I remember one of the first pieces of advice I received regarding entrepreneurship: “Find your niche”, or “Find the one thing you’re passionate about”. It’s great advice. Many people have had an ‘ah-ha!’ It seems simple enough right?
In theory, yes, if you already know what you’re passionate about. Not everyone does though. For some, it might take some time to pinpoint what that passion or interest is, but after some intentional self-reflection, they usually figure it out.
In my case, however, no matter how long and hard I pondered, I couldn’t come up with a passion/interest I wanted to pursue.
This wasn’t because I didn’t have any interests, on the contrary, I had too many to choose from.
Normally I would agree that having options isn’t a bad thing, but when tasked to choose only one passion to pursue, I found myself unable to commit to anything because I wanted to do everything. The journey of discovering my passion and purpose only led me to crossroads and I was left feeling more lost and confused than before I embarked on it.
There are some great benefits to being a ‘Jack/Jill of all trades master of some/none’ type person, like being a fast learner and picking up skills quickly or even creatively combining knowledge from different fields to create something new. I’m sure the list of pros is extensive.
Equally extensive though, is the list of struggles one faces as a multi-passionate person, especially if you’re trying to come up with a business idea that somehow accommodates all these passions. I definitely had my fair share of challenges regarding the matter:
- I felt like people perceived me as flaky because I always had some new idea
- I felt guilty for starting a lot of projects and then jumping to the next one mid-way
- I was unable to commit to only one idea because I was equally attached to them all and choosing one dream felt like giving up on another
- I felt external pressure to do something practical and secure for a living
- I felt paralysed by the fear of choosing the wrong path or failing at it
Navigating life with multiple passions can feel like a maze of confusion and uncertainty that traps you in. For a long time, I kept trying to fit myself into the ‘one thing’ box and failing. It wasn’t until I heard someone explain the phrase multi-passionate that finally my light bulb went on.
It had never crossed my mind before that pursuing more than one interest was an option and that I didn’t have to choose one singular life purpose. It’s just not the way I was taught to think. From a young age, people would ask “what do you want to be when you grow up?” and it felt like once you chose your answer, you had to stick to it. The pressure regarding this decision only intensified when I had to choose what to study after school. I distinctly remember grappling with the choice between entrepreneurship or art. I ended up studying entrepreneurship because I reckoned I could at least make a business out of whatever passion I eventually choose to pursue.
Realising that I was a multi-passionate entrepreneur after years of searching for that one passion, was the key that set me free from the cage I felt trapped in. I could finally see my talents as the beautiful gifts they were instead of trying to reduce myself to fit into a mould. I could get creative about how I integrate my various interests into my life.
Now, I unapologetically follow and work on all my dreams. Some are on-going projects; some I’ll still get to at a later stage and some I’ve tried out and opted out of. And that’s okay, because I’ve found that more than reaching some level of mastery, it is ultimately the journey of learning and discovering more about my interests that I enjoy the most.
Instagram handle: Carmen.Mwenda