I found this fabulous top at a boutique on our travels last winter. And every time I wear it, someone asks, “Is it a sweater? Or a shirt?” Both, I always reply.
I immediately fell in love with it because it’s different, unexpected and more than one thing, just like my dress that can also be a tunic and my oversized shirt that doubles as a jacket. It’s not just multi-purpose clothes that I’m drawn to; it’s also multi-purpose people, especially women.
It’s in our DNA to do more than one thing. There are many studies that show cave women weren’t simply hanging out in the cave taking care of the kids. Our early #ladyboss sisters were hunting alongside men, while also gathering, creating art, making clothes, and inventing essential tools.
We’re seeing a parade of famous women wearing many professional hats, from actresses to musicians and athletes. Actress Reese Witherspoon authored a cookbook, and also runs her Draper James clothing brand and the Hello Sunshine media company. Singer Gwen Stefani runs a clothing line, producers fragrances and stars in and produces TV. Decorated super-athlete Serena Williams developed a clothing line, created an investment fund, and is a part owner of the Miami Dolphins and the UFC.
Yet while even the most visible celebrities do more than one thing, many of us don't talk about our side projects for fear of being accused of being uncommitted to our other, "real" job. This comes from a widely-held assumption that we have finite energy and ability and can’t possibly do more than one thing. Or it comes from experiencing criticism from the naysayers, including our employers, clients, family and friends.
Why don’t we celebrate all people who are multi-passionate, not just celebrities? What is so threatening about a woman who’s fulfilling her ancestral inclination to have more than one professional purpose?
I’ve always been into more than one thing. When I was a PR exec I was also a fitness instructor. Later in my PR career I also became an entrepreneur and started building my business. Yes, it did lead to me eventually leaving PR behind, but I work with thousands of women who love their side hustles in addition to their careers as lawyers, doctors, accountants, corporate execs, interior designers, teachers, nurses, fitness trainers and more.
I’m still an entrepreneur, but I’ve also added author and speaker to my list of what I do.
That doesn’t mean I’m any less committed to my main biz. It means that I have more ideas, more curiosity, and more to offer the world. I don’t apologize for wanting more, and I sure as hell don’t limit what I do or how I talk about myself. I also don’t pay attention to the skeptics or the critics. I’ll never give them the power to choose whether or not I should pursue what makes my heart sing and gets me closer to the things I really want in life.
So I say to all my multi-passioned and multi-purposed Sisters: shout it loud and proud. If Reese and Gwen and Serena (and Ashton Kutcher, Bono and A-Rod for that matter) can be more than one thing, so can you. This entrepreneur, author, speaker, wife, mom, work in progress, #ladyboss in the sweater that’s a shirt–or shirt that’s a sweater–is cheering you on. And if the label you care most about is “evolving human,” then come sit next to me.