“So what do you do?”

Turned out to be a more complicated question than it seems. 

Seth Godin describes himself as a teacher. He’s also an entrepreneur, non-profit school builder, best-selling author, vegetarian and father. 

Aaron Maniam might be a civil servant. He’s also a poet, a scholar,  documentary producer, researcher and leads the SG birthday book (a great project).

Chris Guilbeau likes to be cheeky. His email sign off is “founder and janitor”. He produces a world-class event (WDS), is a best-seller author and probably have more projects up his sleeves. 

It’s no surprise when we try to answer this innocent question, we stumble. On one hand, we want to encapsulate all that we do into three succinct sentences. On the other side, the CEO of Nike is waiting for your elevator pitch. You don’t want to blow it up. 

So, Emily Wapnick cleverly coined the word multipotentialite. It rhymes with generalist, polymath, mutli-hypnate, renaissance man and multi passionate. The thing is when you introduce yourself as that, most people would look at you, confused. And as you explain the term and list out all your passions and vocations, you miss an opportunity to connect. 

It’s tempting to advocate for your mission, sound smart, explain the truth and nuance of who you are, and at the same time, connect with someone.

That rarely works. 

The realisation is that you don’t need to share everything, in one instance. What if instead, we begin with two, just two of the most interesting things about you. Explain with words that a twelve years old could understand. Start a conversation. 

You might find out that it is a more enjoyable (and probably the most effective) way to achieve all of the above.

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