What’s your story?

Does this look like a boy who needs somebody to light a fire under him?

I remember when I was in fifth or sixth grade, my mom was worried about me. Sometimes I did very well in school; other times I did not. They kept telling her I was smart enough, but didn’t always apply myself. One day, a lady came and called me down to the cafeteria and gave me a lot of tests. Afterward, she told mom there was nothing really wrong with me, and someday somebody would build a fire under me, and I’d really accomplish something.

That gave mom hope, and she started asking me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I’ve struggled all my life to answer that question. Imagine, twelve years old and I had no plan for the rest of my life.

But as time went on, it didn’t seem to get any better. In the job market, I was really good at a lot of things, and could accomplish pretty much everything I tried, but none of them turned out to be my lifelong passion. I’d get a job and really enjoy it, but after a while, I’d get bored, or move on to something else. I still needed somebody or something to build a fire under me.

I pumped gas and did oil changes, I worked with horses, I washed dishes and mopped floors, I worked in food service and managed a restaurant, I took college classes in journalism and mass media, I worked in radio, I published my own newspaper, I repaired washing machines and refrigerators, and at one point, I even responded to the call to a professional ministry, and now I have a bachelor’s degree in Pastoral Studies. These things are only the tip of the iceberg of all the “careers” I’ve had, but none of them built a fire under me, none of them turned out to be the one true passion that would make my life fulfilling.

I pursued other interests as well, such as following my family traditions of fishing, hunting, and camping. I got involved in archery, knitting, teaching Sunday School, and a host of other non-professional activities. But none of them turned out to be my one true passion either.

Paid work, hobbies, altruism, and so much more, but none of it built that fire under me. I enjoyed every one, and excelled at many, but continued to experience the frustration of not finding my one true passion. Find what you love, they said, and you’ll never work a day in your life. But what if you find too many things you love?

Career counselors and popular wisdom tell me that the key to satisfaction in life is to find the one thing you love, the thing you cannot NOT do. Finding that one thing was the Holy Grail of my existence for many years, but I just couldn’t seem to narrow it down. My brother sent me a link to a survey that was supposed to help me find my true calling in life. I couldn’t get past the first few questions. What’s your favorite this, or the most important that? Same problem, there isn’t just one.

Most often, many things appealed to me. Sometimes I’d find one and really put my energy into it, but after a while, that didn’t satisfy any more, and I would move on to something else. Was I lazy, or unfocused, or just too flighty for success? Many other people joined my mom in expressing the hope that I would finally “settle down.” That was a frustrating way to live.

Then a couple of years ago, I was expressing that frustration to a friend at church. She gave me a word I have never heard before. Multipotentialite. That’s a word popularized by Emilie Wapnick, to describe just such a person as me. Then my friend turned me on to the writing of Barbara Sher, who uses the word Scanner to describe a similar type of person. I began to read more and more, geeking out, as Russell  Brunson describes it. The more I learned, the more excited I got. I still remember the tolerant smile on my friend’s face, as I’d see her week by week and get all excited to share with her what I was learning. She had been through much of this herself, but it was all new to me.

I learned that there are many people like us, people I’ve learned to call Multipassionate. With that word, I have a different take than Emilie or Barbara. Emilie talks about our potential, and that’s a valuable lesson to learn. We have so much more potential than we’ve been led to believe. Barbara talks about our activities, our work, our play, what we do. But my experience has led me to explore my passions, as many and varied as they may be.

I took another survey, to find my personality strengths. My top five were Adaptability, Positivity, Connectedness, Communication, and Developer. Any of this sounding familiar? Classic definition of Multipassionate. We’re creative, adaptable, positive, and much more. That’s exciting.

Now I know I’m not defective, I’m empowered. I don’t need to find my one true passion; I just need to live out all my various passions in fulfilling ways. And now, I have a vision for sharing this Rainbow Life with others. I’m committed to helping more and more Multipassionate people discover their true personalities, and experience the joy that has come to me through this process.

A couple of years ago, I was setting goals, and it came to me that my one true passion is to become the guru of Multipassionate. I want to help people like me along the path it took me so long to find. As I explore my many passions, I use those experiences to teach others how to find fulfillment in their own Multipassionate lives, how to find work they love even if they don’t have one true passion.

What’s the story of your life? Have you struggled as I did, with multiple passions? Does the world misunderstand you as they misunderstood me? Use the comment box below to share you story, with me and with others. There are more of us than you think. We are all unique, but none of us is alone.


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