How To Be Everything: A Guide For Those Who (Still) Don’t...

How To Be Everything: A Guide For Those Who (Still) Don’t Know What They Want To Be When They Grow Up  By Emilie Wapnick

By Eta Feuerman-Yaeger, LCSW

This book will help you:

  •  Identify your strengths as a multipotentialite
  •  Tailor a career and life path to your out-of-the-box lifestyle

How To Be Everything discusses how some people don’t really know one thing that they want to do when they grow up. They have many interests and ideas, and their career trajectories are not direct in the expected way. Wapnick calls this multipotentiality, where you have many interests and creative pursuits. This book shows readers various ways in which they can make their multiple strengths work for them to create a profitable career path, if unconventional.

I can so relate to this idea of multipotentiality. I always knew that I enjoyed a variety in my workweek – I like having a different schedule every day or going to different locations. I feel best when my life is full and I have multiple projects to work on at once, and different ways in which I can use my creativity. I love learning new things in all kinds of topics and I read books in many different subjects. Whenever people asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I always had a few different answers lined up: I was going to do this in one stage of my life, and then do something else when I was in a later stage, and I was definitely going to learn how to do a third when I was in another stage.

Even though multipotentialites’ career trajectories may be less linear, the skills learned in the multiple arenas
often build on each other in very helpful ways

Emilie points out that individuals are expected to know what they want to be when they grow up, and that their career path should follow a pretty direct line to one main goal. For multipotentialites who need more variety, this expectation makes them experience disapproval from others and as if they are incapable of true accomplishment or expertise because their efforts are spread out over multiple areas. Emilie cracks the myth of “jack of all trades, master of none,” where it is thought that it is best to focus on only one career or skill set instead of gaining from the experience of many skills. Emilie notes that even though multipotentialites’ career trajectories may be less linear, the skills learned in the multiple arenas often build on each other in very helpful ways. I can relate to this because, for example, I have some previous experience making a website for a non-therapy-related business idea I had in the past, and now I have been much more comfortable when creating a website for my practice recently.

Emilie encourages readers to identify their whys – “the driving force behind our passions.” This book made me think a lot about what I want out of my career plans and how to solidify them to utilize my creativity and talents while making a difference. Thinking about my whys is reminding me and energizing me to look at how I can continue to expand my career goals. Because I have so many things to work on, I can decide to pick a project based on my mood – if I am feeling creative, I can tinker or write. If I’m needing to zone out, I can listen to music and get through boring paperwork. And when I get bored, there’s always something new to do. This self-knowledge is useful because sometimes I have difficulty focusing, and when I’m bored, I’ve usually been taking a break on time-sucking social media/Internet. But in this way, I can use it to be more productive while working with my moods and energy levels instead of wasting time.

I don’t know if all those plans will come to fruition, but right now I’m enjoying both learning and using a variety of skills while creating my own practice.

Eta Feuerman-Yaeger, LCSW, is a child and family play therapist with a private practice in Queens. Check out her website at


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