Are You More of a Phoenix than an Octopus?

Are You More of a Phoenix than an Octopus?

Written by Emilie

Topics: Multipotentialite Patterns

Some multipotentialites like having many active projects in their lives at any given time. They’re kind of like an octopus, and each of their eight arms is involved in a different project. One is playing the violin, one is building websites, one is obsessed with Brazilian jiu-jitsu…

This is the multipotentialite that pops into most people’s heads when they think about someone who does many different things.

However, there’s another kind of multipotentialite — the kind that more closely resembles a phoenix.

A “phoenix multipod” becomes heavily involved in a particular field or project for months or even years! They enjoy “digging their claws in” for a longer period of time, until they really grasp the field and are ready to start afresh in an entirely new domain.

These multipotentialites can look like specialists to the outside world. They have one seemingly stable identity (at least for now) and may even be moving up the corporate ladder.

But then, after several months or years, they decide they got what they came for and leave their field. Then they reinvent themselves in an entirely new field, like a phoenix, emerging from the ashes.

Spontaneous Combustion or a Slow Transition?

Most people assume that the phoenix bursts into flames at the end of its life (as best depicted by Professor Dumbledore’s phoenix, Fawkes). The phoenix is then reborn from its ashes (and is so so cute!).

However, according to other sources, the bird is simply said to die and decompose slowly before it is re-born.

Similarly, some phoenix-esque multipotentialites will reach their personal end point after many years in a field and quit abruptly. Others will transition more slowly. It seems like most “phoenix multipods” will do the latter and really take their time with their transitions. They’ll often also use connections they’ve made in career #1 to help get things rolling in career #2 before they make the jump.

Hybrids!

Although the octopus and phoenix are neat symbols to describe these two types of multipotentilites, we all know that multipods rarely fit neatly into categories.

It’s absolutely possible to be a cross between an octopus and a phoenix (can someone please draw this creature?). Perhaps you have a few projects on your plate at one time, but you occasionally “burst into flames” and leave everything behind to start over in a new field.

Or maybe you get involved in one field at a time, but within each field you have a few different revenue streams/projects.

There’s no one way to be a multipotentialite. It doesn’t matter which method you use to explore your many interests, as long it works for you.

Your Turn

Are you a phoenix, an octopus, or a hybrid? If you’re a phoenix, do you burst dramatically into flames once you’ve reached your personal end point, or do you transition slowly?

em_bioEmilie Wapnick is the Founder and Creative Director at Puttylike, where she helps multipotentialites integrate ALL of their interests into their lives. Unable to settle on one path herself, Emilie studied music, art, film production and law, graduating from the Law Faculty at McGill University. She is an occasional rock star, a paleo-friendly eater and a wannabe scientist carpenter. Learn more about Emilie here.

57 Comments

  1. Bart Lenselink says:

    I used to be the Phoenix type with (usually) a slow transition between the various careers I pursued, and – indeed – using the connections from the former career to find the next. In short, I had 7 careers at 5 different companies spanning 3 branches in 30 odd years.
    Nowadays, being self-employed, I consider myself as an Octopus type actively looking for multiple revenue streams.
    So one might call me a sequential hybrid!

  2. Nela Dunato says:

    Hm this is not easy to answer for me, so I’ll guess I’m a hybrid. I do have intense periods of “one main thing”, but I also have multiple things going on at the same time. Design, art and web development have been the “thing” I’ve done for years now and still feel passion for, and there’s writing, crafts and a bunch of other stuff at the periphery.

  3. Craig M says:

    In some senses I feel similarly to Nela, but overall I still think my predominant mode is Phoenix. I often have multiple options at any given time, but there’s usually one “in bolder print” than the others. So, less of an Octopus and more of the Phoenix. Most people who know me well have long recognised (even before myself) that I was a “Jack of Many Trades, Master of More than One”.

  4. Daria says:

    I’m definitely a hybrid aka lazy octopus :) I love reading on different subjects at the same time, trying new things during the same weeks, but I rarely land on smth for long, like I did with minimalistic approach and de-cluttering, they came and rest with me for several years now.

  5. Denise says:

    I’m an octoeonix or maybe phoepus. :-) I go from many interests, to just a few intensely, then start over with yet more interests, usually keeping one or two during the whole cycle. It definately throws my family and friends for a loop but they are getting used to it.

  6. Lori says:

    I think I’ve been a bit of everything above at one point or another in my life.

    I’ve done abrupt left turns burning the bridge on what came before, but typically I do slow transitions. I’m doing a long slow transition from career to entrepreneurship now.

    Career-wise, I tend to be long term in my endeavors and often overlap the next new thing part-time before dropping the old and making the “new” full time.

    Hobbies depend on how much time career/s are utilizing. If I’m solid in one career, I’ll have multiple hobbies and interests going during my personal time with one thing being a main focus for a year or two.

    If I’m in a phase where career transitioning is happening, like now, there is very little time for hobbies. Although since my latest transition involves moving toward an entrepreneurship that utilizes many of my past skills and hobbies, they’re happening anyway, but benefit my “work.”

    I hope that made sense!

  7. Gabi says:

    I’m more of a Griffin where part of my life I do one thing and the other part does something else. Those things might look completely different but live in the same body. There’s also the hydra where you quit one thing and two others grow out of that prior interest while also having five other things you’re working on. It does happen!

    ;)

    • Emmett Wald says:

      Haha I love that analogy!! How many mythical and real creatures can we create multipod analogies with?…

  8. Definitely an octopus (or perhaps a dodecapus, if I’m truthful with myself). Although all my activities are generally within one genre of life (music/ the performing arts), there are a great many professions within it, including websites, business planning, marketing, composing, performing, teaching, coaching, speaking, music, dance, theater, crew, art, etc. My immediate reaction was to proudly label myself a hybrid, but in thinking about my career so far, I’m not sure there has ever been a time I have focused intently on just one primary activity. I do like Gabi’s Griffin analogy, though! I even founded the Griffin Orchestra of London in 1991!

  9. Morna says:

    I’m a hybrid. I can really dig myself into something and be very passionate about it for a while. More often than not, I do have many side projects and related things as well. So I’m like a phoenix with tentacles, how creepy is that?

  10. Michi says:

    Interesting symbolism. I haven’t been on Puttylike in a long while since I have been focusing (solely) to launch a global business with all that entails. Several years actually. So with this project, I am definitely a Phoenix. I went all in, with fire, passion, and fierce determination, and it almost cost me my mental and emotional health. I’ll about to burn up, but I am sure that I’ll be “reborn” if I do. But in general, I think I am more of a Hydra. Most things I do are one way or another connected to each other, even if I don’t see that at first.

  11. Stefan Mircea says:

    Well,

    I work best when I can really concentrate on one thing at a time, although I seldom have the courage/discipline to do just that. But for me, it is something like, I want to study shiatsu massage, then, I want to know it’s history, practice, a little but of Japanese, more things about medicine, writings on medical art, films about it, etc. I like having a focal point, and revolving anything I know around it for a while. The main activity is like the Sun, while the others become smaller planets that gravitate around it. Somethings it is really annoying, but my mind cannot really process many different activities at once. Even simple things. It makes a kind of mental shutdown. One reason why school activities were hard for me, because there were many different classes and I could not concentrate well on all. The only way was – one month this class, next month another and so on. What I learned that I better gather all my materials before and really think through what I am going to do for some months/ years, because I need that level of commitment to really understand. That does not mean I cannot do other things as well in that time, but they have to be at a minimum of effort, physically and mentally. Only now can I really accept this about myself. I work well in modules, so to speak.

  12. myriam says:

    Phoenix in my professionnal life and octopus on the hobby side.

  13. Jay says:

    Definitely Phoenix. Especially for hobbies & DIY projects. I rarely have more than one project active at any one time – maybe two max. When I take on a new hobby/project I immerse myself in a deep learning bath. I have an uncanny knack for separating the useful from the BS and acquiring new skills rapidly. That said, I usually spend about 3 months more than I need to in the research phase. It’s not that I learn slowly, its that I learn a LOT (think PHD) before engaging action.

    Example: I studied every aspect of RC Car racing for months, built a custom car, took third place the first time I raced, second place the second time I raced, then lost further interest in racing.

    Oh yeah,and while I was ramping up in the knowledge phase, I noticed aluminum replacement parts for these cars were selling at huge mark-ups but cost almost nothing to ship. I designed some simple super-cheap stamped aluminum replacement pieces for the highest failure rate plastic parts, had a local shop stamp out 1000 of them and funded my entire hobby by selling them online w/ free shipping.

  14. Monica Torres says:

    After reading this post, I’m not even sure I’m a multipotentialite at all. I don’t feel identified with any. What normally happens to me is that I get bored with what I’m currently doing, so I start picking my brain to find something interesting to do, and when I find it, I jump head first, but unfortunately My interest never lasts long. It generally takes me weeks (sometimes not even one whole month) before I get unbelievably bored and start the process all over again. Of course this happens with how I spend my free time (because I have to eat, right?), so I have a job that sometimes I love, and sometimes I hate, which started because I though I had finally found something I was passionate about and was lasting long enough (arround 5 months), but then, my interest died again. Sometimes I worry I’ll never find something I’d like to keep for the long haul. Does any of these happen to you guys?

    • Emilie says:

      Hi Monica,

      You sound like a multipotentialite to me. Maybe you are just a phoenix with “short life spans.” It also sounds like are using the Einstein approach and have a Good Enough job. The only other thing I wonder about is whether you’d be able to stick with something longer (if that’s what you want, which it sounds like it is), if you dove into something interdisciplinary: something with many different facets that requires you to wear many different hats.

  15. Tenshi says:

    I’d like to be a Phoenix (besides Phoenix is a beautiful bird instead I don’t really like to be compared to an octopus ….)

    but the reality is that I do a lot of things at a time… and I’m so stressed going from one to another all together that I can’t reach excellence in none!

    and when I discovered this website I thought:
    – can I consider myself a multipod just because I like to do so many things at a time?
    – or I’m just a silly girl pretending to be a little girl and play around… while instead I’m 32 and I can’t decide what to do with my life?

    I Always had this feeling that I’m wasting my life because I can’t focus on something and became really good in it…

    ty for your tips :)

  16. Kit Dunsmore says:

    I think of myself as a pinball in a pinball machine. (This is really an extension of the octopus, only without the sense of simultaneous activity.) I bounce from one thing to another, often within days, weeks, or maybe months, but I come back again and again to things I’ve done in the past. A good example is my interest in fiber arts. I sew, quilt, make soft sculpture, bead, embroider, knit, crochet, and spin wool. But I do things in phases. Nothing gets dropped forever but it could be months or even years before I get back to something. Right now, my visual art is drawing, so no fiber arts are happening, but I know I’ll be back to them at some point.

    • Louisa says:

      THIS! Pinball. Definitely. Ping ping ping! I’m trying the interdisciplinary approach at the moment, setting up a home-based business with an overarching theme (dance- via my daughters’ mad obsession with dance and how much it rules my life…joyfully of course ;-) ), a business that I can choose the when and what I work on: pendant jewellery today, tutus tomorrow, throw some mixed media art in there maybe next week… and when and how I get out there- market stalls- ok which ones? Facebook- online market nights or straight selling. Make lots of lovely things and/or offer custom orders- it’s up to me. So my pingyness is actually serving me quite well on this one. I’m not sure I see myself doing this forever (*shudder*!) but I can see it sustaining my interest for a few years. At least while my Humans are still little!

  17. Aakanksha says:

    I am a mix of both. I can be an hybrid I guess.
    What I do is, I usually keep 2-3 things going on together. One will be a stable long term thing and other will be in exploratory phase and the third can be in a stage where it is maturing into a long term option.

    There are other things also that I will be doing but those are more to explore my interests and see how I can cross-link them. These are mainly without any specific goal or purpose.

  18. steph says:

    A phoenix all the way!
    I’d like to be an octopus, but I just doesn’t work for me.
    My modus operandi is clearly devoting all my resources (mental, financial, physical, and otherwise) to one project (sometimes multifaceted, but not too much) and then throwing everything out of the window once passion is gone… [stage directions: people around looking in evident disbelief. Long uncomfortable pause.]
    All the people I got to know, all the things they taught me, everything helps me to jump from one project to another. But I am not patient.
    So spontaneous combustion is my thing! Besides, putting it that way sounds a lot more romantic ;)

  19. Seema says:

    Hybird! Deeply in one or two and yet dabbling across a few at all times… I have noticed while I am still deeply involved and sharpening the saw, and doing some of the secondary and tertiary, I begin to slow cook and internalise the next set of new things as well. And the internalising with time, rather quickly then moves into the tertiary active zone and inwards :) All concentric rings!

  20. Pawan Rochwani says:

    Hello everyone, to answer the question I am an octopus. I can multi task well. Even now I am working on three different projects,one is related to engineering,one is related to drama and the third as a trainer for an institute of Public speaking. I even write theatre plays and articles whenever I get time (you can check my instagram account @pawan_rochwani).
    But I have to ask you all for an opinion, do you all think multi tasking hampers our capabilities?

  21. Bobbie says:

    Very interesting! I am definitely more of a Phoenix, having had several successful careers. In one case, I was with a company where I could move around and thus had 3 different, distinct roles within that company. In my current career, there are many specialties, so I am able to reinvent within the same career. Will it be my last career? Probably not! As you mentioned in your posting, I have often used connections developed while filling one role to help open the way to the next career. All of that said, I often still have more than one project going within the current career, so perhaps a little of the octopus, as well.

  22. Catherine Chisnall says:

    Definitely a phoenix. I am interested in a subject for a few years, then TOTALLY lose interest and move on to something completely different. I’ve now learned to expect this and plan for it. My friends get very confused by this however and can’t understand how I can just ‘drop’ something totally and move on to something else unrelated.

    Thanks for defining this, I often wish I wasn’t a multipotentialite but it seems like I’m stuck with myself so I try to live with it.

  23. Mariah says:

    Hmmmm I’m definitely a phoenix. After working in health education for several years I am getting bored. Now I am much more interested in incarceration and prison reform. I am using my connections in the health ed world to set up a Health Education Series at a local jail :) I agree with Michi above with the Hydra assessment. Although my interests are varied and I move on after mastering one area, there is a definite overarching theme. My past passions were/are: HIV, Sex Work, Domestic Violence, Prison Reform.

  24. Aram says:

    I think I’m a Octonix. Or maybe a Phoenipus. No, definitely an Octonix…

    • Linda says:

      yep, definitely an octonix too. XD … currently in a composting phoenix phase, trying to figure out what I want to do, keeping myself busy knitting, making cheese and gardening.

      My problem is I’m getting a little bit sick of looking for new things to investigate – constant change and learning is itself becoming routine….

  25. Dawna says:

    Hi, new here. Just figured out two weeks ago that I was a multipotentialite. In fact, I had never knew there was a name for it. I thought it was just me and that there were not many people out there like me. I am definitely an octopus!Right now I have a dilemma. I have been trying to start a blog for over two years now. It has been my dream for years(well, just one of my dreams), a big dream. I have wasted two years trying to figure out what I wanted to blog about. Now that I know what I want to blog about, I can’t think of a name as everything is either taken, cost too much or just isn’t clicking. As you may have guessed, my niche is Multipotentialite, however, I want to put sort of a spin on it. The words that come to mind for a web name include (but not limited to), dream(s)(er), create(creative)(creativity), and imagine(imagination). Any help would be much appreciated.

  26. Mary says:

    Am I the only one who feels guilty that I don’t fit in with ‘normal people’ who start projects and finish them before moving on to something else? What am I? If I have absolutely no distractions. I get completely absorbed in one thing, like oil painting, then I drop it like a hot potato and move on to something else. Even friends. That’s why I love taking Amtrak around the country. I get to bond and have wonderful temporary relationships. I also get distracted very easily so I often run from one project to another, and finish them when I get to it. It’s more fun that way. But I probably don’t have to tell you that. Oh, and did I mention I am a perfectionist? How about you?

  27. Ana Fragoso says:

    I’m just in the beggining of finding out about my multipotentialite side. I’ve been working in my field of foreign trade for 15 years now, but I’ve always been interested in lots of things. Video making, picture taking, writing, singing, playing guitar. Now that I have kids I just LOVE producing everything for their birthday parties. It’s a new side of me I didnt really now about and I’m starting to understand. Not sure if I’m a phoenix or an octopus, Im’ maybe both now. But the truth is that it feels extremely good to know that what I feel and do is also the reality for so many people. Tks Emilie for opening this little window in my head!

  28. I am a hybrid. Where creating my art is concerned, I can do it for hours in a day and years… since 1994, I have created and sold many art pieces. Since I came to New Zealand from Indonesia, to live, I have had to work, but I took three years off to paint and did it for 12 hours a day. To pay bills, I had to lay it off for past 9 years, but I find that it relaxes me so even after 9 – 10 hours at work and travelling, if I get to paint, I feel better. Now, I have been back to painting for past 3 years while working, and I am happy.

    My current job within the same company I have been with past 9 years is that of an Activity Organiser. I work with the community, my team and our customers, creating events and projects. It suits me very well as there is a lot of variety. Not just anyone can do my current role well and they say I do my job exceptionally well. Yippeee! :)Sadly, I may have to give up my dream job because the travelling is eating at my time for creating, so I am transfering to a store nearer home and I will be dealing with lovely plants again! I am flexible and love that job too.

    Other things I flit in and out with my interest…
    I write songs (7 finished an 5 more still unfinished), sings to myself, design clothes and dream of making them a reality (I used to have my own brand of t shirts in Indonesia), owned a restaurant in Bali till my chef quit after getting sick (she was the reason I invested in the restaurant),I like photography, wishes to learn sewing, interior decoration, learning languages (I speak a few well), craft, Steampunk dressing up… all these interests, I do and leave as I feel like it.

    Maybe I need Mulitipotentialite investors as I would love my art on clothing and accessories but the conservative ones ask me to choose either or. Any of you keen to be my investor and manager? :)

  29. Monica says:

    I’m definitely a hybrid – maybe. My first passion is theater, unless it wasn’t, and then I was studying to be a school administrator, until I left that and went back to grad school at 58 for a 2nd masters to start a whole new career as a behavior analyst at 60 while still loving theater, and adding science, home remodeling, and now, at 64, the strong urge to travel while writing, but I still love my work as a behavior analyst. I guess that about wraps it up, for now…

  30. Anna Weisend says:

    I am a hybrid. I will be in a career for over a decade but then in the last 5 years I will slowly take on my next one before I switch. I have only had 2 years of my adult life where I have only had one job. In fact, I have just started my five year goal of transitioning from one career to another.

  31. Jessica says:

    Definitely a Hybrid! With multiple personal projects on the go while I have progressed through many different careers. In the last 3 years I have transitioned from pension fund admin to trainer to project manager. And recently, just to complicate things even more I am on the Junior Board which diversifies my interests even more. From organising our Young talent Forum to starting a movement to change the culture in our company and a developing interest in Fintech. Its crazy awesome. Wish I could slow myself down sometimes. Scariest thing is when someone actually listens to you and you have to actually put your time where your mouth is and make the magic happen!

  32. Nitsan says:

    Interesting question. I guess I’m some type of an hybrid. I do develope new interests that are very different from what I’ve been doing before every few years, but I never completely let go of previous interests (I still work as a vet once a week while working on my next film and if I’m asked to shoot an interesting photo shoot I’ll probably take it…). Same is true within any field. I’ll edit my own project until I find someone better to do it for/ with me, I’ll sometimes shoot it myself, sometimes direct and may go back to doing something I used to do because I feel like it or because it’s just easier to do it myself for a certain project.

  33. Jim says:

    Definitely more an octopus. I feel the need to have several things on the go, though not necessarily with the goal of finishing any of these. Whenever I am looking for something to do, I rarely do the same task I was last doing, but rather I “switch tentacles”. Obviously it doesn’t make me very prompt with deadlines, sometimes :P

  34. Bradyn Q says:

    As I was reading the beginning of this article, I immediately thought I could not agree with choosing one or the other, and I started to imagine a phoenix – octopus hybrid, a phoenopus or an octonix. Then I read the end and realized others felt that way too! I love to immerse myself in everything I do, but I do so many things all at once that I couldn’t be a phoenix. I am a mixture of both, but I undergo slower transitions: I do not “burst into flames.” I never thought of it that way, with the references to creatures like that!

  35. Jimena says:

    I had never thought about it like this. I would say I am both. I focus on something intensely for a while, but it gets to be too much and I get fed up and start doing a little bit of everything, then I transition to something else entirely (or so I think). It always feels new and different and like a new start but months in I realize I am building on top of things I have done earlier.

  36. lulu says:

    I’ve definitely had my phoenix phases – all in on art for a decade, then BURN! Had to stop so I could teach school to support myself after a divorce. Then I TOTALLY burned out on that because I had no time for art! But definitely an octopus, too, doing several kinds of art at the same time, writing, learning ukulele, trying to learn textile design off and on, need to build myself a new website, teaching art workshops… Sometimes – like now during the Olympics when I marvel at all the athletes who’ve devoted themselves to becoming EXCELLENT at ONE thing and achieve greatness – I get very frustrated with the way I am. Hmph!

  37. CieNnA says:

    Great analogy Emilie! I’m a hybrid, right now I’m concentrating on moving out of Pharmacy and into Music – which resembles your phoenix analogy, but in other respects I always have a few things I dabble in on the side… so I guess the octopus analogy applies there!

  38. Merike says:

    Great article! Makes you think over your why… I really get tired of doing only 1 thing. When i jump into new project i can focus until its fun and i have learned how to keep things fun, so i can reach the goals there. Leaving some close to heart activities aside for a while. But i have know that my freedom is not gone forever.

  39. Nandi says:

    I am a hybrid. However, i identify with the phoenix min that i often immerse myself fully for six months on a project and then i burst in fires renewing myself either by taking on a different project or by revamping the exjsting one. In either case I do set everything on fire, retire and become an octopus for about three months and then go back being a phoenix for the next six months by either picking up an old project or starting something completely new or adding a new project along with an existing one. Not sure if it makes sense. But this octopus phoenix description does connect with me in various ways.

  40. Thais Aux says:

    This is great! I had never thought about it in those terms, but now that you named it, it makes total sense! I see myself as more of a phoenix. I explore something deeply for a long time, and then go to the next field – usually correlated with the last one (at least it’s been like that till now, God knows what’s coming next). Loved the concept! Thank you for your work, girl! :)

  41. Linda Jones says:

    I identify with Kit’s analogy of a pinball machine. I ping between different interests but always return to the same ones over a period of time, sometimes days sometimes years. I also have a main theme running through my life which is photography but within that area I experiment with many different ideas and techniques (at the moment it’s macro). Because of this, I always wonder whether I am a true multipotentialite or just a wannabe! Essentially, I love the idea of creating things, that’s what gets me excited.

  42. Kelly Brown says:

    Interesting. I definitely identified with this description. I definitely dive head first and stay almost obsessive about something until I am done with it. I wouldn’t even really say done with it so much as put it down to let it smolder for a time.

  43. Heather Greenslade says:

    Wow! I’m so glad I found this site! I have also felt like this was a problem I needed to fix. It’s so refreshing, at the age of 42, to discover that this can be viewed as a benefit!! I graduated with an accounting degree, worked briefly in a CPA firm, (I took a break to busk in Australia for 6 months in between), then went to Berklee to study songwriting. My next adventure was teaching test prep classes for the GMAT and LSAT in an international school in Boston. I eventually started my own private tutoring service. Then I became a math teacher, eventually training and writing curriculum for the district. After that I taught elementary school music until I had kids. Then I taught ukulele, guitar, piano, and voice lessons out of my house. For the past few years, I have had a successful career in the direct sales industry selling cosmetics. After reading this article, I may just start introducing myself as phoenix. Thank you.

  44. Harald says:

    Hm, I rather feel like an octopus that was born with a single arm. But, once in a while (every few years, typically), I grow another one. So far in my life (I am forty now), I have kept them all and some of them are developing further, gradually and slowly.

    By this I mean that I have never lost interest completely in a single field that I have discovered so far. It is more about priorities or, should I say, focus on a few arms in a certain period of time. Moreover, my perfectionism makes me acquire a certain degree of expertise in every field I am touching – which makes me look like a specialist to the unsuspecting (that is: non-multipotentialite) outside observer.

    Feetwise, I am a multipod by capacity and an oligopod by focus. So, am I even a multipotentialite? Or just a specialist with tentacles? ;-)

    Really musing about this,
    Harald

  45. Lee says:

    I love these analogies!!!! I feel that I would be described as a hybrid, because I can at times do several things, and sometimes I will be so highly focused on one thing- and it may crash and burn. The next project may require less focus, and therefore I am open to all ideas at this time. I do have many hands on many different types of things. This makes it more “putty-like” and not really written in stone yet. Thank you for all the ideas.

  46. Brandon Christy says:

    I’m a Phoctopod, for sure.

  47. Sam says:

    Great analogy! I am definitely an octopus, always having a few projects on the go and a few more in mind. Being a phoenix might help more with time management of said projects, but such intense focus on one thing for an extended period of time has never been me.

  48. Harri Munro says:

    I’m an Octopus with the heart of a Phoenix :)

    I may have a bunch of different interests on all at once, but if I don’t have one real passion project to focus on over all the rest I feel really lost. Then I’m just a basking Sunfish – no interests, just gonna lie here till I feel better.

  49. Virginia says:

    My personal life looks like an octopus (I’m editing two novels, training for a marathon, in the middle of three books, working on some personal projects, and the list goes on!). My professional life is more like a phoenix. In fact, it wasn’t until the past few years that I even considered looking for career moves that would actually make me happy. Now I’m trying to figure out which of my skills are transferable to something I’d like to be doing…at least for the time being.

  50. James says:

    Phoenix. All the way. Except that the project I put down like a hot potato a decade ago seems to be rising from the ashes and demanding my attention again. So, I think I’m drawn to the cyclic nature of the Phoenix idea- that I can really get into something deep, master it, and eventually set it aside (or crash and burn as sometimes happens!), and eventually find my way back to it again as time passes.

    So, if I’m always building and making things- houses, trails, gardens, that makes me a multipod, right? or an octopod? But, what if the common theme is not that I’m making different kinds of things, but that I’m always “capital B” building shit? That’s kind of singular and thematic which feels more phoenix to me!

    This is awesome in my head and heart, as it brings me great curiosity and joy. But not always (ever) a great fit in a career world that wants me to commit for endless (read, dreary) years. I’m just beginning to explore the concept of multipod identity- and it’s fantastic to have words for the life I’ve been living. Now to find ways to make money making things!

  51. Anna says:

    Thank you for this amazing post! And for the quotes from Harry Potter, that chatched immediately my attention, just from the title I saw Fawkes burning and popping out cute :)

    I don’t know how octopus or phoenix am I, for sure I am some strange crossing and maybe I also change from time to time how many activities I like (or would like to have time) to do. For sure I have an arm that is bigger than the other.

    I find the distinction between the burning and the slow transition very clever! A multipod might seem a bold creature who changes expertise such a quick and brilliant way. But I do not fit. I rather change slowly and it happens that I desire to move to something else, but this thinking takes place maybe one year before I actually realize the shift. And somehow is a smooth transition. As if I like to follow a path. I did a lot of maths, phisics at highschool, than molecular biology, than I moved to simplified, lab-level ecological interactions and now ecology of natural, broad microbial communities and plants. I can see the similarities and that there is still a lot to know, but I will prefer something behind to move to something new. I go deep and I see that is possible to go deeper, to get super nerd :), but why not move on to something new? I don’t know how and how will it be, but I really hope to land to art at some point.

  52. Lorne says:

    Like many of us when we were kids it was hard trying to say what was that one thing we wanted to do/be when we grew up. I can remember after taking another course, I came up with a business idea of an incubator and me the its leader. Having various businesses all around me was exciting and it feed an internal desire. I saw myself in the center of a wheel with spokes. As the years passed that idea got smaller but seeking to understand how I could be at the center of the wheel never died. To be a successful octopus is the dream. Thanks for the article. I saw myself!

  53. Sarah says:

    Hello,

    Sorry for my English I am French. I just saw your TED video. I knew exactly what I was (I am 31 and I am working on my second huge change in my carrer) but I didn’t know you concepted it and created a sort of community.
    I am definitely a phoenix, that’s hard to live.
    Onece I’ve decided I’m done, I have to change fast (I currently want to scream in my open space…), I usually find quickly a way to change without being unemployed.
    I used to work in performing arts, managing a concert hall, I was an author for television, I became a graphic designer and now I am applying for a code school. ONce this tangible idea was in my head, I couldn’t work anymore on my job…
    THat is a big problem, waiting for a new process to happen…
    Thanks for your work !

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