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Dr sasha nair

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5 Secrets to Pursuing Multiple Passions Simutaneously

What do you call those of us who have multiple interests, passions and talents?  Terms which have been used include multi-passionate, generalist, renaissance person…Author and TEDx speaker Emile Wapnik calls us “multipotentialites” or “Puttylike (adj.): Able to embody different identities and perform a variety of tasks gracefully”.

Emilie interviewed many multi-potentialites to see how they structured their careers, and in her book “How to Be Everything” (a great read), she describes 4 main approaches multi-potentialites (or multi-passionate people) use:

  1. The “Group Hug” Approach: having one multi-faceted integrative job that incorporates many of your interests
  2. The “Slasher” (slash referring to the punctuation between roles) eg.  doctor/arc welder/trapeze artist.  (This approach has also been called having “portfolio career”; having a “portfolio” of different roles).
  1. The “Einstein Approach”:  having a day job that pays the bills and supports another passion (Einstein famously had a relatively boring job in a patent office which paid the bills and left him with resources and the mental energy to pursue his true passion at night –science…)
  2. “The Phoenix”:  serial careerists; people who dive deep into something, often for years at a time and then move onto something else.

Emile also recognises you may not fall neatly into one category but may be best suited to some sort of “hybrid” of the above approaches.

Secret 1) There are different ways/a selection of frameworks that you can use to fit in the things that you want to do and maintain a reasonable income.

Keep in mind though, that even if you discover a way to fit everything in that feels just right, circumstances and even you yourself may change over time and that doesn’t mean you got it wrong, it’s a normal part of the journey.

Secret 2) Expect life as a multipotentialite/multi-pass to be fluid and adapt accordingly!

Take me for example, at one time clinical medicine, research and dance and music was a good combination. Now that I am a parent, coaching/having an online business allows me to spend more time at home and contributes to my income more than occasional dance gigs with lots of rehersals did.  I still love music and dance and would love to pursue those more actively again in the future, but I’m ok for them being on the back burner for now.

Which brings me to the third point.

Secret 3) Even multi-passionates don’t have to do everything at once

Even if you love having a variety of different things in your week, it’s pretty difficult to be pushing forward for massive progress in multiple areas at once.  It’s smart to focus on making major progress in one area at a time, while moving forward in other areas consistently but more slowly.

Secret 4) You don’t have to give anything up (permanently)

It’s also ok to park some things completely.  Just because you decide you are not going to work on something for now doesn’t mean you have to give it up forever.  When you take it up again it may not be in the same way, but most interests can be picked up again in some form, even years later.

Secret 5): Give yourself permission to be “unbalanced” occasionally

We all go through busy times in our lives where we go into survival mode, work to deadlines and put everything non-essential on hold.  Provided this is a short term situation and you take care of yourself, that’s ok! If you are able to spend some time on a interest that you really enjoy for the purposes of self-care, that can help to energise you and ultimately make you more productive.  But if not, don’t make yourself wrong for that; do what you need to do, practice a more restful form of self-care,  and look forward to coming out the other end and resuming life as you love it!

What type of multi-potentialite are you? (Or are you a true specialist?  Someone who loves nothing more than diving deep into their one true passion?)



PS: Still need more clarity about which framework or hybrid is most “you”, which interests to prioritise or how to arrange them into your schedule?  That is a major focus of my Multi-Passionate Professional Program  (if you are on my email list you will have received the break-down of the program contents, if not you can view the program details here).  Applications for the 3 month 1:1 program are still open  Apply here for the 1:1 program

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