Last week I had an intimate conversation in my DM over on Instagram about being a multi-passionate which lead me to think, write this letter and share it as a permission slip for all such creatives out there who are lead to believe that they just need to be one thing to succeed as creatives in their lives. This letter is from a Multi-Passionate Creative for other Multi-Passionate creatives. These are all the insights I have learned over the course of years and I am hoping this letter will hold space for you, your multiple passions and your wildest dreams to come to life too.
Dear Multi-Passionate Creative,
I want you to know that you are not alone and you are not the only multi-passionate in the world. It is super normal to feel passionate about multiple things and have various interests. I have seen many of my clients struggling with the same. This space that we are navigating together seems scary and risky because it is against the norms. All the noise have made us believe that we are required to one thing and specialize but specializing to me feels like intentionally playing small and it feels like another way of saying, stop growing. This reminds me of the documentary I watched the other day on Netflix about ‘The Creative Brain’ and it somehow validated how what I feel about specializing. In that documentary, Nathan Myhrvold said,
‘The world rewards specialization but specialization comes at a cost. You learn more and more about less and less until you know everything about nothing.’
I personally have navigated through this whirlpool of conflicting thoughts of not being able to choose one thing and then doubting myself for having commitment issues if I couldn’t just stay at one place and developed an interest for something else along the way. My curiosity told me to keep exploring but my need to be one thing and being known for it made me feel guilty for trying to follow my curiosity. Our societies are designed in a way where we are required to conform and be just one thing and fit in but I believe, that is not how it is supposed to be. If you are struggling with these conflicting thoughts too, I am right there standing with you. I know how hard it can be when we are lead to the belief that we all have to be just one thing. It all starts with that one simple and apparently unharmful question, ‘What do you want to become when you grow up’. I remember answering, ‘I want to be a doctor’ over and over again in my childhood. The only options I knew about back then were; doctor or engineer. I was too scared to not play by the rules back then. I am glad that didn’t happen.
My encouragement for you would be that it is okay to not play by the rules and its okay to set the rules on your own terms too. We don’t have to leave any of our parts behind. Right now all those tiny parts of ours might only make sense to us. They might not make sense about how they can all be combined all together under our umbrella of existence right now but somewhere down the road, we might end up connecting all those dots together in a way that will make sense to us and everyone else too.
There is another way of approaching it too. We can always think about separating them into two categories where one would be ‘not everything is for everyone else’. Somethings and some parts of ours, some passions of ours can only be for us and we choosing to do them, showing up for them only for ourselves because we want to or because they bring us joy. Choosing joy is the most favorable thing we can do for ourselves as human beings. I have also written about why I think it is okay to let joy become the compass for your life here.
Having multiple passions can be overwhelming because of the countless opportunities and directions we could be moving forward in. It can lead to decision paralysis. I certainly have been there. As a multi-passionate, one of the most challenging things is finding our focus. What needs our attention, what we can pick and choose out of the million possibilities, what we can gently let go of, what needs to be prioritized to create the art and lifestyle that will not only allow us to experience freedom on our own terms but it will also enable us to show up as the best possible version of ourselves, hold space for the work we do and make the kind of impact we want to have with our art in the world. The term ‘art’ here is relative and the medium in which you choose to share your voice is can be of our own choice; be it words in the form of writing or poetry, be it paintings or be it photographs and visual storytelling.
When we think about picking and sticking to any one of our passions, all of a sudden a strange kind of anxiety sets in and the fear of missing out rises to the top. We feel we are going to miss out on the rest of our creative dreams, abilities and those infinite opportunities. This fear of missing out doesn’t let us choose and we find ourselves stuck in the analysis paralysis. Often times we feel overwhelmed with the uncountable options available, overwhelmed to an extent that we find it better not to choose at all, go with the flow and see where the current might lead us. We allow those moments of indecision and our feelings in those particular moments of despair guide what we need to be focusing on. But that doesn’t lead us to where we want to go. We desire to have a sense of direction, a tiny hint of clarity and permission to try those multiple passions, interests, mediums, expressions, stories, and ideas as we move ahead. We acknowledge that we aren’t comfortable with the fear of missing out, missing out on the things that spark our imaginations and inspires us to learn something new every day.
Ah, I know that feeling quite well and I have written a mini ebook/ workbook as my best try to share what I have learned over the course of years. It is designed for you to dive a little deeper and figure out the underlying motivations, your core strengths, any fears, self-limiting beliefs, excuses or any stories that you might be repeating to yourself consciously or subconsciously – that might be standing in your way and eventually we get closer to finding your focus as a by-product. My best advice is that self-awareness and the willingness to figure it out leads to where we want to be.
It is about the mindset shift that you might require to start seeing being a multi-passionate as an opportunity instead of seeing it as a problem. It’s all about giving ourselves permission to follow our curiosity and believing that we have all the answers we need within us. It is about learning to trust ourselves, our intuition and our journeys. We might just need to try out different things and dip our toes first to figure out what is resonating with us and what isn’t. I have also written quite in detail about the struggles of being a multi-passionate here which I believe, you’ll find useful.
Finding direction, clarity, and focus is never a linear process that can be broken down into steps as we are all so different and unique in ways in which we process information. I have tried to bring your attention to finding a home within yourself in ‘Finding Your Focus as a Multi-Passionate’ ebook.
When we are feeling lost and overwhelmed we can start finding some light ahead by visualizing the kind of life we dream for ourselves, what it comprises of and what it doesn’t. We can start thinking on the lines of what do we really want. Maybe you want to be a multi-passionate and explore your curiosity as you go and that’s perfectly okay and a viable answer. Maybe you want to try those multiple passions before finally landing on something that you can say is your major focus or maybe your possible one thing. Not that you have to have one thing. You get to decide what your creative work and life looks like on your own terms in your own time.
When I say you get to define what that creative work and life looks like for you, I also mean you get to decide what success looks and feels like for you. Success is a subjective term and it takes courage to define it on our own terms when we are almost rather compelled to conform and fit in. We are messy human beings who can’t be all fit in well-rounded boxes. We are allowed to take up that space and define success and also what creativity means to us on our own terms.
We don’t have to shy away or hide away from our stories. We can choose to embrace them and live our truth out loud. This is the best way to be of service towards our own selves. Our perspective, our journeys, and our experiences make us who we are and our stories are our power. Your story is oh so worthy of being shared and cherished. I encourage you to not take away that power from you and don’t let yourself play small. Magic can start happening when we start believing that our story is our power.
My biggest hope for us multi-passionate creatives is that we live our truth out loud. I know that sometimes the hardest thing we can do is to live our truth out loud. When we allow our truth to rise to the top and let it come to life, when we embrace it rather than denying it or shying away from it; magic happens.
I want to encourage you to allow yourself to want what you want and you are allowed to dream whatever the hell you want to dream and its perfectly okay if it looks wildly different from everyone else around you. You are choosing to see things differently and I can’t find a single reason why that won’t be okay. It is okay to be different. In fact, it is the truth. We are all different in nuances, how we see things, how we react to them and how we share them. That’s what makes our stories worth sharing over and over again.
I can tell that there is a list of fears that you must be dealing with and a list of stories you have been telling yourself for a long time and I can assure you every single person I have ever met in my life had them too. It is always our choice of how we want to navigate that space. I have written this ebook to help you navigate that space. All the ideas discussed above and many more are discussed in great detail in the ebook. It will not only help you find a sense of direction but also, an understanding of the kind of impact you want to have while making the art you want to create.
In the end, I want to encourage you to show up. To stand out as a creative, you showing up as being you is your best bet. I know, it sounds cliche’ but it is rather easier said than done. It is an ongoing process that serves us the best when we make it a habit of having little pauses in the day to have meaningful conversations with ourselves.
I believe in you and I will be cheering you on every step of the way.
Another multi-passionate creative just like you.
P.S. You might find this post, Struggles of a Multi-Passionate Creative useful too.