I’ve been doing a lot of interviews lately to help spread the word about my new book. As you may know, interviews contain a lot of questions! I’ve gotten some great ones, most of which I feel comfortable answering. However, there’s one question that I’m from time to time that always stumps me. It goes like this:
“What is your one best piece of advice for multipotentialites?”
It depends where you’re at and what you’re struggling with! If you’re trying to sort out a multifaceted career, I can give you advice about finding multipod friendly work. If it’s productivity that’s holding you back, I’ve got some other suggestions for you. Having trouble branding yourself or explaining your value to others? I’ve got some thoughts to help with that, too. But my advice will be different depending on the context.
Without knowing more about this hypothetical multipod and understanding where they’re at in the process of accepting their multipotentiality and harnessing their superpowers, it’s really hard to dispense advice that isn’t overly general.
Also, ONE? You want one single best piece of advice? You’re asking me to narrow it down and CHOOSE?! 😉
Okay okay, I know, we’re on a schedule. We need a snappy takeaway. This is the age of clickbait, short attention spans, TL:DRs. I get it.
If I HAD to answer…
This question is not going away, so I recently spent some time brainstorming different possible answers. I also reached out in the forum of the Puttytribe to see what advice other multipods would give.
Behold 5 “best” pieces of advice for multipotentialites. (Cut us some slack, we’re crowdsourcing!) The beauty of this list is that any one of these could stand on its own. Next time I get this question, I’ll pick one to share. For now, because this is Puttylike and we’re all fans of the plural, I’ve included five.
“Best” Piece of Advice #1: Don’t be afraid to make choices
Multipotentialites are often terrified of choosing a particular path because we think that choosing something might preclude us from choosing any of our other interests. This belief can paralyze us and stop us from taking any action at all.
The truth is that there is a vast middle ground between doing everything under the sun (sadly impossible) and doing just one thing. In other words, you can do a heck of a lot over the course of one lifetime! So don’t be afraid to move forward with something The life of a multipod isn’t Refuse to choose*—it’s Choose. Choose again.
*No disrespect intended to Barbara Sher here. I think she would probably agree with this advice. And I think the title of her book is meant to mean something like: “Refuse to choose just one thing that you’re going to do forever and ever”…but that would be a long title.
“Best” Piece of Advice #2: Don’t freak out
This one comes from puttypeep Mell:
You will figure it out – you will come across something that helps make the decision you’ve been agonising over; you will find someone to relate to who makes you feel less isolated; you will learn to accept and value the opportunity which is forging your unique path; you will learn to focus on the important stuff and let go of the rest; you will learn to work with your own nature. and you will find a way to stop procrastinating (at least temporarily)! So relax, take some action and pay attention – the rest will come.
“Best” Piece of Advice #3: Don’t tie your whole identity or sense of self to a particular job or medium
Sometimes we lose interest in an area that we once loved or that we maybe even built our whole life around. Perhaps our body has been telling us (through signs like boredom) that it’s time to move on for some time now.
When this happens, it’s easy to feel crushed, to worry about what other people will think if we move on, and even to experience existential crises! It can feel like, without this one identity or role, we won’t know who we are anymore.
To help prevent this from happening, try not to get all of your validation from “what you do” or from one version of yourself that you put out into the world. You are not your job or medium. You are whole without any of that. Plus you’re a multipotentialite, so shifts in direction make perfect sense.
We want so badly for our lives to have meaning and we want acceptance and understanding from the world around us. That’s human nature. But realize that your life has inherent value. Your sense of self will be much stronger if you cultivate an inner sense that you are enough, rather than tying it to what you do for money.
“Best” Piece of Advice #4: Focus on what you already have + where you’re already welcome
This one comes to us from puttypeep Vikki:
My advice would be to focus on the positives that we have the edge on, the places, the people, the work opportunities that welcome us. Places filled with variety, people who welcome new integrating innovative ideas and activities, those types of income generation opportunities that appear to be designed just for us. Increasingly employers, industries, role definitions, organisations are seeking to be innovative and agile to be sustainably successful. Guess who naturally is innovative and agile? That’s US! And when I looked around at those people I have wonderful connection with around the world through my newly acquired Hummingbird lens I realised just how many of my friends are multipotentialites.
Boiled down, this is: focus on what you already have or on where we are already welcome … rather than on what is missing or broken.
“Best” Piece of Advice #5: If your heart is pulling you in a particular direction, listen
Finally, puttypeep Matthieu suggests:
Trust yourself. Trust your instincts.
Often when multipotentialites become interested in something new, we wonder whether it “makes sense” to pursue that thing. Sure, we need to consider our limited time and our financial commitments, but often our worries have less to do with these issues and more to do with how we see ourselves.
We worry that the new thing we’re drawn to is too different from what we’ve explored before. We may not understand how it fits or makes sense or how we’ll explain it to other people.
Look, it’s okay to have contradictions and be a complex human being. We can look for our Whys and try to understand the themes that run through our various passions. Sometimes these connections become clearer looking backwards. But it’s also okay if you happen to be interested in something that doesn’t seem to fit with what you’ve done before.
Trust your instincts and listen to your curiosity. You’re being drawn to an area for a reason. That reason might not become obvious for years to come, so have fun and don’t overthink it. Pursuing something simply because it enriches your life is enough.
Note: after I drafted this blog post, a bunch of other great replies came in in the Puttytribe. Props to Wendy, Ed, JC, Meg, Darren, Izzi, Georgy, Nick, Doug, Alicia, and Glen!
What’s your best piece of advice for multipotentialites? You know, if you had to choose just one.