Editor’s Note: This is a guest post from Emilie Wapnick of Puttylike.
Last weekend I got paid to make art, take my dog to the farmer’s market, play the violin, brainstorm with my friends, cook a new Paleo meal, and open an investing account.
None of these activities generated income directly (well, except maybe the investing account), but they all added to my experience on this earth as a multipotentialite, which is the foundation of my business.
I’ve set up a system for myself whereby I must explore multiple fields and report back, or my business doesn’t run.
If I’m going to speak to a community of multipotentialites, I had better be a shining example of a multipotentialite or I lose all cred and have nothing to talk about. In other words, my income is reliant upon me being the biggest, boldest multipotentialite I can be, and then using my experiences to help others do the same.
This, I believe, is the key to getting paid to exist. You create a business that not only grants you permission to step into a bigger version of yourself, but requires it.
We Teach What We Most Need to Learn
We’re fascinated by the things that are, or have been, personal challenges for us. When looking for a theme for your business, consider the deep, scary, personal issues that you’ve you’ve struggled with. What values, if you allowed yourself to truly embody, would make you feel free?
My inability to settle on one path used to cause me a lot of anxiety. I felt ashamed, I felt like a quitter with a serious commitment problem, and I felt like there was something wrong with me. Creating Puttylike was me putting a stake in the ground and saying, “Enough! There is nothing wrong with me.”
In redefining my inability to choose as a good thing, I gave myself permission to be myself. By accepting myself in this way, I also gave permission to other multipotentialtes to do the same.
Take a Look at Your Personal Challenges
Whatever your drives and values are, they will most likely scare you at first. Not only will they be deeply personal, but the idea of building a career around them will feel impractical and unrealistic, since they won’t match up with traditional job titles like “doctor” or “electrician.”
Your identity will be something more all-encompassing and representative of the many sides of your personality. It might be something like Image Maker, Health Detective, or even Day Job Crusher.
Or perhaps you won’t have a title. You don’t need one. Maybe you will just create a business that focuses on spreading love or helping people tell their stories.
As you begin designing a career that allows you to get Paid to Exist, think about the types of feelings and activities that you would like to experience on a daily basis. Your overarching theme will not be a skill or specific medium, but rather a drive, philosophy or world view. It will be something that matters deeply to you and likely something you’ve struggled with yourself.
Q: Have you given yourself permission to step into a bigger version of yourself through your work?
About the author: Emilie Wapnick is a writer, coach, violinist, filmmaker, and law school graduate. She works with multipotentialites to help them build lives and businesses around ALL their interests. She’s the author of Renaissance Business and the troublemaker behind Puttylike.com.
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