What do you call a happy cowboy?
I don’t know. What?
A jolly rancher.
Hey, it’s Marie Forleo, and you are watching Marie TV, the place to be to create a business and life that you love. So, if you’re wondering how to do all the things that you love without looking like a flake, this one is for you. Today’s question comes from Tonya, and she writes, “Hello, amazing Marie and team. I adore the show and how you make business fun. You’re a breath of fresh air in a stuffy business world. Here’s my cue. You went from the stock market to life coaching, dancing, workout videos, to what you do now. Like you, I’m multi-passionate and I’ve had many different niches through my journey in entrepreneurship, yet they all build upon each other. I see my changing directions as a way to find my true calling, yet others just see it as proof that I’m confused. So the question is, how do you bridge from one thing to the other without looking flaky to your followers? Thanks, Tonya.”
Tonya, this is such a great question. And I know in my heart that so many people that watch the show can relate. So we’re going to give you some actionable strategies in just a few minutes. But first, for anyone who’s new to that phrase, multi-passionate, that’s a term that I coined way back in the early 2000s because I was having a hard time fitting myself into a conventional career box. There were so many things that I was pursuing, like life coaching and dance and fitness and writing and speaking. And it was all under this umbrella of entrepreneurship. But here’s the thing, I constantly felt ashamed and self conscious when people at parties would ask, “What do you do?” That is when I came up with that term, “I’m a multi-passionate entrepreneur.”
And seriously, it was like the clouds parted and the angels sang. The truth is, many of us have multiple strengths and passions, but we never give ourselves permission to explore and cultivate them. But, I got to tell you, some of our greatest cultural icons have. A classic is Leonardo da Vinci, the Italian polymath whose interest included invention, paintings, sculpting, architecture, science, music, math, engineering, literature, anatomy, geology, astronomy, botany, writing, history, and cartography. And sometimes he’s even credited with the invention of the parachute and the helicopter and the tank.
Then there’s one of my favorite women of all time, the incomparable Maya Angelou. Maya danced at a strip joint, then she ran a brothel, she mastered several languages, published, not just poetry, but also advice books and cookbooks and children’s stories. She danced professionally, she wrote music and plays and screenplays, and she received an Emmy nomination for her acting in Roots. And she was an activist who worked with Martin Luther King to organize the Poor People’s March in Memphis, Tennessee.
And then, of course, there’s James Franco, actor and director and visual artist and author of a book of short stories, a teacher at NYU, UCLA, and a high school. And if you look him up on Wikipedia, the section on other projects is real long. So the question is, how do you make all the things make sense together? Well, here are six ideas for you to consider. Now, some might seem conflicting, so you just choose what is most relevant to you.
Number one is embrace your flake. You got to be real about your journey, just own the fact that you’ve enjoyed a very rich and diverse path. And if you want to keep experimenting with different ideas, just be real about that too. Stop being ashamed of who you are, woman. Whether you’re just legitimately confused about what you want to do or you’re just genuinely interested in having multiple businesses or parts of your career. You got to own it. You got to love it. You got to hug up on it.
Number two, position it properly. So realize that you get to choose how you position anything, like who you are as a human being and your journey. You get to frame your experience both for yourself and for the world. So, what’s the story you’re going to tell? Are you going to position your multi-passionate nature as a strength or as a weakness? As something that makes you fantastic, or something that makes you a flake? You can tell someone, “I’m not really sure what I do.” Or you could tell someone, “What don’t I do?”
Oh, she does it all.
She does it all.
She does all the jobs.
All of it.
All of it, from the top to the bottom to the middle to the side.
All, every single one.
And then again.
Big, little, in between.
Choice is yours. Number three, I want you to play in private. So you don’t have to announce every time you’re going to try something new. That way when you say you want to switch to running a bakery, you don’t have to hear everyone say, “What happened to training horses?” Just because you can throw up a new website or start a new Instagram account in four minutes does not mean you should. And if you do, you don’t have to put out a press release about it and tell the whole world. It makes no sense to tell everyone to look at you if you’re not really ready to be looked at quite yet. In other words, play with yourself in private.
Number four, relish obscurity. So, chances are, right now, you are the most unknown that you’ll ever be in your whole career. And that’s not a bad thing. That’s a good thing. So use this time to make mistakes and just test stuff out. Try random ideas. Other businesses experiment, they do test market things all the time. They do things on a very small scale with just a few people to see if a new idea or product really has legs before they roll it out on a large scale. So use this time when you don’t have a huge audience watching your every move wisely.
Number five, and this is a big one, do not try and turn everything into a business. Oh my goodness, this is the biggest one of all. All of you, my multi-passionate muffins, have hobbies and have passions that you don’t try and earn a living from. Look, you do not have to monetize everything you do. In fact, you shouldn’t. And do not try and cram everything into just one business. Not everything is going to fit together into a narrative that makes sense for customers or for you, so don’t force it. Let some of your passions be just that, passions you do purely for the joy of it.
Number six, give zero ducks. I’ve got kids that follow this show now, so while you might be familiar with another word that rhymes with ducks, here we are sticking with ducks. Tonya, it is time for you to stop giving so many ducks about what other people think. In fact, I think you should give zero ducks. You said other people think that you’re confused. So what, my love. If I cared what other people thought about how many things that I wanted to do, I’d still be stuck on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange getting taken to strip clubs and doing shots of woowoo at 4:00 PM every day. Sorry, kids.
At the end of the day, it is your life. You got to ask yourself, are you happy? Are you fulfilled? Who cares what other people think then. #givingzeroducks. Tonya, that was my A to your Q. Clearly, this is a topic that I personally relate to, so I really do hope it helps. And next time you find yourself feeling uncertain and scattered, remember this. One of the biggest keys to success is giving zero ducks what other people think.
Now, I would love to hear from you. Have you ever felt that your multi-passionate nature has made you appear flaky or scattered? How did you deal with it? And, for bonus points, who are some other multi-passionate people that you admire, whether they are living or not? Now the best conversations happen after the episode over at marieforleo.com. And it’s a beautiful place, so go there and leave a comment now. And once you are there, be sure to subscribe to our email list and you will become an MF insider. You’ll get instant access to an awesome training called How to Get Anything You Want. And you’ll get exclusive content and special giveaways and some updates from me that I do not share anywhere else. So stay on your game and keep going for your dreams, because the world needs that special gift that only you have. Thank you so much for watching, and I’ll catch you next time on Marie TV.
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She does it all.
Well, here, watch this. Watch how flexible I am. I’m getting an ab workout while I’m working.
Am I crazy? Uh-uh (negative), I’m intellectual. Okay?
I can’t concentrate.