“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.” Steve Jobs
I had the privilege of interviewing Emilie Wapnick, awhile back. She helps creatives figure out who they want to be when they grow up. Her TED talk, Why Some of Us Don’t Have One True Calling has been viewed over 500,000 times and translated into 36 languages.
Emilie is a multipotentialite who explores many topics and passions in life. She doesn’t like labels, but she says if she had to describe herself, she’d probably use some combination of artist, entrepreneur, writer, speaker, and coach.
BUT, she says all of this could change tomorrow. Because she’s not just one thing. And chances are if you’re a multipotentialite, you aren’t one thing either. A few years ago she started Puttylike.com where many other people have connected into the Putty Tribe where they listen and encourage each other to follow their many passions. You can find Emilie on her blog or she’d love to connect with you Facebook or Twitter.
Sorry there was no update with this podcast. I’m having difficulty talking right now because of this cold ;( As for resources, check out some of books Emilie said helped her. I found them very helpful and I’m re-reading the Barbara Sher book again.
Summary of the Interview
*Emilie defined the term multipotentialite: Someone with many interests and creative pursuits. A person who has many different interests at one time or having many interests and doing them more sequentially. In the dictionary, multipotentiality is defined as students who display aptitudes in many areas – often called polymath of scanner – which is a term Barbara Sher introduced in her book Refuse to Choose!: A Revolutionary Program for Doing Everything That You Love.
*She explores many topics like how culture tells us to have only one true calling, when in fact we might have many talents or gifts that can be explored that can benefit others. Emilie encourages creative people, that instead of stuffing all those passions you have inside, to instead give yourself permission to explore those passions and allow yourself to live a richer, fuller life.
*Emilie shares a little about her story. When she was younger she had many passions and she continued to try different things… but it caused her alot of anxiety because she got bored quickly. She wondered why she couldn’t commit to one thing and thought something was wrong with her. When she was done high school she went into Web design, studied at Film School, was a serious musician and also got her Law Degree from McGill. Lately she’s been interested in the Health Sciences and woodworking.
*Emilie started Puttlike.com to see if there were other people like her with many different passions. And was surprised to find many other people who originally thought they were weird, find that there were many other people who were also multipotentialites. And they’ve been learning to do all their passions successfully as they talk and learn together on the PuttyTribe.
*There are a few great innovators who are successful multipotentialites of our time like Richard Branson, Steve Jobs and Oprah Winfrey. Steve Jobs talked to creatives in Wired.
“Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after awhile. That’s because they were able to connect experiences they’ve had and synthesize new things. And the reason they were able to do that was that they’ve had more experiences than other people. Unfortunately, that’s too rare a commodity. A lot of people in our industry haven’t had very diverse experiences. So they don’t have enough dots to connect, and they end up with very linear solutions without a broad perspective on the problem. The broader one’s understanding of the human experience, the better design we will have.” Steve Jobs
*Emilie has interviewed many people on how they make exploring many passions work financially. She’s currently writing a book about that. Many people have said that the Group Hug approach – which is to create an over-arching theme with all your interests(a renaissance business) which adds cohesiveness to your passions is one approach. Another approach is the Slash Approach – which is to separate each different passion -and have a different website for each business, especially if your interests are really different from one another.
*She talked about how she coaches people who aren’t sure how to do this and they brainstorm and bounce ideas around.
*There are many people with more than one passion. Emilie encourages multi – passionate people to stop looking at each interest as a waste of time. She shares the example of Steve Jobs who took a calligraphy class in college and years later that became the type face for the Apple Computer. So you never know which passions you’ve experienced in your life will later be useful to you.
*She also encourages artists to not undervalue themselves and the gifts and talents they offer to the world. If you don’t take your art seriously, then no one else will either. See the value in what you’re creating, learn what the industry standard is on what to charge for your work and then become more comfortable earning an income from your work.
*Emilie says books like The 4-Hour Workweek, Expanded and Updated: Expanded and Updated, With Over 100 New Pages of Cutting-Edge Content by Tim Ferriss and The Art of Non-Conformity: Set Your Own Rules, Live the Life You Want, and Change the World (Perigee Book.) by Chris Guillibeau were real game changers for her. These books helped her understand how to grow her business, be more productive and to connect with her audience.
A new release written by Emilie to help people to get a clearer understanding on how they can connect all their passions, is called How to Be Everything: A Guide for Those Who Don’t Know What They Want to Be When They Grow Up.
After reading Emilie’s definition of multipotentialite, do you feel like that describes you? Please share, I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.