Ever heard about the concept of the ‘hummingbird’ also known as the ‘multipotentialite’?It was in fact a coaching session I had with a fellow coach that helped discover what I finally was…..Yes, you’ve heard of me! I am one of these weird species…but, what on earth is this multipotentialite malarkey? If like me, you haven’t a clue, please do read on!
When Alessandro Arosio recommended me to watch a Ted Talk by Emilie Wapnick, I had no idea what I was going to find. What I didn’t know, that this 20-minute video would change my life forever!
Here’s some context, I was telling him about my ever-changing careers, not knowing what I should do next, my doubts, my anxiety around not sticking to anything in particular. My work story goes a long way, if you look at my CV, you really wouldn’t know what job to offer me! From office admin to customer coordinator, project manager to teacher, then progress coach and finally life coaching to name just a few.
I also shared with my coach my many, many interests. Woodwork (making a coffee table, a cabinet, a picture frame), making a violin (which took me 3 years!) taking my Spanish A level, doing the CELTA course, learning HTML code, doing a Swedish Massage course, learning Access database, QuarkXPress, Photoshop, Excel, Vegas movie software…and the list goes on…
Ok, so what are all these connections and why Emily’s Ted Talk.
Well, what Emily explains is that some of us are not meant to specialise in one thing, that we can pursue different fields and passions and basically that it’s ok to be the way we are and that if you are not born knowing you wanted to be an astronaut, then you don’t have to specialise in anything in particular.
WOW, what a relief that was for me and I kid you not…tears rolled down onto my face – they were not tears of sadness but of pure joy!
Looking into other areas of my life, I realised that there too I was being a hummingbird…try a bit of that, a bit of this. Yes, you are right, this way you never master anything and I would reply – and so what?
What if the joy comes from actually experimenting and not just doing that one thing you are meant to be good at for the rest of your life. In sports, I went from ice-skating to gymnastics, learnt to ski, cross-country ski, mono-ski and snowboard, watersports involved sailing, windsurfing and surfing, I touched upon many ball sports, from football age 8, to basketball to tennis, to volleyball and being French our favourite one Handball……….
Relationships and friendships were the same. I have many friends from around the world from many nationalities and backgrounds. I could not settle for a few friends, I was avid to meet more people and stay in touch with them all. Travelling is ANOTHER passion, same again, I couldn’t just stick to one place, according to some app I have ONLY travelled 6% of the world!
Have you ever been told that you should stick to one thing at a time?
Have you ever been told that you should always finish what you have started?
Have you been frowned upon when you said you were starting something new?
Have you been called crazy because you decided to quit a “decent” full time job, which was really convenient to get to and you loved?
Well, I have.
I am the type of person who cannot finish a book and actually have about 5 books on the go. I still buy them, feel excited about them and then somehow even the easiest read, I give up.
This illustrates how frustrated I have been with myself. How couldn’t I finish a book such as 50 shades of grey…people read this in a day or so, right?…I only managed half the book…same with Eat, Pray and Love…I get bored…What am I trying to say is that YES it’s good to persevere, I have many, many times, but it’s also salutary to learn to let go! For my own joy, fulfilment and sanity.
When I was young, I wanted to live in Australia (I still haven’t been)…I wanted to become a fully qualified French teacher, did everything towards it…even took my Maths GCSE at age 50 and eventually decided to become a coach! I can hear you say…”that must have felt rubbish, imagine doing all these evening classes doing maths for nothing”!
Well, actually, no it doesn’t – because I just go with the flow and don’t regret anything about my decisions and where I have put my energy in because at the very moment, at the time, it was the right thing to do for me, so why should I regret what was my thinking at the time?
My biggest doubt was the story we are constantly being sold, that of Passion and Purpose…”follow your passion, find your purpose”. I felt awful and guilty because when I kept changing mine, I felt I wasn’t getting anywhere and shame on me for not finding my purpose. “You never stick at anything”…so now here’s my second moment of revelation.
After discovering that I was a ‘multipotentialite’, I realised it was OK to have what one calls a portfolio career and that you didn’t have to pick just the one. So now I am still a teacher, a coach and even an examiner and might become a writer (you tell me?!) or a masseuse-coach (I can create whatever job I want, can’t I?). But the discovery doesn’t stop here! Because I love researching so much, I stumbled upon another very inspiring video by Elizabeth Gilbert (yes the lady who wrote the famous Eat, Pray, love). There she explains how stressful it is when you don’t have one calling, one passion and how she used to tell people how one should find their passion. Now she has realised how agonising it is for some of us not to have that one passion.
When I was desperately looking for my purpose, I started to worry: “so, Carole, now you are a coach, what’s next?” the inner critical voice was asking inside my head. But thankfully I am now happy with my life choices, my curiosity keeps changing and as Elizabeth Gilbert puts it…all this ever-changing direction might well take me somewhere, maybe one day I will find this sense of purpose and my true passion. Until then, you might say, what a waste of time, money and energy…well I reply to all the sceptics out there that actually it’s all ok, because all these different arrows to my bow help me towards my target and make me who I am today, full of strengths and assets…which I don’t know yet what it exactly is, but it’s fine as maybe the wind is blowing in all sorts of direction, but as long as I am trying new things, I am alive, molding myself and enjoying the ride.
So if like me, you are questioning yourself because you feel you are different and don’t follow a linear road, well let’s not be ashamed of who we are and embrace it and as Emily says: “the world needs people like us”. And finally, this also applies to my current role as a coach which I am so passionate about; I was asking the founder of my coaching school, Nick Bolton, if I should do one thing at a time and pursue one idea after another since I have so many, in order to possibly find my niche, and what he says was really reassuring. He replied:
“well you might not be as efficient and successful if you follow more than one idea at a time but what is important is that you enjoy the way you do things”.
So here I am using the saying “whatever rocks your boat”, loving the process, talking to many different types of people, coaching all ages, gender, in various areas of their lives and yes one day I might find my true calling. In the meantime, I am at your service!
I feel so good now that I have this evening shared this insight with you all, as for me it was a true life changing experience and I don’t want people to feel as miserable as I did and certainly don’t want others to wait until they reach their 50s to discover what took me so long to realise. So, I am forever grateful to have followed my instinct and asked Alessandro to carry on coaching me after one practicum coaching session. Et Vive le Coaching!
I am curious to find out your comments, so please do share your thoughts below on what was for me a moment of true enlightenment.
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