Multipotential: More roads are better than one?
There is a recurring question we have been asked since we were little: ” What do you want to do when you grow up ?” How many times, over the years, have we been attracted to one profession rather than another depending on our interests and on what we were able to do well in part. We grew up with the belief that, at one point in our lives, we had to decide which path to take, only one, and any delay has always been labeled as waste of time.
But how much does it cost to choose if we can nurture more talents, even very different from each other?
Thus begins the TEDx conference of Emilie Wapnick Career Coach, author and “multipotential” because when asked “What do you want to do when you grow up?”, Wapnick did not know as a child just what to answer:
“The problem – he explains – wasn’t that I didn’t have any interests, but that I had too many. In high school I liked English, mathematics, art, I created websites and played the guitar in a punk group called “Frustrated Telephone Operator”.
There are those who are born with ideas that are already very clear from the beginning and those who, such as Emilie, develop many interests, grow from one “obsession” to another, acquiring new skills, becoming passionate about working areas even very far from each other. People like her are not to be considered “different” because they have difficulty finding a single path, they are simply to be considered multipotential.
A multipotential person can be defined as eclectic, multidisciplinary, a bit like several well-known personalities who in history, past and present, have successfully dealt with different disciplines. Emilie also gives the example of Galileo Galilei (astronomer, physicist, engineer, philosopher and mathematician), David Bowie (musician, actor, poet, painter, designer, playwright) and finally Richard Branson (entrepreneur, investor, philanthropist).
It may be difficult to think of building your professional career based exclusively on your multidisciplinarity, especially as many companies have always frowned upon the professional experience built in a single sector and banned those who were not particularly ” specialized “.
But today more than ever, especially with the new scenarios of the labor market, also thanks to the current health emergency in progress, it will be increasingly crucial to assert one’s ability to adapt, so much so that this is seen among the most significant competences of the 21st century, in addition to synthesis skills and rapid learning. In particular, the ability to learn continuously is one of the most appreciated transversal skills globally, it is no coincidence that we speak of “ liquid skills ”.
Of course, it is important that together with these there is also a good dose of planning and focus on your professional project, so that you can make your talents converge in a balanced way towards the achievement of well-defined objectives. In her book ” Become who you are ” Emilie identifies some main approaches to the career of a multipotential person, among them:
- Group embrace : in which you choose a multidisciplinary job or activity that embraces different areas. For example, the music therapy expert.
- Alternation : in which you choose to pursue more than one career at a time, for example through the form of part-time (in the morning the administrative, in the afternoon the theater teacher ). One day, one of these could prove to be the “winning” way.
- Einstein’s approach : where you choose to dedicate yourself to a single full-time activity, but where in the rest of your free time you dedicate yourself to a particularly engaging hobby that guarantees good results yield. For example, the architect with a passion for cooking (maybe tomorrow this could be the springboard for a new job).
- The Phoenix approach: in which you dedicate yourself for years to a specific sector, and then try to reinvent yourself completely in something different, but exciting and engaging.
So, more roads are better than one? In her philosophy, Emilie teaches us not to be satisfied, not to believe that there must necessarily be a professional career framed in a single system. It is a philosophy suitable for passionate people, who choose to embrace all the growth possibilities that life can offer.