Have you ever asked yourself, “Why am I not REALLY GOOD at anything?” Well, you could be a multipotentialite.
I just recently listened to a TED talk from author Emilie Wapnick, who makes honestly probably one of the most amazing points I’ve ever heard: Why do we all feel like we have to have this ONE purpose and destiny in life?
Why do we all feel like we have to be ONE thing when we grow up?
Well, Wapnick says, it’s because we’re told from the time we’re 5 years old that we need to have a career in mind — that ONE true calling that defines us and shapes us. “Abby the painter.” “Bob the engineer.” “Mary the heart surgeon.”
If you don’t have your “thing,” you might feel like you’ve failed. But I want to change your mind and tell you you’re actually what’s called a multipotentialite!
But first, my own story:
I know when I was little, I always had a million different career ideas floating around in my head. Actress, singer, firefighter….
And I guess you could say I ended up doing one specific thing, my dream job that I love: being a coach/trainer/instructor. But I still don’t think I have this “one true calling”…Instead, there are a ton of little things that all add up.
I’m also a mentor and motivator. And a mom and wife. (Which means I’m also a nurse, teacher, voice of reason… 😉 ) And plus I’m a student…of the world!
Each of these different “hats” I wear is important to me. And maybe some people would argue I should have only focused on ONE calling throughout life, and become an “expert” spending 10,000 hours on that.
But I would much rather do EVERYTHING I love…from mom to mentor, wife to workouts, entrepreneur/leader to student/learner!!
And of course in kindergarten when they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up..I never could have guessed all that!
Calling yourself a “multipotentialite” feels a whole lot better than saying you don’t know what “your thing” is. But it’s also more accurate, because the idea that we all need to have “that thing” is a total misconception about what life means…the whole point is that you should live it doing what YOU want.
And then they asked me again, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” when I turned 18. I was already expected to be a SUPER EXPERT at something like science or math, or SUPER PASSIONATE about art or music.
Well, I was so unsure back then, and I could NEVER have known I’d become the person I am today.
Back then I felt so lost and thought, “Why don’t I have that one thing?”
Now I wish I could have pulled 18-year-old me aside and into a hug, and said:
“You’re meant to be great at some things and terrible at others. You’re meant to try new things, and not be afraid to fail at them. The only way you fail is if you don’t try. And if you don’t have ‘your thing’ yet, just trust me. Someday you’ll help a ton of people reach THEIR potentials…THAT’S ‘your thing’!!”
…And now I realize, in this scenario, I forgot to introduce myself. So young Michele’s answer would probably be, “Who the heck are you, you crazy lady???” LOL.