Multi-Passionate Professionals: Be Proud of your Many Sides
Gilat Ben-Dor, MBA, CSW
From an early age, many of us have been conditioned to pick “just one thing”: ONE sport, ONE musical instrument, ONE main hobby, ONE bedspread in our room…and then stick with it for a long time. As adults, this trend continues in the form of expectations of ONE college major, ONE line of work, ONE area of expertise in the professional arena.
Having a narrowly focused, clearly-defined area in which to focus has many benefits: colleagues and clients quickly understand exactly what you do, and you can build a strong, and specific following in your targeted niche. Or, you may be on a career track that includes a pre-determined series of milestones as you move up on an established path.
Not For Everyone
There is nothing wrong with the Just One Thing approach—but it doesn’t work for everyone. There are those professionals who thrive on an extremely varied diet of topics, endeavors, and projects – often starting a new business, unveiling another launch or reinvention, or insatiably learning about yet another topic. All of this is done with tireless energy and passion, dished out equally among these many areas.
If you are a Multi-Passionate Professional™, you enjoy a variety of experiences, people, and topic areas, and you see change not as a threat, but as your lifeblood. The worst threat may be the idea that you could become “trapped” by the wrong decision, or by committing to one area at the expense of another (which you are equally passionate about!).
Multi-Passionate Professionals™ (MPPs) often succumb to external pressures to pick their Just One Thing, but this can be agonizing. In fact, MPPs often excel at nearly everything they attempt, since you only attempt what you are passionate about…thus making it more difficult to “decide” which direction fits best.
The Pressure to Pick
The outside world tends to pressure MPPs to specialize, or else dismisses you as “Jacks of All Trades, Masters of None.” And those networking events – they can be the worst on the self-esteem of an MPP. How many times have you thought, “How can I possibly express all sides of myself in one 30-second ‘commercial’ to all these people? There is so much more I have to offer – this is just ONE of my businesses!”
So what is the multi-passionate, multi-talented, multi-interested individual to do? On one hand, you want to become known for your expertise so that you can be recognized for your talents and advance in your career, or build up a loyal following of clients. On the other hand, the marketplace can become easily confused by multiple messages surrounding the same professional. (“Wait, so are you an artist or a business speaker?”)
The good news is that MPPs do not have to choose Just One Thing. Expressing a multitude of profiles is a unique asset and can absolutely be done successfully. Be proud of your many talents, your inquisitive nature, your numerous interests—your continuous zest for life and learning! You do not need to keep your inner artist, entrepreneur or chef (or whatever brings you joy) in the closet, thinking you are already known as the financial guru, the lawyer, or the wellness coach.
There is no limit to unleashing and maintaining a series of multiple streams of passion. Each of your passions is as much about who you are as the next. Expressing them all simply takes conscious organizing, selective compartmentalizing, and deliberate strategizing, so as not to alienate your specific markets.
Gilat Ben-Dor, MBA, CSW is an author, speaker, coach, and the creator of GUSTO POWER™, a success strategy program that helps Multi-Passionate Professionals™ maximize their many talents through personal and professional development. Visit GustoPower.com for your FREE report,“The 5 Mistakes Multi-Passionate Professionals Make.”
© Gilat Ben-Dor, 2010-2011.
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