I mentioned in a previous post about a book I was reading called ‘ refuse to choose’ by Barbara Sher. This book has already changed my life. Not so much in a physical sense (just yet) but its been priming me for my many goals ahead. The book is basically directed at a specific type of person. A scanner. Who or what is a scanner? Well, they are the ones who have so many interests in life, but a lot of them don’t seem to ever ‘achieve’ much. Multi-passionate, A scanner is someone who likes to scan the surface of subjects, get something out of it (whether it be to learn something new, teach it to someone, gain clarity, be able to prove themselves etc etc) and then move onto the next subject.
For example, as I am most definitely considered your typical scanner – I have dabbled in ALOT of things over my 27 years. My friends and I have joked about the many ‘jobs’ or ‘titles’ I have had over the years. It explains why majority of the near 100 books I own have only been half finished and that when I recently listened to a new guided mediation CD, during the meditation I wasn’t thinking ‘wow this is so relaxing’, I was thinking ‘wow! I’m going to make my own line of guided meditations!’ – Ha!
One of the first tasks this book asked me to do was to make a list of the things you have achieved, or started and not finished. Can be trivial like win a contest, paint a picture to finishing a uni degree. For the divers (the opposite to a scanner – the ones who know a lot about one or two fields, for example anyone who has worked or wants to work their way up in a company for 20 years, their hobbie is golf and they live happily ever after or choose to keep on studying into a certain field so that they become a master of the subject) this list would be relatively small in comparison. My list was 2 A4 pages long! Just so you can gauge what a typical scanners life can look like, here’s parts of my list:
Hairdressing, Pet sitter, cert II native animal rehabilitation, koala rehabilitation volunteer, child care worker (started studying child care too), fruition tuition tutor and manager, clothing production, bachelor of creative industries, 2 failed attempts at getting into fashion school, fashion retail, cert II fashion illustration, office manager for wholesale haberdasheries, sales account manager in textiles, multiple fashion accessory labels (started my first jewellery line in grade 5), online business, dabbled in photography, graphic design, painting, costume design, belly dancing and hip hop dance. Currently wanting to study nutrition, iridology, tarot, start another jewellery line, a coaching business and there is about 25 things on my list of ‘to-do before I die’. That’s just scratching the surface.
Saralli – necklace from my range
If you are thinking you are a scanner, or know someone who might be – I cannot recommend this book more. It’s honestly so hard being a scanner when you don’t know you are one. You start something, you have an idea, it flies around in your head and drives you crazy like a little voice is saying ‘ do it all now, now, now before its too late! Today is the only option’ but then there are reasons why you can’t get to it today, or the next day and then you realise your list of things that interest you has tripled and you don’t know where to start, so you don’t. You stress constantly about doing things, creating things, starting or finishing things, inventing things and being someone or doing something and then you generally just give up because the chaos is exhausting, confusing and overwhelming. This book helps you make sense of it all, and of what drives you.
It has brought my attention to a word I once thought had quite a negative undertone – amateur. Who wants to be an amateur? We are all taught to be the best, do our best and apply ourselves, but so I have learnt, scanners just don’t work like that. Not everyone is the same. We need the divers and the scanners of the world to keep everything balanced, together. If you look it up in the dictionary, it says something which kinda makes my heart flutter:
In other words, they do things for the love of it. I thought – absolutely. I love so many things! That’s why I want to do them! The hardest part to grasp is that not everything I love needs to be made into a career, like I once thought. In this book, it teaches scanners how to focus, plan and adjust how they perceive themselves and their world and how to harness all the potential. They are good at so many things, yet are a master at none of them. This is so true. I’ve always been really good at a lot of things and they come quite naturally to me, but never the leader, never the master or go-to person in those fields. It used to really piss me off that I seemed to have a lot of potential and drive to do great things but never really got anywhere? The reason is, I got what I needed to from it. Whatever my driving force is (which I think is something like wanting to help people) once I was able to forefill my needs, the topic no longer interested me so I moved on.
So anyway, I’m about 1/3 into the book – I have a bit to go! But I just wanted to mention one thing I just read – Barbara has come up with a system which can help bring ideas to reality for those who are scared of taking a leap from – for example – leaving their current office job to persue their new career goal of becoming a yoga instructor. Scary right? Her system is called ‘backward planning’ – basically you write the end goal, and work your way down the line to a point where you see something you could do now. A tiny, minor little thing which would be your first step to achieving your end goal. With regards to my example, perhaps it goes like this:
Teaching yoga full-time
Find clients to come to class
Locate local space for hire to run classes
Research other yoga studios in area
Complete instructor course
Practice a lot of yoga, move to advanced class
Start yoga classes after work
– this is your first step. You could do this tomorrow? Not scary. Just jump on the computer and find your local classes at the gym or yoga studio. Easy. Take a friend? That way you have someone to make sure you go.
I hope that made sense. How awesome and simple is this process?!? Her way of explaining it is 50 thousand times better but hopefully you get what I mean. I’ve started applying it to the huge list of things I want to do, and its helping me to set goals, time frames and actually hit targets instead of getting lost in my own head.
If you have something you have been meaning to do, achieve or want to start – perhaps give this system a whirl?! Fear is the biggest hurdle between our dreams and reality, and I’m definitely learning now that this has been the only thing keeping me from being the person I really want to be. Once we break it all down into easier steps, the fear melts away. So my mantra for the next few months is going to be ‘just shut up and do it!’ Ha!
Love, light and amateurs