If you’re anything like me, you probably have many different interests and a lot of trouble picking just one. Many of us—if not most—are likely multi-passionate, and I don’t believe there’s anything inherently wrong with that (if you haven’t guessed). However, I would argue that being a creative generalist or having many passions isn’t always praised by society—unless, of course, you happen to be some sort of celebrity…
In any case, if your multi-passionate and/or generalist nature has caused friends or family members to call you “noncommital” and scratch their heads about “what you do,” you are not alone! We are in this together.
I wanted to make this video because I know a lot of you out there understand the struggle of not having one “true” passion. There may have been a time in my life where I thought I had one specific passion, but it’s not really like that anymore. And I don’t think this “phenomenon” (let’s just call it that for now) is specific to twenty-somethings (assuming you’re a millennial…and ok, I’ll stop with the parentheses), because I definitely know or have met people who are in their 40s, 50s, etc. still figuring out their “passion” just like you and I.
So in an effort to encourage anyone feeling down about their “calling,” or lack thereof, I wanted to share a few lessons that have helped me find some career clarity in my own life. Hopefully, you find this helpful too!
*Some of the links below are affiliate links, which means that if you click through and make a purchase, I will receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. Find out more HERE.*
Don’t obsess over finding an answer because, chances are, you won’t figure out what you truly want to pursue until you try things out first. Not everything will always click right away, and that’s okay. What’s more important is that you’re out there gaining experience, as opposed to just thinking about doing something.
In other words…
Okay so this is kind of an addendum to Tip 1, but if you’ve been in the exploring phase for a while, maybe it’s time to start investing in yourself.
Is there some sort of program you’ve been thinking of signing up for? Maybe you want to switch careers and invest in continued education to make this happen.
*Obviously, you want to make sure the course (or whatever it is you’ll need to pay for) is within your means, but aside from that, perhaps it’s time to make the big move.
Whatever the case, it pays to invest in yourself. You might feel a pinch in your wallet right now, but sometimes it’s worth the money. And honestly I feel like when you invest in a course or purchase a resource (perhaps an ebook that helps you learn how to accomplish something), no matter how big or small, I’ve found that you’re more likely to carry out what you set out to do because you’ve made a financial commitment and don’t want your money to go to waste.
At a certain point, it just makes sense to invest in yourself.
Seriously! If you thought you’d end up in fashion and you don’t want to work in the fashion industry anymore, that’s ok. Just because you made a promise to yourself 10 years ago that you were going to become a fashion designer [or fill in the blank], doesn’t mean you have to keep that promise.
Sometimes, the hardest thing to admit to yourself is that you no longer want what you thought you wanted. Walking away is hard. But breathe, and know that you can change your mind.
It’s dangerous to be in the mindset of “If I do/have [blank], then I will be happy or successful or _____.” I do this all the time and am working on it myself. I think that as human beings, we have a tendency to hang our hopes on one thing and idolize people or objects because we feel like that will bring us happiness, security, etc. Often times we’re just setting ourselves up for huge disappointment when we do that.
Give yourself space to change your mind and decide whether or not you actually want something.
“Commit!? How dare you? I thought you said you were a ‘multi-passionate’ creative!“
Okay, hear me out. I’m not saying you should and have to commit your life to one career path, major, etc.
However, if you genuinely are interested in something, give that interest some time. Make a commitment to give it your all. Do what you have to do figure out whether or not this is something that you might actually consider pursuing. As a muti-passionate, I’ve definitely been guilty of starting a lot of projects and not following through on them. I’ve learned that it’s better to focus on a few projects/interests at a time and then move on to the next thing.
If you only half-ass your commitment, then you may never really know if you’re heading down the right path or if something is for you. Better to give something 100% than to spread your precious attention thin.
I know how tempting it is to want to do all the things and get those things done right now, right this minute. The danger in doing this is that you can become super overwhelmed and potentially stop enjoying what you once loved doing.
Remember this: Just because you’re pursuing 1 or 2 things right now, doesn’t mean you’ll never get to work on other things. It’s all about focus, putting in the time, work, and effort and then moving onto your next big endeavor!
What’s really driving you or motivating you at the end of day? How do you want to serve others? How do you want to feel?
Again, I don’t think it’s wise to rely on passion alone, especially if you don’t know what that is yet or you just don’t think you’ll ever know. It’s difficult to stay motivated or to follow through on a project if you don’t know why you want to do it in the first place.
If your “why” is really weak, you might end up not accomplishing what you set out to do. That’s why I think it’s important to start developing a sense of purpose even if you only have an inkling of what motivates you and why you want to achieve certain things. That’s a start!
By thinking about things like, how you want to use your gifts and experiences to help other people, you are taking the focus off yourself and putting it on others. If you figure out why you want to take certain actions, then everything else will make sense and the “how” part might just follow. You’ll eventually find opportunities that lead you to where you want to be. It might take some time, but at least you’ll have a clearer understanding of why you want to purse your dream(s).
Be attentive to the patterns in your life. Internships, extracurriculars, jobs, life experiences, hobbies, etc. Just take all of that into consideration and draw parallels between those random experiences. You might be able to find some common threads.
This is not to say that if you wanted to become an astronaut when you were a kid, you should try to become an astronaut now. BUT, maybe it’s that sense of awe or wonder or even just science that you’re drawn to. Take some time to put the pieces together.
Personally, the best lesson I’ve learned as a creative and should probably implement more in my life is making stuff. Doing sh*t.
I know that starting is often the hardest part. Sometimes we overthink things and make excuses such as, “I’m too lazy” or “busy” or “stupid,” etc. to do xyz. And sometimes, we don’t even know how to start, which is why we don’t take the first step. But if you have a dream/are interested in anything, start taking actions that will bring you closer to where you want to be.
Make or build the work you want to be known or hired for!
In order to have a body of work to look back on, you gotta start somewhere. In fact, you can start today. Maybe you want to get into design! You can start creating a portfolio right now. Even if it sucks in the beginning, at least you’re making something. You could even take on free work (which I don’t always support) or start self-initiated projects.
I think we often underestimate the power of starting small. What Ive learned is that there’s a difference between starting small and playing small. Playing small is when you know you can do more. You know you can take yourself to the next level, but you’re staying inside your comfort zone.
Starting small is when you take that first step outside your comfort zone, but it’s just a small initial step. There is a difference between those two things! Baby steps are great as long as you are leaving your comfort zone. and taking concrete action.
There’s nothing wrong with taking small steps. That’s how everyone gets started. (Even this Youtube video for me is that first step!)
Anyway, I’ve listed a few resource recommendations below for any fellow multi-passionate folks out there and hope these resources inspire you to take action today!
Emilie Wapnick’s website for Multipotentialites:
Laura Simms’ Career Guidance:
Elizabeth Gilbert’s Super Soul Sessions Talk:
“How to Navigate Your Quarter-Life Crisis”: