There are two types of successful people.
On one hand, there are people with a clear sense of calling. They’re on a mission that gives them direction and leads them to success.
On the other hand, there are people who don’t have a clear sense of direction. These people enjoy multiple pursuits, feel called to several things equally, and have trouble choosing the “right” decision because many paths feel open to them.
For the second group, the idea of a “calling” poses a unique challenge. I belong to the second group, and I’ve only recently stopped searching for mine.
What is a Calling?
A calling is a strong impulse or inclination toward a single pursuit. It is the direction you go when asked to “follow your heart” or “trust your gut.” It is the answer to the question, “what do you want to be when you grow up?”
People with a calling tend to follow it to a specific vocation. They become teachers, musicians, priests, soldiers, doctors, and athletes - diligently following an impulse toward a happily ever after that seems to be all laid out for them.
For the rest of us, the answers are not so clear.
What if I Don’t Have a Calling?
Conventional wisdom tells us that we’re all here for a reason and that we should pick one “reason” and stick to it for the rest of our lives.
For some of us, this path doesn’t make much sense.
This might be true for you if:
You are interested and skilled in a lot of different areas.
You engage in multiple hobbies, activities, and creative pursuits.
You love learning and catch onto new concepts quickly.
You constantly change jobs, careers, and business models.
You feel bored when you stay in one place for too long.
Does this sound like you? If so, you might not have a calling. You probably have several.
Multipotentiality: Your Secret Superpower
Meet Emilie Wapnick, author of the book “How to Be Everything: A Guide for Those Who (Still) Don’t Know What They Want to Be When They Grow Up.”
In her 2015 Ted Talk, Wapnick explained that there are two types of people: People who have one answer to the question, “what do you want to be when you grow up?” and people who have a lot of answers.
People who have a lot of answers are called “multipotentialites.”
Multipotentialites don’t have a clear calling. Instead, they are equally skilled and interested in multiple areas, and they can see many different directions their lives could easily take.
And while, sure, this makes planning your next career move less convenient, multipotentiality has its benefits.
Multipotentialites are skilled and studied in many areas. When presented with a problem, they can draw on a wide range of information to develop new ideas and solve big problems.
The theory of meaningful learning tells us that it is easier to learn new information when we can connect it with information we already know.
Since multipotentialites know a little bit about a lot of things, it is easy for this group to make connections and learn new things more quickly.
Because this population thrives on growth and change, multipotentialites tend to be flexible, opportunistic, and curious. These are all qualities of highly adaptable individuals.
So, if you are a multipotentialite, great news: not having “a calling” might actually be your superpower and the key to your professional success.
The Key to Success as a Multipotentialite
When you’re equally good at multiple things, it can be hard to pick a direction. But who says you have to? For multipotentialites, the ideal path allows us to come up with new ideas, learn new information, and try new things as often as possible.
What different things am I interested in?
What projects or pursuits would I take up if given the time?
What opportunities do I have in my current workplace or business?
How can I leverage my strengths to further myself and my organization?
Make the list as long as you want and take your answers seriously. There are likely many ways you can put your superpowers as a multipotentialite to good use in your career. Your calling is to figure out how to do that.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Emily Giroux is the Creative Director at Legendary Ideas Group. Owned by serial entrepreneur, Liz Illg, Legendary Ideas Group helps business owners grow and scale their businesses through marketing and training solutions.
Visit LegendaryIdeasGroup.com to learn more.