A Disturbing Trend in the Blogosphere…
Photo courtesy of Alex Bellink.

A Disturbing Trend in the Blogosphere…

Written by Emilie

Topics: Renaissance Business

I’ve noticed a disturbing trend in the blogosphere lately…

It seems that a lot of successful multipotentialite entrepreneurs have been publishing blog posts about how, when it comes to choosing a topic for your business, it’s best to “choose one thing”.

This baffles me, as most of these people actually brought multiple interests together. It’s their diverse backgrounds that got them to where they are and made their brand so unique. And now they’re counseling other people to “pick one thing”? Shouldn’t they be encouraging others to do what they did and find ways of creatively bringing their interests together in one venture or offering?

The other thing that pains me, is that most of these entrepreneurs are people I look up to. I think that’s why it’s so upsetting. These are genuinely awesome multipotentialites who should be role models for the multipotentialite community… and it sort of feels like they’re rejecting us.

I don’t think they’re doing it on purpose though. I think it’s a lack of awareness thing. And so, I thought I’d make a video, to maybe bring some awareness to the issue.

My Response

What do you think?

Why do you think some successful multipotentialites are suddenly encouraging others to deny their multipotentiality instead of finding ways to use it?

***

If you’d like to learn more about turning all of your interests into one business, check out Renaissance Business.

71 Comments

  1. Love this Emilie!I have noticed this trend too & also been baffled by it-I think there needs to be discussion around the shift that happens when people become highly successful & in order to hold onto that status change their message or the heart of their story to make it more applicable to the general readership.

    I have lots of talents-choosing just one denies all the other pieces that make me unique or special. While some people absolutely need to just choose one thing & BEGIN, if I try to do just one thing I feel stifled & don’t excel at anything. When I find a project that allows many of my skills to be used I am a blazing furnace of productivity. Giving advice that doesn’t speak to the diversity of readers is limiting for them but thankfully there are creatives like you spreading the word that we are not all the same! And that is a beautiful thing.

    • Emilie says:

      Thanks Jessika!

      I love your burning furnace of productivity metaphor. So true. It feels incredible when all of your “pieces” are working together in synchronicity. It’s like a beautiful orchestra inside of you. You know, you’ve got the violin playing the lead melody, the cellos keeping everyone grounded, the tympani chiming in every now and then for some spice. Lol.

      (Haha.. Now I want to stop writing and go practice my violin… :)

  2. Hey Emilie!

    I did an audio response to this post over here:

    http://audioboo.fm/boos/447011-audio-comment-a-disturbing-trend

    Hope you like it!

    Thanks for the post!
    JW

    • Emilie says:

      Brilliant, Justin! Thank you.

      You’re absolutely right. They are telling people to be like them NOW, as opposed to back then. But that whole scanner thing, that synthesis process, is what made them who they are today.

      “Follow your mentors’ actions, not their advice.”

      Got that, everyone? :)

      Thanks so much! This was awesome.

  3. Amy says:

    Thank you for pointing this out! I’ve noticed it too and used to get confused by it… I think a better thing to say would be, “Go on a quest! Find out what makes you unique and what your true interests are, and then make those things work for you.” It should definitely not feel limiting. I forget who said it or where I heard this, but “your niche is YOU” – not some pre-fab field that leaves some of your passions orphaned on the side of the road.

  4. You are spot on (duh) in observing this trend. I’ve got two competing theories. One is more benevolent than the others.

    These multipotentialite folks evolved over time to focus on “one thing” and it was this refined focus that led to their success. They’re not ignoring their multipotentialite past so much saying “That didn’t work, here’s what did, skip right to what works.” Part of why we look to others for advice is so that we don’t need to spend all that time figuring it out for ourselves, they did it for us. [Brian's note: Even if this were the case, which I'm not convinced it is, I bet lots of these folks actually found one overarching theme, as you suggest, rather than ditched all their interests except one]

    OR

    Multipotentiality is in fact what made these folks successful. It’s what made them unique, interesting, and attractive. We took notice because they stood out from the crowd. And now they’ve got an audience. So what’s the most efficient way to make money online? Teach people who to make money online. And it’s easier to coast along hocking business development products than it is to create a sustainable, multi-pronged, diverse business offering. Niches work (or at least they sell). I can’t think of a successful blogger, no matter their initial focus, that hasn’t eventually turned to “I will teach you how to blog / create / focus / get things done / create an online business / be location independent / tweak out your website or social media.” Those are the things that sell. So you build an audience being wonderful and diverse and full of multipotential. And then you sell what sells. Or so it seems…

    I’m really impressed that there’s a community here at Puttylike out to prove that theirs another way. I like to think that we’ll be the next great wave on the web.

    • Kirsten says:

      I think there might be some elements of shifting passions away from business and into other, more personal areas. At least, that’s my guess for at least one of the posts I’ve seen. So, once they build their multipotentialite business, they get comfortable with the idea that the money is there and they don’t *have* to be involved in every aspect, and they turn their attention toward family, friends, meditation, other areas of their lives. So they’re not turning their backs on their personalities, per se, but letting them evolve.

      That said, I have seen at least one outright “Pick one, ignore the rest” piece of advice from someone that I really respected and that I know didn’t follow that as she built up her empire. And while I understand why she might have said that, I did leave a comment pointing out that there are alternatives to that method. It’s irresponsible to try to fit people into a single box in any scenario, and all the more so when we’re talking about something as powerful as hopes and dreams for building businesses.

      • Right. I’ve also noticed this opposite trend too. That folks who built up popularity in a niche are now able to expand out and talk about lots of things (though, it seems to me they usually find their way back to online business).

        Emilie, I’d love to see a roundup/analysis of “famous multipotentialities who might not know it yet”!

      • Emilie says:

        Interesting! This is the opposite of what I’ve observed (take a listen to Justin’s audio comment above), but you’re right. This is definitely a pattern too.

        And I have big issues with the whole either/or mentality. Even here on Puttylike I try to make sure people know that my advice isn’t meant for specialists and I’m cool with their existance.. lol. Actually they’re invaluable! We need both types of people.

        It’s not a competition, like scanners vs specialists. That’s ridiculous. We all need to do what works for us and there’s no one-size-fits-all answer to that.

    • Emilie says:

      Hi Brian,

      I agree with both your points. And yeah, it’s easy to tell people to pick a niche. We know it works. It’s the safe advice that everyone gives, so why not… Except that it may be discordant with their own experience. It’s just that they may not realize this. Maybe they haven’t give it as much thought or, like you pointed out, they discounted it as simply a “process” they went through on the way to supposedly choosing one thing.

      On the topic of people teaching people to blog, it’s actually not true that everyone in the online space does that. It’s just that these are the people we hear from (for obvious reasons). Everyone else is off making money selling yoga books or memberships to cooking communities or whatever. Pat Flynn had a great podcast episode, in which he interviewed several online business owners who are not in the MMO niche.

      This was something I struggled with when writing Renaissance Business. I didn’t want to create another make money online guide. My hope is that the focus on synthesizing interests, my take on branding, and the uniquely multipotentialite approach, will set RB apart and make it really useful for scanners. It’s really more about turning your many interests into one creative platform and building community than it is about strictly “making money online”.

      Thanks for the comment Brian!

  5. Adam Barratt says:

    Hey Emilie,

    I don’t think it was majorly controversial (as you suggested on twitter!).

    When I first started looking at internet marketing it was always about picking a niche. Only recently it seems to have become more about the person/brand/uniqueness of what YOU offer. The conventional wisdom was pick what would be a profitable niche with minimal competition and keep it narrow. I could never get inspired by this…it was mechanical, not passionate (trying to write an article about something you don’t care about is ridiculous) and boring. Sure, if you were to see quick results then you would continue but of course it takes a little time hence why people give up.

    As I’ve done more research, read blogs and started blogging more myself I’ve realised you can bring your talents, abilities and passions together to offer something of great value. In fact, it’s what a lot of people like to see and are interested in as it may strike a cord and help them in their own journey. Your blog is the first time I’ve seen the term ‘multipotentialite’ and I had to laugh as it describes me perfectlty.

    I haven’t really noticed this trend myself but I may just have ignored it. I think people (big names or not) get a bit confused with their message as focus is very important but at the same time multiple interests can’t be discarded. Maybe they mean well as they want ‘newbies’ to not scatter their focus and concentrate on something in order to make progress…but they need to be careful not to scare people off their own way…there’s a balance somewhere.

    For the record I agree with you. An overarching theme of multiple interests is still one common denominator so achieves the same purpose. And just to pick one would be selling yourself (and readers) short.

    It’s a case of finding your interests and passions and building a business around that rather than the other way round…I think this is the best route to success as well as being the most fun!

    Although some people may find they lean to one area anyway. My blog was supposed to be about travel but has leant more to personal development as that has what has flowed…although I will always try and combine the two. Go with the flow I say…

    [I also like "your nich is you"!]

    Cheers!

    Adam

    • Emilie says:

      Lol Adam, you just summarized the introduction of my upcoming book. Honestly, I tell a near identical story about how I “could never get inspired by choosing a niche” the way they say you should. In the end, the only thing I felt like an “expert” at was at NOT being an expert in any one area.

      And so that’s what I started a community about. Heh. Of course I ended up mixing that multipotentiality stuff with personal development, travel, business, script writing, bollywood dance, and who knows what else. I write about everything on this site!

      Thanks Adam. :)

  6. Cotton Candy says:

    Thank you Emilie!!! ^_^ These myths can be really harmful & dis-empowering to any multipotentialite, but especially the ones who don’t know it yet & think something is wrong with them because they can’t choose just one thing.

    I think a lot of the big don’t realize what they’ve done & are giving the same advice they were given – the same advice they believe they followed! Like what you said in the Slashers Unite post, Seth Godin “focuses” on marketing, but he’s not just a marketer, he’s an author & a speaker too. Was it you that said multipotentialites may be more drawn to entrepreneurship?

    I am loving the comments too!

    • Emilie says:

      Hey C.C.,

      The funny thing is that even Seth Godin (whom I love) is guilty of this. I’ve seen him talk about the importance of mastery, devoting yourself to one thing, etc. And it’s totally puzzled me… What a total multipotentialite!

      I do think scanners are more drawn to entrepreneurship for several reasons. For one thing, it allows you to integrate many talents, for sure. Also, the mainstream/employment world isn’t the warmest to us. The labour market tends to be very skills/specialist based. So self-employment (opting out of the system) makes a lot of sense. It was the answer I found.

      Thanks for the comment. Great stuff, as usual. :)

  7. Marie says:

    Hey Emilie! Great post AND I want to share a few things. First up – I know you’re writing in response to me and my video (hip hop + business is kind of gave it away).

    Because what I do is really important to me, and I actually care that you really get that I get you, I feel compelled to share a few things that I don’t think you’re aware of.

    I’ve done OVER 50 interviews where actively promote being multipassionate. I’ve talked about this idea on stage, in radio and in video. I’ve been talking about being a multi-passionate entrepreneur for over 8 years now. I actually coined that phrase.

    Being mulitipassionate is one of the main points on the “8 Biggest Mistakes” call that I give away as the opt-in offer for the site. It’s the FIRST free thing that people get from me.

    I have a feeling you may not be fully aware of how MUCH I champion being multipassionate. I will continue to as it’s a core part of my work in the world.

    You also need to know this: when I answer someone’s question on Q&A Tuesday, I tap in – intuitively to what the person needs who asked the question. It’s part of my gift.

    While my answer may not be perfect for EVERY single person in the audience (my videos would never END and that is literally impossible to do), I do my best to offer the best I’ve got to THAT specific person in THAT specific scenario.

    Having a focus on the blog is not the same as “choosing one thing” or cutting off your passions or denying your multipassionate nature. I started with a focus on personal development online and kept going with dance, fitness and marketing too – just not all blended at once nor in one place.

    All this to say that I haven’t “left my multipassionate” nature behind, nor do I suggest that people shave off what makes them unique, or “focus on one thing” to the exclusion of the rest.

    My sense is that you’re making an assumption about me and my work that is simply not true. And as a multi-passionate entrepreneur (and proud of it)-it’s important that you have the full facts.

    • Emilie says:

      Hi Marie,

      Thank you for your comment.

      I wasn’t only responding to your video. Another post along the same lines came out the day after yours, so I was really addressing both… Hopefully this person will share their thoughts as well.

      However, you’re right. Your criticism is fair, and I apologize for not giving you the credit you clearly deserve for championing the multipassionate cause. Funny, I have heard the term used before, but wasn’t aware you had coined it. I coined multipotentialite, so high fives! :)

      I hear what you’re saying about replying to one particular question. However, that link was forwarded to me a few times by members of my community who were upset. While your answer was intended for one person, there are other people paying attention and applying your advice to their own (very similar) situations. I know you can’t address all possible situations in one 6 minute video, but maybe a little shout out that this advice isn’t for everyone– that you don’t HAVE to choose one thing. It’s not the only way. I think that would have been helpful.

      Anyway, it was certainly nice to meet/debate with you. We’ll have to stay in touch. :)

  8. Michelle says:

    I have to wonder if part of it isn’t also because of the medium. Which is one of the things I hate about blogging sometimes – there’s so many rules that you’re supposed to follow (keep it short, keep it memorable, take a strong stance, blah blah blah). So, creating a post that says “Striving for mastery is excellent, creating great work is excellent” and then go on to say “Obviously this works differently for different people, since some people work their whole lives to be masters at one thing & others work their whole lives to be masters at multiple things – like Da Vinci” is totally against the rules zomg because it might end up being longer than 500 words and gods forbid you expect people to read that.

    In other words, blogging as a medium tends to be used to create either/or posts and viewpoints because they’re what sells. (Slash, what you’re supposed to do, slash what gets tweeted.) I feel like this leads to a lot of hyperbole and oversimplification in WAY too many areas, and talking about multipotentialites is one of them. The reality is that there’s almost always some gray area and the situation could very easily be both/and instead of either/or, but that just doesn’t make as compelling of a blog post, does it?

    • My friend Shay (@anarchistrev) and I are CONSTANTLY trying to tease out the tension between “giving people what they want” (and will pay attention to) and “giving people what they need.”

      When you know what folks need and you also know what they’ll (likely) listen to… what do you do? How do you reach and serve them?

    • Emilie says:

      Such a wonderful observation, Michelle.

      I actually have major problems with certain sites that are only about imposing “the rules”. Too many blogging rules stop us from thinking outside the box, experimenting, learning. Sometimes it’s the blogs that throw away a lot of structural rules that end up being the most compelling. The rules also fuel our fears and encourage conformity. Like you said, they can lead to much oversimplification on important issues.

      Thanks for the comment and for the DM discussion. That helped me clarify my thoughts big time. I love complaining about people to you on Twitter. Heh.

  9. B says:

    I think that the advice “just choose something” is valuable when you’re interested particularly in making money- whether you want to learn a specific skillset to make you employable (which is different, of course, from “self-employable), and is also valuable when you want to start a business just so that you can sell something NOW (though I don’t see the appeal in going through all the work in starting a business if all you want to do is sell something that doesn’t particularly interest you).

    When it comes to multipotentialites and entrepreneurship, I think that the best and most memorable advice I’ve heard is not from a contemporary blogger, but from Apple founder Steve Jobs. I highly recommend this video. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UF8uR6Z6KLc

    The crux of it is that “the dots will connect,” which is a way that I really like to look at things. There’s a difference between being lazy and knowing that your “dots” haven’t all connected yet, and that’s what many people don’t seem to understand.

    • Emilie says:

      Very true. Starting a business is much more than just launching a product. It takes time and a ton of hard work. It’s impossible to put in those hours without the passion. If what you’re looking for is a quick buck, may as well get a job.

      I LOVE Steve Job’s Standford address! Always have. It’s just so smart and sooo ‘multipotentialite’. Also being in Portland, and being the daughter of a mom who went to Reed College, it makes me want to “sit in” on some classes the way he did. Unfortunately they don’t offer calligraphy anymore. :)

      • Oh no – Reed doesn’t offer calligraphy anymore?

        As a professional calligrapher (who is also a huge fan of Steve Jobs and his Stanford address), I’m very sad to hear that. :(

        Think how different (and not nearly as wonderful) online world would be right now, if not for Steve Jobs’ discovery of calligraphy at Reed College!

        What a shame.

    • Cara says:

      I loved reading that line: “There’s a difference between being lazy and knowing that your ‘dots’ haven’t all connected yet…” That’s so true! I’m getting closer to my ‘dots’ finding one another these days, but for a very long time my husband and some friends just feel I am flighty and nuts. Not a lot of support there. I keep getting the “why can’t you just apply yourself to one thing and narrow it down?” all the time.

      Thankfully, with this site, I am learning there is nothing wrong with me. I just started my blog called Cara Creates! where I incorporate the creating process from many passions. We’ll see where it goes from here.

  10. Tessa Zeng says:

    JUST got a chance to watch this. Holy crap, Emilie, you’re an empowerment rock star. Sending you an email!!! (I hope you know I now have like 50 things to email you. Way to be so engaging! Gr.)

  11. Tessa Zeng says:

    ALSO, I just want to put in my 2 cents + say that I love the discussion here. I think a lot of the nuances we’re pointing out, like with Michelle mentioning the medium or Brian pointing out that teachers often gloss over the part where they consolidated interests into a theme… are spot on. I actually think one of the major culprits at work, too, is Language. “One thing”, used without critical awareness and taken out of context, could mean ‘overarching multipassionate theme’ to one person, and ‘specialized factory skill’ to another…

    I’d like to think that most successful creators online Do genuinely care about their communities, and that there isn’t much of a dark side or conspiracy myth at work… and that the MAIN issue is awareness in the creation process. To be responsible for addressing nuances in your OWN work, no matter where you are on the success ladder. Which is what you emphasize in the video. Which is why you rock so hard. Yay!

    • Emilie says:

      Aww thanks Tessa! Also, I totally wouldn’t have had the courage to make this video, had you not pushed me the other night. So I really really appreciate the encouragement. You’re awesome.

      I agree that language can be a big problem. In my own blogging experience I’ve found that when I get negative feedback, it’s often because someone misunderstood my point. This used to happen more at the beginning. Now I try to clarify things and preempt possible misunderstandings. It’s tricky and impossible to prevent all misunderstandings. But yeah, definitely something we should all be conscious of.

      Oh and re: your email to me.. I’ll believe it when I see it. ;)

    • Such a great point, Tessa. As my blog has evolved over the past year and a half, I’ve focused down to “one thing”… but really that “one thing” is the very broad topic of creativity and how creative people can make space for and actually DO the passion(s) that Resistance (as Steven Pressfield would call it) keeps them away from.

      In other words, the overarching theme has “narrowed,” but in fact, I’m still as multipassionate (thank you Marie Forleo) as ever, both in what I do, and what I write about.

      And I’m with you on loving the discussion here!

  12. Owen Greaves says:

    Hi Emilie,

    I love your Blog by the way, and promote it often, I agree with you, it’s old industrial age thinking that causes this single do one thing thinking. Or, it’s what lull’s people into an old pattern. I teach in my workshops to find ways to build revenue streams for each of the passions one might have, diversity is and will be the only way to survive when the other 3 Billion People get online in the next 3 – 5 years.

    Keep pumping the pump girl, get your message out there. Maybe we should do a Radio Show Together? Thoughts?

    Later on!

    • Emilie says:

      Thanks Owen. Your workshops sound great. The next time I’m up in BC, we’ll have to get together.

      But yes, a radio show sounds awesome. Maybe sometime around the release of my book. Shoot me an email and we’ll discuss.

      Night night!

  13. Here’s my question (I’d love to hear your thoughts!):

    If you’re not picking one thing and going for it 150%, is it out of fear or is it out of unhappiness?

    • Maybe it’s another reason entirely. That’s certainly true in my case — I’m not multipassionate out of fear or unhappiness, but because of my natural excitement and enthusiasm for the (many) things I love to do.

  14. Denise says:

    I LOVE this post. Seriously! First time visiting.. “Cloud Coach” recommended you.

    I completely agree with your thoughts here. I’m a pastry chef and I wouldn’t be one, if I didn’t love art as a kid… and cupcakes, lol.

    So many things contribute to bringing someone to where they are today and I think that story needs to be told. Several interests, skills, or maybe even your personality type contribute to your overall goal, so why not discuss all these things on your blog if those are the things that has made you successful?

    Great message and thanks for sharing it!

    • Emilie says:

      Thanks Denise!

      That’s awesome. See, someone might look at what you do and think, pastry chef, you don’t get more specialized than that! But you’re right, there are so many unrelated interests that went into it. I bet you get inspired by stuff other than dessert too, like art. And I bet that diverse background makes you a much more creative pastry chef.

      Oh and welcome to Puttylike! Ethan’s a good friend of mine and it’s very cool that he sent you this way. :)

    • Ethan says:

      I’m glad you found your way over here, Denise! It looks like we both fit right in :D

  15. I’m incapable of choosing just one thing, so I’ve designed my business so it works with many different topics all related to success in some way (so it can be abundance, adventure, health, love etc). I need to have space to be random, as long as my message is clear (You can create your ideal life), it allows me to be multi-talented!

    • Ditto. Creative, multi-talented people usually find a way to incorporate their many talents under one umbrella. :)

      • Emilie says:

        Yuppers! That’s the way to do it. :)

        • Emilie says:

          And another thing you do well, Denise, not only do you know your overarching theme, you also express it clearly with your branding. A lot of people miss this step, or (more commonly) they nail the branding step but miss the thematic step! Both are essential.

          • Thanks Emilie!
            It’s definitely an evolving part of being in business – but how awesome is it that we can grow and change (and then make those changes immediately). I’m so glad I can rearrange my biz as I see fit and don’t have to wait for permission or a designer to catch up!

  16. Ethan says:

    Emilie- Great post, and I love the video format! I’ve been wanting to try this on Cloud Coach too.

    On to your message- I STILL feel the ‘pressure’ of having to choose one specific thing for my blog, even though I have a successful blog based around my multipotentiality. However, I think that it is important to create ONE niche out of your multipotentiality, not try to be in multiple different businesses at once.

    • Emilie says:

      Well I think that’s where the overarching theme comes in. You want to really nail in on your core message, but still have that one message give you the freedom to include other topics within it.

      Also, I think you can differentiate between a business and product. I’m actually a fan of creating products that address one particular problem or serve a specific delight. I like the idea of selling a number of discrete tools, as opposed to selling the “swiss army knife”.

      It’s like what Chris Guillebeau does with his Unconventional Guides. Non-conformity is the overarching theme and then he has little “tools” that address different aspects: travel, freelancing, art+money, etc.

      I would call your Inbox Zero product one tool in your toolbox. But Cloud Coach as a business, is definition much broader, and it works.

      • Ethan says:

        Oh Emilie, you have such an amazing ability to clarify these things! Very well said. Your “niche” has to provide you the space to be fully expressive as a multipotentialite- not to just pick one.

  17. Meic says:

    I wonder what Leonardo da Vinci would have said if he were asked to describe his niche? As he was only a painter, sculptor, architect, musician, scientist, mathematician, engineer, inventor, anatomist, geologist, cartographer, botanist and writer, he might not have understood the question!

  18. Bridget says:

    I hear you Emilie.
    It’s a catch-22. The best parts of us happen when we mix more than one thing. And yet, by not focusing on one thing, we often don’t reach mastery of it.
    I know that if I focused on just one aspect of my work, it wouldn’t be nearly as helpful or powerful than if I focus on both intuition and strategic critical thinking.
    Maybe if we stand at the crossroads of two things, and see how they integrate, this whole trend will go away.

    • Emilie says:

      Hi Bridget,

      Yeah I’m not even sure what “mastery” means (other than the 10,000 hour variety– rolling eyes). I sort of feel like as soon as I master one thing in my business, it’s time to take on a new challenge and master that. That’s actually one of the things I love so much about business.

      But like, I got really good at the violin when I was younger before quitting (and then restarting 10 years later). Did I master the instrument? Well no, I wasn’t a “professional”… But so what? I was still pretty damn good.

      So I guess what I’m saying is that mastery, as it’s commonly used, is overrated.

      Of course you need to be good enough to get results! And yeah, that takes some time… But it hasn’t been a problem for me. I think scanners tend to pick things up faster because we get so all-consumed with our interests.

      I like your last point too. Standing at the crossroads and consciously developing a defined number of areas.. Maybe even a low number of areas. And then once you feel satisfied with your skill in those areas, you can swap in new things if you like. That seems to be my pattern anyway.

  19. Craig_Os says:

    I don’t follow trends,so it really doesn’t matter to me. Unless there is I can see a use of a trend. Other than that, if everybody turns right, I’ll look to see why, but that doesn’t mean I am turning right along with them.

    More than a few time friends have looked at me, shook their heads at me, wondering what the heck I am doing. This internet blogging thing is just one in a long line.

    Do I care, nah! Who’s the one having fun? Them? Nope!

    • Emilie says:

      Hi Craig,

      Good stuff, not following trends. I think they’re silly too. But when people with a lot of influence start making public statements that you disagree with, sometimes it’s worth standing up and saying something. This is one nice thing about the internet. We all have a voice.

      Awesome stuff with the blogging. And more importantly, good for you for living your life in a way that makes you happy!

  20. This is a great video Emilie! I think a big part of the problem is that they don’t articulate the concept of an overarching theme as well as you do. They say “pick one thing” instead of find an overarching theme that you can then bring all your fabulous interests and passions into to create the beautifully unique product or service. I’m absolutely a multipotentialite and have chosen an overarching theme of creating an information business that involves coaching, products and programs that incorporates my love, skills and passion in several different.

    I love how you rock this area! Keep it up woman! xo

    • Emilie says:

      Rock on, Stephenie! I think there’s an element of… I don’t want to say “laziness”… (“lack of awareness” is so much more polite. ;)

      But um yeah. Finding a strong overarching theme is much harder to do than picking a niche. Not everyone’s up for the challenge or knows how to go about it even. But in my opinion, taking that time to sort out your overarching theme is SO worth it in the long run.

  21. Love that you spoke about the accidental dis-empowerment of someone. We tend to forget just how powerful words can be. And indeed how easy it is to dis-empower someone in search of their own power. It is a fragile place to be in. And greater awareness is most definitely required. Well done for speaking your mind Emilie!

    Also love: Your brand is you…

  22. Cathy says:

    Hey there Emilie!

    I’ve just recently subscribed to your insightfull thoughts and I am so thankfull for it! Specially now that you’re approaching this touchy subject of how people on the blogosphere are trying to tell everyone to focus on one thing. And you’re so right! Many people stating that show exactly the opposite, by being multipotentialites themselves!

    Latelly I’ve been struggling with that. I had people questioning me about the purpose of my blog, just because it covers a lot of different subjects. And yes, also because I haven’t got a business running on it for the time being. Until recently, I didn’t know how to answer that question… And it was messing with my head! I have so many different passions and projects I want to do that I’m unable to decide for just one!

    But then you came along and got me to think of all of it differently. And I re-remembered of a lot of great minds and entrepreneurs who have success in many different areas. And I though f the reasons that I couldn’t become one of them – hard to find a real one, except for my lack of work and self-doubt… So I saw the light. And I wrote this post: http://patchesofbeing.blogspot.pt/2012/04/this-is-my-purpose.html (eng) or http://retalhosdeser.blogspot.pt/2012/04/este-e-o-meu-proposito.html (ptg)

    Why the hell not? ;)

  23. Matt Horwitz says:

    Emilie, you’re so AWESOME! So nice to have been introduced to a fellow multi-passionate person who has really fleshed this thing out and turned it into a movement. Keep rockin’ !!!

  24. Joanie Higgs says:

    Hey Emilie,

    I still love you but this is the first putty-post to disappoint me! First of all, if everyone else was already doing what you so beautifully advocate, where would you be? Huh? You wouldn’t be enjoying the glow and popularity that comes with being an original!

    Second, I see this as a glass half-empty/half-full kind of thing. For me, your ideas are the next extremely valuable stepping stone from Paid to Exist which, as I mentioned to you in an email, was how I found out about you! So, even though Jonathan wants me to “get to game over” with a business concept, he’s provided a great structure for me to get clear on what I most want to do for now, and how to do it. And, he says repeatedly that it’s always a work in progress that will evolve as we do.

    So, rather than fall into that old trap of “making others wrong” (which God knows I’ve done again and again); I’m suggesting you keep it positive by celebrating the fact that there’s such an increasing and evolving interest in our human potential to direct the course of our own lives. Rock on, babe!

    Your new fan,
    Joanie

    • Emilie says:

      Hi Joanie,

      Thanks for the feedback. When I wrote this post, it was in response to two articles that came out that same week. People were freaking out, and I was receiving a number of emails where people were worried that there was something wrong with them and that they had to choose because some prominent voices were telling them to. I found this to be hypocritical because these bloggers were multipotentialites themselves.

      My video was a response to these pieces. I felt like someone had to stand up and say something. And while I try to keep a positive, “half-full” perspective in my posts, sometimes you have to stand up for what you believe in. Sometimes you have to face what is happening around you and speak your mind.

      Jonathan is a friend of mine, and I wasn’t criticizing him. PTE/Trailblazer is one of the few programs out there that I think is very much in line with the multipotentialite approach (overarching themes over niches, etc.).

      As for me being special by being different, honestly, if multipotentialites were totally accepted and accounted for in the mainstream world, that would make me very happy. I would find another way to make a living. There are plenty of problems out there that need solving.

      • Joanie Higgs says:

        “I would find another way to make a living. There are plenty of problems out there that need solving.”

        Indeed, I know you would ;^) Thanks for your reply.

        Joanie

  25. Hi Emilie,
    The challenge for multipotentialites helping other multipotentialites is that until the vision becomes a reality, the vision is typically only held by one person. To the outside world, it’s generally only possible to see the pieces of someone else’s vision – even if you are a multipotentialite as well. I think the situation you describe is someone really just focusing on the piece(s) they understand, and hope that it furthers a vision that they can’t see themself.
    One of my favorite books about multipotentialites is a book called “The Many Who Tapped the Secrets of The Universe”. It’s the biography of Walter Russell. He was best known as a sculptor, but he did many things during his life.
    Rob

  26. Priya says:

    I can’t focus on just one thing for too long or just one thing alone. multipotentialites are kind of awesome! :)

  27. Christina says:

    While I appreciate the spirit with which this was created, I think it ignores the fact that people selling a specific product or brand are trying to deliver the best possible value centered around that product/brand, and that often can include solid doses of conventional wisdom.

    Someone selling “here is how to become a wildly successful entrepreneur” is naturally going to say – choose a niche, destroy that niche, and then branch out. That is a proven effective method to grow a business, whether brick/mortar or online. In order to sell to your chosen niche, your message must be clear and understandable. And hopefully a little bit fun.

    I do not agree that what you are seeing is a denial of creativity or the potential to pursue and cobble together many disparate interests, but rather providing the value that will appeal to the broadest section of their audience, while providing the most tangible and measurable results as quickly as possible.

    If that isn’t someone else’s thing: cool. I just don’t agree that it is disempowering, to be honest that response feels very reactive against being “typed” as something, rather than considering the product being sold. If you consistently give 5% of your attention to 20 different products, for example, none of them will grow as quickly as if you give your full attention to one for a concerted period of time. This is not inconsistent with the idea of pursuing and embracing multiple interests, rather it embraces the concept of short spurts of intense focus/hustle in order to achieve results.

    If you are cool with all 20 products growing at a slower pace at the same time, more power to you; but in that case you are not the target audience for the “here is how to become a wildly successful entrepreneur” blogger.

    In sum: it’s not an issue of denying where you came from, it’s an issue of being clear about what you are selling today.

  28. Phil says:

    I’m afraid you’ve got all heated up over a common human problem. It’s called habituation: we become so familiar to the usual things in our life that they become invisible to us. When I was in Reading doing my degree, Concorde would fly over every 20 miinutes of every day. It was so loud, windows would shake but after a short while, you just stopped hearing it. Then someone new would turn up and say “What the hell is that noise” and we would all say “What noise? Oh that’s probably Concorde”.
    So it is that people have said to me, “Phil you need to choose one subject” and I say “you mean choose one subject after I have learned to vlog, podcast, blog, use WordPress, setup a website, select a webhost, use the internet, use a Qwerty keyboard, and learned at least one language; oh, and learned about graphics, presentation, layout, fonts (both serif and sans serif), promotion, emailing, autoresponders and a million other things that I haven’t mentioned that you tell me I need to know just to have an adequate internet business?” And they call that specialisation??!! The only difference between us multipotentialites and the rest is that we remember, acknowledge and even glory in all the different skill sets that we use to function in our so-called specialised world.
    This whole “Choose one niche” idea is shown up for the nonsense it is by these same “experts” now saying “Content is dead. Relationship is king”. They are now saying what every fictional author, musician, artist and filmmaker has always known: that people don’t buy niches or genres or styles, they buy particular people. Can you imagine someone turning around to Ridley Scott and saying “Ridley, you’re confusing your fans by choosing all of these different genres – can’t you just pick one?”
    So My advice to you, Emilie, is: don’t get mad; just point out to them that in trying to appear to clever, they have only shown that they are terribly absent-minded.

  29. Dustin Brown says:

    Emilie…..love your vision & stand.

    Seems like you’ve been out there a while and I”m just stumbling upon you. I’m kinda new to the blogosphere thing, overall, so not surprising.

    I resonate with everything you’re sharing. I’ve been a multipotentialite myself for sometime, and it’s nice to find a community that celebrates it.

    Thanks for being you. I look forward to assimilating more into the community.

  30. Emilie,

    This is SO on point! My experience with Ramit and Noah and Tim was all about “niching” and it NEVER has worked for me.

    I get halfway through “validation” and I get bored and want to drop the idea and move to another one. :)

    You’re my hero! (at least this week while I’m grokking this…)

    Thank for the message! I’m feeling very EMpowered by you right now.

    Geoff

  31. Sandra Van says:

    Thanks, Emilie;
    This was great! I really needed to be reminded of this. I’ve been trying to focus on one thing (an opt-in “freebie” to offer my people) in order to make progress (esp. since I’m doing an improve your biz mini-course); but it’s somewhat disheartening. I’m trying to focus on the physical product I have (at least for the remainder of the year) but I want to expand to more of an information product.
    My creativity is higher when I’m doing a variety of things, so forcing myself to do one feels like imprisoning myself. Also have heard the “find your business niche” lately, which is frustrating to me.
    Thanks for your encouraging words. Thanks also for your honesty (in the email) about not enjoying making videos; I feel that way too.(smile)
    Peace,
    SV

  32. Jerry says:

    I’ve been running a portfolio self-employed career for the last 5 years and I would highly recommend it to everyone. I can choose what to work on, where to work and how. I can pencil lots of downtime if I desire. I can swap and change if I get a bit bored with an element of the folio. I can add related elements or go off and learn new things in totally unconnected areas.

    Granted breaking out of f/t employment was scary but it was the best thing I ever did. I proved the naysayers and hurrumphers completely wrong and have never come even close to “begging on the streets”. If you look there are plenty of self-employment opportunities out there – keep your eyes, think out of the box, talk to people, and don’t be afraid to ask. A lot of work has come my way by just asking people – you’ll be amazed what turns up.

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