As someone who has always been drawn to a myriad of interests and passions, you probably already know that I self-identify as a “multi-passionate” or “multi-potentialite” – which simply means that I’m the kind of person who is drawn to a myriad of interests and have a hard time narrowing down my interests and my career into just one thing. It’s a topic that comes up often on the show, and this week on the show I’m sharing all about the power of owning your expertise as a multi-potentialite.
The term multi-potentialite (or multipassionate, or scanner, or renaissance soul), is one that describes anyone who has more than one interest and has a hard time choosing to do “just one thing” with their life or career. Many creative entrepreneurs can relate to this trait – if you’re curious about many things, if you enjoy dabbling in many disparate topics, and if you find yourself picking up a lot of new hobbies / interests and moving along from them after a short amount of time, you are likely a multi-potentialite.
It’s a wonderful thing to be, really. It means you’re a quick study. You synthesize the various disparate things you have spent time learning about in new ways. You often approach life and the world with a beginner’s mind, seeing yourself as a life long learner, instead of someone who sees themselves as a narrowly defined expert. Things stay fresh and new to “multipods,” and you probably see things in a very different way than those around you who are specialists.
What about being an expert?
One of the key things that comes up for multipotentialites is that with all of the going from topic to topic, it can also be hard to see yourself as an expert. At least in today’s society, experts are often labeled as such because of their long, linear path of study. Our schools teach us to be specialists, they’re even set up to have a clear linear path from one topic to the next, which generally yields someone in the workforce who is a specialist in a single area.
Multipotentialites can also be experts, although the definition of your expertise might require that you look at what it means to be an expert in a slightly different way. If you look back at the many things you’ve dabbled in, whether that be in your career, or in your hobbies and interests, you’ll likely start to see a pattern emerge. It might be that you are good with organizing people, or inventing things, or that you are an excellent project manager because you have the ability to be a quick study.
For multipotentialites, our expertise lies in the abilities we’ve developed to be interested in many things. While the interests might not seem to have a common thread, if you dig a bit deeper, I’m betting you will recognize it in your own work and interests.
Identifying your expertise as a multipotentialite
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One of the things that I love to do with clients is to walk through an exercise that helps them to see this pattern is filling out this spreadsheet. You’ll want to take 10 or so minutes and fill it out with the following things in mind.
- Fill out this sheet based on the things you loved most in each of the following categories: elementary school, high school, college, 20s & 30s, and 40s and beyond.
- When you fill out the “What I loved” category, think back to what hobbies, interests, clubs, classes, or things you were most drawn to, or that stand out now as a fond memory for you. Don’t take too long with this, work fast and fill in each of the five blanks in the five areas.
- In the “What you learned” column, think about what each thing taught you; what about each of these things that you loved lit you up? Why was it so memorable? What did it teach you?
- In “Boil it down” write out what the connection point was for you for each of the things you loved. What part of you did it connect with? What was the larger theme you can see in looking back on each of these?
- Lastly, consider circling or highlighting each the one thing that stands out for you in each of the five areas. What’s the connection point?
- Reflect on what your “through lines” are for this. What’s your multipotentialite super power?
Name your “human job description”
In addition to knowing your multipotentialite super powers, it’s also really important to be able to name your own human job description.
- Create the “obvious” description for yourself: I’m a _____ who ______. What’s your day job,or your current title? Example: I’m a project manager who leads projects in digital marketing.
- Dig a little deeper. What does your multipotentialite skill set and super powers from the worksheet above say about you? Who is the true you?
When I dig deeper, I’m a ________ who helps others to ______________.
Example: I’m a joyful human connector who helps people see the parts of themselves they may have forgotten along the way.