What Do You Want To Be When You Grow Up?

IMG_2074Most of us have been asked this question when we were little, but are you still asking yourself this question now? If so, you are in good company – there are many people who are still wondering what they should do with their life as an adult.

You might think that there should be one clear answer to this question and wonder why you haven’t found it yet for yourself. After all, aren’t there others who have known since they were little what they wanted to do?

Back when I was working in the corporate world and searching for my “true calling,” all I knew was that whatever I was doing wasn’t feeling fulfilling. So I kept on looking, thinking that there would be one clear answer to what I was meant to do. I expected that there would be a clear profession or job title that would emerge.

But that clear answer never came. Instead, what emerged over and over again was that I was passionate about personal growth. Of course I knew that I had always been interested in growing as a person, but I always thought that was something I was doing for myself. So I always dismissed it as an answer, because it wasn’t a career. It wasn’t until I surrendered myself to “personal growth” possibly being the answer to my career question that I was able to follow the path that I am on now. If personal growth was the answer, what could I do in that field career-wise? This inquiry ultimately led me to become a coach.

However, I am still on my journey to answer the question. Because I have realized over time that I actually have many different interests and strengths, and while I find coaching deeply fulfilling, it isn’t the only thing that I want to do.

If you are like me and have many interests, you might be what is called a multipotentialite, also known as a Renaissance person, polymath, or scanner.

Our society seems to focus on the notion that there is one thing that you are meant to do and you have to find it and dedicate your life to it. And that is great if you love a particular area so much that you want to specialize and focus on it. However, for those of us who are multipotentialites, we are actually not wired that way. We might focus on something for a while, but then become interested in another area that we want to explore.

As a kid, I was always chastised for not sticking with one thing – the expectation was that I should pick one thing and become an expert at it. I never understood why I couldn’t just choose one thing and excel in it, and thought that something was wrong with me. But no matter what people might have told you, it is ok to pursue your interest for different areas! In fact, if you restrict yourself and don’t follow your new interests, you might feel empty or disillusioned.

Being a multipotentialite has many advantages. One of our strengths is that we combine things from different fields and have the opportunity to create something new. We also tend to learn quickly, so we can get up to speed in new areas pretty rapidly, and we are very adaptable to new environments and situations, so are effective at managing change.

So embrace who you are! It is ok not to know what you will be when you grow up – it may not just be one thing but many!

For more information on multipotentialites, check out Emilie Wapnick’s TEDx Talk.

For more information on Scanners, check out Barbara Sher’s book: Refuse to Choose


Manuela helps smart and creative women who want to do good in the world in creating the life and career of their dreams! You can visit Manuela’s Website for Personal and Career Success Coaching.

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