I have always felt like a failure. I cannot seem to find my “one true calling.” I know I’m a loyal, enthusiastic person who’s not afraid of hard work. At my age I should be kicking ass at my career…but I have yet to settle in. Am I unable to focus? Afraid of commitment? I’ve been told I have too many interests. I’m enthusiastic when finding something new, then get bored, let it go and get excited about something else…and the cycle continues. I feel like I would have to resign myself to being bored if I settled into one hobby or career.
Where did I get this notion that it is wrong to want to do many things? Does our culture teach this? When we ask our kiddos what they want to be when they grow up do we start teaching them to choose? Shouldn’t we be inspiring our children to be ALL they want to be vs. just what they could be? It sounds subtle but that small change in verbiage could change a bigger mindset. In this age when we focus on the differences in learning, why hasn’t this evolved? Not everyone is wired to have “one true calling” and those of us who don’t find it feel alone, like we’re failing.
What if we embraced the idea of being a Renaissance person? It wasn’t always considered taboo to crave learning about many subjects. In the time of the Renaissance it was embraced to be well-versed in multiple disciplines. Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Donatello, Raphael (not the Ninja Turtles), Copernicus, Machiavelli, Thomas More, Martin Luther, Shakespeare…they were revered for something frowned upon today. These are some of the great minds of history!
Do you have multiple interests and creative pursuits? You may be considered a Renaissance person, a Polymath or Mulitpotentialite! I personally like Polymath:
A friend shared with me a mind blowing TED talk by Emilie Wapnick that about this exact concept.
Wapnick says that Multipotentialites have three important Super Powers:
- Idea Synthesis is combining two or more fields and creating something new. Innovation happens at these intersections. “Multipotentialites, with all their backgrounds, are able to access all of these points of intersection,” says Wapnick. Our skills are transferable across multiple disciplines.
- Rapid Learning is the ability to absorb everything quickly. Multipotentialites are very comfortable with being beginners and less afraid of stepping out of our comfort zones. “We bring everything we’ve learned into every new area we pursue so we are rarely starting from scratch.” –Wapnick
- Adaptability is the ability to morph into whatever you need to be in any given situation, adjusting to meet the needs of your market.
Why aren’t more human resource managers looking for these traits? If these unique individuals are forced to choose one focus, these other valuable skills can be lost. It seems to me that we need to embrace the strengths of everyone to tackle the challenges of today. The Renaissance brought about great advancements with this way of thinking. So, what should we be teaching the next generation of leaders in the 21st Century? Let’s change the way we think!
And remember, if you don’t have just “one true calling,” you are not alone!