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Hey Nothando! I’m so excited to have you here on the blog for the revival of my “Multi-passionate Creatives on the Rise” interview series. You’ve been such a light over in the Creative Abundance Tribe Facebook community and I’m excited to get to know more about your journey. To start, please introduce yourself.
Well, thank you! Hey everybody! My name is Nothando Swan, and I’m a family doctor here in Toronto. I’m also a writer, traveler, and lover of languages. And as a black woman, I’m passionate about advocacy, self-advocacy and taking up space even when we’re uncomfortable doing so.
That’s amazing, and I love that you didn’t stop with “I’m a family doctor” but went ahead and shared your other passions as well. Have you always had multiple passions or did you start with one thing and then branch out?
So, I’ve always had more than one passion, but I’ve only recently stepped into that. In the past, I think the multidimensionality in my interests wasn’t necessarily seen as a good thing. A lot of that was my own thinking, but a lot of that also had to do with the messaging I got about specializing and really becoming “an expert” in one thing.
I get that. From the time we’re young we’re asked to choose one thing and stick with it. Congrats on embracing your multi-passionate creativity! What’s your favorite thing about being multi-passionate?
Way back in my undergraduate degree, I had difficulty justifying why I was majoring in science and double minoring in French and Spanish. (Side note: you don’t have to explain your multi-passionate-ism).
But recently, as I’ve begun to practice in Toronto, which is such a beautifully diverse city, having both of those interests has been so useful.
Wow, I love how that all came together! I imagine that’s been great for your career as well.
It has. I’ve been able to practice medicine in English, French, and Spanish, which is a huge asset to new immigrants who may otherwise feel ostracized in an anglophone healthcare system.
Having more than one passion also makes problem-solving simpler. If you can look at things from more than one lens, you’re in such an amazing position to provide creative solutions to very specific problems.
So well said! Couldn’t agree more. What’s your biggest struggle with having multiple passions?
Well you know, being multi-passionate can be overwhelming at times. I think it’s important to have a toolbox of cognitive shifts that will help when you feel like you’re dropping the ball. A lot of times, one of your passions (like medicine) is extremely time-consuming, and it can make you feel like you’re not doing the best with your other ones.
Ugh, yeah. I feel you on that one. What strategies or systems do you have in place when those struggles arise?
If I’m overwhelmed, I’ll use my Focus Planner to refresh on what my passions are and which of those I can hold space for. And then I’ll let go of the guilt of taking a break. I use this PDF to get really clear on what I can and can’t make time for.
I love that you created a resource based on your personal needs. That’s exactly how I feel about my brain dump and prioritize worksheets! We create what we need the most.
So, do you have a creative muse?
Other people’s work can be so inspiring. I have a lot of real-time, real-world creative muses who I can connect with just by going online. Joi, you’re one of them because you really embody what it means to be multi-passionate without the guilt. And you’re doing something about it, by sharing online and creating really valuable resources for other multi-passionate creatives.
Aw! Thank you so much. It’s important to lead by example for what it looks like to be a proud multi-passionate so I appreciate that. Anyone else?
You’re welcome! Aaliyah is also one of my creative muses because she was multi-passionate too. Before she passed away, it was clear that she was also branching out into her multiple passions which included singing (as she was so well known for), but also acting and directing. And I think she did it all with such style and grace.
Beautiful choice, I miss her. Last question: What would be the most exciting email you could get in your inbox right now?
Right now, I could really use a PDF that could walk me through some tangible steps to completing a creative product. I think that would be really helpful, especially for people with so many ideas on the go!
Ooh, noted! Maybe I’ll create something like that for the Joi Knows How shop!
It’s been such pleasure chatting with you. Where can we keep in touch with you?
Yay! I’ll look out for it! So, you can find the free fillable Focus Planner PDF here. And I write about tools for self-care and productivity on my blog here. I’m also on Pinterest and Instagram (@nothandoswan) and if you’re a multi-passionate career woman, I can’t wait to connect with you!
I started this series because it’s important that we have of awareness of multi-passionate creatives defining their unique versions of success. The way Nothando confidently embraces her passions and has been able to use her love of languages to leverage her career in medicine is the perfect example of this.
Are you a multi-passionate creative on the rise? I’d love to feature you here on the blog! Fill out the questionnaire here, and I’ll be in touch if you’re selected. Feel free to pass this opportunity along to your multi-passionate creative friends as well.
Thanks for stopping by the blog today! Stay creative.
For more content, along with mentorship and community, be sure to check out the Joi Knows How Collective, an online community for multi-passionate creatives and multi-passionate entrepreneurs. Learn more here.