You're Not "Multi-Passionate," You Just Have a Procrastination Problem
Saying you're multi-passionate is really just a procrastination excuse -- an excuse that keeps you from fully committing and moving forward.
A phrase I have heard being thrown around more and more these days is “multi-passionate.” In a world where there are so many different passions to choose from, how could you possibly choose just one?
But here’s a little tough love you might not have ever thought about: Saying you’re multi-passionate is really just a procrastination excuse — an excuse that keeps you from fully committing and moving forward.
Ask yourself: Am I a squirrel?
Okay, obviously you’re not a squirrel, but hear me out. Many of us fall into what I call the “shiny object syndrome” trap. Like a squirrel, we gather up new ideas faster than we can hold on to them; every shiny object distracts our attention, and we don’t know where to focus our attention first.
If this sounds like you, then perhaps you have also experienced feeling as if you are spinning in a circle, moving from one idea to the next. Spinning in place...but not moving forward.
I call this very situation “idea debt,” because it's as if the unfinished ideas start to weigh on you, pulling you down. And because they are ideas not in motion, we tend to over-romanticize them in our heads, believing they are more exciting and thrilling than the task you’re already working on.
Perfectionism becomes a mask procrastination wears. When you have a mountain of ideas without taking any action, it can become a vicious cycle, and pretty soon your multiple passions begin to feel like extra weight being carried around.
Take a piece of PIE and commit
Committing to nothing just means you are distracted by everything. Like our squirrel friend, are you hiding behind an identity of being multi-passionate so you don’t have to really commit? So you don’t have to choose? If you think you truly are multi-passionate (because I’m not saying it can’t exist) — then what is it you’re passionate about?
Here’s a little exercise to get you thinking. It involves taking a piece of PIE: Power + Impact + Excitement. Begin by taking out a piece of paper and listing out your passions. Don’t think too much about it, this is meant to be more of a brain dump. Once you have your list out of your head and onto a sheet of paper, you can take a closer look. You’ll want to assess your powers, impact and excitement for each item on your list.
We all have powers; that is, dominant strengths that we are exceptionally good at. But it's up to us to discover those powers and to use them for good. The hardest part is actually acknowledging them, because we tend to undervalue the gifts that come naturally to us. We write them off as no big deal.
What are your no big deals? What are the tasks, skills and traits that come easily to you? What are the things your friends, family and even your colleagues regularly compliment you on? This is not a time to be modest about your strengths. Own them!
Give each of the passions you listed out a power score on a scale of one to 100 (10 being the highest), judging by how well this passion fits with your natural powers.
There is a big difference between good work and great work. Good work is simply checking the boxes you need to get the job done, while great work is the work that creates purpose and changes the world for you and for others.
When we realize the actions we take make an impact, we can recognize ourselves as catalysts for good in the world. Go down your passions list again, and this time give each item a score of one to 10 based on its impact. How will committing to this passion impact your life and the lives of others in a positive, meaningful way? Place your impact score next to your power score.
Listen, just because you’re good at something doesn’t mean you like doing it, nor should it mean you have to. If the items on your list are things you are truly passionate about, then you also need to have genuine excitement for them. What gut feeling do you get? Do you find time seems to disappear when you’re in that rabbit hole working on it? Does the passion really excite you? That’s a 10. Does it feel like an obligation? Score that as a one. Place your excitement score next to your impact score.
Now that you have all your pieces of pie lined up, it's time to add them all together. Simply add your three scores for each item, power score + impact score + excitement score to get your final tally. These final scores will help you rank your passions from highest to lowest and should leave you in a place where you feel more clarity about the direction you want to go in.
I think it's important to wrap this article by reminding you: Deciding to focus does not mean tossing aside everything else you love. Focusing will simply help you prioritize those passions that are most important to you in this one life you have to live.
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