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How to Succeed as a Multi-Passionate Careerist

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Discovering your career purpose is tough work, especially when you have multiple interests. Too many choices, the feeling of potentially missing out and the inability to decide can all act as roadblocks to finding that elusive dream job. When you have multiple interests, it’s easy to feel paralyzed about what you should be working on.

Here are five ways to get in the game:

1. Acknowledge that you’re blessed

No, I don’t mean you’re supremely talented. But having multiple interests—and actually being able to choose one or more to pursue—is a luxury. Back in the day, people didn’t have a choice. Some people, especially in underdeveloped parts of the world, still don’t have a choice.

So take advantage of your situation and show some gratitude. Being multi-passionate isn’t a burden; it’s an opportunity. When someone asks you about your interests, instead of doing the humble brag (“Oh, I don’t know. I have so many things I’m good at, it’s so difficult to choose!”), proudly describe your latest project and revel in it.

2. Freely offer your time

The chances that you’ll discover a dream job encompassing all your desired interests and skills for the rest of your life are slim. Careers aren’t linear these days. Instead, you’ll design a career in bits and pieces that, when looked at as a whole, will create something wonderful.

So consider volunteering. Perhaps you can join a committee as part of your local social media club or help organize monthly events around design thinking. The point is to add another passion piece to your puzzle so that you can feel more fulfilled and harmonious about your career as a whole.

3. Choose to work in a “connector” field

Certain jobs, while only utilizing one set of your skills, do allow you to interact and engage with a wide range of other industries. If you enjoy constantly learning and are interested in being exposed to new ideas and people, choose one of these connector positions.

Fields like event planning or sales can expose you to a wide range of experiences. In fact, many jobs fit this bill if you have the right attitude. Find a job in one of these connector areas, or start thinking about how you can gain exposure to new ideas from your existing set of responsibilities.

4. Schedule your focus in waves

Don’t worry; I’m not asking you to choose between your passions. (We all know that’s impossible.) Instead, dedicate your focus to one particular passion for a period of time—say, two weeks or two months. Put the others aside for that period and really go deep with this one particular interest. You can return to the other passions when the time is up.

This will allow you to stop feeling manic as you bounce between all the ideas in your head and will also let you experience some satisfaction from fully exploring one idea.

5. Make sure you finish what you start

The problem with being multi-passionate isn’t the long list of interests, the bouncing between ideas or even wanting to “do it all.” The problem is when you don’t finish something. If you make a commitment to yourself and back down, you’re going to feel crappy about it.

Instead of trying to narrow your passions, just make sure you finish what you say you will. By completing whatever passion projects you start out on, you’ll get an extreme high that will continue to motivate you in pursuing your other interests.

Accepting who you are and being deliberate in your work will help you achieve fulfillment and success as a multi-passionate careerist. Go on, get out there, and put your hands in everything.

Rebecca Thorman’s weekly blog, Kontrary, offers tips to create the career, bank account and life you love and is a popular destination for young professionals. Her goal is to help you find meaningful work, enjoy the heck out of it and earn more money. She writes from Washington, D.C.

Brazen powers real-time, online events for leading organizations around the world. Our lifestyle and career blog, Brazen Life, offers fun and edgy ideas for ambitious professionals navigating the changing world of work.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=317752194950479 Alison Elissa Coaching

    Great tips here! I think tip #5 is particularly relevant for people with a lot of interests.

    Any project is going to have some highs and some lows. People who are multi-passionate may be more likely to bail on one project when it’s at a low point and jump to a new project that looks more exciting. This can leave a trail of incomplete undertakings. Finishing what you start gives a sense of completion, pride, and accomplishment. Plus, once you’re done you’ll get to pick a new project!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=541814478 Sarah Parra

    as someone who has had this “dilemma” for a lifetime, number 5 is the most important. I LOVE getting into something and digging deep with it, but I always find it hard to not let something I find during my digging shift my path…

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=469971763022811 Positively Purposeful

    Great article :) Blessed indeed! As a multi-passionate person myself, I’m a certified facilitator of a process called The Passion Test which helps other passionate peeps get really clear on their top 5 passions. This is a great place to start and really helps us keep our focus.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=8634428 Will Robus

    Or… just read this book. In the first 3 chapters it challenges you to dig deeper into your “passions” and pull out what exactly it is that makes you love what you love. The authors go on to argue that you won’t feel fulfilled in anything, unless you are “feeding” all of your top 5 passions. Don’t worry, they recommend taking the “test” every 6 months, so you can execute this with an iterative approach :)

    http://www.thepassiontest.com/TPT/Home/index.cfm

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1617307860 Phil De Villers

      So we should all be porn stars?

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=59503153 Andy Grinwald

      Agreed Phil, I feel a small (but growing) business idea coming on…

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003065867118 Tommy Dean

      How To Succeed….write a stupid book about “passion” and sell it to people

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=13729505 Lisa Bartkowiak

    Really interesting article and very fitting for where I’m at in my life right now. It’s a fun challenge figuring out how to pursue all of your passions, but this article provides some good suggestions on where to start! :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=625990250 Rose Vu

    may be wise advice for so many of generation y…

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=724492768 Tita Beal

    The Johnson O’Connor Institute in NYC has studied aptitudes and career choices/success, gathering and analyzing data for several generations. They test people on about 25-30 aptitudes from finger vs tweezer dexterity to abstract reasoning vs structural visualization. They look at each individual’s high in relation to low scores without comparing to other people. They’ve found that people with one aptitude that’s higher than their others often are very successful. People who have more than 5 very high scoring aptitudes compared to their other aptitudes are challenged. They may always feel dissatisfied because nothing they do is completely fulfilling, it’s always missing something. They’ve found a higher than average number of people in prisons, mental institutions, people who attempted suicides, alcoholics, etc. with more then 5 high aptitudes. :Similar to Thorman’s suggestions in this article, the Institute recommends finding careers that embrace many of the aptitudes then also get weekend hobbies, do volunteer work, etc.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=23214857 Mallory Brewer

    Hi Rebecca, I loved your article! As a recent graduate with multiple passions, this one really speaks to me. I have a couple questions, though, that you or other readers might be able to answer. 1) What does it mean to design a career in bits and pieces? and 2) Would you consider administrative support a “connector field”?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=636978980 Rebecca Weinstein

    Yes! The finishing what I start can sometimes be a challenge… as well as fully committing to a path.. “Is it the ‘right’ path/direction/etc?” A book that could be helpful for people with multiple interests/talents… Refuse to Choose by Barbara Sher. Thank you for this post! I’m going to revisit that book… and use #5 to motivate me into action.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=583311978 Ken Pepper Stott

      so what is #5 ?

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=636978980 Rebecca Weinstein

      #5 above… Finish what you’ve started. It’s often what gets in my way- not completing a project & then getting stuck & questioning my direction/ afraid to commit to it.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=244954905593122 SWAT Classifieds

    That’s the key–digging deeper into what you like doing most. We all have what we are good at. I have come across a number of internet marketers who teach you their ideas, instead of teaching you how to maximum the gift you already have. This has led many to waste their time in a journey they never planned for and this has made many termed the act of internet marketing fake; but its not true, if we are going into blogging for example, then we must have what to blog about. What can we give people that they will like to read? For example blog.brazencareerist.com is sharing all these information with us because it has it. What do you have, spend time looking into how you can develop more on it. Thanks for this great information!

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  • KKD

    Someone who understands what’s going on in my head. Amen! Thank you.

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