Today, I overheard the question, ‘What is your word?’. Okay… if I want you to keep coming back and reading my blog, which I do, I should be honest with you. So I’ll start again – here it goes.
Today, I was bundled up on my couch in my yoga pants, overindulging in mediocre Asian food, watching Eat, Pray, Love, and loving every minute of it. And at the beginning of Liz Gilbert’s journey, she was asked, ‘What is your word?’. If you haven’t seen the movie, the question was asked by a new friend Liz met in Italy who wanted a better understanding of who Liz was, and how she defined herself.
Liz responded, “I’m a daughter, I was a wife, I’m a writer”.
I’ve been asked this question, or variations of it, many times. Most commonly, I’m asked ‘how would you describe yourself?’ Ask me to plan a red carpet event in Cannes, no sweat. Ask me to prepare a brand strategy on a moment’s notice, I got you. Ask me to bake (arguably the BEST) banana bread that will ever grace your tastebuds, done. Heck, ask me to write an ebook on Mastering Intelligent Customer Service (a topic I knew nothing about 5 short months ago), you got it! But ask me how I describe myself, and shit… I haven’t known where to start. Until recently.
When asked this question in the past, I would think who am I really, what’s my word? I started my early adult life studying Correctional Intervention and became an addictions counselor. I left that field, decided to indulge my girly side and dabbled in wedding planning. I got bored and craved a new challenge, so I got my foot in the door for a corporate marketing gig; ended up doing marketing for Playboy and simultaneously offered marketing consulting for other companies. Fast forward a couple years, with a serious taste for the entrepreneurial life, I launched my business, began coaching and am in the process of writing a book. What does that make me?
I’ve got diverse interests, I’m capable of achieving success at much of what I pursue, and I make personal and professional choices accordingly. I fear boredom more than I fear failure; when I’m bored, I move on, it’s how I’ve always been and I don’t see it changing.
How the hell am I supposed to break that out at a cocktail party? Ain’t nobody got time for that.
Thanks to the incredible TED Talk, Why some of us don’t have one true calling, by Emilie Wapnick, this question is no longer daunting. I am… wait for it… a Multipotentialite. It has a nice ring to it, huh? Emilie describes Multipotentialites as people who have many different interests and creative pursuits in life. She adds:
We have many paths and we pursue all of them, either sequentially or simultaneously (or both).
Multipotentialites thrive on learning, exploring, and mastering new skills. We are excellent at bringing disparate ideas together in creative ways. This makes us incredible innovators and problem solvers.
When it comes to new interests that emerge, our insatiable curiosity leads us to absorb everything we can get our hands on. As a result, we pick up new skills fast and tend to be a wealth of information.
To read the full definition check out her site.
This is a term I’ve come to use a lot with my clients. I work with a lot of people who feel they are at a disadvantage because they are not just one thing. As an ambitious and creative person who is constantly starting new projects, it can be easy to feel like a rolling stone, jumping from one idea to the next with no real direction. But I encourage them to think about it differently. What if, and I know this may sound crazy to some, being a rolling stone is our thing. We do not need to have one solitary function. If we can offer more, if we know more, if we are more, we should embrace it because that’s pretty bad ass!
Spoiler alert: by the end of the movie, Liz realized that she was so much more than what she originally described herself as. After a satisfying journey of learning to let go and embrace new opportunities, Liz decides that her word is, in fact Attraversiamo, which is Multipotentialite in Italian. Just kidding, it means let’s cross over, which is basically the same thing.
So if you’re like me, sitting at home contemplating life, while watching EPL - or are simply just wondering what to call all the awesomeness that is you - perhaps you too will find comfort in the Multipotentialite way of life.
If this sounds like you, we should connect. Who knows what fun project we can end up collaborating on the next time creativity strikes!