I’ve officially gone coo coo about the Paleo lifestyle. In the last week, I’ve absorbed heaps of information about the movement: books, blogs, podcasts (shout out to Angelo Coppola at Latest in Paleo which is fantastic), everything I could get my hands on.
I’ve joined a CSA, tried a whole bunch of new, delicious Primal recipes, started working out at the Green Microgym (mostly weights and resistance training, with the occasional sprint), began walking more, and I’ve even felt the urge to get out in nature and lift some heavy rocks.
Paleo is my latest multipotentialite obsession, and I see it having a long lasting impact on the quality of my life. It’s not just the diet, the whole lifestyle appeals to me. I love the idea of living simply, and in accordance with our ancestral roots, and I love that so much of the literature is based in science.
For most people who embrace the Paleo lifestyle, cutting out grains, sugars, and processed foods is a massive change. But I’ve essentially been eating Paleo (plants and vegetables, with a few nuts and berries) for two years now, I just never called it that. I was doing it because I was having health problems, and was trying to figure out what was wrong with me.
Movements empower us
Although my diet hasn’t changed that much in the last week, I feel different now that I’ve embraced a movement. It’s no longer just me, out there on my own, with some weird diet that I smooshed together. Now I’ve got a community of smart, healthy people in my corner. I feel like I’m a part of something bigger than myself, something with its own vocabulary, resources, and authorities.
This gets to the essence of community and movement building. It’s the same reason that discovering that you’re a multipotentialite is such a significant moment for most people. You realize that it’s not just you out there in the world, unable to choose one path. Nope, there’s a whole community of us and a budding movement behind the lifestyle. That’s an empowering feeling.
Every coaching student I work with has a goal to empower others. That’s the thing about multipotentialites– we want to embrace and express all of our interests, but we want to do it in a way that’s both sustainable for us, and gives back to the world. I love that.
Community building is absolutely worthwhile. If you can give even one person a voice, you’ve made a difference.
Remaining true to your shifting nature
At the same time as I adore movements, it’s important not to be dogmatic about them. Growing up, I had a lot of different friends in a lot of different circles. I didn’t feel like I fit in 100% with the geeks or the stoners or the artists, and I liked it that way. It was more about the individual relationships and ideas, rather than fully associating with the values of one group.
Associating with a movement is empowering, but it’s important to always place your own individuality above the “rules.” Always question things, and continue to ask whether an idea resonates with you. Don’t just blindly accept the group values without checking in with yourself.
I always try to reiterate this in my work: do what works for you. I don’t like the idea of being perceived as a guru. I simply present the world as I see it and share what I’m learning while going about my multipotentialite life. I encourage you to take my words and use the parts makes sense, but leave the parts that don’t. Piece together your own methods.
Some labels are more inclusive than others (or the “non-label” label)
Multipotentialites typically hate labels because they feel restrictive. If you’re known as The Filmmaker, it’s hard to tell people that you’re going to law school next year (true story).
But some labels are more inclusive than others. Some are more like “overarching themes” than niches. They allow you to explore many facets of your personality.
Occasionally a multipotentialite will express concern to me that they might not really be a multipod, or that they’re “doing it wrong,” because they don’t have a bunch of spinning plates in the air at once, but prefer to dive deep into one topic for a matter of years before changing directions and focusing on an entirely new topic.
There’s no right way to be a multipotentialite. Some of us have a dozen interests on the go at any given time, while others are serial deep divers, and plenty of us are somewhere in the middle of the spectrum. We are all different, with wildly divergent interests, backgrounds, and scanning styles.
But see, that is what we have in common. In a sense, the multipotentialite identity is more of a non-label label. It’s about being different, expressing all parts of yourself, and being a life-long learner. It’s one of the least limiting labels you could adopt, which is precisely why I don’t have a problem identifying as one.
Going forward as you start your own movement
When you create a movement, honour your multipotentialite nature and don’t try to fit yourself into a box. Don’t worry that you’re going to confuse people by focusing on many topics. Brainstorm hard to come up with your overarching theme, express that theme clearly, and you will attract your right people. Your platform will also be far more interesting and resonate on a much deeper level with your community.
Best of all, your community won’t feel like they have to choose either. You’ll be empowering them, without restricting them through a narrow subject matter.
And so as I explore this Paleo stuff, I recognize that it’s wonderful to be completely engrossed in a movement, but I will personalize my experience, and leave behind the parts that don’t work for me. And if I ever feel the urge to shift away entirely, I won’t worry that I’m being flaky by changing directions. That’s the beauty of being a multipotentialite.
How have you experienced movements and communities? Do some labels feel more open to you than others?