Honouring your multiple interests

This article includes some tips from fellow multipassionate ‘scanners’ (or multipotentialites) on how they are combining their interests to create a great life. Barbara Sher describes scanners as follows: “Unlike those people who seem to find and be satisfied with one area of interest, you’re genetically wired to be interested in many things, and that’s exactly what you’ve been trying to do.” This is how six different scanners from around the world are combining their interests (and their passing passions) into a satisfying life. 

“This year I sat down and listed all the things I wanted to do. I needed to make money whilst at the allotment, making art and walking the dog and doing something in the community. As a result, I’m dyeing local wool using natural dyes found in local plants and asking people to weave small patches on 3d printed looms. These are being joined together to make a blanket of colours throughout the year. I hope this will show the true value of artisan made pieces, and encourage makers to charge fairly for their work. I’m blogging about the process so if someone has one of my baskets they can follow the wool right back to the dyepot or farm. An unexpected side effect is that people recognise my degree in Computing and I’ve been asked to build websites for other people, something I enjoy and a useful supplement!” – Caroline Finnigan from happymakes.org

“I have a photography website – this lets me code, design, write, photograph, research, market, sell prints – tons of skills everyday! I also quit work earlier this year to travel – I get to learn language, eat new foods and fruit, learn how a new city and transit system works, everything is new and a challenge all the time.”– Shimona Carvalho  from www.sidecarphoto.co

“By alternating most interests for 2 hrs a day. By building my lifestyle on the foundation of travel (first by emigrating to Australia then by house sitting) so that provides heaps of excitement and thus other projects become ‘fillers‘”.  – Marianne

“I found a good-enough job that is more than good enough: while it pays well enough to keep me alive and fund my side interests, it also allows me to pursue interests at work and to switch interests every few years. Because it’s only a 9-5, 5-day-a-week job, it leaves plenty of time to do other things that I want to do, such as tutoring high school students, volunteer travel, designing board games, paint, train to be a yoga instructor, teach photography, coach rowing, and so on. Naturally, I don’t do everything at the same time, and pick up new interests while dropping or rediscovering old ones. I love doing things that allow multiplying of interests, for example tutoring high school students means getting to sharpen my science, calculus, French, art history, English, social studies, and so on in order to keep up and explain it to someone else. It’s never not both challenging and fascinating.
There are too many things I want to learn and not enough time to learn them all, plus as I age, I have less and less energy after a full day. I don’t have a plan, but when I get a sudden flash and see an opportunity, I jump on it. A few years ago, I decided I wanted to volunteer my photography for an NGO project abroad, so I found an organization that made these connections and was selected to go to Botswana. This year…I’ve got something else that sprung out of my head a few weeks ago that may turn into a 3-week assignment across Canada.
One of the things I discovered about myself is how much I enjoy the adventure of not knowing what’s going to happen next. This is what I enjoy about travel, about meeting new people, about starting on a new interest. I see everything as possible, so it’s only limited by how much I want to pursue.
The way this works for me is to never worry about having to make a living from all of my interests. This way leads to folly for me. I don’t have an entrepreneurial drive to see something through and then keep doing it over and over for years until it starts to see results. I don’t have the ability to pick something to specialise in and become an expert in: no matter how long I continue to photograph, and no matter how much I get paid to, I will always be an amateur.” – Margaux Yiu from margauxyiu.com

I let myself get excited whenever I find a new passion of mine, I allow myself to fully dive into it, and the really fun part about this is: I never know what things stick and what don’t. It’s like running through a field of flowers while covered in honey and later checking the kind of blossoms sticking to your skin. (That’s a weird image, but let’s pretend it’s pure poetry 😅)” -Steffi from oilonpaper.com

“My life since finding out that I am a scanner has been very interesting; to have learned that it’s not about final stage product as a goal but the learning and enjoying part of the project is a goal. It made me feel confident that I have achieved happiness. It doesn’t have to be complete product to show to others. It’s not only about admiration from the audiance, sometime it only about fulfilment of finding a solution for my projects.
I therefore started to not put pressure on my projects, working on each of them only as much as I feel like and leave it until nextime.
The funny thing is that when I started putting unfinished/in progress projects on FB, it has made people feel like they are joinnung me with my journey, I’ve got question from people on how to make the particular part of the project, which is the kind of question that makes conversation goes on and on. When I posted only the finished product, sometime people have less questions to ask!” – Patrick 

Does this idea of building a life that honours all your interests resonate with you? Do any of these tips inspire you? Tell us below!


JadephotoHi there! I’m Jade, a creative business owner, art therapist, artist and certified Barbara Sher life coach based in the Inner West of Sydney. I love using art therapy and coaching to help people see themselves and their situations in new ways, and helping others create, connect and work towards their dreams.

If you would like help to design a life that uses all your interests, or work towards a long held dream I can help!

Check out my coaching page for info on how we can work together.

best wishes

Jade