I grew up with nights at the Skydome, afternoons at the ROM and day trips to the zoo. I wanted to understand how things worked, and better yet, how could I do it myself? I, like most millennials, are passionately curious. Don’t discredit us. We’re not lazy, and unlike popular myth, we do need sleep.
Now as you can imagine, for someone with multiple passions and interests, there is one question that irked me as a kid: what do you want to be when you grow up?
I hate that question. When we’re young, these inquiries are mostly innocent and often lead to awesome answers like, “astronaut,” “Blue Jays mascot,” or “my dog,” but the question signals a deeper disconnect with how we define ourselves. Let me introduce Emilie Wapnick, a self-identified artist, entrepreneur, writer, speaker, law graduate and coach. You may have seen her TED talk floating around Twitter, Facebook and YouTube over the past year. For those who need an introduction or recap, here’s a great quote that summarizes Wapnick’s, as well as my own, frustration:
The notion of the narrowly focused life is highly romanticized in our culture. It’s this idea of destiny or the one true calling, the idea that we each have one great thing we are meant to do during our time on this earth, and you need to figure out what that thing is and devote your life to it. But what if you’re someone who isn’t wired this way?
— Emilie Wapnick
We set limits for ourselves right from the get-go. It’s like asking someone, “would you rather keep your right hand or your left hand? We’re going to have to remove one from your life. It’s just a hand, you still have another one.”
An exaggeration? Sure. The point is that our passions and skills are very much a part of who we are. When you take one away, discourage, or hinder your ability to develop and explore these talents, you create a constraint.
Constraints kill creativity.
We tell our youth that they have to choose one profession and stick with it. Whenever I told my friends and family that I could pursue a number of areas, anything from webdesign, to project management to professional writing, graphics and beyond, I’d get the typical polite nod, or even better, the question: “which stream do you actually want to pursue?” They wanted me to be specific. But my skills don’t “fit” into a specific category or job description. I am a multipotentialite:
Someone with many interests and creative pursuits.
— Emilie Wapnick
For a full breakdown on multipotentialite superpowers, I highly recommend watching the TED talk above. In the meantime, I’ll give you a brief rundown on my multi-potential endeavours:
From 2009-2015, I competed with NEXXICE Senior synchronized skating team, the 2009 and 2015 World Champions. Since retiring from competitive sport in 2015, I had an opportunity to grow as a digital native. I said yes to projects I didn’t have time for before, but I knew my limits. Know your limits, people. I may have transitioned out of sport, but that’s not to say I foregoed my competitive and opportunistic spirit in the process.
Creative launch pads
When you’ve knocked on everyone’s door and no-one answers, what do you do? I knew this would be a risk upon graduating. I knew I didn’t have the “corporate” experience or previous job titles that would land me a sweet gig. So I set myself up for success and created work experience and project management roles for myself. Was there something I always wanted to do but never had time for it during university? You bet. I mulled over the idea of a storytelling project for months before launching Double Exposed in September, 2015. I’ve met some rad folks around the city and the best part is that they all started off as strangers. This was my, “do one thing that terrifies you,” goal; it turned out to be one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.
Over the past year, I interned with The Canadian Olympic Committee (Team Canada) as a digital content intern leading up to and during the Toronto Pan Am Games. I took on a communications lead role with Artists4Athletes, growing their brand on social media, as well as planning and successfully executing their first ever fundraising event at The Great Hall on June 3. We teamed up with Art Battle to bring together some of Canada’s top beach volleyball players with ultra-talented emerging TO artists for a night of revelry. I also started working as a social media liaison for Gold Medal Plates, took on a few clients through freelance web projects and served as the editor-in-chief of University of Toronto Mississauga’s (UTM) research journal, Compass.
What’s next: making waves
In sea of companies that bark orders rather than inspire leadership, I found an oasis with Splash Effect. I found a place where I can apply a multipotentialite skill set to create the best and most dynamic content for clients. And I’m not just saying that as an employee. I’m saying it as a creative individual who spent her whole life worrying there wouldn’t be a place for someone like me; someone who didn’t fit the regular job titles and typical work experience. I’m excited to bring this passionately curious outlook aboard the Splash ship.