The Age of the Renaissance Woman


I recently watched an amazing TED talk  given by Emilie Wapnick regarding what she affectionately calls the "multipotentialite." The idea is around having more than one passion or skill set and how culturally that isn't something we have celebrated when it comes to choosing a career.

The whole idea really resonates with me, as I completely consider myself a renaissance woman. I have always known this fact since I was a child. Truth is, most people are. Most people are not only good at one thing. Most people are not interested in just one thing. However, when you are young, you are asked what you want to be when you grow up. You are asked to pick one thing. When you get to college, you pick a major. Sure, you may double major, but the focus is generally on one thing.

As I continue to work with my clients, I realize that a big reason they are feeling stuck is centered around making sense of everything they are interested in, and/or good at. Perhaps they started out a career in marketing but then realized that they also have a love of teaching and music. Many times, these clients come to me trying to understand how they can do it all. The fact is, it is a challenging world out there for us renaissance women. However, there is hope for us!

If you are reading this, and finding yourself nodding; don't doubt yourself. There is a world where you are allowed to pursue other passions, and for that to be ok. Historically, changing careers and doing something unconventional hasn't always been an acceptable thing. Even to this day, taking a risk can be received with judgment. As a former Recruiter for 12 years, I used to think that was all I would ever be capable of doing or would do in my lifetime — and here I am running my own business.

Identify your Superpower (s)

Yes, that's plural. We are all passionate and skilled at more than one thing. It may take us a bit of time to flesh that out, however, if it's something that excites you, don't ignore it. No one wants to be that person at 85 saying they wish they would have explored their love of art more. Even if you are working on something 1-2 hours per week to start out, just start. Don't feel like you can't because you are already doing something else.

Share your Superpower (s)

There's also a world where your current role can benefit from your other superpowers depending on what they are. Maybe there are other projects or teams you can support that play upon those strengths? The answer may not need to be so dramatic, but another way to stay engaged. Who knows, this could lead to a different career within your organization. The point is, be proud of your other passions and skills!

I do have a point, by the way. My point is, the new normal is becoming an age of career exploration and fulfillment. Regardless of your career, age, or situation, you have many layers and dimensions. I would encourage you to explore those, even if they date back to first grade when you said you wanted to be a ballerina. Sometimes I think we were more insightful as kids. Who knows, I might be doing something completely different in 2 years. And that's OK.