I have been quite fortunate in my life as a whole. But something has always felt a little off. I could never really settle on just one career field to stick with.
For example: I’m a classically trained and very talented (if I must toot my own horn) clarinetist and former private lesson teacher. I spent many years in the advertising world selling ad campaigns that I helped design and create including print and radio. I also have spent the past three years while living in Germany doing copywriting – writing sales copy for businesses.
Recently I’ve begun writing cover letters and resumes because I like them and thought it would be a great way to help other spouses. And now I’m looking into providing internet research for other writers and businesses just because I love doing research – it’s usually my favorite part of doing someone’s copywriting project.
Oh, and before I moved to Germany with my little military family I was a flight attendant.
So, my hands seem to have been in just about everything.
We’re looking at our next PCS – moving back stateside. We just got our orders yesterday. My family and I are so very excited, but the biggest thing I can think is that this move is another opportunity to explore my next career field(s). I have dreams about it almost every night. (Next, I want to try my hand at poetry slams!)
Needless to say, to most people I probably seem like a flighty, unfocused, highly adventurous yet unstable hot mess. And that’s pretty much how I always thought of myself, as well. I was one of those who graduated with honors from high school and everyone had great expectations for me (including me) and I’ve failed to live up to them.
I have long believed that there must be something wrong with me because I couldn’t see myself doing any one thing for the rest of my life. That has always seemed like an eternity to me. I marvel at people who stay in one job, or at least one career, for 10 or 20 years. To me, that’s just unfathomable.
I recently came across a website, Puttylike.com, touting “lifestyle design for multipotentialites” created by Emilie Wapnick. I was so curious as to what a multipotentialite was I had to click over and check it out. As it turns out, my desire to learn, explore and attempt many things isn’t at all a bad thing – it’s a mentality likened to DaVinci, Einstein, Aristotle and Ben Franklin, who were all good at several things at once. They were what was once known as Renaissance men. This type of personality “flaw” (by today’s thinking) was once the ideal.
After I read through this website, which is a community for folks like me, I instantly felt as if a huge weight had been lifted from my shoulders.
Suddenly my whole life made more sense.
According to Wikipedia, Mulitpotentiality is an educational and psychological term referring to a pattern found among intellectually gifted individuals. “Because gifted students generally have diverse interests across numerous domains and may be capable of success in many endeavors or professions, they are confronted with unique decisions as a result of these choices. When encountering multiple opportunities, some students may experience confusion, anxiety and frustration because they fear missing something or making a wrong decision.”
So, have you experienced this type of misdirection in your life? Have you felt the pressure and frustration of trying to find your one true calling in life only to feel torn in many directions? Have you felt you haven’t lived up to your potential because you’ve been paralyzed by or overwhelmed by the options in front of you?
If this describes you, then you should no longer feel isolated. You’re definitely not alone. However, you may be in a much smaller group – a group for the gifted and talented of the world.
And you are NOT a failure. You have many gifts and can’t decided which one to share with the world at any given time. The trick is to find a way to use as many of your talents as possible in the same field. For example, if you love music and are a classically trained instrumentalist and also love to write, you can create a blog about your instrument (something I’m looking into doing in the near future.) Or just find ways to use all of your talents through freelancing (also, something I’ve been doing naturally and will continue to do in my next duty station.)
You are secretly a ninja in all you do without even realizing it. You can be a Jack of all trades and master them all.
So, go forth and conquer, you amazing individual!