I resonate with the idea of being passionate about multiple things at the same time and I’d rather known for my enthusiasm and curiosity and dedication and commitment to figure things out, learn new things and make it all work instead of attaching a single title with my name. It sounds crazy when I say it out loud as ‘normal’ people have just one thing they want to dedicate their lives to be it writing, painting, photography, design, typography or hand lettering but me, I want to do it all. I want to explore all. Sticking to just one thing feels like a sentence to me, something I’m going to be stuck with, I will lose interest, it will become boring and maybe I won’t be able to find my way out of that prison. What I have learned by my struggles of the past few years to strive as a multi-passionate creative online and find that freedom that I long for is that – it is perfectly normal to want to explore different things at the same time, to have multiple things that you are passionate about and it’s a-okay if that changes, grows and evolves with time. You don’t have to stick to one thing if that’s not for you. The goal is to find what’s for you and maybe like me, for you the desire to explore beyond the drawn lines are far greater than staying in those lines. My truth is, I’m a multi-passionate creative and I’d like to stay that way and continue following my curiosity as I go.
A little side note: Reading the above-written paragraph made me think about how I sound like I maybe have commitment issues which is not the case. I almost always finish what I start as I’m usually way harder on myself than I’m towards anyone else. I’d rather not start anything that I know I won’t be able to get done ‘perfectly’ to my standards and trust me when I say this, they are pretty high. I plan to talk about perfectionism and my very own struggles with it and how I am recovering from it in the future blog posts. Coming back to the point, do you resonate with having multiple passions to pursue?
Are you a multi-passionate like me?
In the most compassionate way possible, I want to share some good and bad news for you. Good news is that you are not alone. The bad news is, you might find it harder than people who seem to have it all figured out. It might be harder but it is going to be so worth it. It might take more time for you to find your focus and direction but I want to encourage you to think and allow yourself to embrace the idea that it will take the time it needs to take. It is okay if you want something that is wildly different than what everyone else is wanting. It is okay, actually far more rewarding to forge your own path. In fact, there is no path but the road waiting for you to discover it and forge your own way out.
Traveler, there is no path, the path must be forged as you walk.
– Antonio Machado
Here is my encouragement for you (and for myself as well), you no longer are required to be just one thing. You can be as many things as you want. Anyone who is starting a venture of their own; online or offline is mostly more than just one specific ‘thing’.
A writer trying to practice her craft, writing and sharing is not only a writer but a photographer once in a while, a marketer other times and a storyteller inherently.
A painter trying to share her artworks occasionally writes to express her ideas and thought processes behind her inspirations to the final products, a photographer and a marketer once in a blue moon.
A blogger reaching out to her potential readers by writing and sharing stories and ideas that matter to her, photographing and marketing everytime she hits publish.
I myself struggled with this idea quite a lot in these past few years. I thought I didn’t know what I wanted yet or maybe I haven’t yet landed on something that I love more than anything else. I was under the impression that all of us have to have one single thing.
If you have struggled with this idea too, you might find these insights based on my personal experience helpful.
Embrace the truth your heart knows to be true. Whatever that might be, let your intuition and how you feel about things guide you towards your truth.
Free yourself of the expectations; internal and external both. Often we find ourselves feeling puzzled because we are burdening ourselves with all the expectations. I encourage you to break yourself free and start over.
Ask yourself, what do you want to be known for? The answers to this question might surprise you. Let that answer become your guiding light. Here I want to credit Jen Carrington for prompting me to ask this question.
I no longer believe that all of us are supposed to have one thing that we are passionate about. I do recognize and resonate with the frustration though. When we start our journey as a multi-passionate we feel overwhelmed by the infinite options available to us to move forward and that lack of direction and focus sometimes make us feel paralyzed and we somehow end up not taking any meaningful action towards making our dreams happen at all. I most certainly have found myself at that point again and again in my creative journey and I have not only witnessed a few examples but also, learned it from experience that you start somewhere, anywhere that feels right for you, that’s sparking joy and curiosity in you and down the road you figure out if it is working for you or not.
My very own example would be thinking of myself as a YouTuber and that too under the self-development umbrella. I started my YouTube channel to share my self-development insights and ideas. I definitely am passionate about self-development and it felt like something I really wanted to give a go but then after two months, I felt like I was hustling my way to make videos. The introvert in me was not at all comfortable being in front of the camera. Also, it was taking me almost a day to record a 5-10 minutes video. I wasn’t enjoying the process as much as I thought. I wasn’t feeling creatively fulfilled. When it started to feel like a burden, I decided it wasn’t for me but I would have never known that if I hadn’t given it a try. I would have always thought about how wonderful it would be if I had a YouTube channel where I’d be sharing all the personal insights and ideas I had around personal development. I learned an important lesson there, you find your focus and direction as you move forward and mostly by filtering out what you don’t want in your work and life.
Sometimes even the people who are passionate about multiple things start trying out multiple ideas and start making things happen, they land on one thing which they want to do for the rest of their life and that’s okay too.
My encouragement would be to give yourself permission to try and figure things out as you go.
If you are anything like me, the thought of having multiple passions to pursue and not having enough time in the day, the overwhelm to choose between any one of them and the fear of missing out on the rest makes you feel paralyzed, I have been there. I know how it feels.
I have put together a workbook for you, ‘Finding your Focus as a Multi-passionate’. I believe, it has thought-provoking questions and insights to inspire you to start working towards your dreams and figuring things out as you go. (It is free to download and you can read more about it if you scroll down at the bottom of this page.)
I can relate to the struggle and I would like to share that it can be hard sometimes but the choice is always ours, we can either see it as a curse and make it as a stick to keep beating ourselves with or we can reframe our thought process and start considering it as a gift or rather a blessing in disguise.
To finish, what’s been working for me?
It all starts with mindset.
It’s my very own choice to either see it as a curse or as a blessing. Embracing that its okay to have multiple callings, passions or interests. Actually, you approaching the world as who you are, what you stand for and what you can bring to the table is much more rewarding in the long term when it comes to showing up as your best and bravest self in your work and life.
Take the next best small step that you can.
You don’t need to have all the answers right in front of you. It feels great to have everything in place but that’s not how the world and the creative process works. It’s not linear so save yourself the trouble of trying to figure it all out and just take the next best step, the smallest step that you possibly can and have faith in yourself, your abilities and in the process, and your intuition especially in this case.
You are not being indecisive.
If you are approaching it as you being indecisive, you aren’t doing yourself a favor rather you are depriving yourself of a wonderful path of discovery and some real growth as a creative human.
Learn from other creative’s journey.
If you are feeling frustrated with the process and can’t wait to figure it all out and have a focus and direction or maybe just one true passion that you can dedicate your life’s work to – try looking at other creatives and their journey. See where they started and how far they’ve come. Seeing examples of people who have already found their passion, their one true calling has also been gone through the same path of discovery.
It’s about forging your own path.
It is about the process more than it is about the destination. It is the path of discovery and believe, believe that you’ll get there, believe in yourself that you will land on something you absolutely love by trying out multiple things as you go. Maybe that thing will be to keep trying out multiple things or maybe you’ll find one true passion to focus your life’s work on. You carve your own unique path using your unique abilities, perspective and all the nuances of you as a person.
Embrace the process of subtraction.
Keep moving ahead and keep subtracting what no longer serves a purpose for you. Often times you figure out what you want in life by subtracting the things you don’t want. We as human beings feel much more strongly about what are the things we don’t want as opposed to the things we do want. Let that intuition be your guide and embrace the process of subtraction as you go.
Give yourself permission to be a beginner.
I learned a valuable lesson from Naomi Bulger in a conversation we had some time ago. Think of choosing your passions to start working on and towards your dreams as if you were choosing your major and minor subjects at the university. How simple yet insightful approach, I must say. It removes that fear of missing out on all the other passions when you think about focusing on a single one. Also, give yourself time and the permission to experiment, explore and make mistakes as you go.
Some valuable resources:
– Where to start and how to find your thing by Build your tribe podcast
– You probably know to ask yourself, “What do I want?” Here’s a way better question,
blog post by Mark Manson
– Why some of us don’t have one true calling Ted talk by Emilie Wapnick