Is every corner of your house littered with projects you started with enthusiasm and never finished?
Did you leave a trail of abandoned blogs and websites all over the internet?
Do you have folders of unfinished book drafts and business plans on your laptop?
Starting something – anything! – is exciting for multi-passionates. That surge of excitement when a new idea pops into your head, the infinite possibilities that are opening up in front of you, the passion that makes you focus every second on this project…
Just as fast as it came, the excitement vanished. Now, you’re left with another incomplete project, one more proof that you can’t finish anything you start.
Why can’t you finish anything you start?! (Hint: you’re not supposed to).
Why Multi-Passionates Think They Can’t Finish Anything
Finish ˈfɪnɪʃ/, verb:
To bring (a task or activity) to an end; complete.
It’s a simple definition, yet vague. What does it mean to bring a task or activity to an end?
Society makes you think that, once you start an activity, you have to go all the way through.
If you start a chapter of a book, you have to finish the whole thing, publish it, and promote it.
If you start a career as an architect, you have to pursue it until you’re old enough to retire.
If you want to learn French, you have to study it every day until you become proficient in it.
When the stakes are so high, no wonder multi-passionates can’t finish anything. You’re not hard-wired to do just one thing forever – or for years at a time. It’s not in your nature.
But, no one tells you that. You’re surrounded by people who push themselves to complete things even when it makes them miserable. And you start thinking there’s something wrong with you, that you’re lazy or stupid for not being able to push through too.
What if the problem isn’t you? What if the problem is this crazy idea of finishing that forces us to go against our nature?
It’s time to give finishing a whole new meaning…
The Real Reason Multi-Passionates Can’t Finish Anything
You ARE finishing everything you start. It just doesn’t look like it to the outside world.
What if we defined finishing as “to bring an activity to YOUR DESIRED end?”
In other words, what if instead of pushing yourself to finish an activity all the way through, you gave yourself permission to finish an activity when you got what you wanted out of it?
90% of the time, that’s why multi-passionates stop. It’s not that you can’t finish anything. You simply got what you wanted out of that activity and now you’re ready to move onto something else.
Here are the real reasons why multi-passionates can’t finish anything (in the traditional sense):
1. You’re A Visionary
You’re a visionary. A leader. A designer. An inventor. A creator. Someone who sees the full picture but doesn’t want to execute it.
You like to come up with new business ideas and innovative products, design buildings and dresses, devise new systems and work cultures, and constantly birth new ideas into the world.
You like to imagine a new future, inspire people to create a better world, create designs that bring beauty and comfort to daily lives.
You just have zero interest in implementing your ideas to completion. You can design the dress, but you want someone else to sew it. You come up with a new business vision, but you need managers to put it into practice. You get the idea for a new book, but you want to hire a ghostwriter to pen it.
Your job is to just start businesses, projects, and visions. Let someone else see them through and construct them.
2. You Didn’t Find What You Were Looking For
Sometimes, you start a project thinking you’ll get something specific out of it – a particular feeling, skill, or desire – only to realise that’s not the case.
Case in point, my failed career as a teacher. I went in thinking it would give me the opportunity to inspire little boys and girls to believe in themselves and go after their dreams.
But the deeper I went into it, the more I realised the academic environment in Italy wasn’t designed for that. I’d spend more time teaching grammar and filling in useless paperwork than having any meaningful interactions with students.
So, I quit and looked for something else that would help me reach that goal and feel the sense of fulfillment that comes with it.
If you know deep in your heart that pursuing something will make you unhappy and not give you what you need to thrive, don’t feel bad to opt out.
That bad feeling is just your intuition redirecting you away from a dead end and into what you’re really meant to do in this season of your life.
3. You’re Facing Resistance
Sometimes, you’re meant to finish a project… or at least go further ahead than where you’re stopped.
But, there’s something holding you back…
Fear of failure.
Fear of judgement.
Fear of success.
Fear of rejection.
Fear of commitment and putting yourself in a box forever.
Fear. Fear. Fear.
We’re taught that fear is a sign you should stop. There’s danger ahead.
But, what if fear were a GPS pointing you in the direction of your dreams?
You can’t reach your goals without stepping outside of your comfort zone. And stepping outside it is scary. It brings up all kinds of fear that you’d rather not deal with.
It’s a vicious circle, isn’t it?
My rule of thumb is this: if something scares you AND excites you at the same time, it’s a sign that you need to push past the fear and do it.
Do mindset work. Get an accountability partner. Hire a coach. Surround yourself with encouraging people.
Do whatever you need to do to build up courage and then go for it. Your dreams are waiting for you.
P.S. If, at any point, the excitement stops and all you’re left with is a feeling of dread, like you’re stuck working on the wrong thing and you’re wasting your life away, give yourself permission to quit. You got what you came there for.
Wrapping It Up
Don’t make yourself feel wrong for not finishing something you shouldn’t finish in the first place. By all means, push through fears to reach your goals. But once you get what you want out of an activity, give yourself permission to quit. Pushing through won’t make you a finisher. It’ll only make you miserable.