The bad news: If this sounds like you – you might also be someone who is fairly familiar with anxiety and self-doubt.
Culturally, we aren’t encouraged to pursue ALL of our many interests – we are more often pushed to choose one thing, and to do that one thing really, really well. A strong, clear, ceaseless path is the way for us to become neuroscientists, astronauts, athletes. These careers impress us because, in part, they represent an incredible work ethic.
But there’s a problem: In this system, at best, we educate ourselves towards a satisfying career and relegate our other interests to occasional hobbies. At worst, we end up stuck doing work we don’t really love and are left with no time to pursue our true interests.
Emilie explains that this cycle starts at a very young age, when we are first asked, “what do you want to be when you grow up”. This innocent question, designed to stimulate imagination, follows us throughout our lives. Though we may change significantly as individuals, the question is reformulated: “What courses are you going to take next year?” “What are you majoring in?” “What do you do?” The implication remains the same – what is that ONE thing you have chosen to do with your life?
Is this resonating with you? Emilie might have a cure. You could be a “multipotentialite”.
Watch her video to see exactly what she means by this, but essentially, it’s a person who has many interests and creative pursuits. And if these people feel pressure to conform, they shouldn’t! “Multipotentialites” bring their own unique and essential skillset to the table. They are amazing at fusing ideas, rapid learning, and are highly adaptable to new scenarios. These are essential components of any successful team, and increasingly, these are the key skills companies are looking for in employees. Excitingly, these are also amazing skills to have if you want to go it on your own and start your own business, create your own project, or simply follow your passions – wherever they take you.
So if you’re once again feeling unsettled in your (third) career change, unsure of which subject to focus on in school, or are so overwhelmed by the variety of workshop options at your local college that you just keep putting off the application – pause! It might be time for you to check out Emilie’s TED talk and embrace your own amazing “multi-potential”.