Renaissance Person

I recently watched a TED talk by an inspiring woman called Emilie Wapnick and I felt immediately that, once again on TED, I’d found a kindred spirit. She talks about and describes the person, herself being one of them, who has a range of interests and jobs over one lifetime. She calls them ‘multipotentialites’; people that have so many interests and are pretty good at many things; people that get bored and frustrated having to focus on just one thing. Yes! A name for my disorder. Except she says that there isn’t anything wrong with me, in fact, people like us, have many good ‘super powers’ like fast learning, less fear of failure and the ability to, and here’s the good part, to intersect different disciplines to create something new; she calls it idea synthesis.

Suzelle DIY (because I haven’t completely forgotten my South African roots) is a perfect example of a multipotentialite. She took her love of acting, DIY, cooking and singing and created a Suzelle DIY, a successful brand featuring videos and most recently a book. Imagine if she tried to force herself to focus on just one of those things, Suzelle DIY wouldn’t exist, and in my opinion that would be a shame. If you don’t know I’m referring to, do yourself a favour and check her out here

Most recently I met a guy through a friend who asked the inevitable ‘are you also a yoga teacher’ question. (I was in the room with two other yoga teachers and he assumed) My lame response was such that he, along with everyone listening, was led to believe that either I wasn’t sure, or I must really hate my job. I then went into an awkward explanation of how I actually do many things including write books, speak publically, lead seminars on subjects that have nothing to do with yoga, I also model for a clothing brand I feel passionate about, as well as raise money for a project in Africa. Can you see how yoga teacher simply sounds untrue? But how do I say yoga teacher, writer, speaker, trainer, model and philanthropist without sounding kind of strange? Emilie has now given me a name, which, although a comfort still renders me conventionally unemployable. There are other terms for people like us (fitting that this particular group can’t agree on one name) one of which being Renaissance person, which I like the most. I’m going to try that out the next time someone asks me what I do and I’ll let you know how it goes. Of course it can’t be worse than a mumbled, non-committal ‘yes, I’m a yoga teacher’.

If you’re interested in how I’ve merged my love of yoga, writing, authenticity, training, fashion and philanthropy, visit for a workshop, training, class, book, blog update and general fun stuff.

And now, to perfect my blue velvet cake- really, I also like baking, and dancing, and biking, and walking through enormously large forests, and then there’s snowboarding I’m hoping to take up again this Winter, but I doubt I’ll be adding any of these to my actual job description, but you never know.

I hope Emilie and I have encouraged you also to follow everything that calls to you. If you’re really really good at one thing and specialize in this one thing, FABULOUS, says Emilie, we need you too, but the world already knew that, what makes this idea different, is that the world didn’t know it needs people like us too.



Cherryl DuncanComment