It may not surprise you to know that I’m someone who tends to get bored easily. As a multipotentialite, or someone with many different interests and creative pursuits, it can be hard to keep my brain engaged with any one activity for a significant amount of time.

Hence, four podcasts, multiple book projects, a side business with coaching, speaking, webinars, and product development — among many other pursuits.

Due to all of these interests, I’ve become very familiar with the 90-degree turn.

The 90-degree turn is when you decide to shift in a different direction from your current course, and sometimes quite suddenly. This shift is evident in my own life when I create and launch new projects at a moment’s notice (the concept of how to: academia was developed in a month and my new course SoTL by Design was drafted over a two-month period).

Or when I switch career trajectories (from women and gender students into faculty development, and then again from faculty development to researching online teaching and learning).

Or just in being able to look at problems and challenges from completely new and different perspectives (this comes in handy a lot as a coach).

Although the 90-degree turn can be a bit disruptive, I’ve found that it can also be energizing and enlightening. Most importantly, at least from my perspective, it usually allows me to apply skills and abilities from one area of my life to another.

In coaching, we even have a question type devoted to this shift in which we ask a question from the most recent topic of conversation and challenge a client to apply it to a new area.

What’s interesting about the 90-degree turn is that it’s not a 180-degree turn. You aren’t turning so far away from your current path that you are going the opposite direction. Rather, you are just shifting slightly to look somewhere new and also see your current pathway from a different angle.

So here’s my most recent 90-degree turn: I’ve been thinking about experimenting with writing in some new genres.

Now I haven’t taken the turn just yet — too many current writing projects on my plate for that — but I’m enjoying thinking about the next steps in the turn and when I might be able to make it happen.

For example, I have a poetry collection I’ve been toying with and some personal essay ideas floating around in my head. I also have some partially completed novel drafts that have been patiently waiting in the wings.

Every year, when November and NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) rolls around, I’m always committed to another manuscript. This year, I’m wondering if I can intentionally plan my 90-degree turn so that I can devote November to writing some fiction…

To think on:

  • Have any areas of your life benefited from a 90-degree turn?
  • Do you have a 90-degree turn coming up?