Some people have a range of interests and abilities in their lives that are very different from each other. They need to dedicate themselves to different activities in different ways. For instance, they dedicate themselves to a project for years, and they suddenly need to radically change their objective and dedicate themselves to another activity for the next few years.
They are called multi-potentials. Unlike specialists, multi-potentials do not have a single true vocation, but they can excel in many fields. Multi-potentials have been studied since the 1970s starting from studies on school guidance. Recently, this theme has become very famous with a widespread intervention by Emilie Wapnick at the TED Talk below.
A career counselor’s job is the same, both with with multi-potentials and specialized people. Career counselors aim to define professional goals, assess the client’s skills, and choose the necessary steps to achieve the objectives that the client has set for himself.
The differences between guidance with multi-potentials and guidance with the general population are ore connected to the premises. Premises are what I aim to highlight with this article, defining them with three different verbs.
Verb 1. Recognize
The first verb is “recognize.” “I am multi-potential” is not written on their foreheads, and most of them are not even aware of being one. When approaching an orientation interview or career counseling, a multi-potential is an unemployed person or a worker looking for new opportunities like everyone else. It is up to the consultant to pay attention to the personality traits, interests, and skills that characterize multi-potentials. Once these elements have been recognized, the counselor tries to ask questions in order to guide the person to define herself as multi-potential (if it is the case). Recognition of the multi-potential person by the operator is important, but it is even more important that the person recognizes herself as a multi-potential.
Verb 2. Reassure
Once this double recognition has been achieved (by the operator and by the person in career guidance), we arrive at the second verb, “reassure.” Recognizing oneself as multi-potential is the first step, but recognizing oneself is not enough. Most multi-potentials feel like something is wrong because the social context guides them to this thought. If they feel this sense of guilt, they will never be able to define a professional objective, complete a skills balance sheet, or define a professional project. In this phase, the operator’s task is to reassure the person in orientation: multi-potential characteristics are more widespread than they might think, and many multi-potential people are able to live satisfying work lives. However, feeling reassured is not enough, and liberation from guilt and the perception of inadequacy are also not enough. A third step must be taken.
Verb 3. Understand
The third verb is “understand”. Okay, you are multi-potential, and there is nothing wrong with it. Once people have been reassured, however, they need help understanding that “multi-potential” is not a superpower in itself. You are not “more” because you are multi-potential. Multi-potential
is a characteristic that entails risks and opportunities: It can be a defect or a virtue depending on how it is played and depending on the context in which one finds oneself. In other words, if it is true (and legitimate) to feel multi-potential and to seek a place in the world for those who feel likewise, it is also essential to make a mental representation of what being multi-potential entails with respect to the life and career path to which the particular individual before you aspires. Those who deal with orientation will have already noticed that this third verb, “understand,” is just a moment before the skills balance sheet and the actual orientation path.
It is here that the real work of the counselor begins through the tools you are familiar with.
Hoper this can be useful to you, and I wish you a good work!