Do you know any of those annoying people who have known what they wanted to do with their lives basically since they came out of the womb?
Those people make me stabby.
I have never been remotely close to being one of those people.
When it comes to life plans and professional interests, I most resemble a confused goldfish. I’ll be all set to follow one path one day, and then I read a news article that strikes my interest, annnnd shooom. There I go, in a seemingly nonsensical, divergent direction.
Believing what some people said about my being “lost”, “selfish”, or worst, a “typical spoiled millenial” –– the doubt crept in. Was there something wrong? Why did so many interests and life paths call my name?
DID I HAVE TOO MANY IDENTITIES OR NO IDENTITY AT ALL?
While breathing into a paper bag, I found some solace re: my evolving identity mashup in a book by Emilie Wapnick called How to Be Everything, where I learned that I am a “multipotentialite”, which is exactly what it sounds like it would be, unless you are confusing it with the word “troglodyte”, in which case, it is not.
Multipotentialism means having multiple potentials, or interests, skills, and passions. You refuse to get boxed in, because as soon as they’re done drawing the box, you’ve already escaped to the next thing. (#magic)
I thought that this distressing quality of mine meant that I would always be aimlessly wandering about with intermittent spurts of interest, bounding about to whatever caught my eye, like when you unleash your dog at a park with many different kinds of pee to smell.
Bad example. But my idea stays the same –– having lots of passions, especially in the social impact space, is a good… dare I say, GREAT thing.
And can actually help you figure out the perfect job or side hustle for you –– for now.
I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t have an intellectual crush on Carol Dweck… ’s growth mindset paradigm.
When I first heard her impassioned talk on how early on, children are paralyzed by the need to be right (and be right on the first try), I saw identified aspects of myself, both younger and present day.
Somehow we’ve fooled ourselves into believing we’ve always got to succeed to matter.
We’ve got to succeed to be worth something.
We’ve got to succeed to be valuable.
We’ve got to succeed to be smart.
Damn, that’s a lot of pressure. And it doesn’t go away when we leave school.
In fact, it keeps coming through many stages of life. Especially if you’re the kind of person who comes from a service background, and aspires to achieve goals as amorphous as “make the world a better place”, “make a difference/impact”, and “be the change”.
You may, in fact, realize that your whole life plan has to do with disrupting, transforming, debunking, and otherwise breaking the rules in the name of something much bigger. Man, talk about something that makes your doubt yourself.
You know you’ll have to forge a path that looks different from a lot of other people’s... but that’s much easier to daydream about than do, especially when society's pressures continue to weigh on you.
How do you find the courage and self-assurance you need when you’re not following the path everyone else is taking?
We’ve got a few ideas.
The day I first watched Dan Pallotta’s TED talk “The Way We Think About Charity is Dead Wrong" –– I began reshaping the way I consider money in the scheme of my career.
If you haven’t already checked it out, queue it up on your next coffee break –– it’s worth it.
For the 95 percent of you who won’t do that, here’s the gist:
In this talk, Pallotta is like, “Hold the phone, peeps.”
His remarks should be the anthem of social impact professionals everywhere.
Coming soon, to a job description near you:
Wanted: Candidate must be creative, autonomous, and entrepreneurial.
It’s one of the latest professional buzzwords. No one wants to be an employee anymore, following orders and answering to the man. They want to be independent, innovative entrepreneurs –– making new things from thin air.
Except, a lot of times they still want the security of working for someone else without all the risk, headaches, and failures of an entrepreneur.
Seems like a bit of a conundrum, when you consider that one of the main tenets of being an entrepreneur are those exact things: willingness to take risk, on-the-go evolution, and high openness to creativity (and its frequent byproduct, failure).
By nature, entrepreneurs also tend to highly value autonomy and creativity, with a touch of anti-establishment and adrenaline rushes thrown in.
As with any job, not everyone in the world is cut out to be an entrepreneur. But that doesn’t mean you can’t be entrepreneurial.
I do a lot of thinking about social entrepreneurs.
You could say I’ve become a little obsessed with the movement towards building businesses for good. (It would be true, I am.)
Along this path that I’ve been walking for a short time, there is one thing I can definitively say for sure:
It’s lonely out here, man!
Tell me if this doesn’t sound familiar…
You’re all jazzed about an idea that you’re working on, whether it’s a new element of your business you’re launching, a challenge you’re trying to solve, a recent success, or the like, practically bursting at the seams with passion, and want to share it with those around you, but….
… no one quite seems to get it.
“Oh, wow….” “
That sounds interesting…. wanna order some pizza?”
Let's change the world.
Who wrote this?
Gina Edwards, Impact Explorer founder and lover of all pun jokes, making a positive change in the world, Stephen Colbert, Jif Peanut Butter, and staying inside on rainy days. Order may vary.