First of all, I cannot believe how amazing these responses are. Thank you to everybody who has applied so far (and for those who haven’t, you still have a day or two to throw in your hats). I’m going to have an impossible time choosing the winners…
I’m a pretty introspective person. I spend a lot of time checking in with myself and reflecting on what I’ve learned. I’m also borderline neurotic. I have a tendancy to overthink. As a teenager this looked very Angela Chase-esque, and it still does, minus most of the teenage insecurities and angst (thank goodness).
Through my introspection these last couple years, I’ve noticed an evolution of my ideas surrounding multipotentiality.
If you watch the video on my sidebar, that’s a perfect snapshot of my perspective at the time when I first launched the site in September, 2010. I wanted to redefine this “thing” that I’d always thought was a problem as something positive, or at least something normal. I hadn’t even given it a name yet. I simply wanted to feel like I wasn’t doomed for a life of instability or boredom.
But that’s just it, when I first created Puttylike, it was about solving a problem. It was about undoing years of feeling like there was something wrong with me, and helping others do the same. Getting from -10 back up to zero. Neutral.
Step 1: Surviving as a Multipotentialite
I now see this as the first step in a multipotentialite’s evolution. First you need to undo the years of damage cause by backwards cultural pressures, and get back to a place where you feel okay with who you are. That’s step number one.
If you’re at this stage of the process now — the “HOLY SHIT, THERE’S NOTHING WRONG WITH ME AFTER ALL?!” stage, as I call it — Well then I offer you a big congratulations.
Making the decision to stop feeling bad about yourself and start embracing your multipotentiality is a huge turning point.
Step 2: Thriving as a Multipotentialite
After becoming okay with your multipotentiality, you need to answer the inevitable question that follows: now what?
How will you use your multiple gifts and unyielding curiosity to thrive in the world? How will you integrate everything you love into your life and make it work?
I’ve explored a lot of these questions on Puttylike. I found that my interests in lifestyle design, entrepreneurship and productivity really came into play here. Before I knew it, I was smooshing together my own interests to help other people smoosh together their interests. (I hope that sentence made sense. ;)
It was a point of differentiation for me too. I don’t only talk about the nature of multipotentiality. Other people already do a fabulous job of that. Nope, my overarching theme is a “smoosh” of multipotentiality and lifestyle design. It’s about using ideas I was learning in the LD world to make multipotentiality work in the real world.
I learned that your diverse background is the best “business differentiator” out there. It’s what makes it impossible for anyone else to compete with you. Instead of choosing a niche, you carve out your own niche that’s based around everything that you love and everything that you are. It’s a beautiful feeling once you start using your multipotentiality to fuel your work and your life.
The thriving stage is primarily about fueling your own lifestyle. That’s not to say that it’s selfish. There’s nothing selfish about working on yourself and creating a life that you love. In fact, your own personal happiness is a prerequisite to making a positive impact in the world.
Step 3: Innovating as a Multipotentialite
Once you see your work begin to revolve around all your interests, whether through entrepreneurship, or traditional employment (some jobs allow you to wear many hats or explore different areas), the next step is synthesizing your interests to make a positive change in the world.
As a multipotentialite, you have a unique ability to draw from different areas and come up with creative solutions that specialists never could have thought up. For example, I just joined the Green Micro Gym here in Portland. It’s a gym where the cardio machines power the building’s electricity. A beautifully creative business that exists at the intersection between the environment and health. I have no doubt that this business was thought up by a multipotentialite.
After running Puttylike for a while, I realized that our urge to jump around isn’t just healthy and normal, but that we actually have a higher calling here. We’re innovators. And that’s because innovation is about taking knowledge from one area and using it to solve a problem in another area. Nobody’s in a better position to do that than those of us with multiple backgrounds.
Making Your Way through the 3 Stages
You don’t always go through these stages perfectly in sequence. For instance, I still have questions about business even though my focus is more on innovation. Occasionally I even feel insecure (if you can imagine. ;)
Even when I was back in the “survival” stage, I had dreams of innovating. All three components are usually present no matter where you are on your journey.
The Vision I See
When I began building the platform for the Puttytribe a few months back, it was important to me that the site would help multipotentialites at any stage in this process– both the beginners and the more advanced multipods.
I did not want to create a “support group,” because a support group implies sickness. However, I did want the community to be able to provide support for those who are just beginning to overcome the insecurities and embrace their multipotentiality.
I didn’t want the community to just be about career and business, though I did want it to be a space where people could get help from their peers and use accountability to hit their goals and see results.
Finally, I wanted to make sure that the Tribe did more than just solve problems and help multipods thrive personally. I wanted to cultivate a space for innovation, a sort of incubator where we could connect, collaborate and maybe even bring new ideas into the world.
And so like any true multipotentialite project, the Puttytribe does multiple things.
My vision is really to help move people through the first two stages quickly and comfortably, so that they can get the basics covered and begin innovating.
I have a feeling that some really interesting projects are going to be born out of this community. I can’t wait to see what that looks like.
Have you noticed an evolution in yourself as you’ve embraced your multipotentiality?