Some of the unhappiest people I have met in my life are highly ambitious multipotentialites.
Because they know they have massive potential but they’re completely stuck.
I’ve been there for long periods throughout my career.
Having the desire, and the ability, but lacking the clarity to take action is one of life’s cruellest ironies.
Multipotentialites often believe they are lazy —or broken —or both!!!
But it’s not motivation they are lacking; it’s clarity.
Every multipotentialite wants purpose and meaning.
I see it in every 1:1 client session.
It’s why we spend so much time overthinking our career options and getting stuck in the divergent thinking paradox.
We are constantly coming up with:
- new business ideas
- new creative projects
- new concepts and innovative ideas
We are seeking purpose and identity because we feel lost without them.
It’s not just the success we want.
I did the whole material trip and chased success in the music industry in a futile attempt to fill the voids.
It was fun. I’m proud of my achievements.
But it was unfulfilling.
So I did what everyone else did and sought out frameworks to assist me in my quest to find my purpose.
Follow Your Passion
This is one of the most common strategies. It makes sense in theory, right?
But which one of my many passions should I follow?
Following a singular passion is clearly not going to work for people with multiple passions.
Although it was many years of beating myself up before I worked that shit out.
Ikigai is the Japanese word for ‘a reason to live' or 'a reason to jump out of bed in the morning’.
It's the place where your needs, desires, ambitions, and satisfaction meets.
I tried Ikigai. I had high hopes as I’m a huge fan of eastern culture and philosophy.
But it didn’t quite land for me.
These are four questions that represent the four fundamental components of Ikigai:
- Are you doing something that you love?
- Is it something the world needs?
- Are you good at it?
- And can you be paid for it?
👆This doesn’t work for multipotentialites:
- We have multiple passions and love doing lots of things
- We are good at lots of different things.
Picking something we love is easy. Picking something we’re good at is also easy.
But how do we pick one? And how do we stick to one when we have so many other options available to us?
These philosophies/ frameworks are based on the “just pick one thing and focus on it” dogma.
Ikigai is a philosophy for specialists — and not generalists.
It works for people that have a solo passion and a limited skill set which means it’s easy to “pick one thing and focus on it.”
It’s a conventional strategy. It works for conventional people.
But we are unconventional people. We need unconventional strategies.
I now have purpose and meaning in my career. But I didn’t find it. I didn’t stumble across it whilst meandering down a dusty path one hot sunny day.
I created it.
That’s what multipotentialites do. We niche up our skills and knowledge to solve specific problems in unique ways.
We have a deep emotional world. We want to help others. We fight social injustices. We stick two fingers up to the status quo.
We empathise. We create. But we also disrupt industries and archaic thinking.
All this comes from within us.
We live inside out.
So, why would our purpose be something that is external?!
Purpose isn’t an external force. It’s an internal strength drowned out by the constant chatter in a noisy world.
I created purpose by scratching my own itch and then helping others do the same.
But it’s more complex than that. I have built a framework to help other multipotentialites do the same.
This is based on my research of 1:1 sessions with nearly 300 multipotentialites in my consultancy. I also spent 28 years managing the careers of multipotentialites in the music industry.
As well as my own personal experiences in my 30-year career.
The Divergent Thinking Framework
This is the foundational framework of my course. It’s the operating system for multipotentialites to have meaning and purpose in their careers.
They are also values for personal happiness, peace of mind and balance.
Without an operating system based on our fundamental needs and values we struggle.
All multipotentialites have fundamental needs that must be met otherwise we’re not going to fulfil our creative potential.
There are four fundamental and foundational needs.
1. Helping Others
We have an innate desire to help others. It’s the very essence of who we are. We have high levels of empathy and compassion.
But we have to be careful and set boundaries otherwise we burn out.
Action: Seek opportunities to help the younger version of yourself overcome problems you have already conquered.
We want to build communities and connections with others through our creativity.
Connecting with others on a deep level is important to us. We hate small talk and seek deeper conversations.
Action: We share our stories with vulnerability via our creativity ( articles, short-form videos, lyrics, art - etc) to help our audience feel seen and heard.
We have to do this from a place of authenticity as we hate bullshit.
Authenticity guides everything in our lives and careers. It shapes our creative process. It deepens our communications.
I spent decades being inauthentic in order to fit in with the business culture of the music industry.
It led to a huge fuck off burnout.
So, yeah, don’t do that!
Action: Share your stories with vulnerability — see above
We’re dopamine deficient.
We get dopamine, serotonin and oxytocin from helping others.
Neuroscientists call this the happiness trifecta.
Regularly helping people solve problems will make you happier both spiritually and chemically.
Plus it stops us from getting bored.
I talk about multipotentiality all day. I have sessions with clients. I write about it and create videos about it. I create courses on it.
I don’t get bored. It fills my cup.
We also get large surges of dopamine from following our curiosity, being creative and solving problems.
Our brains are part creative and part analytical
1. Express ourselves creatively
2. Process our emotions
This is absolutely critical to our self-care. We can process our emotions through our creativity.
I recommend doing it on a daily basis if not we sweep emotions under the carpet and they overspill.
We can get:
- lose our temper
Creating content is my therapy.
But it also helps others who are going through a similar experience.
Helping others feel seen and heard gives us the happiness trifecta of Dopamine, Serotonin and Oxytocin.
I channel my emotions through my content. When I post a video about productivity it’s because I feel unproductive.
When I write an article about perfectionism it’s because I’m struggling with perfectionism.
I call this inside-out creativity.
I will explain my full framework for this in a future article.
Action: commit yourself to a daily form of creativity to process your emotions. It could simply be 20 minutes of journaling, writing music, or posting a video on TikTok…
3. Articulate Our Thoughts
Our brains are constantly coming up with ideas and solutions. It can be exhausting.
We need a medium to be able to articulate our thinking.
I use this newsletter, and short-form videos, but you can journal, write poetry, or makes podcasts.
By articulating our thoughts we can join the dots. It is by articulating my thinking that has helped me create all these frameworks.
Leonardo Di Vinci said “Learn to see. Realise that everything is connected to everything else”
We need to channel our thinking or we get lost in our thoughts.
If we get lost in our thoughts we get stuck.
Action: See above
1. Pattern recognition skills:
We can all spot patterns.
Some people can spot patterns in spreadsheets, others in coding or in music.
Many of us can spot patterns in other people.
When we see patterns, we can see gaps, and then we join dots from our vast knowledge base to solve problems in unique ways.
Action: Actively look for opportunities with your pattern recognition.
2. Solving problems:
The key to starting businesses and creating our why is to help others solve their problems.
It’s the only way to consistently help others and make money with integrity.
Action: look for problems you can solve. Spot gaps and see how you can join the dots to create unique solutions.
3. Financial stability or independence:
If you combine all your needs, you can create a business that helps others who will pay you to solve these problems.
Having a purpose has provided me with peace of mind
Peace of mind can be broken down into two sub-sections.
- I’m no longer fearful of living my whole life without fulfilling my potential
( this was my deepest fear 👆)
- My thinking has a directional focus. It still goes at 100 MPH. It’s still generating multiple ideas but it does so in a focused manner
Instead of having multiple different ideas about multiple different subjects — which was fucking exhausting…
All my problem-solving ideation is focused on solving problems that help multipotentialites maximise their potential.
Having a purpose hasn’t slowed my thinking down but it’s given it a direction to focus on.
My thinking is way less overwhelming.
It’s not perfect. I still have shitty days. I still feel perfectionistic and overwhelmed at times but I know how to get myself out of these negative thought loops.
Is the divergent thinking framework achievable?
Of course, it is…
But it’s not a stand-alone concept. It’s interconnected with other mental models and frameworks.
This may sound overwhelming. It’s not really. It’s the opposite. It’s simplifying the complexities of life into step-by-step frameworks.
It’s a way of seeing the world differently.
Because we are different.
- We think differently
- We see things differently
- We act differently
“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” — Albert Einstein (maybe)
We’re the fish.
It’s time to stop judging ourselves on our shitty tree-climbing skills and channel our energies on our shit hot swimming skills! 🤘
It’s time to ditch specialist social programming and conventional wisdom.
It’s time to employ unconventional concepts and frameworks designed for unconventional people so we can channel the powers of our divergent thinking.
Is it easy? Is it fuck! Nothing in life worth having is…
But it is achievable if we want it enough.