For a long time, I billed myself as an "Illustrator" and an illustrator only. Emerging from an editorial print background and wanting to generate some momentum, choosing a specific path to carve out my own personal brand seemed almost critical to success and honestly, the most manageable. Design is an ocean of people who can do this or that mostly all better than you can at the start. And while I'd attribute a lot of this refocusing to where I am today, it can also be the nail in the coffin of stagnation.
Professionally, you decide what your public-facing persona is. And when you're a designer looking to make some waves, who you are is oftentimes measured in your body of work. Most of us take that time to funnel our energy into a single discipline. We channel our work in a nucleic fashion: Our personal brand dictates our output. With laser-like efficiency, we find a style that can be attributed to our name and milk it like the family calf.
Don't get me wrong, this can work. In fact, most times, this will work. But be aware of the pitfalls of monotony. Steer clear of falling into the rut of building a style and riding it all the way out the door.
Take the time to work in styles that aren't typically classified in your "wheelhouse". That doesn't just mean you merely change up your illustration style. It means that if you're an illustrator, try working on a web page or two. If you're an iOS designer, work on a branding project.
Do something you're not comfortable with.
Hell, if you're really a glutton for punishment, build a typeface.
Chances are, at the start, you're not going to want to share these. In fact, I'd almost encourage you to not. That doesn't mean you shouldn't look for feedback, though. Find a group of people you're close with--the kind of individuals who can give honest, open feedback. Preferably someone who's more well-versed in this discipline than you are. Let them tell you what works, what you may have missed, and how you can improve.
You're going to fail a few times. I mean, you're really going to miss the mark. But over time, with repetition, you'll pass a few. And eventually, you'll have more passes than fails. Not to mention the fact that learning is addictive. You'll find yourself compulsively driven to take bigger, riskier leaps.
This kind of critical thinking will influence your decisions in a number of disciplines; even those you believed to be unrelated. Learning the optics of how type works has influenced the way I craft illustrations. Learning about web hierarchy has improved my overall layout formatting, even in print.
Maybe you won't be ready to change your brand persona to include your newfound love right away. But with experience, you'll feel more confident and qualified to entertain a broader inventory of projects.
After all, variety is the spice of life.
You won't regret learning something new. But you will regret not taking the time you do have to try your hand at something you could truly excel at.
Even if you don't know it just yet.