A few years ago, I was restless and overwhelmed. I had quit my “day job” and wanted to give this “lifestyle business” thing a crack.
I was coming from a place of no previous experience with business. No idea what digital nomadism (that I was soon to embrace) meant. And no clue what I was going to do next.
In school, I got good grades in English essay writing. Friends and cousins would ask me for upping the quality of their work in writing.
So I figured, the night before I was about to quit, perhaps writing was my thing. The next night, I sat down to compile a plan of sorts. This was going to be great! Hell yeah.
I wrote down what I was going to call my business; what services will I provide, how will I find clients and much more. I started spreading the news that I was no longer working in IT and this was my new pursuit.
Of course, I was scared, so made the announcement to a few near and dear ones who I knew would support me. If you tell the world about your new venture just as you’re starting out, you will find many people will try to bring you down (unintentionally). They care about you and want to warn you against the risks you’re taking.
Fair enough. But at that point, I did not need anyone “advising” me about the do’s and don’ts of my life. I was doing just fine.
For a few months, I continued writing with enthusiasm. I was growing my business and had good contacts and several happy clients. Things were moving at a nice pace. Life was good.
I realised this is what is known as living your passion. This is having a lifestyle business where you can work when you want and sleep when you want. In the mornings, you can go to a cafe and finish that juicy assignment, or if you prefer a quieter space, try the library.
There are no limits of a nagging boss or the confinements of an office cubicle.
In short, making a living out of your passion felt awesome.
. . . until I started feeling restless and overwhelmed — again. Something was missing. I had designed a life I always wanted to, but something was not quite right.
I found I was pursuing other interests and not giving 100% to my writing. I didn’t want to quit freelancing yet, but I didn’t want to be too attached to be doing just that for the rest of my life.
So what did I want?
Well, let’s see. I wanted to start a website. I wanted to study counselling. Oh, and yes I wanted to hold my own workshops in the area of personal development. Not to forget, explore akashic records reading and try astral projection.
I didn’t have one passion – I had many!
How I was going to combine this with writing and do it all I had no clue.
Then it Dawned. . .
I continued to dabble in a lot of different things, create and build new stuff, mostly online without a deep, laser focus on any one thing.
Now it didn’t mean I was not excellent at these skills. I was, and I could become a master if I went deeper. But I didn’t want mastery – what I wanted were new projects that would satiate my curiosity.
If you looked at my resume today, and if you’re the conservative types, you will see an unfocused mess.
If you’re open-minded and curious, you’ll see someone who has many interests. Someone who loves to do it all – at once; who gets bored of monotonous tasks easily and has “variety” and “learning” as one of their top needs.
In other words, a multipotentialite.
Who is a Multipotentialite?
A multipotentialite has many names such as scanner, slasher, multipod, renaissance person, polymath among others.
According to Wikipedia, he or she is a person who is full of artistic curiosity who can excel in two or more fields. Their interests span multiple areas and they often don’t want to “settle” in one field for good.
When I discovered this term, I felt such a relief. In reality, I still feel restless but that restless is not from “not having to become an expert at one thing” but more of “how can I do this, this, and that all at once?”
I realise I need to work better on my productivity levels in order to bring and smoosh it all together. But that is what keeps me going.
Being a multipotentialite gives you so much more. Life becomes a canvas and you can paint in oil, water, charcoal and more. And you don’t limit yourself to a canvas – you can paint on walls, wood, glass, leaf to create + build.
Your many interests as a multipotentialite seem to be unrelated to each other. For example, I did my bachelor’s in IT, and masters in marketing. I took classical dancing lessons for 5 years. I took drawing and painting lessons as a kid and continued to draw for leisure.
I worked at my IT job for 5 years and in marketing for a few months. I quit when I was almost due for a promotion. Then I dived into coaching and NLP and started seeing clients on-on-one. I’ve just launched PYG and a lot of my time goes into it too.
At the same time, I’ve been working with a marketing agency in my city as their PR and communications specialist. And oh, I am also studying for Cert IV in Training and Assessment – go figure!
Does that sound like too much with no one focus? Or does it look like a life full of possibilities? There is no right or wrong — it’s just different perspectives. If you’re wired as a multipod, you’ll get it.
How to Identify a Multipotentialite
Let’s look at some of the characteristics of a multipod. I speak from experience here, but of course there will be more that I have missed. Feel free to chime in the comments to add your own.
- Multipotentialites love to learn. And I don’t mean just learn a new thing. They want to dig into it. They will spend hours and hours to understand a concept. They will turn it upside down, play with it, apply it – and then stop. For me, it all comes down to how much curiosity I still have left for a particular area. If it’s there, I will continue to contribute.
- We get bored easily. So if you have a multipod employee, make sure you give them a variety of tasks no matter how challenging. If you’re a multipod yourself, find different passions and come up with a way to smoosh it all together into an interesting “mess”.
- We love challenge. Here’s the thing: If I didn’t find writing/coaching/speaking/starting an online biz challenging enough, I wouldn’t go there. Same applies to the flip side. When something stops to be a challenge for me, I stop spending a lot of time on it and let it run on its own. I don’t abandon projects: I’d find a way to keep coming back and poking things to see where it leads to. Or I’ll find a new home or owner for it. Eventually if I don’t’ find it fulfilling, I’ll quit and be long gone on a new journey of discovery.
- We have a number of skills. If you asked me, I’d say my skills are writing, editing, creating websites, online community management, SEO, speaking, listening, blogging and so on. Most of us have a plethora of skills in different areas.
- We’re good at a mash-up of ideas + skills. Bringing out our knowledge in one area and applying it in another is natural for us.
- We are hard to replace: If you’re working at an organisation, know that you are an asset to them. For example, I work with a marketing agency as their communications specialist. But when they realised I was good at technology, they started giving me in-house techie troubleshooting type of tasks. Soon, they discovered I was good with operations – boom. I was asked to do the ops manuals for various technology and processes they use in-house! If I leave, I know I’ll be hard to replace.
Are You a Multipod Too?
If you’re a multipod, I applaud your courage to accept it and embrace it. If you are waiting for the society to catch up and acknowledge your skills, well, you will be disappointed at least for the next 5 years.
Why? Because not many people are familiar with this breed of humans.
Are you willing to wait that much? Don’t stifle your inner voice that is telling you otherwise!
Multipotentiality is an asset. It gives you the uniqueness to be able to combine different skills (because you have them) and solve problems fast. It makes you a fast learner. You are enthusiastic like no other. You rock at many tasks.
You can use your multipotentiality and bring it all together by creating a new business and lifestyle that allows you the freedom and creativity to thrive. For example, I take freelance writing assignments and write for this website, see private coaching clients and speak at public workshops very often. I do this all for a living.
How You Can Start Now
Make a list of all goals you have and divide them into sub-goals. Pick the ones you’re ready to work on right now, and allocate a time during the day to each of them.
You’ll get bored fairly quickly if you do just one thing for a long stretch of time, so make sure to mix and match.
I like to divide my day into different slots and tackle a variety of projects. You can do that too. But remember, the “getting lost and overwhelmed” gremlins are always around the corner in the life of a multipotentialite, so make sure you know how to handle those.
In future posts, I will talk about being a multipotentialite, the positives and negatives of this lifestyle, how to remain productive in the face of multi-projects and more.
Until then, tell us if you are a multipotentialite too. What are you current interests and how are you smooshing them all together? Share with us in the comments below!
Image by Nagarjun.