“If the path ahead seems wide and easy to follow, it is because many others have walked it rather than because it is leading you the right way.”
The Book of Hendre Forgan (15th Century, trans. Puw, R.)
It’s never occurred to me that when it comes to creative practice I am anything out of the ordinary. In fact, much of the time, I think I am the very epitome of ordinariness. Whilst I am skilled in several areas I don’t see myself as being particularly talented in any field, generally describing myself as being a bit of a jack of all trades. It was only when I met Pete Mosley (motivational speaker, coach, business mentor and author of ‘The Art of Shouting Quietly’), that I began to realise I had a slightly different approach to some of my contemporaries in the world of arts and crafts. Pete told me I was a ‘multi-potentialite’ and ‘a multi-faceted person of intent’. In order to find out what he meant I looked up the work of Emilie Wapnik, Barbara Sher and Roman Krznarić, amongst others. Applying their criteria to my own practice, I had to agree that I could variously be described as a ‘scanner’, ‘renaissance soul’ or ‘wide achiever’.
The bottom line is that those of us who fall into these categories have some things in common: we can handle lots of different outlets for creative activity at the same time; we (according to Divergence Theory) work instinctively and are able to leapfrog stepped thought processes, being quite good at explaining to people how we arrived at a certain outcome but less confident about predicting the steps we need to take to get from where we are to where we want to be. Doing things for money is not a priority for us and apparently we combine a relentless curiosity for acquiring new skills with a very fast appreciation of whether these are worth pursuing to competency or not. At school we are, by all accounts, a teacher’s nightmare (and I speak as an ex-teacher!) except in one respect: we learn how to learn early on.
Does any of this sound familiar to you? Are you perhaps suspecting that all the time you were saying you had more than one string to your bow, you could have been admitting you were a ‘multi-potentialite/scanner/renaissance soul’ etc? If so, the first thing you should do is make a list of your accomplishments – which are not necessarily the same as your qualifications – so you can look at them objectively.