Not long ago I discovered a new word and a new dimension to my identity.
I discovered that I am a “multipotentialite”.
On her site she writes,
“I want multipotentialites to stop beating themselves up about being unable to find their “one true calling” or fit into a box. I want them to see that their diverse background and insatiable curiosity isn’t some huge failing, but that there’s a very good reason for it… you can actually use it as fuel for your life and income. Once you stop fighting your scanner nature and embrace it, you’ll find yourself working on projects that are deeply meaningful. You’ll feel a sense of purpose that you never thought possible.”
I was actually thinking of my son when I first saw the video on her talk. Joseph is multi-talented and very creative. He had difficulty fitting into his very conservative school (I say proudly). He is drawn to skateboarding, art, photography, music and writing. Some have called him lazy, not motivated and rebellious because he didn’t conform to traditional ways of learning.
His passion is creating music – beats – collaboratively with friends with a variety of strange electronic equipment that I don’t even know the names of. He taught himself and pursued his passion like a hummingbird is drawn to nectar. No one that can spend hours perfecting a beat or a flip can be called lazy as far as I’m concerned. And his photography has taken off; now he’s featured in different art shows too.
MY LIFE AS A CREATIVE
After hearing Emilie talk about how she would be inspired by something, then dive deep into it only to eventually tire of it and move on to something else, I began to reflect on the course of my own life. I noticed similarities in her personal narrative and mine.
I have always loved storytelling, writing and travel and helping people. It is at the intersection of all these things that I do my best work and that I feel most joyful. When I was very young I directed and produced many dramas and fairytales in my own backyard with neighborhood children as actors in my plays. I have always been a storyteller, starting from very young.
Children like me are told that we have vivid imaginations – and often that is not a compliment.
I was fortunate to be immune to the condescending tones of well meaning adults who would’ve caused me to deny my imagination. My parents encouraged it, throwing us out of the house to play and conjure up more stories to enact.
In middle school a teacher told me I couldn’t write. I came home crying, slain by the words that would cut me off from my lifeline. My mother in her wisdom asked me one simple question. “Do you believe her?” The answer arose immediately, “No.” “Then what’s the problem? Keep writing for those who love your writing,” she encouraged. And I have done just that.
The travel bug bit me in college fueled by a love of languages and reading. My books were full of adventures in far off places, locations I longed to visit. In college I spent a month in Mexico and a year in France traveling through Europe whenever I could and honing my language skills.
After college I worked at a hotel in Boston. I was hired because I could speak to the kitchen staff in their own languages – Spanish, Italian, French and Portuguese. There in that hotel I developed a love of food and cooking, taught by the very kitchen staff that I worked with. Food became a way to interpret cultures and build understanding of other ways of life.
During my time at the hotel a travel agency hired me to escort American tourists to Europe, South America and the Caribbean. I fit in wherever I went because I could speak or understand the language and culture and because I look as if I belonged in those countries.
During this time I discovered my entrepreneurial talent. I created small businesses wherever I went, whether it was selling T-shirts in the Caribbean, designing evening events in Europe or finding out of the way tour locations in South America.
I moved to Colorado to work as a sales manager with a hotel in Denver and discovered I preferred the client side of things. I returned to Boston and began my fifteen-year career in meeting and event planning, first working in a large corporation then starting my own business.
During that time I learned I could teach and so I began to teach meeting planning courses. From there I learned about something called “coaching”, sold my business and went back to school for a Masters degree in the only thing that inspired me – Interdisciplinary Studies – because again I couldn’t make up my mind what I loved more. During that program I worked with a published author and wrote poetry, studied transpersonal psychology and wrote papers on women’s development.
That year I went into the woods with a famous tracker who taught me about the interconnectedness of all things and introduced me to a teacher of phenomenology. Imagine that dinner conversation!
It was truly life changing! Could these things be any more unrelated?
Maybe, but for me it fed my passion for learning and my curiosity about the world and our place in it.
Moving to Annapolis to begin anew and to start a family I took a hiatus from work while my son was very young. My most important lesson yet – motherhood.
And now here I am living another iteration of my life. I’ve published two books, I’m writing a memoir, I write for Medium and Thrive Global and I built a dream in Ecuador that is Quinta Oasis. My life here in Ecuador is the culmination of all my work – languages and culture, teaching, social entrepreneurship, coaching, writing and travel. And soon there will be another re-invention (stay tuned).
What I’ve realized is that each step in my life has led me to the next, often unexpected, step in my life.
Life itself provided the curriculum for my evolution.
What if I had limited myself to only one passion? What if I had gone the traditional route of a 25 year career in the same field? What did I do to get here?
I followed my intuition, my curiosity and my inspiration.
I listened to the voice inside that told me how to unfold myself even when the world tried to keep me small and limited and afraid.
I surrounded myself with people who challenged me to be more that I thought I could be.
I created the challenging circumstances in my life that forced me to be more resilient, courageous, effective and fulfilled.
I made choices based on what I was drawn to in the moment. I did not follow the crowd.
I did not listen when the culture demanded that I be defined by one thing and forsake the whole person.
PASSION AND COMMITMENT
Life shows us its impermanence, it’s dynamic movement and yet we strive to limit and control it.
We are part of that movement so it makes sense that if we are the type of person to be drawn by our curiosity to things that make our soul sing then why try to remain hunkered down in dead end jobs or relationships that just suck the life out of us?
Yes, I know. You need to make a living. But that’s not enough.
You need to make a life!
By following the flow of your curiosity and your inspiration you can not only make a living, but also make a pretty fantastic life. I have. Emilie Wapnick and others have. You can too.
So no, you’re not crazy.
You’re simply a creative force to be reckoned with!