The Importance of Hyphens & Slashes
Bottom Line Up Front: I think there is extreme value in intentionally diversifying your efforts. Diversifying your career and/or interests can lead to a fuller and richer life, financially and in terms of happiness.
In her book, One Person/Multiple Careers: The Original Guide to the Slash Career, Marci Alboher says, “From lawyer/chefs to surgeon/playwrights and mom/CEOs, today’s most fulfilling lives are the ones filled with slashes.” The good news: you are probably already living a “slash life” to some degree. The bad news: you are likely not leveraging it properly and/or you mentally have not labeled yourself as a person who intentionally works at multiple skills. In Ryan Holiday’s latest piece, The Case for Being a Multi-Hyphenate, he pontificates on how expertise in one field can lead to excellence in another. He has a ton of historical use cases, from the philosopher Aristotle to heavy metal legend Bruce Dickenson of Iron Maiden. It is not only possible to grow in multiple skills, it should be required.
I have been told numerous times that running two businesses, True North Realty and Leverage Information Technologies, is taking time away from growing one of them into an even bigger powerhouse. From my perspective, the diversification keeps me from burning out on one or the other while also allowing me to be focused intently for long periods of time. This has ultimately led me to having two strong businesses that I love.
I’m in the throes of a great book called Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World by David Epstein. In it, Epstein gives a litany of examples and research for why we should not specialize but rather diversify our activities. Epstein says, “Plenty of experts argue that anyone who wants to develop a skill, play an instrument, or lead their field should start early, focus intensely, and rack up as many hours of deliberate practice as possible. If you dabble or delay, you’ll never catch up to the people who got a head start. But a closer look at research on the world’s top performers, from professional athletes to Nobel laureates, shows that early specialization is the exception, not the rule.”
If you have had an inkling to launch a business, pick up a new skill, or even just work a second job, then I hope these resources serve as a sign or motivation to take the leap.
- Read The Case for Being a Multi-Hyphenate. (<10 minutes)
- Read One Person/Multiple Careers: The Original Guide to the Slash Career OR Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World
- Reach out to someone who is already doing it. I’d love to jump on a call with you!**