Do You Have One True Calling? I Don’t.

by Rachel on October 12, 2011

One True Calling

When asked what I do for a living, I almost always answer automatically: “I’m a music therapist.” But the long answer is a little more complicated.

In addition to providing music therapy, I also teach lessons, perform, write music, blog, design websites, and juggle professionally. Okay, just kidding about that last one. But in all seriousness, the items on that list are right up there in importance with my “official” career, and they are things that I spend time doing every day.

My dad is well aware of my “multiple irons in the fire” — as he termed it when he sent me this article last week. The author writes that it’s okay to have multiple interests and talents rather than follow one clearly defined career path, and even has a name for such people: mulipotentialites.

She states that the alternative to having one true calling is to create a life around all of your interests; furthermore, create a platform that’s fueled by your multipotentiality. The article cites Chris Guillebeau (one of my personal heroes) as someone who has successfully done so. And the reason for his and others’ success? There is one over-arching theme connecting all the facets of their platforms.

The article got me thinking about my platform and over-arching theme. If you read this blog on a daily basis, then you know that I jump around from topic to topic quite frequently. Sometimes I write about business, other days I share music therapy songs I have written or songs that my students have recorded, and then there are the many posts related to my favorite technologies and how I use them. The list goes on, really.

My tagline since starting Listen & Learn has been “helping children learn and grow through music” — and while I think that covers most of the content I write and the work I do, I wouldn’t say that covers all of it. Maybe my over-arching theme will become more clear with time.

Do you have one true calling, or would you consider yourself to be a multipotentialite? And if so, what’s your over-arching theme?

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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

JoAnn Jordan October 12, 2011 at 10:00 am

I, too, am a multipotentialite. Maybe that is why we have the overarching business (Jordan Enterprise in Music) and my two sides – Music Sparks & Musical Gems. The Musical Gems should be renamed Gems as it is all those other side pieces of my interests and personality.


Susan Seale October 12, 2011 at 10:42 am

Yup! Me too…
…right now there’s all the music performing, writing, teaching, serving end of that way of being, the dance end of things and the drama/puppetry focus and then running the business and all the different skills/hats that must be worn to have a successful business.

Then there are the hobbies that have become services, etc… For me, I painted for a while and took commissions. I taught art classes and creativity wokshops (sounds weird…I know). I’ve been hired to decorate homes. These haven’t been things I’ve advertised, they just happen as I move into an area. I wonder if it’s because I really don’t worry about being successful, just loving whatever it is I’m doing. (I think my husband would love it if I were to become more of a chef. I’m just not that interested in it!)

In my twenties I somehow thought I was “supposed to” have one true calling. I became a teacher. It really was not quite right though. Eventually, I made an organic shift to something more. It’s wonderful to have a name for this way of being…multipotentialite…

I know we’re always told not to label or put people into “boxes”, but if you have to put yourself into a box, I think that one would be a pretty roomy box! I like it:)


Rachel October 12, 2011 at 11:19 am

Susan, I think you are the poster child for multipotentiality! You have so many talents and facets of your career, I am continuously amazed. I love what you wrote at the end of your comment — I couldn’t agree more :)


Justine October 12, 2011 at 11:21 am

I almost had to laugh because I was suddenly struck by the image of what I had wanted to do when I was nine years old: run a restaurant and play my clarinet for the customers! LOL! Funny though, I was just discussing this topic with my husband the other night, as we both have multiple interests and have a hard time trying to find a cohesive “theme” for them all. This article has given us new food for thought. Thanks for sharing!


Rachel October 12, 2011 at 11:29 am

I think that is an awesome career goal, no matter what age you are! You’re right…it is so difficult to package all of these interests and talents up into one tidy — not to mention lucrative — package, but it can be done!


Julie Lowry October 12, 2011 at 1:11 pm

Wow! This blog entry has been my favourite yet! I too need an overarching theme of everything I love to do. haha now how can I combine… music therapy, baking, event planning and teaching… hmmmm….


Rachel October 12, 2011 at 1:41 pm

All of us music therapists should have a pow-wow where we help each other come up with over-arching themes! It seems that many of us are multipotentialites…not surprising :)


Casey McCann October 12, 2011 at 2:33 pm

Great post, Rachel! I can definitely relate to this. I think all of us musical entrepreneurs are multipotentialites because we have to develop right and left brain skills! That really puts us in a position to share with others, especially if we are teachers already. So for me, that means teaching, writing, blogging, playing, teacher-training, and managing my school.

Even if I take one aspect of my career, blogging, I’ve realized that I have separate topics to write about that require separate blogs! I haven’t worked out all the details yet, though.

In the meantime, my over-arching theme is to encourage and develop self-expression in people of all ages, particularly through music. I explored this in a post last winter ( and it still rings true. Very similar to yours, except that I do feel a special calling to work with adults to help them recover musical dreams they may have buried, in addition to my work with children.

I’m very inspired by the cohesiveness of your blog, brand, and mission in spite of your range of skills. Keep up the great work, Rachel!


Jessy October 18, 2011 at 5:08 pm

Hi Rachel!
Thanks for writing this! I’ve been thinking about that a lot lately as my business gets rolling and I tend to write whatever my mind is rolling around with on my blog. I am ok with that for now :)


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