I like to think of my career not as a single entity, but as a conglomerate with various holdings. I have a career strategy doc that is quite literally titled “My LVMH Portfolio Career”.
At the top of the pyramid is my personal brand (ie. the essence of who I am), and beneath it are branches for my various career passions.
There’s “Project Manager” listed as one branch, “Writer” listed as another, “Personal Brand Coach” as another, and a few empty branches that are yet to be filled with emerging new pursuits. I often dream of some of my possible future careers, like maybe “Vineyard Owner” or “Hotel Photographer” or even “Charcuterie Chef” (okay, not so confident with this one yet, but it has a nice ring to it?).
In other words, I’m building the House of Sigute.
And no traditional workhorse wagging their finger yelling “Choose your one thing, child!” will ever change my mind on this stance.
One of the hardest things about being an adult (until you realize this and make peace with it), is that human ambition evolves faster than societal success metrics. Every generation faces this and all the current five year olds will one day grow up to be adults who look at our generation and wonder, “What the hell were those bozos thinking?!”
“Remember when our grandparents used those plastic things that polluted the oceans? Remember when they put humans in gymnasiums and pushed them to do stunts that risked snapping their necks in half for television entertainment?“
Every generation looks back at their elders, laughing at fashion choices, shaking heads at humanitarian fails, and vowing to learn from their mistakes to be better. That’s basic evolution.
Frankly, I can’t wait to see how younger generations continue to improve the world we pass down to them.
Our generation encouraged more creativity, autonomy, and freedom in the world, paired with less capitalist hierarchical ladder climbing. That’s our offering to the potluck of human evolution. But even then, I know they’ll be looking at these “new and improved!” success metrics we’re handing down to them and think, “Gosh, this is cool and all, but we kind of have different ambitions now”.
There’s no end-all-be-all definition for success. There never will be.
Each generation tends to live a certain way, their results becoming the benchmark for what works, and those getting handed down as a shortcut for the younger generation who are still timid and shy—like parents handling their first newborn—with a simple wish to not fuck anything up.
These shortcuts are a noble gesture. A book of suggestions, not rules.
It’s like when someone offers you a second serving at dinner. You don’t have to accept everything that’s offered. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself gorging on that second heaping of mashed potatoes, sick to the stomach, smiling through the pain, and cursing—rather than thanking—the gracious hand that feeds you.
Maybe “boundary” is the magic word for enabling a life on your own terms?
Knowing what you want, what you’ll say no to, and what you’ll ask more of regardless of how it makes others feel. Whether your parents take offence that you don’t want to re-live their life, whether your friends take offence that you don’t want what they have, and most importantly, whether you even know what you want yourself.
In theory this sounds great. Yes, agreed, I don’t want to blindly take the success metrics from the last generation, but I would kind of appreciate a little shortcut in life, too…
I feel you. I’m not here to reinvent the wheel either. I’d love a boost from the accumulated wisdom of those before me. In classic fashion, I want my cake and to eat it too. To have a shortcut for success, but to carve my own path as well.
Do I think that’s possible? Of course.
But here’s how we’ve got it backwards. We accept the generic plate of success metrics handed down to us even when we don’t admire the lifestyles of the people handing them down to us, and then when we do find people we admire, we put them on pedestals and idolize them as if they were magical unicorns—untouchable and mysterious—instead of asking for their success metrics to build towards their lifestyles that we admire.
Read that again. It took a while to wrap my brain around it.
What I’m suggesting is to re-jig that formula so we can have our cake and eat it too.
First, we narrow down who we admire (regardless of what’s popular around us).
Second, we study their success metrics and adopt them into our own lives (even thought it’s easier to just grab the metrics available from those we don’t actually admire).
The path to reclaiming power over our careers is to first reclaim the success metrics guiding our careers. Instead of committing all of our youthful energy towards the tried-and-true capitalistic hierarchy of choosing our “one thing” and praying to god that we’ll be the exception that finds joy at the top, we can choose to pursue the less popular option.
That’s the catch: in your group of friends, you will most likely look like you’re falling behind. But in a decade, two decades? I guarantee that you will have the biggest grin on your gorgeous face from living your rich life.
What aligns us all here is that we’re multi-passionate. I will guess that the careers you admire are those with a mix of business and creativity, with multiple revenue streams, and with a flair for art, travel, and all the boujee-ness in between. From my own observations, the success metrics I’ve uncovered for this dreamy life are to be multi-faceted, to pursue side hustling, and to plant seeds in non-capitalistic pursuits like dedicating an hour to writing every morning, a day to learning a new skill, a weekend to meeting new people, and a lifetime of following your curiosity.
These little seedlings are what grow into the various branches under the House of Sigute. (From this day forward, I will absolutely always refer to my career as the House of Sigute and a monogrammed bathrobe is most definitely getting ordered the moment I hit publish on this newsletter.)
If you have ambitious friends who should join our multi-passionate army, please share this post with them so we can build new success metrics that we feel empowered by. Not because we need that to keep going, but because it’s more fun with like-minded friends on the same journey!