Mindfulness for the Multipotential and Creatives: How to Avoid Burn-Out

Photo by Anh Nguyen on Unsplash

Do you ever feel like you’re just one step away from being completely and utterly burned out?

You know, when you look around and see so much work to do that it feels like there’s no way you’ll ever get it all done? And even if you could, is it worth it?

Even worse: When you feel like this, do you ever think about giving up on your dreams altogether? I know I have.

But the truth is, burn-out isn’t inevitable. In this week’s episode, I’ll offer some considerations for burn-out and using mindfulness instead of calling it quits. And also how to use these challenges as opportunities for growth!

The opening lines of a soliloquy in the nunnery scene of Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” are “To be, or not to be, that is the question.” Hamlet is torn between two alternatives when he faces an existential crisis after losing his father and contemplating suicide while waiting for Ophelia. The melancholy prince laments life’s challenges after being forced to live with his uncle, who ends up marrying his mother. He finds himself in a quandary of whether to commit suicide or death.

I’m sure you’ve been there: whether you’re juggling life’s challenges, dealing with a difficult person or a sick family member or friend, or you’re facing burnout from having entirely too much to accomplish. You may even feel like you’re drowning and it’s so hard to keep your head above water.

Many people have found themselves in this position, and it is possible to come out of it stronger than before. Whether it be Hamlet’s famous “to be or not to be” soliloquy or silently in our heads, we have all asked this question at some point in our lives. The question of “to be or not to be” is no longer pertinent; it is now more important to ask how we embrace this new reality and make it work for us? The good news is that we can overcome these challenges and live a happy life!

The author, Emilie Wapnick, whose video “Why Some of Us Don’t Have One True Calling” appeared on my YouTube recommendations a few months back, now has over 6 million views!

One of my recent TikTok videos went viral after I shared a book recommendation: How to Be Everything”: A Guide for Those Who (Still) Don’t Know What They Want to Be When They Grow Up”. Hundreds of comments were all very similar and ranged from “Oh, wow! This is me!”, “That explains my life,” “I’m glad I’m not alone,” to “OMG! I feel seen.”

Emilie discussed how society’s views on passion and work have changed and how we can all embrace our multi-passionate nature in order to do better work and be happier.

In essence, to be a multipotentialite means that you don’t feel like any one job or field of study will ever be enough for what your talents are worth; this can lead to some pretty impressive results if given enough focus.

In Emilie’s book, there’s a spectrum for multipotentialites, however there are two main types of multipotentialites: simultaneous and sequential.

If you’re a simultaneous multipotentialite, that means you’ve got multiple interests that you’re pursuing at the same time — you’re not just jumping from one thing to another. You might be working on your blog about travel photography and also working on your novel like me, at the same time.

The best way to describe a sequential multipotentialite is someone who has more than one passion but focuses on one at a time until they feel like moving on to another one. They’re not as interested in having multiple interests going at once because they’d rather focus on one thing until they feel like switching to something else.

I’ve always been a simultaneous multipotentialite. I love being involved in all kinds of things, but I don’t particularly appreciate doing them for long periods. So I change my mind a lot and dive into new projects headfirst often without thinking twice about whether or not they will pan out. The result has often been failure after failure, but these failures were necessary to get where I am today with the skillset I’ve built from trying many different jobs.

For example, I’m an entrepreneur, writer/producer, a branding specialist and web designer. My skill sets are very well-rounded but not specialized enough for any job market. The problem with being an expert is that you’re always expected to know more than you do.

Throughout history, many people have never examined whether they were doing too much or too little. They went about their days, doing what they had always done, never questioning if they were doing this thing called life wrong. It can be challenging to be sure we are living in alignment with our life purpose. Social media and other technological advances can distract us, making it harder to discern what is essential and what is not.

I believe that the first thing we need to do is understand how things have changed. The world is different now, and things will never be as they were before. We must accept this fact; however, we can still find ways to thrive in this new, constantly-progressing reality.

I know someone has told you or someone close to you, “Hey, why don’t you relax and ‘just be’?” This phrase has become synonymous with “you’re too stressed out,” “you’re too wound up or uptight,” or “you’re doing too much.”

When someone uses the euphemism “just be,” it’s often used to shut down someone feeling anxious or upset about something. The problem with this phrase is that it might make people feel worse about themselves. So, what is ‘just be’ mean anyway?

To truly express one’s existence in this world, one must permit themselves to explore all aspects of their ‘beingness’ without boundaries or limitations. To do this successfully, one must continuously ask: “What am I doing? Why am I doing it? Who am I?”

Like you, I’ve asked myself these questions hundreds of times, and I have always been curious about what else might exist beyond the realm of our knowledge.

We are all so connected, yet we don’t realize it because our egos get in the way. It’s natural to want everything to be perfect, but if you don’t make mistakes, how can anything ever be improved? Our society has become obsessed with perfection, and this obsession leads people down the road of self-destruction when they can’t live up to that standard.

For the people out there who are like me but don’t know how to express themselves without fear of judgment from society, I want them to see that it’s okay to be different. We all have unique talents and gifts that should be celebrated instead of hidden away because they make us feel uncomfortable.

If you are a busy person used to being on the go all day long, it might feel like you don’t have time for this. You probably have a lot going on in your life and can’t just sit around doing nothing. But if something needs doing, then get off your butt (I mean seat) and do it! In the same way that you can’t see your heart beating, but you know it’s there in your chest and working.

‘Just be’ is no longer just a suggestion — now, it’s an actionable strategy that will benefit your life in ways large and small!

It’s possible to be in a situation with adverse conditions, whether external or internal. When this happens, it can feel like you’re at the whim of outside forces and unable to do anything about it. But you may respond better when you practice being aware of your situation and how it feels.

If you are used to achieving and getting things done, the idea of being may seem strange at first. You might think that “being” is a waste of time, passive, or not practical. You may even believe that being is just plain not productive. If this sounds like you, then you are not alone. Most people are so accustomed to achieving and getting things done that the idea of “being” seems strange at first.

But when we come from a place of feeling like we need to achieve something great for our lives to be successful — or worse yet if we feel like it’s up to us whether we get what we want out of life — then it can seem like whatever doesn’t lead directly toward those goals must be a waste of time.

However, the opposite is true: Being is the most important thing you can do for yourself and those around you. Accepting that your life has a purpose beyond your desires — that you are an integral part of something much bigger than yourself — makes being possible and desirable.

These pauses between breaths are a great way to put some space between your thoughts and the world around them, which is something we usually don’t do. Instead, our minds are constantly filled with noise from all sides. Maybe this pause in time allows us to practice giving ourselves that space between thoughts.

In yoga classes (and sometimes even when we’re not), we’re encouraged to take deep breaths from our bellies instead of just shallow breaths from our chests. Not only do these kinds of breathing techniques make us feel calmer, but they also help us focus better and become more aware of ourselves and our surroundings.

By slowing down, we can reconnect with ourselves and our surroundings by taking more time to be intentional about each moment. Being more mindful and slowing down can help us feel fulfilled and accomplish more over the long run since we won’t constantly be running after things that don’t matter.

The most important thing is to stop, go ‘within,’ and ‘just be.’ This can be achieved by eliminating all of the doing, thinking, and worrying that we usually do. It’s a simple process that can be done anywhere at any time: you don’t need a particular place or a special time — stop what you’re doing right now and focus on your respiration for about 10 minutes. Once you’ve done that for 10 minutes or so, return to whatever activity you were engaged in before this exercise (if there was one) and continue.

If you want to find peace and happiness in life, ‘being’ from the present moment is a great place to start.

It may seem like a simple concept at first glance, but there are many ways to use this principle daily. The path to inner peace requires practice and patience. As we practice, our thoughts become less frequent, less intense, and therefore less distracting. Our actions also become easier to perform because they all come from an inner space of stillness rather than driven by the need for approval or external validation.

To be is to live, love, and learn, and it’s a conscious choice to make one feel whole and complete.

To be is to live; it is a conscious choice to make one feel whole and complete.

To love is to know oneself and be humbled by the beauty of others.

To learn is to discover that we are not alone in this world and are surrounded by people who share our hopes and dreams, challenges, and struggles.

Life is an adventure, and it’s up to us to make it worthwhile.

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Damien Lamar

Damien Lamar

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Multipotentialite. 2/5 Pure Generator with Sacral Authority. Creative Director. ASCAP Writer/Publisher. Web & Music Producer. http://www.damienlamar.com