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The Passionate Person: Are You a Multipotentialite?

“What do you do?” Every time someone asks me this question I immediately cringe. Of course I’m proud to be an office ninja! That is definitely not the reason for my knee jerk reaction and initial dismay. That age old query is just so jam packed with limitations and assumptions and my job title does little to describe what it is that I actually do every day. I am more than your friendly “customer service coordinator,” thank-you-very-much!

Like many office ninjas, I am a multipotentialite. If you haven’t heard this word before then file it in your repertoire now because it’ll come in handy at cocktail parties and your next big networking opportunity. Coined by Emilie Wapnick—an artist, writer, speaker, coach, and founder of Puttylike—a multipotentialite is a person who has many different interests and creative pursuits in life.

Multipotentialites thrive on learning, exploring, and mastering new skills. We are excellent at bringing disparate ideas together in creative ways. This makes us incredible innovators and problem solvers.” –Emilie Wapnick

Sound like you? Me too! And the title of Office Ninja fits the personality of a multipotentialite perfectly.

The Office Rockstar! Be Who You Are!

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What do you do as an office ninja anyway? Maybe you’re an Executive Assistant, Admin, Office Manager, or Coordinator. But what do you actually do?

You’re innovative, you see areas for growth and constantly seek out the newest apps, widgets, or programs to get the job done. You’re a creative problem solver. You see every side to the issue and relish the opportunity to find the most elegant, unexpected solution. You love change. This is a big one that really resonates with all multipotentialites.

You can’t do the same task every day, which works out perfectly with your office ninja role since you usually find yourself packing kits for trade shows on Tuesday, organizing the C-Suite’s schedules on Wednesday, and planning the next big office shindig on Thursday. Most importantly, you are innately passionate. You are excited about whatever it is you happen to be doing that day and it’s contagious.

Still a Ninja Outside of the Office

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Multipotentialites are not limited to their workplace. When the ninja gloves come off, it’s time to slip into one of our many other roles.

We are triathlon competitors, amatuer gourmet chefs, animal shelter volunteers, watercolor painters, and fantastic basoon players. We are the proud peewee soccer coaches, the improv theater nerds, prize winning quilters, and the organizers of some top notch fantasy football leagues.

You may think you need to keep all these worlds separate. That you need to hide your love of larping, stunt kites, or figure skating (which is a totally valid feeling). Sometimes it is nice to leave your work at the office. (There’s definitely a reason why Ron Swanson didn’t tell any of his colleagues about his saxophone-playing, jazz king alter-ego, Duke Silver.)

On the flip side, taking a leap and sharing your passions can deepen your interpersonal connections leading to higher workplace satisfaction. Who knew that Bill in accounting also builds model trains! The new HR rep, Jackie, is a long time appreciator of the arts and she would love to attend your next gallery show of vintage collages!

Level Up! Embrace the Multipotentialite in You

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Embracing the multipotentialite in you is a very powerful thing. The next time someone asks you what you do tell them the truth. You’re one of the finest office ninja/yoga instructor/terrarium crafter/bee keepers in the area and you’re deeply passionate about all of it.

You’ll spark so many interesting and sincere conversations that surpass the usual small talk. By opening up and sharing your experiences you just might find out that the CEO of your company is also a welder and once owned an avocado farm in Southern California (true story—he shares his metal fabrication magazines with me). We’re all beings with many dimensions and we’re lucky enough to live in a world where we can do it all as long as we have the motivation.

One of my favorite things is to encourage others to follow their dreams. It sounds cheesy but isn’t that a common office ninja activity anyway? We support others in our workplace when it comes to their jobs, but we can expand past our official duties and congratulate Dan on winning third place in that bike rice or Susie on her brand new, adorable puppy.

The best way to inspire others? Be your genuine, multipotentialite, office ninja self and let that magic shine!

What are some of your expanded interests?

Comments

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  1. Finally! A word for what I have been for a long time. “Multipotentialite” sounds amazing. I’m an Admin in our local school system by day, and a MMORPG and tabletop gamer, charity knitter, baker, family tree researcher, writer, gardener, and political activist in my community as well as a volunteer. I love being diversely busy!

  2. I am just FIRED for being a Multipotentialite. I was a Website Admin at prominent daily who was also working as a Sports Journalist, IT Admin, Graphic Designer, Advertising Consultant, a Penta-Lingual Typist, a change seeker and at least ten other different interests. Being a Muslim and an Indian it is rather difficult for a polymath like me to be at comfort in this culture and World on the larger scale.

    A week ago, I thought my multipotentiality as my biggest flaw and but now I can see the flip side of it.

    Thanks to Emilie Wapkins and Office Ninjas for making me realize this.

    Thanks once again.

  3. I am just FIRED for being a Multipotentialite. I was a Website Admin at prominent daily who was also working as a Sports Journalist, IT Admin, Graphic Designer, Advertising Consultant, a Penta-Lingual Typist, a change seeker and at least ten other different interests. Being an muslim and an indian it is rather difficult for a polymath like me to be at comfort in this culture and World on the larger scale.
    A week ago, I thought my multipotentiality as my biggest flaw and but now I can see the flip side of it.
    Thanks to Emilie Wapkins and Office Ninjas for making me realize this.

    Thanks once again.

  4. Wow! First article am reading as a office ninja…never knew there are peeps whose job responsibilities are far stretched just like me…I head the Finance, Administrative, Operations, HR department of an oil and gas servicing company while also covering as an executive assistant and company rep…so am proud to be a Multipotentialite!!!….but please i’d like to ask..am I really jack of all trades? Is it safe to cover all these job responsibilities without creating a wrong notion of non-specialization?

  5. Fantastic post, Jessi. Now I can tell my boss that the constant learning, interest in new stuff, investigating, trying to improve things at the office, which she appreciates, can be summed up in one word: multipotentialite. I am a secretary to CEO and management team / passionate reader / blogger / culture & arts fan / hobby singer / travel and nature lover… and I’m sure I’m leaving out a lot :-)

    1. It always feels good to have a word to describe something so vast, isn’t it, Dorit?

  6. This is such a great article, thank you!

    My office is incredibly fast paced but a really tight-knit community. I may be busy with every department during the day, but at the same time my coworkers come to my band’s shows, and are supportive of my preparing for a medical imaging career.

    And it doesn’t end there, my boss is a DJ in what little spare time he has, we have a welding coworker, a couple body builders, lots of other musicians (we often talk of starting a band), gamers, a yoga instructor, kendo artist, and skilled fishing enthusiast at the office! Good times all around =)

    1. What an awesome array of hobbies and passions!

  7. So empowering. Thank you for posting this. :-)

  8. Hey, I actually DO play the bassoon – don’t knock it! :)

  9. Great article. Nice to see this concept getting some traction in the workplace. I’m very proud to be an accomplished office ninja/local history buff/historic district tour guide/victory gardener/half marathon coach/hobby seamstress/amateur triathlete!

    1. Wow, Laura! That’s quite an array of skills, passions, and hobbies. Love it!

    2. Excellent article! I am a proud EA/OfficeNinja Ambassador/avid Stephen King fan/cross-stitching maniac/nap-taking enthusiast. And, I have just discovered a new name for myself… Multipotentialite!

  10. Thank you! Until now people would tell me (and I believed them) that I need to focus more and narrow my thoughts. It went against everything in me though. I get a lot done! Now I know I’m not unfocused, I’m a multipotentialite.

    Other than being and OfficeNinja, I enjoy my time writing, creating mind pictures of words, reading, meeting random strangers that will become my friends for life, and exercising. That last one is so I can enjoy ice cream!

    1. I’m so curious about how you create mind pictures of words. Any chance you can describe this process a bit?

      1. So, it’s one of those things that I didn’t realize was a “thing” until I started making gifts and projects. I do have a disclaimer – it’s both a blessing and a curse. A blessing because they do make for meaningful gifts and it serves as a creative outlet for me. Curse because when you see words as pictures it can be worth a 1000 words and I have yet to come across a word that has 1000 meanings. When speaking with people I have to be careful not to add or takeaway anything based on the picture I have in mind. Not always easy in personal conversation.

        Basically, I guess it would work the same way if I had a vision of the way a space could look instead of the way it does look. (I can’t BTW.) When I’m reading or hear something I just envision what that would look captured as a single photo. Since I’m not good at taking photos this poses another problem. Thank goodness for free photo sites!

        My last project was my largest. My friend’s favorite book is “The Fountainhead”. I read the book and highlighted my favorite lines/statements. Then I found photos to go with it. I’m having it bound now (121 pages) and plan to give it to him over Labor Day weekend.

  11. Because of my Multipotentialite (new word – THANK YOU!) ways my boss and I created a new PG for me. New title: Executive Project Analyst, what does that mean?
    Executive = EA
    Project = Project manager
    Analyst = System / Business / Financial Analyst

    It is great to have your abilities recognized and celebrated!

    1. Awesome Chandra! Way to be a rockstar multipotentialite!

  12. Jessi – thank you for giving me a new word for my vocabulary – multipotentialite. I’m an Office Manager/PA/crochet addict/at home chef/baker and probably at least 5 other things I can’t think of right now. It’s good to have a word to describe all the aspects of my current life. I say current, as I’m sure some will change in the next few months. Just because.

    1. Haha Excellent Deborah! Love of change and overall adaptability is one of my favorite things about being a multipotentialite! Good luck on all your future adventures and hobbies! Also I bet you have the coziest home! Crochet addict and chef AND baker! Sounds amazing!

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