Because this is my first article where I’m using the term ‘Renaissance Man’, I thought it would be good to give a short explanation what kind of man this is. First of all: this can also be a women! Just so you know 😉
In this day and age, specialization is something that is occurring on a deeper and deeper level. Not because we want too, but more because there is so much knowledge out there these days, it’s just impossible to know everything.
To give you a good example of a Renaissance man, or sometimes also called a Polymath, I will give you the name of Leonardo Da Vinci. His Wikipedia page says he was a painter, sculptor, architect, musician, mathematician, engineer, inventor, anatomist, geologist, cartographer, botanist, and writer.
The thing is, he wasn’t just an inventor or writer, he was one of the best in each of those interest groups. There were other painters that were good, but they would only paint or sculpt. Leonardo did so many things, that you wonder how he did it all and at such high level.
Leonardo was a case in itself. He was and is the ultimate Renaissance man. But there are many other people today, who are struggling with themselves because they just can’t find their one passion that they can spend all their time on. They are interested is many things in life and jump from one challenge to another learning project.
The general idea in society is to find your one passion and just go for that one thing and become the best you can be. Well, this is not how it works for some people.
I myself had years of struggle with this problem. When I found something of interest I completely jumped in and started learning, doing, practicing and at a certain point when I reached a certain level, my interest declined and I moved on.
Lots of guilt presented itself through the years. Things like, am I a quieter? Jack of all trades, but master of none? It took me some time to realize that what I thought was my weakness was actually my strength; my will to learn new things gave me additional skills like learning fast and finding solutions everywhere. I’m never bored! 😉 This translated in guiding me from a technical Microsoft Windows consultant to the all-round coach I now am. And not only am I a coach, but am a photographer, musician, internet technophile a multisport athlete and some more.
Over the years I have talked with so many other people who were searching for answers like mine. After explaining what a renaissance man is, you could see a big relieve with them, because they immediately understood that their ‘problem’ wasn’t a problem but an actually unique skill they could use. The only thing is, how?
The biggest thing with renaissance men is how to stay productive. Over the years I have developed a good method of working, and while everyone is unique in their way of planning, there are some basic guidelines that will get you pretty far. Lets go through them.
First of all you need to determine all the interests you have and create roles. Some interests fall in the same role, so you need to create different professions for yourself.
In my case I have given myself the roles of coach, internet manager, photographer and adrenaline entrepreneur. All my interests are focused into these four roles. My interest in people, writing, teaching and helping is combined in my role as coach for example.
For each role you have to decide your goal. This can be tricky for a lot of people because most of the time it’s hard to ask these difficult questions for yourself.
I’m a coach myself who can ask these questions to other people, but when I’m working on my own goals I always talk with someone who can ask the right questions at me and remove the bullshit and stupidness I’m not seeing, because my head is in the cloud of my new enthusiasm for a new interest.
With your goals in mind, you now have to set some priorities and timelines. When do you want to reach certain goals for each role? If you want to become a professional internet expert within a year you will probably need to spend quite a lot of time with it.
Make educated guesses about how much time you need and bit them in the right order.
We have learned to plan in days, with our daily schedules and reminders. The one thing that will save you as a renaissance man is that you shouldn’t plan daily, but only weekly!
Of course if you have a meeting with someone, you have to put this in the calendar. But your work learning a certain skill, shouldn’t be put in the calendar on Thursday 3 pm.
Instead you should put in one list all the things you want to do this week. With a time estimate behind it. Set your priorities straight and just start.
On Monday you may feel like doing something more in your finance role and on Tuesday you may be feeling more creative for writing a new piece of music.
For years I have fought against myself, forcing to do something while at the same time my mind was busy with something completely else. The best thing that happens with people is when they just do where their creative and productive mind is. Go with that flow!
Of course sometimes you have to do things you don’t like at all. How to handles these things is a completely different subject that I will come back to in another article.
In a very basic form I have given you the framework on how to deal with your renaissance mind. There are many other factors at play that will determine a successful and productive week, let alone life. But those are also very unique factors that will differ from each person.
This is where coaching will come in. Together with a good coach you can name your interests and turn them in roles. From there on you will get the difficult questions to answer that will determine your goals. And of course help them time them and create weekly plans with all challenges added.
If you have any questions about this you can ask them in the comments or contact me for a one on one.