“Proudly owning my varied talents and interests required a reframing. I had to unlearn what I knew about success, and what is possible, and adopt a new way of thinking about what is truly important.” ~Janine Rudder
This topic speaks so loudly to me, and others in the creative space, that I’m amazed that I hadn’t broached it sooner. For years I’ve engaged in this internal struggle. My natural inclination to be enthralled by many activities and career paths at the same time negates much of what we’ve been taught in Western culture about adulthood, responsibility, and success.
Typically, people who express and actively follow many passions aren’t taken as seriously. Despite the movement of millennials away from the old model of holding the same job for 30 or 40 years, there’s still a stigma around pursuing various areas of interest at once.
Before delving into my personal story of embracing my multi-passionate nature, I want to pay homage to the inventor of the term. Mogul, author, coach and spiritual teacher, Marie Forleo, coined the term “multi-passionate entrepreneur” in the early 2000s. Around that time she worked in finance but was also pursuing her dream of becoming a dancer and personal development coach. Marie invented the moniker as a way of validating herself, and others who choose to honor their interests in multiple creative endeavors. (Below, see a link to one of my favorite videos by Marie on the subject)
My Awakening About Work
I first realized that the narrow interpretation of work and career we have been fed didn’t suit me about eight years ago. It was nine years post undergrad, I was well into my career in the education field, and I had just completed a Pilates teacher training program. I was offered an opportunity to teach a mat class at a boutique studio and was loving life a little more as a result. Each week I relished in preparing the sequence and music for my upcoming class. Post class, a wave of accomplishment and satisfaction would wash over me. I didn’t realize it then, but the choice to invest in my love of movement and fitness helped reveal how fulfilling it can be to build a life around the things you love and are good at.
My next big awakening in this area came at the beginning of 2018. Although I’d always been a huge appreciator of art, I never saw myself as an artist because I’d never really created anything “artistic”. In hindsight, it’s now so clear to me that I never even allowed myself the chance to play, dabble, or dream in that space. I closed it off in my mind as a place for the “talented” and forever relegated myself to art appreciator.
Everything changed in January of 2018 when I got this intensely strong urge to start writing. Something deep down told me that I had a gift to offer that the world would appreciate. Eleven months later in November, I published my very first blog post and have been deeply gratified with each completion of a new post ever since.
Making the conscious decision to step into my identity as a writer and Pilates instructor opened the floodgates of acceptance of all of my passions. I’m now also a trained, soon to be certified, personal success coach and sit on the advisory board of an amazing organization that introduces mindfulness and social emotional learning in schools across the globe.
Unlearn What You Know About Success
Proudly owning my varied talents and interests required a reframing. I had to unlearn what I “knew” about success, and what is possible, and adopt a new way of thinking about what is truly important. It all boiled down to this question – Do I want to live my life trying to be perceived as serious by others, or do I create an experience that is fulfilling and pleasing for myself?
Here are some truths that worked for me along the way to loving my multi-passionate self:
1. Feel the fear, but stand in your desires and interests. This looks like resisting the urge to succumb to the inner voices telling you that you look confused, or the skeptical outer voices of the people around you.
2. Define what success is for you. “What is it that you want?” Make a list. Writing it down will make it easier to focus on exactly what you want and not be distracted by other’s thoughts about what you should be doing.
3. Be ok with going slow. You’ve made a conscious choice to work on many areas of interest at once and this is just fine, just know it may take a bit longer to see results. Focus on the progress you are making instead of the pace.
4. Know your Power. Marie Forleo sums this up perfectly. “You get to choose how you position anything. You get to frame your experience, both for yourself and for the world. What’s the story you're going to tell? Are you gonna position your multi-passionate nature as a strength or as a weakness? As something that makes you fantastic or something that makes you a flake?”
How to Pursue All Your Passions Without Looking Flaky - Marie Forleo
Janine Rudder is a coach and Co-Owner at Manifestara LLC - https://manifestara.com/