Not so long ago, I was at one of these typical networking events, when THE inevitable question came up “What do you do?”. My answer usually depends on the occasion and who’s asking but that evening I was happy to talk about Passions Pilot.
Usually, people have a good idea of what you mean with “I write about organisation and productivity”. However, explaining what it means to be a “multi-potentialite” is not so straightforward.
So I started telling them that we are people with many interests, passions, projects and creative pursuits and that we would like to do it all. The next question almost floored me: “So actually, why don’t you? What is the problem?”.
Yes, why not? What IS the problem? I gave them a list of all kinds of different problems that we can have as a multi-potentialite but I wasn’t happy with my answer. And afterwards, the question kept popping up in my mind.
Knowing the problem is half of the solution
So what exactly are the problems that multi-potentialites have? Is there one root cause from where it all starts? Or is there a bunch of different issues? It seems to me that all issues and problems are linked and intertwined like a huge spaghetti. So, where to start?
I put on my analyst cap and this is the result:
- There exists a lot of interest fields: health, science, business, culture, arts, sports etc. and in today’s world, you can have access to all of it if you want, yay! You have millions of options to choose from. This is just a fact, and rather positive. No problem at all, except for multi-potentialites…
- Because, multi-potentialites are interested in everything, or in at least a lot of different topics that don’t necessarily have any relationship one with another and You Want To Do It All. This is the root cause. This is where the problem starts because what you want is just plain impossible and deep down inside you know it is. You don’t live long enough to do it all, so you will need to narrow down. Aye, this is a huge problem!
- You’re not able to narrow down because with so many options, either you feel completely overwhelmed or you’re unable to choose. You’re unable to choose because you don’t want to make the wrong choice and/or you fear missing out on the options you don’t choose. And you finally end up doing nothing at all or just trivial things.
- Then, when you actually (under pressure) do make a choice, all the previous conditions still exist: There are still a lot of options out there and you’re still interested in doing them all.
- So sometimes, it’s just impossible to focus on one thing, even for a short period of time, let alone commit to something in the long term. BIG problem, which gives you the reputation of being a Jack or Jill-of-all-trades and master of none. The risk and the probability of occurrence are high that you go off to the next shiny object that passes by.
- Or you actually do focus. Full of enthusiasm you dive in, start learning and you get good at it and then… when there’s nothing to learn anymore, you’re getting bored. You try to persist for a while but it’s no use. You finally let go of what was once one of your passions and go off on another tangent. And the same pattern is repeated over and over again.
- After all, you would like to be a specialist thinking specialists have a much easier life. This is completely ridiculous. You simply can’t be someone you’re not. That is to plan for disaster.
The other half of the solution.
To summarise the problem: The root cause is that there are millions of fields of interest and you want to do them all. This is not possible and as a consequence, you know you should make choices or at least narrow down but you’re unable to. And if you do make a choice, you cannot stick to it.
What could be the solution? For sure, there are things that you can do and live your life to the fullest extent without all the frustration that comes with being a multi-potentialite.
- First of all it’s important to recognise and accept that it’s impossible to do it ALL. Actually you don’t really want to do it all. Really, you don’t. Stay tuned…
- Secondly, You ARE able to narrow down. Write down the interest fields that you’re not interested in. For instance, I am not so much interested in biology and agriculture, so I don’t lose time reading or learning about it.
- If you don’t know what you’re good at or what you love to do, then, in interest fields that excite you, start experimenting for short periods of time and fail fast. It’s a great way, especially for multi-potentialites to find out what you’re passionate about.
- Overlooking all of your interests, passions, current projects and plans, discover your overarching theme and your personal vision. You can use it as your personal guideline to know what to do and what not.
- Within your overarching theme or life vision, look how you can combine different interest fields and passions into a (mixed) career and/or a projects portfolio.
- And last but not least: Get as organised as can be. Optimise your day-to-day work so you have more time for things that make you happy
If you want to know how to create your personal passions portfolio and/or you want to receive more tips and advice on organisation and productivity for multi-potentialites, then please sign up below. You will get access for free to the course “Setup your Passions Portfolio in Five easy steps” and every week you will find a short ‘Spark of Passion’ in your email inbox.
Doing all this should take out a lot of the overwhelm, anxiety and frustration that we multi-potentialites experience. Try it out and let me know if it works for you.