Janet Walkow Christine Jacobs

Changing Interests, Changing Roles

Roles and interests change over time. It’s part of the natural growth and evolution process to try on roles and interests to see what fits.  You may be thinking about picking up a new hobby, learning a new skill, eliminating one of the many obligations you’ve taken on, moving to a new city or exploring a different job opportunity. Taking the time to see whether you want to add, change or eliminate something can help you gain new perspectives, energy and vision – at every stage of your life.

When Nikki was in high school, she played several musical instruments, participated in the school band, spoke Spanish, played soccer and worked weekends as a coffee barista. When she went to college, she found that her interests changed. She began taking Italian classes, in addition to Spanish, and decided that music would no longer be a focal point. She wasn’t interested in focusing on a single sport and thought she could meet more people by signing up for community service projects and salsa dancing. College was a time to broaden her horizons and Nikki allowed her to be open to new experiences. But, some things didn’t change. She still enjoyed playing music when she had the opportunity – just not in formal settings. During school breaks she continued as a coffee baristta, building on her skills and earning extra spending money.

Nikki found out that there were things she liked and worked for her, while others didn’t – and she dropped them. Experimenting with roles and interests is a normal part of life. Knowing your core values and pursuing your interests are important; testing out new things can expand your perspective. Roles are in constant flux, allowing you to build on what makes you happiest, while retaining the roles, characters and activities you want in your personal script.

Janet Walkow is the Executive Director and Chief Technology Officer of the Drug Dynamics Institute at The University of Texas and a co-founder of Leading Women. Read her full bio.

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