Here at Puttylike we write a lot about what to do when your friends and family don’t get your multipotentiality, but what do you do when you have awkward conversations with people who do get your scanner tendencies?
I’ve been “out” as a multi-project person for well over a decade and most of my friends are used to asking and hearing about my myriads of projects. That doesn’t necessarily mean I always find it easy to talk about my work, even with supportive friends.
“How’re you getting on with that jewelry collection? Have you revamped your website yet? What happened to that new consultancy business you were starting?” they ask, eager for news.
I gulp, before replying, “Erm, OK…”. And instead of talking about my work, I follow up with an “I guess I haven’t done as much as I would have liked on that project,”, watching my friends’ faces drop.
As the words slip from my mouth, I realize how lame they sound.
Many of us have to spend time dealing with naysayers and those who don’t (or won’t) understand us, so shouldn’t we be lapping up the opportunity to talk to friends who get it? I mean, how many of us have wished that we knew even one person who understood?
There are plenty of reasons why it can be hard to talk about your work. Here are a few common ones:
1) It’s too early
When you’re at the very beginning of developing an idea, it’s not unusual to feel highly protective of it and vulnerable to criticism. The early stages are fragile, as your idea is incomplete. Often you’re still figuring out whether it’s an idea worth pursuing or whether it’s a lame duck you need to let go of. Not that it has to be fully formed and polished when you do share it, but sometimes it’s just too soon to share your latest project.
2) Will they like it?
If you’ve ever shown your half-written story or a rough sketch to a friend or family member, you’ll have experienced the intense feelings that come with anticipating their reaction. What if they think it sucks or that you’re an idiot for wasting your time on it?
You survey their face, their expression, and even their breathing, looking for an indication of what they really think. Even well-meaning and supportive people can unintentionally say the wrong thing and, unfortunately, once a seed of doubt has been sown, you lose your enthusiasm for your project.
3) Nothing to report
Truth be told, sometimes you might not have made enough progress for there to be anything to talk about. Keeping lots of projects on the go means dividing your time between them. Sometimes this means you end up spreading yourself rather thinly. On the whole, you’re making progress but when you look at just one project in isolation, that progress can look slow.
4) You’ve changed direction (again)
Even the most sympathetic of non-multipotentialites can struggle to understand that you’ve totally dropped that project you invested so much time in.
From time to time it can be just as difficult to face the truth yourself, especially if you’ve been feeling you’re in danger of dabbling too much and having nothing to show for it. Understanding your multipotentiality doesn’t necessarily make it easy to accept.
Do you find it difficult to talk about what you’re working on? What do you feel is holding you back?