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multihyphenate meaning Polywork

The meaning of “multihyphenate”, according to 6 experts

We’ve been writing quite a bit about multihyphenates and their pursuits of personal and professional balance over the past few months. Even as we continue to cover all things related to polywork, we thought it was important to take a beat and actually define what it means to be a multihyphenate. Sure, we've got our own point of view on the topic, but we’re always open to some outside insights.

Below, we looked to experts across a spectrum of backgrounds, from author to entrepreneur, to help us define what it means to be a multihyphenate today.

How experts define multihyphenate

Marie Forleo, Entrepreneur, author, podcaster

Marie Forleo, a self-described entrepreneur, speaker and writer, is known for her advice on building a business and life you love (even getting a shoutout by Oprah herself). A pillar of her work is encouraging people to embrace their multifaceted interests and skills.

A recent episode from Forleo's self-titled podcast

She believes that being a multihyphenate can lead to a fulfilling and purpose-driven life, messages she conveys across her blog and other website content.

Alex Pang, Author

Alex Pang, author of Rest: Why You Get More Done When You Work Less, is all about the benefits of having multiple interests and activities. He's also well-known for his efforts to normalize the four-day work week.

“Rethink Your Employee Value Proposition” and the 4-day week

A recent post from Pang's Strategy and Rest blog

He argues that being a multihyphenate can enhance creativity, productivity, and overall well-being because it allows individuals to engage in diverse activities and avoid burnout, something we’ve written about here as well.

Emilie Wapnick, Author and TED speaker

Emilie Wapnick coined the term "multipotentialite" to describe the multihyphenate movement and has written extensively on the subject, including in her book, How to Be Everything, and website Puttylike.

She defines a multipotentialite as someone with many interests and creative pursuits, allowing you to integrate your various passions into a fulfilling and unique career.

Chase Jarvis, Photographer and entrepreneur

Chase Jarvis founded CreativeLive in 2010 under the premise that "creativity knows no boundaries". He encourages individuals to explore various creative outlets and believes that being a multihyphenate is a path to finding one's true passions and potential.

How Create Consistently When Inspiration Runs Dry - Chase Jarvis Photography
Discover how to maintain creative consistency even when inspiration runs dry. Explore five actionable strategies for artists and freelancers to keep the creative juices flowing.

A recent post on Jarvis's blog

Through his blog and other multimedia, he discusses failure, the path to side income (something we've covered here as well), and overcoming perfectionism.

Elizabeth Gilbert, Author

Elizabeth Gilbert famously wrote Eat, Pray, Love, which went on to inspire many people to pursue their passions (it even spurred a film adaptation starring Julia Roberts). Gilbert's definition of multihyphenate centers on the importance of curiosity and creativity in one's life.

What a Toxic Friend Taught Elizabeth Gilbert About Herself
What a Toxic Friend Taught Elizabeth Gilbert About Herself

A 2020 article Gilbert wrote for Oprah.com

She encourages people to follow their interests and not be confined to a single identity. Being a multihyphenate, according to Gilbert, can lead to a richer and more fulfilling life.

Scott H. Young, Author and Blogger:

Scott H. Young has written about the concept of "ultralearning" and advocates for continuous self-improvement through various skills and disciplines.

A recent episode of Young's podcast

He believes that being a multihyphenate can "lead to personal growth and greater adaptability in a rapidly changing world."

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How do you define a multihyphenate? Let us know on X or LinkedIn with the #multihyphenatemeaning