Sometime ago, I came across a word that fixed and erased a lot of issues I had for years. This will help you, maybe your kid or someone you know. It is called: Multipotentiality.
It is beautifully defined by Tamara Fisher in Education Week as:
The state of having many exceptional talents, any one or more of which could make for a great career for that person. Gifted children often (though of course not always) have multipotentiality. Their advanced intellectual abilities and their intense curiosity make them prime candidates for excelling in multiple areas.
A while back, I wrote about My Aha Moment and How I Reached The Tipping Point. The interviewer couldn’t understand how one person could do many things (and do them well). That moment showed me that things people think are negative about your professional life are somewhat God-given and lead to your freedom.
As a youth, I believed (and was taught by the world) that I had to choose only one direction. In fact, I wanted to be many things – lawyer, economist, dancer, movie star, news anchor, fashion designer, professor, entrepreneur, talk show host, diplomat, plus more. One thing I didn’t have on my list was preacher, lol! The Lord surely knows how to pick ’em!
There were times when it felt like I should just focus on one thing because that’s what normal people do – they just do one thing – maybe teach, be a doctor, accountant, lawyer, etc until they retire. However, I never really saw myself like that. I saw myself as one who could (and can) do many things and excel at them too – a multipotentialite. My gifts and talents are multiple, so why should I choose one and be miserable?
We cripple our children, we cripple each other with those designations that if you’re a brick mason you shouldn’t love the ballet. Who made that rule? – Maya Angelou
The negative connotation of a multipotentialite (or polymath) is that he or she is a confused person that cannot focus on one thing; perhaps tagged a jack of all trades. There’s the possibility of being bored easily but that is usually overcome by constantly and boldly learning new things.
However, the real deal is this: multipotentialites are “gifted” with diverse exceptional talents and expertise, multitask easily and excel in different areas. A multipotentialite is the kind of person you want to run your multi-million dollar corporation; this is the type of person you want to brainstorm with. Tim Ferris nicely states that:
Diversity of intellectual playgrounds breeds confidence instead of fear of the unknown. It also breeds empathy with the broadest range of human conditions and appreciation of the broadest range of human accomplishments.
Who cares about multipotentiality and why do you need to know about it?
If you are a multipotentialite, refuse to choose. Instead embrace the gifts that God has given you.
Yes, I do many things. I am a privacy and data protection consultant (which fits well with my legal and IT expertise). I help corporations become and remain compliant with privacy regulations like FTC and HIPAA. I am a Christian book publisher. I am a writer and founder of iStartandFinish.com, where I write across multiple disciplines. I am a pastor who is responsible for equipping God’s people for works of service so that the body of Christ may be built up. I am a purpose activator, life and business strategist, an empowerment speaker who is passionate about helping people start, run, finish and win. I am the blessed mom of three wonderful kids and wife of an educator (who is also a preacher).
Wait a minute..that’s not all. Now and again, I use my tech development programming skills to build a website or two or three (like this one you are reading right now). And that’s still not all. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Phil 4:13). Literally.
Enough already with labels and titles.
I am just me, Belinda – fearfully and wonderfully made, beloved daughter of the Most High God, a product of the King. I love people. I help people and that is why everything I do and know how to do falls under iStartandFinish.com. No matter what you do or where you are, there’s a START button in your life with lots of in-betweens and a FINISH button. Those in-betweens can make or break an individual or corporation. That’s where I come in with my brand, iStartandFinish. I help people in diverse ways to run this human race and finish strong.
My message to you today is this:
Know and understand that you are important. Be yourself. You are blessed and highly favored by God. Don’t allow anyone to put you in a box or define you. Just be you.
I have seen medical doctors who are professional artistes and movie producers. I have seen lawyers who are professional musicians. I have seen pastors who are successful entrepreneurs, don’t take a salary from the church, are New York Times best-selling authors, real estate moguls, movie producers, song writers, lawyers, medical doctors..(and the list goes on).
It’s okay to be multi-talented and be a multipotentialite. If your kid, nephew or niece or someone you know fits this description, encourage him or her to excel in all things.
Want to know some notable multipotentialites?
Check out Leonardo Davinci (he was a polymath – painter, sculptor, architect, musician, mathematician, engineer, inventor, anatomist, geologist, cartographer, botanist, and writer); Oprah, Benjamin Franklin (one of the founding fathers of the United States was a leading author, printer, political theorist, politician, postmaster, scientist, musician, inventor, satirist, civic activist, statesman, and diplomat); Tim Ferris, Maya Angelou (singer, composer, poet, civil rights worker, movie director, journalist, dancer, Reynolds Professor of American Studies), TD Jakes, Aristotle, eh moi (amen and amen, praise the Lord).
Hide not your talents, they for use were made. What’s a sun-dial in the shade? — Benjamin Franklin
Question: Are you a multipotentialite or do you know someone who is gifted in many things? What did you say you wanted to be when you grew up?
Image credit: wikicommons