout the whole customer journey. I’d forgotten how much I enjoy it.
Alongside this, I’m enjoying working on Emerald & Jade Loves, looking at ways to make an income from it, brainstorming ideas for posts, thinking of ways to include posts from fellow creatives.
I have also been assisting Barry a little with his business, which I have enjoyed.
There again, I am working on several businesses at the same time.
Pôle Emploi (French Job Seekers office) have referred me to an external training company, and I have started a course with them that sets out to identify what my values in the workplace are, what I enjoy, what I don’t. It also asks me to identify my strengths and weaknesses, before completing a questionnaire that identifies the key elements that I consider important in work. There again, diversity of tasks has been identified. Aka, fluttering.
Reminding myself of who I am and what I thrive on, also reminds me of old dreams, that have drifted in and out on more than one occasion over the years, and have been resurfacing of late. Dreams of owning a workshop my local town centre, where I could hold workshops and invite others to host theirs. Dreams of a collaborative space, creating a hub for creative businesses, in English and in French, as well as a hub for wedding professionals. A safe, cosy space for other creative minds, to learn new skills or perhaps share their skills with others.
Dreams of owning and running a business where fluttering from one creative outlet to another would be a great strength, and the heart of the business itself.
I keep being told to embrace the present moment, to enjoy having this opportunity to explore who I am, and what I want. This doesn’t come easily for me, when I’m used to be busy all the time and rushing from one work task to another. But I seem to be easing slowly into it, allowing myself to sit in the garden, soaking up the sunshine with a cuppa, between getting the gîte ready and carrying out administrative tasks.
I’m allowing myself to slow down, and to breathe. In. And out. All whilst remaining curious to new opportunities and giving myself to flutter as and when new activities are presented to me.
Do you identify as a creative butterfly? Or do you have one activity you are fully dedicated to?
Are you same in work and in your personal life in this respect?
How did you find your passion? Do you remember where/when/how it started?
I’d love to hear from you either by email or in the comments below.
2 responses to “Creative Butterflies”
You seem like a wise teacher.