March 9, 2016

Are You a Multipotentialite? There's Nothing Wrong With That.

You learn early in life that you should find your one, true calling and devote your life to it. Starting from basically the age you can talk, you’re asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” As you approach college age, this question can cause a lot of anxiety as you’re being pressured to declare a major, and you’re expected to make a choice. With a million different options, you’re expected to choose ONE! But what if that’s not ALL you want to be? What if you have more than one passion? What if you don’t have a narrowly-focused view of what you want to do in life?

As the son of a notable chiropractor, H. Ronald Frogley DC, I was deprived of the question most children get asked:

“What do you want to be when you grow up?”

Instead, I was berated by every person I met with “Are you going to be a chiropractor when you grow up?” Out of the seven boys in my family, six of us became chiropractors. It wasn’t necessarily because it was expected. Personally, I always wanted to be a chiropractor. I idolized my father. In fact, at fifteen, I remember sitting down and setting a goal for my future graduation date from chiropractic school. But after sixteen years in this wonderful profession, I found myself hungering for more.

So what happens when you discover that what you have dedicated your life to isn’t quite enough for you? I love my patients and for the most part, I think my patients love me. But somewhere along my career path, through more than a decade of learning how to run a small business and absorbing every business seminar I could find, I found another love affair—business analytics and automated systems. I discovered a huge, gaping hole for this in small to medium sized clinics and organizations, which sparked a passion to help other business owners.

As I dove into that field, I wrestled with the feeling of cheating. Cheating on my patients, but even deeper than that, my bloodline. As my thoughts and time turned to starting another company, I often felt unfaithful to my clinic. I began spending less time with those employees and more time with the new employees hired to interpret and build mine and my business partner’s vision. All while still carrying a full patient load. It was horrible feeling torn between chasing a newfound love and fulfilling my “calling.” I found myself in a tug of war that left me exhausted, immunologically depleted, and even a little depressed.

As I wrestled with myself, I found my greatest comfort in listening to my wife’s counsel. She could easily see my life was out of balance. I was letting my much more important duties of being a husband and father fail. Being a great provider pales in comparison, if failure in the first two roles is the cost. So, after a recalibration of life’s priorities, all the pieces began to fall into place. The balance between family and profession brought new support and hope. Business partners stepped up, the right team members were attracted and adopted our vision as if it were their own. It wasn’t until this balance was achieved that something magical happened.

With a clear mind, and with this new found balance in my life, the creative inspiration came like a flood of light. This light finally ended my soul’s tug of war between the two fields and my obligation to my bloodline. I finally understood why and how my passions could merge and help me fulfill all that my heart had been yearning for. The inspiration came long before I watched the video by Emilie Wapnick titled, “Why some of us don’t have one true calling,” but when I discovered this video, it summed up my feelings beautifully. She describes that some of us are multipotentialites. This concept goes against our culture's romanticized vision that we need to find our one, true calling and dedicate our lives to it, because it is our destiny. The problem is, not all of us are wired this way, and if we’re not, it sets up expectations that leaves us feeling broken.

So what can make us feel whole? The answer is...

Discovering your own inner greatness—the roles you play that allow you to reach your potential while serving your family, community, or sphere of influence. Click to Tweet.

You may have found your one, true passion and if so, congratulations. But if you are like me, find solace that being passionate about multiple things may work to your advantage. Emilie suggests that multipotentialites share three key attributes that can unlock your greatness:

1. Idea Synthesis:

The fact that you are passionate about more than one thing allows for those passions to collide. This overlap of fields potentially creates a space where untapped ingenuity exists. Harness that and look for solutions to problems that most others would fail to see. Innovation happens at the intersection of your multiple passions.

2. Rapid Learning:

Being exposed to multiple fields and new concepts allows your brain to soak up new concepts like a sponge.

3. Adaptability:

Being exposed to multiple fields allows you to see the world through your unique set of glasses. Look for ways to adapt your knowledge from one field and use it in another.

Once I accepted that having more than one passion in my professional life was a good thing and I harnessed the inspiration that came from this, doors opened that I never imagined. There is no more wrestling with my two paths, but instead, an incredible merger of my two worlds. This has brought me to a place where my sphere of influence has expanded beyond my comprehension. That realization and unification of my life’s purposes has brought me back full circle. To understanding my WHY of idolizing my father so much, I now understand that I am actually the son of a multipotentialite. He was the most balanced man I have ever known. Between his roles in his family as a father and husband, to his country as a soldier and war hero, to his profession as a doctor, college executive, speaker, teacher, and healer. I hope we can all find joy in discovering our divine balance in understanding all we were created to be. Whether that is one, true passion or a merger of many. Either way, only you will know if you have found your greatness.

Watch Emilie’s Ted talk and learn more about being a multipotentialite.

To see the merger of my two worlds, click here.

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