When I write a promotional piece, I look for an angle, a starting point, a place to jump off to explore a MultiPod’s life and capture their essence. Vikki Coombes, Hummingbird and fellow Multipotentialite proved to be a challenge. Vikki has done a lot! So much, I didn’t think I’d do her justice in packing her whole life into one blog post. So I’ve decided to write another post to promote the launch of mBraining Integration Techniques on Vikki’s website www.multiplebraining.co.uk. But first, let’s dive in and learn about Vikki Coombes and her coaching practice vikkicoombes.com.
“Why do you call yourself a Hummingbird?”
I asked unfamiliar with the term she added to the Multipotentialite lexicon.“It’s such an amazing analogy as we flit from one interest to another, gathering the nectar we need from each passion before moving on to the next, cross-pollinating as we go and bringing life to others!”, she said passionately.Vikki confided she first heard Elizabeth Gilbert use the Hummingbird analogy when she said, “Don’t chase your passion and maybe you’ll find it”. She said her hair stood on end. “This was a total mind swivel for me!”, Vikki exclaimed. I looked down at the Nasca Lines inspired hummingbird tattooed on my forearm and well understood the message in Gilbert’s sage advice.
Vikki’s epiphany removed a stumbling block that had barred her from finding the real success she craved in her business. She understood if her coaching business was going to be a success she needed to stop asking herself, What she was? But, Who she was? This motivated her to brain storm and take a full inventory personally and professionally. Reflecting on her career, she concluded businesses viewed employees as “what they could do for them. Pretty much zero interest in who you are”, she said dejected. But that was the easy part. She dug deep within herself to evaluate the challenges she had faced and overcome. And got really brave, by asking people for their feedback to evaluate her strengths, weaknesses, and, accomplishments.
But, Vikki doesn’t regret “unpacking” herself. The process allowed her to discover how she could make a difference in the world. “I have a lot of experience to share with other people who have ever-changing multiple passions. I get it. And the challenges that so many of us face, I have worked through”,Vikki said. “But, why am I a self proclaimed Hummingbird?”, she asked slyly. Mostly because I love tiaras and wings”,she said giggling.
Throughout 20 jobs and five careers, Vikki has earned two degrees and 8 professional qualifications at 7 schools and 2 universities within 11 urban centres and 3 countries. She’s not only a self proclaimed Queen of the Hummingbirds but, to me a Super Hero! I admired her energy and lust for life. But I wondered if there was one interest or job that returned to her thoughts over the years that she’d like to pursue. “I have no ‘one’ anything and never have. And always had multiple ever changing passions”, Vikki said firmly.
People and Change
But she admitted there were underlying patterns and two constants that drove her passions and choices: People and Change. “I have always been fascinated by what makes people tick and been motivated by change”, Vikki said. She began her professional journey with a Bachelor of Laws. But while practicing as a human rights lawyer and studying for her Masters in Social Work, her fascination “segued into how people learn, grow, and, develop within their own careers”.Vikki explained her career shifted from Justice and Corrections to qualifying with the Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development where she learned organizations are far more successful when built upon solid leadership and motivating their talent (employees). “Now I am working with individuals on their own transformation…having studied neurolinguistic programming, transformational coaching and mBraining Integration Techniques”, Vikki said enthusiastically. “And socially where are you happiest,” I inquired. “When combining history, culture and cuisine … preferably in places that are new to me”, Vikki said smiling. I was envious she had travelled to 45 countries. It made me yearn for the trip to Nepal I was planning in the summer of 2018.
“What did you want to be when you grew up?”
Vikki burst out laughing. “The list continues evolving” but “a reader, a writer, a teacher, a fashion designer, translator, travel agent, architect, historian, actor, lawyer, youth worker, detective, social worker, counsellor, psychologist, human rights activist, photographer, talent strategy consultant, interior designer, and, transformational coach”, she finished with a gasp. I laughed knowing my list of professions and interests were just as long.
“When did you start coaching?”
“I began coaching in my mid teens, although at that time we called it ‘peer counselling’”, Vikki remembers. And while doing her personal inventory, Vikki realized coaching had been a consistent element throughout her professional life, and, became the foundation for her practice at vikkicoombes.com.
Balancing it all
“As a Multipotentialite, I am always looking to find a balance in my life juggling my interests and time, how do you teach balance to your Hummingbird/Multipotentialite clients?”, I said.
“I work with my clients to identify what their patterns are…, at what point in their passions or a role they begin to be ‘bored’ and how this all plays out in their own lives”, she said. Next, she explored a person’s challenges or limiting beliefs that are “getting in the way of them living a life they love” so they can gain confidence and “stop apologising for being who they are by celebrating all of who they are instead”, Vikki explained. Her coaching practice provides realistic options for people to fund the lifestyle they envision for themselves within a practical framework that prioritizes and schedules their “ever-changing multiple passions in a way that allows them to live a life they love”. And, in the new year at www.multiplebraining.co.uk, Vikki is introducing mBraining Integration Techniques to align a person’s “truest values, real knowings and deepest needs within their self”.
“What are the benefits of living a balanced life?”
I asked, adding “Paying bills and doing what you love”. “I believe that people have the choice to live life abundantly…whether they are a Passion Flame” (Specialist) or a “Hummingbird (Multipotentialite) or somewhere in between. Each of us has a different ideal for the kind of lifestyle we want to be living now and how we might fund that lifestyle. Each of us brings different experiences, knowledge and skills to our choices. And each of us is capable of adapting, growing, learning and transforming our lives, “ Vikki said.
She understands the benefits of choosing to weave multiple passions into a life you love instead of approaching life as “earn money through things that bore me and do what at other times?” In her coaching practice, she teaches her clients how to capitalize on their strengths to meet their responsibilities and pursue and enjoy the lifestyle they envision for themselves. Multipotentialites choosing to enjoy their lives opens them up to discovering friendships, relationships and “familyships” where they are “acknowledged, recognised and valued for the unique perspectives, …and broad experiences they bring to …interactions they have with different people in their lives”, Vikki firmly believes. Multipotentialites “make introductions, connect different people with one another and provide alternative views to stimulate depth in discussions”, she adds.
Vikki’s Five Themes
“Are there specific or consistent complaints your clients are concerned with?” Vikki said there are “key challenges that people with ever-changing multiple passions face in their life” and they fall into five themes:
“I am unable to choose 1 thing’ and stick to it”. “I need to have variety and change within my life”.
“How do I have a diverse and successful career/business?”
“What are the practical aspects of managing a multiple passion life?”
“How do I have ever-changing passions and long-term great friendships?”
“How do I have a fulfilling and meaningful life?”
“How would employer’s benefit from having a MultiPod as an employee?”
I asked remembering a potential employer turning her nose up at my wide range of experience because it didn’t suit the company’s employment criteria. (Quit)
“Globally organisations are increasingly responding to market demands by working to be agile and innovative and to be a successful business in this way requires that they have a mix of people who are deep specialists …and people who relish change, innovation and problem-solving”, she said. Vikki believes there needs to be “flexible options for their talent to progress within the organisation”. Hummingbirds would be rewarded with “complex innovative challenges and frequent change” and provide Specialists with opportunities for “deep insights into how the products and services can be evolved to meet swiftly changing market requirements”. Vikki feels businesses need to play to the strengths of their talent. As Vikki works with global organizations across the FTSE100 and with entrepreneurial SMEs, she increasingly sees a shift in perspective and sees roles designed for Multipotentialites.
“Do you see a social movement growing from the MultiPod concept?”
“I do see a social transformation happening in relation to celebration and acceptance of people having multiple potential, multiple passions and a broad ranging set of transferable skills. As mentioned earlier, to stay agile in rapidly evolving markets businesses need to have people like this in their organisations”, she said. And the Hummingbird’s reward is “to pursue a diverse professional journey opening up a future that may have felt closed off to them before”, she said smiling.
“I think we are all MultiPods!”, I said venturing an anthropological perspective that humans were best suited to being a MultiPod than a Specialist to survive. “It is just as damaging to our world to say that ‘everyone’ is a Multipotentialite, Hummingbird, Scanner, Renaissance Soul or Human Venn Diagram”, Vikki said. She preferred her approach of “learning more deeply about who we are as individual human becomings and to celebrate the wonderful diversity there is across our societies”. And for those that are less open to life change, Vikki says,“forcing them to be constantly open to new experiences is just as debilitating to them as it is to Multipotentialites when asked to choose ‘just one thing’ or to follow our passion”.
Multipotentialite Super Powers
But Vikki knows the importance of being flexible, utilizing Multipotentilite Super Powers of translating complex issues into viable solutions and, “connecting a wide range of people, skills and knowledge in an intersection that offers new options for how we move forward as a species and as a planet…that are positively sustainable. And for a certain percentage of the population these super powers come naturally to us”, Vikki said. She feels there is a gradual shift towards recognising and rewarding Multipotentialites and research has shown that a business is more successful with a mix of Multipotentialites and Specialists in their workforce.
In what ways are you making a difference?
At vikkicoombes.com she offers an online course helping people weave their “ever-changing multiple passions into a life you love”, she said. Vikki crossed her fingers and toes hoping it’ll be ready the end of January or early February 2018. But she’s also excited about teaching people mBraining Integration Techniques at www.multiplebraining.co.uk.
And together with coaching and mBraining she’s ready to help people live more fulfilled lives in a world that still rewards a driving purpose and one passion. She understands how it feels to be different and being told “if only we make a choice and settle down we’ll do well and get recognised and rewarded. And yet I have known for a very long time that change, variety and making a difference are what is important to me. I just never had a term for it”, Vikki said.
But, it “wasn’t up to someone who is a self-declared ‘Passion Flame’ to tell Hummingbirds how to live life fully, it is up to Hummingbirds to empower one another”, Vikki said adamantly. From that realization, she felt her business take flight. “And as I began to speak this truth out into the world people introduced me to the work of Emilie Wapnick, Barbara Sher, Margaret Lobenstine, the Davinci Divas and, the Human Venn Diagram podcast”, she said excitedly. “So many amazing people providing insights, forums and support. Time for me to add my perspective and services globally so that other Hummingbirds could join me in flying upside down!”, Vikki said laughing.
What’s your Motivator?
“Do you have a piece of poetry or music that keeps you motivated and feeling hopeful about your life?”, I asked. Music is a huge motivator for me and loved asking people what they were listening to. In a city as diverse culturally as Toronto, I opened myself up to a treasure trove of finds from all over the world!
“I have a wide variety of music that I love and …I play at different times depending on my mood”, Vikki said. But it was Shakira’s, Try Everything that touched her most
when she realized she was a Hummingbird. It “was the theme tune from Zootopia! Great to dance to and fabulous lyrics in the chorus!”, Vikki exclaimed sampling the lyrics. “I wanna try everything – I wanna try even though I
could fail – I won’t give up – no I won’t give in Till I reach the end – And then I’ll start again – No I won’t leave – I wanna try everything”,Vikki’s voice trailed off. “It’s from
Zootopia!”, she cried. I hadn’t heard the tune but I liked it.