To Specialize or Diversify…That Is The Question

Or, Should We Really Put All Our Branding Eggs In One Basket?

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A recent story on how to make money blogging suggested finding a niche to write about. On the surface, this makes sense. It helps with using keywords and SEO. It can establish you as an expert. Both of these help with marketing and branding. But what about those of us with myriad life experiences and interests? Those of us with several careers under our belt? Should we limit ourselves to one topic in order to be popular, attract readers, and therefore make money? Well, money would be nice.

I once read an article in a women’s magazine that said by a certain age your closet should contain only clothes that fit your personality and style. At the time I was 20, and believed I would always want different styles of clothes to express the different parts of my personality and interests. I’ve always marched to my own drummer, gone the roads less traveled (often getting lost), and in general tried to dislodge stereotypes. Sure enough, now at that “certain age,” my clothes are just as varied as they were when I was 20. My clothes take me from Earth Mother, to Femme Fatale, to Grunge Leftover, to Writer, to Gym Rat, to Salsa Dancer…well, you get the picture. Or you will if you see me, because I have clothes to announce who I am at any given time or day.

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Maybe this is a personality flaw, but I like to think of it as a gift. People ask if I am an artist, (guess I dress like one) and I reply that my face and body are my canvas. It’s fun. And life needs to be as fun as we can make it. That, writing and practicing Gestalt therapy make me happy and make me who I am. I could specialize, but that would be boring.

So, in writing, I also pick subjects according to my mood and interests that day or moment, or in response to something I have read. I have a Gulliver’s Travels resume, and some days it’s fun to reminisce about past careers, jobs, creations, etc. Other days, I want to share the small amount of wisdom I have attained in the twenty years I have been a therapist. For me, helping people one at a time, while extremely satisfying, is just not enough for the changes we need in our society. Writing is one of the best ways to help more people in a shorter amount of time.

I suppose I could create my own brand as a therapist, but John Kim already has the best branding as The Angry Therapist. He is also an eclectic writer. Hmmm.

R. Buckminster Fuller spoke of a bird species that ate termites, and evolved to develop a very long bill used to poke into holes in trees to extract the termites. When the termites died out, the species of bird died out as well because their long, unwieldy bills wouldn’t allow them to eat other insects. Indicating that diversification is more evolutionarily sound than specialization.

Humans are diversified beings, which is why we have survived until now. We are problem solvers. And we have progressed through our ability to share information, like what plants to eat and which ones not to eat so as not to be poisoned. Or where the last saber toothed tiger was seen, and the path around it. And how to build first windmills and then monstrous turbines to harness the wind.

With climate change we are being forced to diversify power sources, fuels and materials. We have learned to recycle and reuse, but not fast enough. Our way of life and some life itself may not be sustainable past 2030. History is repeating with Nationalism and Isolationism, and we must all share what information we can to defeat our sliding backwards into that abyss.

If I spend all my time writing on only one topic, there will be urgent issues I don’t address. Maybe that doesn’t matter. Maybe no one will read those topics anyway. But, as a writer, I can’t justify writing for the sake of popularity and money making, even though I hope those are results. I have to write my truth, and any knowledge I have gained through living, studying and observing that might help others live stronger, happier lives.

Psychotherapist, Hypnotherapist. Leans Left. Mindfulness practioner before it was cool. M.Ed., LPC.

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