A multipotentialite has been defined as a person who has many different interests and creative pursuits in life. Multipotentialites don’t have “one true calling.” They are also known as polymaths.
Having potential in multiple areas might sound like a blessing, but in a world that rewards us for discipline, hard work, and focus on one thing to achieve success at it, it’s difficult to be pulled in so many different directions.
Success doesn’t have to elude you because of your interest in so many areas.
If this sounds like you, it might also feel impossible to decide what to do when you’re thinking about a career change. There’s just so much that you love – and are good at.
So what’s a multipotentialite who wants to reach their full potential to do?
Multipotentialites and Their Potential
The first thing you have to do is to define what success means to you.
After all, what is potential if it’s not energy pointed in a certain direction?
So, let’s define that direction.
Does it mean getting that book written and published?
Living a balanced life where you get to explore all of your creative interests?
Never doing something for a living that doesn’t connect with who you are as a person?
Or something totally different?
Whatever it is for you, knowing your own definition of success can save you a lot of time and heartbreak chasing other people’s dreams.
Knowing your priorities can help you do what is actually important with your time – by your own definition.
Your potential in other words, is how far you can go in the direction of success as you define it.
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Life Callings and Multipotentialites
What do you do when you want to change your career and you don’t have one “life calling?”
There are a few solutions.
Expand your definition of a life calling
You might be thinking about a life calling too narrowly. You think you’re supposed to have a calling that is something like “write a novel” or “save the whales,” when in reality it can be much broader than that.
Your calling might be to “express myself creatively” or to “help others that are suffering.” When your calling is that broad, you can do all kinds of things under the umbrella of your calling and still know you’re on the mark.
The alternative is to feel like you’ve lost yourself when you put down your pen and pick up your paintbrush. The reality that’s not the case at all.
Your umbrella may be much bigger – or it might be so big that you might be tempted to say that you don’t have one life calling at all.
For example, what if you love both astrophysics and salsa dancing?
Let go of the need for a life calling
Who says you need a life calling anyway?
The point of a life calling is to have a purpose, something that centers and drives you, a mission you’re working to accomplish.
Maybe you’re content with just enjoying the things you enjoy and have no deeper need for anything remotely resembling a calling.
If you’re not content with just enjoying the things you enjoy and you do need to find deeper purpose, can you choose one of your many interests to focus on without having to commit to it for the rest of your life?
The truth is, when it comes to passions, multipotentialites are serial daters, not the monogamists of the world.
So maybe you have a true love for a little while, and then later on you have another true love. Or maybe you have a couple of true loves at once.
You don’t have to adhere to the monogamy model to be fulfilled, be on target with your life or to do something great.
Success, Focus, and Multipotentiality
Have you ever heard that it takes 10,000 hours to become an expert at something?
If that’s true, then it means you would have to practice something for a little longer than 24 years if you did it for 8 hours a week if you wanted to be an expert.
So for those of us who like to dabble, it can be hard to sustain that level of focus on any one thing – and therefore maybe never reach that level of expertise in any one thing.
Rather, you’re very good at multiple things.
The good news is, that’s totally fine. You don’t have to be an expert to be successful. For us, that’s no fun anyway – think of all the things you’re missing out on exploring!
Yet, successful people overwhelmingly agree that focusing on one thing at a time is a key to success.
Still, but that doesn’t mean you have to only have one interest or passion.
What it does mean is that if you’re working on something (like when Steve Jobs was building Apple, or Sara Blakely was starting Spanx, or Da Vinci was painting the Mona Lisa) you can’t also have another thing huge you’re working on.
One thing at a time.
“It is those who concentrate on but one thing at a time who advance in this world. The great man or woman is the one who never steps outside his or her specialty or foolishly dissipates his or her individuality.”
You have lots of specialties, but you can only have one driving goal at a time. You can’t be publishing a book and starting a business. You can’t be starting a business and finishing your dissertation, you can’t be training for a marathon and starting a crash diet.
Ok, you can actually do all of those things.
But you’ll probably lower your chances of success than if you single mindedly worked on one at a time.
Careers and Multipotentialites
If you are a multipotentialite, what are you to do when it comes to your career?
Careers often force you to focus on one area of expertise, and when it comes to career change it can feel impossible to choose because of interest in so many areas.
What can you do if you are feeling bored in your career and ready to move on to something new, but just not sure what that might be?
Here are a couple of ideas and thoughts that might help.
Try them all
More and more, companies want employees who come in with a mindset that they are going to make a specific impact – not that they are hired and that they will be there for the next X amount of years.
That’s good news for you, because you’re no longer expected to have a job for a length of time just to have it – you’re expected to get results.
So that mindset gives you the freedom to dabble in different careers.
Yes, you’re expected to deliver results.
Yes, you’ll have to make several career changes.
But if what you want is the ability to try a little bit of everything, there is no longer a stigma attached.
Choose the best one
Many people express concern about the implications of multiple career changes, and feel better about multiple job changes.
Therefore, choosing a general career direction is a good option for many people and then within that option exploring different aspects of it so that you are able to use many skills and explore different sides of your personality.
With the help of coaching, you can get very clear on the right path for you, even if you’re feeling lost right now.
Become an entrepreneur
Being an entrepreneur requires you to wear many different hats. As long as they are things that you like to do, being an entrepreneur could be good for you.
You get control over your calendar (though you still work!) and explore many different things.
Choose a business wisely, and make sure you’re aware that being in business is first and foremost about business. That means if you hate all the business aspects of your business and only like being a practitioner, you’re probably better off working for someone else.
Not everything is a career
You don’t have to make money doing everything you love to do.
I believe that you do have to love what you make money doing.
Those are two very different things.
You can have loves outside of work as long as you love your work. The moment you start living for the weekend, it’s all over.
So choose one thing you want to make a career out of, then pursue the rest as hobbies. They are just for fun.
You can choose where to put the most energy and emphasis as well.
You might have an amazing career that you give your all to, and a few side hobbies, or you might have a job you love that pays the bills, but your real work is the book you’re writing.
Thrive As A Multipotenialite
Being a multipotentialite almost by definition means you’ll have a rich and interesting life. You’re too curious about the world not to.
But if you’re also someone who wants to be successful at something of your choosing, you can be by channeling your energy into an area of potential that you want to see grow.