Now that I’ve comfortably settled into 2017, I feel like I can confess something: 2016 was hard. Don’t get me wrong, it was wonderful in many ways! I started and turned a profit in my small business, maintained a 4.0 in grad school, rebooted this blog, and started working at a non-profit for special needs families that I love. I’m proud of and passionate about all these things. However, I crawled across the 2016 finish line with my family of five completely drained. This led me to wonder: Is there a way to pursue all my passions and interests without stretching my family and myself too thin?
While wrestling with this question, I came across the term multi-passionate entrepreneur, and it was life-changing! Marie Forleo coined the term, which she defines in this video. Expanding on her idea, I define a multi-passionate person as someone who puts her passions into action through various media and who brings positive energy to others through those passions.
The problem with being multi-passionate and the solution for success
This is a confusing concept to many. For example, when you’re at a dinner party and someone asks you “What do you do for a living?” you can feel a bit like a deer in the headlights. If you’re a banker, lawyer, or doctor, this question has a pretty straight-forward answer. If you’re a multi-passionate entrepreneur, your answer may sound like a random compilation of projects rather than focused passions, but it doesn’t have to! You can harness your abilities and package them in a way that not only sounds interesting, but also invites people in to see if they have a need you can fill.
For example, when asked this question, I say: “I’m a multi-passionate entrepreneur! I enjoy being a wife, mother, small business owner, grad student, writer, special needs blogger, and guest speaker.” From there, I gauge what piques their interest and dive into a conversation about what we both share in common or how I can fill a need.
How to live your passions without exhausting yourself (and your family)
Having multiple passions is awesome. Any time I meet someone with the drive to make change in the world through actionable desires, I applaud them! However, there’s one thing every multi-passionate person must keep in mind: You can do everything you want to do, but you can’t do it all at once.
At least you can’t do it all well, and chances are if you’re multi-passionate you want to give each of your passions the attention and care it deserves, and to produce strong results. This leads to the first guiding principle for multi-passionate entrepreneurs:
Your ideas are valuable, but they must be fully executed to make a lasting impact. The way to do this is to focus on bringing each passion to fruition one step at a time. This may mean tabling some of your ideas for a time. However, it does not mean you have to abandon them! I like the way Lisa at Spark and Profit puts this:
It’s okay to have more than one thing that you are passionate about. Just don’t build around all of them at once.
In other words, stop juggling. Focus on executing one idea at a time and rotating systematically through your passions and areas of interest. This is supported by guiding principle #2:
Organize and prioritize your passions into manageable, actionable steps.
There are many different ways to track progress, but when it comes down to it, I’m a paper and pencil gal. I’ve tried many planners and printables over the years and have finally found the two that work perfectly for me.
- The first is the Deluxe Monthly Planner by Erin Condren. I love this planner because it is compact, durable, and beautifully designed. Each of Erin’s planners are customizable and come in a dozen different variations and sizes.
- The second is the Productivity Planner by Alex Ikonn. I first discovered Alex and his work in this episode of The Lively Show. His positive attitude and desire to help others put their passions into action inspired me, and I’ve been using his Productivity Planner ever since!
Last year, I packed my schedule so full of “to-dos” that there was hardly any room for fun or fellowship with the people I love. And, even when there was time, I was too exhausted to enjoy it. I never rested to recharge. When I slept at night, it was for the purpose of staying up and running during the day, not resting. And even when I slept, I felt restless. There was so much to do on any given day, I couldn’t complete it all. This led to hyper-focusing on tasks I needed to complete all day, and left little to no room for quality time with loved ones.
Make rest a priority so you can not only feel rested, but also feel present with the ones you love, which leads me to guiding principle #4.
Family first. Always.
This came to a head one day in early December when I was cramming for finals and finishing a project for work. My daughter asked if I would read her a story. After saying “in a minute” to her half a dozen times over the course of thirty minutes, I finally sat on the couch to read a story. As I opened up the book, she snuggled up to me and said, “Mommy. I love you.”
My heart fell through the floor as I held her four-year-old frame against mine and realized I hadn’t said that to her yet that day. I’d spent most of the day and every day prior for almost eleven months hustling to and from classes to school activities to events to work to birthday parties to therapies to doctors appointments and back again.
Had I pressed the pause button on my relationship with my daughter (and my friends and family) in order to achieve? The truthful answer is yes. This was a tough realization, but I’m glad the moment hit me as hard as it did because I needed to make a change. After experimenting for a few weeks, I discovered if I put family first and give my children and husband focused, fully present attention early in the day, I can pursue my passions throughout the rest of the day. Then, close the day with focused family time at night.
I find my children love to share breakfast and bedtime together as a family. When I focus my full attention on them during these times of day, they fuss and cling less, and play together and enjoy their activities more.
I hope this post helps! If you’re a multi-passionate mom, what principles would you add to this list?