Why You Need to Embrace All of Your Passions

Everyone knows someone who can slam dunk a basketball, kick a field goal, and serve an ace all with relative ease. It’s the same for the creative arts. Most creatives fall into the category of multi-talented individuals. We can play three or four different instruments and we can knit, crochet, and embroider with skill. A painter enjoys gardening, an actor masters arias, and a dancer can sculpt a mean tea cup.

So why don’t more people embrace their multiple talents? Why don’t we see dancers sculpting tea cups after their performances?

The problem lies in the fact that everyone constantly tells us we can only focus on one thing. We need to find our strength and stick with it. We need to find our niche and dig in. We can be a master of one trade or a jack of none (or however that silly phrase goes).

But is that how you were as a child?

My mother can tell you that I split my days between the important tasks of tooting on the recorder, drawing masterpieces in crayon, building terrariums for caterpillars that never made it into butterflies, and doing impersonations of Tom Brokaw (please don’t ask).

So if we are multi-talented as young children (or at the very least multi-passionate – because believe me, I had no talent at the recorder or at butterflies), why are we afraid to embrace that in our work? Why do colleges dislike people (like me) who pursue more than one degree?

Why are we told we can’t be amazing at two things – only one?

A few months back I had this itch to embroider. It was such a silly desire because the last time I had sewn, I was 12 and my grandma was teaching me how to make day-of-the-week tea towels. Besides, I was an illustrator! I didn’t have time to sew! And if I did have time, there was no point because it wouldn’t bring in money and wouldn’t I be better off bringing in food money?

Well, the itch turned into a nag and finally I caved. I stitched one of my illustrations onto a piece of fabric and posted a picture on my blog, feeling entirely stupid about sharing it. Within hours, my blog lit up! Everyone wanted to know how they could sew their own!

I had inadvertently created a new product line by following a whim. That itch, founded on one of my other passions, now brings in a whole field of new customers to my shop. I’ve added a new medium to my work, going from paper to cloth. Plus, they allow me to take routine breaks from my drawing and entertain my other love. But the best part is that these patterns and kits allow people to interact with my drawings on a much deeper level.

Pretty good for a whim, right?

If I had listened to that fear of wasting time and potentially losing money, I never would have created my embroidery line. (And I wouldn’t have given my grandmother something to share with her quilting circle.)

So if you love more than one thing, embrace it!

If you hear a little voice telling you to coach, to sing, to dance, to paint, to make tea cups, LISTEN! You never know where it could lead you.

Just please, for your family’s sake, leave the recorder to the kids. My brother investigated and there is no such thing as a professional recordist.

13 thoughts on “Why You Need to Embrace All of Your Passions

  1. I definitely agree that we need to be open to possibilities – to let ourselves do whatever we feel like without judgement. Our interests might change over time… or a new hobby might even inform what we have been creating for years. It’s actually amazingly exciting to know there’s so much we can explore and learn – unlimited possibilities!

  2. I come upon this blog post at such a perfect time in my life, when I am overhauling my life to accommodate more than one dream and to challenge the definitions that I have given (limited) myself all these years. I agree that if our heart leads us to it, then we should not be afraid to give it a try. If there is commitment and if there is love, it will not matter if you pursue and practice one or two or three passions. It can all happen. It can all make magic for your life.

  3. This is so true! For a long time I tried to develop myself as a painter, and only a painter. But in the last few months I’ve finally let myself explore whatever calls to me, and I’ve discovered that illustration, sewing, and graphic design also make my heart sing. I can’t imagine a world in which my success depended on me choosing to express myself in only one way. Thanks for the post, it totally gets me.

  4. Thanks for sharing this post,Megan. So cool that you can bring in a whole new set of customers to enjoy your lovely work.
    Although I have been working in my creative business for several years I have a background in business and really enjoy the details if running my business. So I have recently taken a bookkeeping job helping another small business. Even though it’s not an”artistic” endeavor, I am really pleased how this other job invigorates my creativity with Dolce Beada. We all have many talents and interests and it feels good to listen to them.

  5. Megan,

    I couldn’t agree more! I love the idea of integrating multiple passions into a business. As I try to build Saturday Sequins, I find that I’m combining my passions for jewelry art, writing, sewing, painting, advice-giving, and yes, embroidery! It makes me feel whole, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

    There’s a wonderful book by Barbara Sher called Refuse to Choose, all about following and juggling multiple passions. I’ve read it several times, and there’s always something new to learn from it. I highly recommend it.

    Beautiful illustrations and embroidery!

    — Sarah <3

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  7. Hi,
    I wandered over because of a post on FB and I thought everyone who is interested in this post, might enjoy a site called Puttylike.com if you aren’t already familiar with it. It’s all about being a “mulitpotentialite” and Emilie, the blogger/host is all about combining various passions into a business and how to navigate the world when you don’t want to focus on just one thing. Nice to meet you all, hope you enjoy that site.

  8. Bravo! I have been multi passionate all my life, and I am not stopping now. I think your embroidery line is brilliant, and by chance i have been doing some embroidery lately :-)

    Actually I have been sitting on am idea that brings together several of my interests, but is not quite clear. You encourage me to start putting it out there and see what happens.

  9. Oh, to read these words brought such a relief to me!

    For a while now that I’ve been struggling with the many ideas I’ve got in my head, the many different projects I wish to bring up to reality trying to evaluate them out and deciding which one to go forth with, which one would be successfull… The result, so far I’ve advanced with none for real!

    If you take a peek onto my blog patchesofbeing.blogspot.com you’ll see that I really am a person of multiple passions, and how difficult it gets for me to decide amongst them! Last week, in fact, I wrote a patch (that’s how I call my posts) about having found my purpose, for I had some people questioning me about it… And it goes about my multiple passions! How could it not?

  10. Ok, maybe that doesn’t sound appealing to many people, all they see is a lack of focus. And to add to it, I haven’t really done something with one or more than one of my passions to show that I’m the real deal at it.

    The thing is, it is possible to have multiple passions and talents, but it’s kind of impossible (at least it is very hard) to give room to them all at once, so one must go step by step, project by project. And I’m still working on that. But I can promise you they are coming alive! Keep your eyes out to my blog!!!

  11. OK, I get it! It’s okay to be a “Jill-of-all-trades”! I can do all kinds of cartooning: animation, one-panel gagtoons, caricature, greeting and note cards, comic strips, t-shirt design. . .Now, if this drill sergeant in my head will shut up and quit telling me to choose one!

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