Hey I’m Holly, this is my blog, and you might know me as one of any of these things:
- An organic farmer who grows vegetables and fruit
- A Recreation Coordinator
- An outdoor adventurer who loves nature
- An entrepreneur who does digital marketing
- A blog writer
- A mom of two, smart amazing kids
I’m all of these things and more and I’m finally okay with that.
I finally have a name of it: multipotentialite (or in my words, multi-passionate). Better than that, I understand my superpower. More on that in a moment.
Focus in the world means success. And I didn’t have it how they wanted it.
You see, all of my life, people have tried to fit me into boxes. They want and wanted me to specialize in one area and when I just couldn’t do that, they believed I was flaky and immature. It hurt me deeply.
In the corporate world, I drove my managers and bosses crazy because I hated routine and repetitive tasks. When I felt like I had finished a project, they thought I had missed the last 5% to really wrap it up. I was beyond eager to jump into new projects, and develop innovative solutions. Over and over again, I got tasked into working groups for websites, peer groups, and steering committees with diverse people on them.
In entrepreneurship, I tried desperately to have my “elevator pitch” ready for what I did to network, but every time someone asked me that question “what do you do?”, my brain froze up. I flipped between my answers depending on who it was, or what I was truly interested in at that very moment. I walked away from the conversation thinking that I hadn’t really represented what I do, what my unique genius is, and how I could help them.
One of my weekly mastermind friends even told me, “I can’t keep up with what it is that you do. It seems like you’re always changing your mind. What’s your niche?”. That one stung. We had sat at the table together, week after week pouring out our purpose and heart and it still wasn’t clear.
I baffled my parents over and over again, as I would learn and pursue a subject or a goal, achieve or master it in record time, then wouldn’t want to do it again. They were ready to help me keep doing that one teaching or skill set I had over and over, but I didn’t want to.
Most importantly, I spent a significant amount of time searching for clarity and meaning. Why couldn’t I just do “one thing”?
I spent thousands of dollars on coaches, trainings and courses trying to figure ‘me’ out. I wanted to know what of my many ideas to develop, how do I give myself permission to step into my genius in a way that would be accepted, and how could people keep up with all of the things that I do if they change constantly?
Changing my mindset & owning multipotentialism.
The lynch pin came to me recently via another creative friend who said casually, “oh you’re a multipotentialite”. Surprised, I asked her what that meant, and she delighted to give me the link Emilie Wapnick’s Ted Talk. If you think you’re multi-passionate too, I highly recommend you watch this talk, but I’ll give you the Coles Notes version here.
Emilie’s definition of a multipotentialite felt like coming home. She said:
A multipotentialite is someone with many interests and creative pursuits.
Multipotentialites have no “one true calling” the way specialists do. Being a multipotentialite is our destiny. We have many paths and we pursue all of them, either sequentially or simultaneously (or both).
When it comes to new interests that emerge, our insatiable curiosity leads us to absorb everything we can get our hands on. As a result, we pick up new skills fast and tend to be a wealth of information.
YES. It clicked. FINALLY. A way to explain the way I learn, the way I create, and the way I approach the world with curiosity.
The gifts of the multipotentialite.
I believe individual gifts are different from multipotentialites – we all have superpower we use in different ways. However, we share 3 overarching traits that Emilie talks about in her Ted Talk:
Combining 2 of more fields and creating something new at the intersection. I like to call this innovation, and I honestly believe it’s where the best ideas come from to solve unique challenges. Put us in a brainstorming session and let us go to town – you’ll end up with more ideas then you ever have time to implement. This is why I got tasked on to committee after committee in my corporate life. We have complex problems to solve as a society, and we need out of the box thinkers to do it.
We are curious! We are learning constantly, quickly, with a beginner’s mind. We are willing to step out of our comfort zone to do so. We bring all the skills we learn to everything we do, we can’t help it. They are the tools we have in our toolbelt. In my life, this looks like the 6 books that inhabit my nightstand, and the fact that my local librarians and I are on a first name basis. I love it when people ask me what I’m learning about this week, I lit up like a Christmas tree.
The ability to morph into whatever you need to be in any given situation. We’re valuable because we do good work and can take on a variety of roles depending on what needs to be done. This is the single most important skill in our changing economic situation, as companies need to be able to pivot to stay relevant.
From my own skill sets and experiences with other multipotentialites, I would add:
Multipotentialites need people. We crave people who can listen with an open mind, or other multipotentialites like us. We like helping people with what we know. A lot of multipotentialites, I know teach things. They aren’t always found in the typical teaching institutions and paths, but sometimes in recreation, coaching sport, or volunteering to give back to the community.
We are an inspiring people – we show others they can go after their own dreams. We aren’t afraid to lead unconventional lives, try unconventional activities, and do whatever sparks the curiousity. Sadly, not every personality type has that. People want to band around to see what you’re up to. Give them a way to do that. I find a lot of multipotentialites LOVE to create content and share their thoughts.
So what do you think, are you a multipotentialite or a specialist? Do you have multiple passions to follow?