If there is one thing I’ve heard over and over again it’s been that I needed to “niche” myself. And for a long time, I believed them.
But after many years of changing my mind, feeling lost, and feeling unfilled I decided that I needed to change my approach. I have finally come to terms with the fact that I am a multi passionate person.
What sparked this nagging feeling in me that I needed radical change to the way I was designing my life, was a Ted Talk called, “Why Some of Us Don’t Have One True Calling“. In the talk, Emilie Wapnick speaks about the anxiety she felt as she hopped from career choice to career choice throughout her life. She explained that the question we are all asked when we are little, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” caused her to feel uncomfortable because she couldn’t answer it. You see, It wasn’t that she had no interests, it was that she had too many.
I can relate.
I am a creative at heart, and in my lifetime (which has been relatively short I can admit) I have aspired to be many things. The first profession, an author. When I was in kindergarten, I wrote a paper that said I wanted to be an author of children’s books and that I wanted to tell scary stories. Which doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, but give me a break I was like 5 years old! Also, I don’t think I anticipated growing up to hate scary movies (no thanks).
As I grew older, I gravitated towards singing, and I participated in my elementary school chorus. That love for singing grew, and I eventually found myself pursuing it as a real career. I was in a singing group with some of my childhood friends, I wrote songs and seriously dreamed of being like Beyonce. During that time, I also played viola and I was first chair in my middle and highschool orchestra. Fast forward to now, i’m a filmmaker and writer.
I also felt a sense of anxiety about what my life was like every time I changed career paths. I thought “Why can’t I just figure out what i’m doing?“. All the while, I had people in my ear telling me that I needed to niche myself. I can still hear my dad’s voice in my head saying, “Pick one thing and stick with it.” It made me incredibly scared for my future. How was I going to make something of myself if I kept changing my direction?
But now, I have a different perspective.
Advice For Multi Passionate People
Now i’m waking up to the fact that I am a multi passionate person. And while that may make things more difficult, I can not change who I am. I’m hoping that those of you out there that feel the same hopelessness that I’ve felt most of my life, can too, find comfort in just accepting it.
What got me to this level of acceptance, is that for so long I would push down things that I genuinely loved to do because it didn’t fit into my “niche” or plan. For example, when I started my videography business in 2014, I decided that acting and singing needed to go on the back burner. And before that, I put my love for playing viola on the back burner as well. My justification? It wasn’t making me money. I rationalized it by saying, “You are an adult now, those things were great and all but now you need to make money and start to build your life.” I can also admit now that there was a little fear in there. How could I possibly do everything?
Now I understand that I wasn’t living my authentic self by pushing these things out of my life. Whether they make money for me or not, each art form that I’ve gravitated to does something unique for my personal growth. I am doing myself a disservice by not exploring each one.
So a few weeks ago, I pulled my viola out of storage. And when I say that I almost cried at the sight of it, i’m not over exaggerating.
I started to play, and the fact that I was rusty did not stop the memories from flooding back. I felt like I had woken up from a really long dream, playing music made me feel alive again. After that experience, I knew that everything that makes up Olivia needed to coexist in order for me to excel. Will that make things a little more difficult? Sure, but it will be worth it.
I’ve spent a good portion of the last week looking for places to start acting, singing, and playing music again. I’ve searched for classes and i’ve found a few places already. I haven’t felt this happy/fulfilled in a long time, and it’s all because I’m living my truth. I’ve felt so at home with myself, I finally realized this is what Albert Camus meant by:
I say all of this to say, that if you are a multi passionate person and you are feeling like you have to box yourself in to some sort of “niche”, please don’t. I believe that I’ve lost quite a few years by trying to force a niche. Here’s why creating a niche for yourself is overrated:
You are Inevitably Limiting Yourself
I believe we should all have the goal to be in the pursuit of progress. No matter what we are doing, we should always try to be better then we were yesterday. While you can do this easily by focusing on one thing, branching out and learning a few different things can only make you a more well rounded person in my opinion. Sure, I could be come a master at filmmaking (which I do do plan to do) but why can’t I also freelance write, play music and perform? Why do I have to limit myself?
Why do you?
Most people will tell you because of “time”. “There just isn’t enough time in they day!” They’ll exclaim. But I’m beginning to think that people say that as an excuse. If we really truly care about what we are doing, then won’t we be willing to work at it? Won’t we be willing to train and make time for it? When I started thinking in a positive mindset versus a negative one, I realized that I could easily work in time for each thing I want to do without driving myself crazy. I hope that you can find the same if you decide to allow yourself the freedom to live authentically, whatever that may mean.
In the Ted Talk I mentioned earlier, Wapnick spoke about how multi passionate people are able to take information and lessons that they learn from everywhere to each new project they work on. This makes them incredibly valuable because they can and will, easily adapt and wear many hats.
Do I think i’m going to be able to do everything all the time? Absolutely not. But I also know that life goes through seasons, one month I may have to spend more time on my videography business than writing for the blog or whatever other combination. I’m okay with that. It’s all about balance and making sure that each day i’m working towards my goals. That’s it.
You Are Limiting Your Opportunities
I believe that the more we allow ourselves to branch out, the more opportunities will come our way. Sure we can laser focus on one thing and grow exponentially, but if you branch out you never know who you may run into. We’ve all heard the phrase, “Sometimes it it’s who you know not what you know.” and the more people that see your face the better your chances are of success.
I am internally grateful for this newfound excitement in my life. It’s like I have discovered who I am again. The “realities” of life can make you lose your magic, and those out there telling you to limit yourself by creating a niche, are usually doing it for a couple of reasons. 1) They learned somewhere that a niche was important so they regurgitate the same info. 2) They couldn’t figure out how to make it work for them, so they don’t think it will work for you.
Don’t listen to other people, be you, authentically and the world will open up to you.
Thank you so much for reading, as always I hope you find value in this post. I’m looking forward to our discussion below! Let me know what you think.
Do you think creating a niche is important?
What do you think about living life authentically?
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