In this episode we explore one aspect of our Dharma, our purpose in life.
People often think this is one thing. Like, when people say “I’ve always known I wanted to be a marine biologist, ever since I was a kid.”
Or, “I just knew I was going to be a teacher.”
But the truth is, many of us have multiple strengths and passions that we long to share with the world – especially freedom junkies like my clients, and like you rebels out there listening to this podcast – but we never give ourselves permission to explore and cultivate them.
One term used to describe a person with many passions is “multi-passionate,” and here’s what usually happens when someone is a multi-passionate:
- You notice that bright shiny object (aka new passion)
- Then uber-obsession kicks in and you think about it all the freakin’ time
- Then you take a deep breath and dive in. You learn all you can. You immerse yourself in it. If you’re like me, it make look like an obsession.
- Then, you start doing it – the new hobby or the new adventure
- And eventually, once you got it figured out or learned “enough,” you may ditch it, or quickly finish it up/get it over with…or add another passion to the list
Can you relate?
Other characteristics of multi-passionate people:
// They love to learn. That’s me 100%. I budget thousands of dollars a year just for learning. I love it THAT much. I wish school was free. But it’s not. So I have to reign it in a bit.
// Multi-passionates also read widely in divergent areas that often are not connected.
Like how what I’m reading now ranges from a revisiting of Martha Beck’s Steering By Starlight, Michael Benavov’s Men of Salt, about a man’s journey along the Sahara’s ancient salt trade route, and the “green journal” of the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Seriously.
But what ends up happening with multipassionates is that as a result of this exposure to so many things, we have tons of idea babies.
We start to see connections across seemingly disparate areas – and for people that get really good at it, there are brilliant new discoveries, inventions, new ways to apply things, amazing collaborations.
Justine Musk, who was formerly married to Elon Musk, the founder of PayPal and the CEO of Tesla and SpaceX (another multi-passionate, right?) once gave some advice about how to become a billionaire. She recommended choosing something unique and helpful that no computer could replicate, and to master that. Then to choose a second thing and become the master of that as well. Then she said, “Introduce hot ideas to each other, so they can have idea sex and make idea babies that no one has seen before”.
And this, fellow humans, is what a multi-passionate at their best can do!
So it’s actually a blessing to have so many interests, especially when we let our brains explore the different ways we can combine them all
We know a lot about …a lot!
Some examples of multi-passionates are people like Leonardo DaVinci who was a scientist, mathematician, engineer, inventor, anatomist, painter, sculptor, architect, musician, and writer…he’s been credited with inventing the helicopter too!
Then there’s Maya Angelou. I mean, she has done so much. She danced at a strip joint, ran a brothel, mastered several languages (after not speaking for 5 years as a kid), published a variety of books from cooking to children’s books to poetry. She wrote plays and screenplays and acted in them (she was even nominated for an Emmy!)! And more. I mean what the what????
Another characteristic of multi-passionates is they have the ability to focus on a given topic for a long period of time. Many people think multi-passionates have ADHD – and many might, but actually most MPs can also deeply focus on a topic – but with the caveat that they can focus on a given topic as long as it is necessary to learn what they need to know. After that, they move on.
And this powerful ability to focus is not to the exclusion of everything else.
Rather, it is a stepping-stone to the next thing!
The thing that causes a lot of suffering in all this for MPs is that lots of us freak out about having to choose one thing.
We don’t want to.
But the world really really really wants us to.
And we feel that our changing directions lead others to see it as proof that we are confused or something.
And we worry people might see us as flaky.
I know when I was first starting to strut my multipassionate colors, I would also constantly feel really self-conscious when people at parties would ask, “What do you do?” Where do I even start?
Even my hair stylist – she said, “Hey what exactly do you do? I was telling someone about you and how you help women get more confidence and build resilience and have more adventure…but I realized I didn’t know exactly what you DO?”
And that’s because it doesn’t fit into a box, my friends.
Multi-passionates often hear, “Why don’t you just do the safe thing instead? The ‘normal’ thing. The obvious thing?”
And our response is usually…because that seems kind of boring.
And people don’t get that, especially those folks that are totally content with doing their one thing.
Even though I have a truly amazing life now, for much of it I often felt judged. I felt like people thought I was lazy, or scattered, a dilettante, Jill of All Trades (Master of None), unable to focus. “Why can’t she just pick one thing and stick to it?”
Barhara Sherer, who wrote the book Refuse to Choose, said, “You are the owner of a remarkable, multi-talented brain trying to do its work in a world that doesn’t understand who you are and doesn’t know why you behave as you do.”
When I read that, it put all the things that other people criticized me for in a positive light. I finally felt seen. Understood.
Once I embraced this aspect of who I was, I was able to piece all my passions together into a mandala of sorts that works for me. I’ve done everything from being a massage therapist and a New York Times paper girl, a nurse, international climbing guide, yoga teacher, midwife, professor, Master Life Coach – and more! There is a lot to be passionate about within both coaching and the medical field, so they keep me quite content;)
I want to make it clear here: you don’t have to choose one thing.
One of my superpowers as a coach is being able to see the passions of my clients and helping them create a lifestyle that allows them to LIVE it all. Just like the amazing multi-passionates before them. So many idea babies get born!
You can create a mandala like I did, fitting in multiple passions at once. You can drop into one passion for awhile and then move on to the next when you’re ready. You can do it your way.
Don’t worry about “having” to pick one.
How do you weave together your own mandala in life?
In this episode I talk about the importance of:
Fulling owning being a MP
Managing your mind around it.
Choosing who you share your passion projects with with care.
When to decide that a passion is a long-term project and what it means for entrepreneurs
And lastly, the importance of letting people be wrong about you and your myriad passions.
In short, if you’re a rebel multipassionate, I want to challenge you to own your multipassionism and strut it! Fly that freak flag and wave it in the air. You are a miracle. You are unique. We need you to do you, your way.
TOPICS IN THIS EPISODE
// What having a multi-passionate brain looks like
// Do all multi-passionate people have ADD
// 6 key tips for how to create your own multi-passionate lifestyle
// How to fly your Freak Flag with pride
// Click here to listen to Episode 36 How to Let People Be Wrong About You
// If you’re new to the squad, grab the starter kit I created at RebelBuddhist.com. It has all you need to start creating a life of more freedom, adventure, and purpose. You’ll get access to the private Facebook group where you can ask me questions! Once you join, there’s also a weekly FB live called Wake the F*ck Up Wednesday, where you can ask questions that come up as you do this work – in all parts of your life.
// If you’re interested in a really awesome way to make the next year your best one yet, join Freedom School. Enrollment is open for a limited time. It will set you up to live the best version of you in the year to come. This is an amazing group of rebel women committed to creating lives of freedom, adventure and purpose. You can even gift a Freedom School membership to someone that you know could use the boost and come together! You’ll dive into getting clear about: what you want, how to clear your life of the things you don’t, skills for living an authentic life so you are out there being YOU and not what other people want you to be, and more.