The Painful Truth About Niching and Narrowing Your Focus

reflections_on_diversifying

Recently, I was sick and it got me thinking about the importance of diversifying. I believe it’s important for everyone not just for new Voice Over artists or those wanting to explore Voice Over… but for everyone who is wanting to have a better handle on creating happiness in their lives.

Whether it’s in your interests, friendships, or streams of income. Whatever it is try and have a couple of different things within that bucket. 

This is a philosophy I live by and while I was sick this rang true for me more than ever… because as you can imagine, while I was sick, I couldn’t audition, and all I could think of was how lucky I am to have other things I could count on to make up for my Voice Over income. 

The concept of diversifying your portfolio is something that is crucial to apply and expand in all areas of our lives.  Having multiple hobbies, friends, streams of income, or even niches, is what enables us as human beings to be more resilient when we’re going through a tough time or experiencing a loss in our lives.

Why?

Because we often forget, people and things come and go in and out of our life and get wrapped up in focusing on things we have no control over. Sometimes we get extremely focused on just one thing, we forget the other parts of ourselves and things and people we love and value.  

In marketing, you’ll frequently hear people talk about the importance of niching down or the value on focusing on one thing. And there are definitely valid points to this… I won’t argue with that 

However, when you put all your eggs in one basket with anything in life and, things change. And that ‘person’, or ‘thing’ that was giving you happiness or fueling your life with some purpose, attaching your self-worth or value to is no longer there whether it’s temporarily or permanently, you’re screwed.

For example, if we go into a recession, and all the business in your niche is going out of business, you’re in trouble.

If you love playing soccer, or love dancing and you injured your foot and have no other hobbies, to substitute for how you spend your downtime doing something that you enjoy you’ll feel really depressed.

If you’re busy only being a parent to your children, and pride yourself as the caregiver and start to lose other parts of your identity, be it a spouse, friend, (insert job title), and forget about your interests, you’ll feel lonely when your children are all grown up and have their own lives. It may take you longer to rediscover your passions and interests and adjust to life as an empty nester.   

Mark Manson, the author of The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck wrote an article on Diversify your Identity that is worth checking out.

He quotes Tim Ferris and it sums up the importance of diversification beautifully.

When you have money, it’s always smart to diversify your investments. That way if one of them goes south, you don’t lose everything. It’s also smart to diversify your identity, to invest your self-esteem and what you care about into a variety of different areas—business, social life, relationships, philanthropy, athletics—so that when one goes south, you’re not completely screwed over and emotionally wrecked.

So I want you to ask yourself:

  1. What area of your life have you been investing too much in lately? 
  2. What part of your identity do you find yourself taking on the role of primarily? 
  3. What areas of your life, identity, and relationships might you be neglecting and would like to make more room for?
  4. How can you diversify yourself more?

Don’t put your emotional well-being at risk.  Branch out a little bit.  It’ll help lessen the void and challenges you have to go through when life doesn’t go your way. Diversify. Have a backup to soften the blow and make it easier to cope with difficult changes in your life.

Photo by: Mohamed Nohassi

 
 
 

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