A Personal Note from Emilie Before the TED Flurry Hits

A Personal Note from Emilie Before the TED Flurry Hits

Written by Emilie

Topics: Life, Updates

There’s this awkward thing that happens when you host a big time-sensitive project (like a sale) on your site. You need to put your marketing cap on for a while, and do the project justice by talking about it a lot.

This isn’t actually painful, since you believe in what you’re selling. But in the flurry of a launch, there isn’t much room for sharing personal, unrelated introspections. And so at the end of it all, you may feel disconnected from your community.

I felt it last year during MPMH, and again this year. Not that I’m complaining. I’m really proud of the bundle we put together. This is more an observation.

I miss you guys. I feel like I need to catch you up on my life, and I want to hear about your lives.

To compound the problem, our TED talk was supposed to be released “on or before May 18,” but has been delayed due to uploading problems. In any case, I’ve spent all my waking hours recently preparing outreach emails, newsletters, and blog posts for that. Publishing this post today may in fact be a horrible idea, since the talk could literally come out in 5 minutes.

But I couldn’t resist. I needed to touch base with my peeps.

I will keep it short though, since it will hopefully be TED time extraordinarily soon. Here’s the quick and dirty update on my life:

  • Two months ago, I took a hiatus from my quest to fly to Chicago. My partner was finishing up grad school there, and had sustained a spinal injury. Leaving the wilderness to go help out was really a no-brainer. Being there for her felt like one of the most important things I’ve ever done.
  • After a few bad roommate situations and friend miscommunications in recent months, I’ve been making an effort to be more up-front and communicative with the people in my life. However, I’ve learned that even when I push myself to be brave and do “the right thing,” (i.e. communicate openly), people may react poorly. I’m working on letting people’s reactions be their own, on letting things go, and on letting people have poor opinions of me if necessary. I’m finding this very hard.
  • I just moved back to Portland and Valerie will be here in a few days (she did graduate, despite the injury!). We’re subletting a place in North Portland for the summer, and though I will certainly take some camping trips this summer, I’ve been grappling with the realization that I may not want to live in my trailer any longer, or even really continue the quest right now… This makes me feel pretty ashamed. But I’m craving stability, and I kind of just want to live with my girlfriend in the city that I love. It’s been so long. Still thinking this one over.
  • I’m nervous about the TED talk coming out. I want it to go completely viral and help people all over the world who feel lost and anxious about having multiple passions. At the same time, the attention this could bring is a little terrifying. There will no doubt be criticism along with the praise. It’s to be expected, part of playing a bigger game. But again this goes back to letting other people’s opinions be their own.

That may not have been so “quick and dirty” after all, but I feel much better having shared it all with you.

What’s new with you?

Before all of the TED madness begins (which again, could literally be in 5 minutes), post a comment and tell me what you’ve been working on, either project-wise or personally. I would love to hear from you.

em_bioEmilie Wapnick is the Founder and Creative Director at Puttylike, where she helps multipotentialites integrate ALL of their interests into their lives. Unable to settle on one path herself, Emilie studied music, art, film production and law, graduating from the Law Faculty at McGill University. She is an occasional rock star, a paleo-friendly eater and a wannabe scientist carpenter. Learn more about Emilie here.


  1. Lauren says:

    So lovely to hear what you’re up to. Don’t feel ashamed about the Quest – it was a goal, something big that involved learning lots of new skills and seeing what was achievable. Now you’ve learn loads and seen what you can do it’s no longer as attractive as it seemed (or not needed anymore) – I think we can all relate to that! Classic multipotentialite pattern, and of course, nothing wrong with it! Hope Valerie is much better now and I’m sure there’s lots of exciting things on the horizon for you both. Really looking forward to the TED talk! All the best, Lauren

    • Emilie says:

      Thanks so much, Lauren! You’re right, classic multipod pattern. I may also not completely kill the Quest, just have it change forms. :)

  2. Kiley G says:

    I myself can’t wait for the TED talk and I’m sure you have absolutely nothing to worry about with it going viral. Your core really speaks to so many people and at the end of the day be sure you are making time to enjoy the process (the fact that you were part of TED in any sense is so amazing!). Keep on rocking Emilie and thank you so much for continuing to share the true you. It’s made a huge difference in the true me.

  3. Amy Mank says:

    I think what you are doing is very courageous and helps to reinforce that we all struggle with the same things in our own ways.

    I’m really looking forward to the TED talk coming out and already have a few friends in mind to tag in the post because I think that can benefit from it.

  4. Nela says:

    Exciting times! I’m looking forward to hearing your TED talk and sharing it with my own people.
    You really shouldn’t feel bad about the adventure! If it’s not in your heart right now, screw it. You know you don’t need to justify your choices to anyone. Enjoy your time in Portland with your girl. There’s plenty of time for adventures :)

    What I’ve been up to…
    This last weekend I was at a sci-fi convention which was super fun, although I really needed some introvert cave time afterwards.

    I’ve been working on my secret project and on another less secret project (free course on authentic branding for creative solopreneurs, coming soon!) and basically writing my little tooshie off.
    I hope to make a lot of progress this week.

  5. Michelle says:

    It’s very admirable for you to be so real with us, especially among so many other blogs/sites that portray people as living “the perfect life”. I imagine your TED talk will help a lot of people!

    I am new to this site as of last week, and I used your overarching theme kit to help me determine what might make the most sense for me right now as far as hobbies go. I had been frustrated up until now, trying and “failing” (in my mind) at everything I’d tried. I’m happy to say that it certainly helped me and I was able to combine two of my passions into one! I love art/crafts as well as helping animals, so I’ve discovered that making cat and dog toys and donating them to the animals in the rescue organization I volunteer with was a perfect fit for me. I’m excited about it, and I truly owe it to you and this site for fostering such a creative and supportive environment. I am really excited, so thank you!

    • Emilie says:

      Wow, that’s awesome. What a cool “group hug” project!

      Thanks for the vote of confidence, Michelle. And, you know, welcome home. :)

  6. lauren says:

    simply adore you emily. your email was real, refreshing and authentic. It’s a rare thing these days, especially in my industry (marketing and branding) where it can be hard to be truly honest and true to yourself. hard to say “i’m kind of scared right now” or “I’m not feeling completely confident but I believe in what I’m selling”. you are right on with that balance being tricky. glad you are having some stability now, can’t wait to see what you do next!

    I’ve been working up the guts to close my current business (where I offer a billion services), creating one umbrella business and several specific “branches” that will allow me to do what I love in an organized way that makes sense to me. It’s been on my mind since I found puttylike about 6 months ago, and things are moving along now. And I have you to thank for the reality check that this is okay, and good even. so thank you!

    • Emilie says:

      Awesome awesome! I don’t doubt that you’ll craft that umbrella theme.

      And I really appreciate the kind words. Thanks Lauren. :)

  7. Keri says:

    Best of luck with your changes, Emilie! Sometimes plans change, and that’s ok, too.
    And I am looking forward to seeing your TED talk. :)

    As for me, I’ve got some good stuff outweighing the frustrating at the moment, so. Yay. I’m entering art in a local juried show, and crossing my fingers that the small number of submissions will translate into at least one piece of mine getting in.

    And my 1920s Jazz Age Activist Wonder Woman costume for our local comic con is almost done! Looking forward to it. She needs a protest sign, though. Maybe painted cardboard.

    Best wishes with your moves, and to Valerie for her recovery.

  8. Marjorie says:


    Glad to hear that you and yours are doing well. I just wanted to comment on the quest and how perfect your experience is turning out to be. How many quests have we started as multipotentialtes only to realize, halfway through, that we got as much as we wanted? Maybe we are just quick learners :) Or maybe it wasn’t for us. In any case, one of the biggest hurdles we have to jump through as MPs is the often misplaced expectation from others that we will “finish what we started.” Sometimes, we’re done without being finished.

    On my end, I find myself circling back to some old interests–like teaching law again. A part of me feels like I’ve done that already, and going back just looks like failure. Yet, I find myself daydreaming about teaching my classes, taping Judge Judy episodes that illustrate a particular legal theory (ok, that’s just for my amusement :) reading up on legal pedagogy, and even looking over my old syllabi.

    All of these little hints are telling me something, and I intend to listen to that still, small voice within to the exclusion of everybody else–whether the loudmouths on the outside or my own inner critic.

    Best wishes as you make the choice that is right for you.


    • Emilie says:

      Hi Marjorie,

      You’re right, it is pretty spot on. :)

      That’s awesome that you’re becoming interested in teaching law again. Some interests definitely do circle around. Always fun and exciting when that happens.


  9. Roxanne says:

    Hi Emilie,

    You are such an inspiration to me. The message about “letting people’s reactions be their own,” and “letting people have poor opinions” of you really resonated with me during this particular time. Like Michelle said, it is so cool that you can share your vulnerabilities as well as your triumphs with us. The fact that you freely express both helps me (an others, I’m sure) connect with you. We’ll do our part to make sure that your TED talk goes viral. All the best to you and Valerie. Thanks.

  10. Liz says:

    I so relate with that feeling of being ashamed to not “accomplish” something you no longer want to accomplish, but thought you did, or used to want to, or want to want to. Ugh. It hurts! And its an awkward hurt! And craving stability when you usually want adventure, I’ve found that a hard transition. Sometimes it makes me feel like WHO AM I???!!! But doing that is so much better than pushing through and doing something you don’t want to, don’t have to do, just because you once said you were going to do it. But hopefully now that you’ve said it “outloud” to your community it will feel less awkward and painful. Can’t wait for the Ted talk!

    • Emilie says:

      It definitely feels less awkward and painful. :) And I’m not even sure that I want to quit outright. My quest might just radically change forms to be much less all-consuming. Thanks for the kind words, Liz!

  11. Jaya says:

    Hi Emilie! I just found your site yesterday and was so relieved I almost started crying – so happy to hear I’m not alone and that it’s okay to be the way I am! I’m currently working through personal and professional trials – just graduated university and am trying to figure out “what I want to do with my life”. Your site has definitely caused me to step back and look at everything in a new light! Now, instead of fear and anxiety, I’m just excited to see what all I can do with my time here :)

    I’m looking forward to your TED talk! Congratulations on your success, and don’t feel bad about not wanting to finish that challenge – like others have said, it’s a classic trait, and I totally feel where you’re coming from. Studied Japanese for over 8 years and suddenly one day just wanted to quite. Felt like my degree was useless and all my future plans had suddenly disappeared. But it just holds no attraction for me anymore! I want to do something else :) so that’s what I’m going to do. If it’s time for you to do something else, too, then go right ahead and do that!

  12. Jennifer says:

    I think it’s great to just keeping yourself open and receptive to what life is telling you- not just following the ‘plan’. making your preparations to be able to unroot at a moments notice (traveling) set you up to step in where you were needed at a moments notice. I call that a win. Can’t wait to see your TED talk!!

  13. Rena Nicole says:

    The fear that comes with playing a bigger game is very real. I know. And the biggest lesson I learned was that you need a foundation. “I” needed a foundation, and I didn’t know I didn’t have it. When I started The Rena Nicole Show, I thought I had it all. A loving husband, a home, food, clothing, shelter and two cats. But then, I was co-dependent. My husband made it possible for me to start my business, and when I was finally starting to grow and develop and make real money, he left; pulled the and my from under me, and went to have a nice mediocre life with a co-worker he’d been having an affair with. But when you loose, you win. I met a wonderful gentleman, who was always my friend from years past. He is an artist. A no-shit, full-time, producer of ART, -and really incredible art at that! It’s not hard for me to be in a relationship, but I do find it a struggle to weigh the pros and cons of the Other vs. the Self. Some believe that Love conquers All, but the real conquest is the deciphering of which type of love you will let rule your world. The Love of the Self and its capacities to Love the World through the sharing of your talents and gifts, or is the Love of another, one Other, that all talents and gifts are dedicated to? And, do you expect that Love to be reciprocated in return? In the end, I didn’t know why I was playing the big game any more. Was it for me? Was it for my husband at the time? Was it for the world that I wanted to impact? It’s was a “yes” to all, but it spread me too thin. Now, I’m back to square one. Luckily, though my website is now to-shit, at least I have social media. Twitter is awesome! -that’s how I found you! ;-)

    • Emilie says:

      Wow Rena, thanks for sharing all that. It sounds like you learned a lot about yourself and you’re in a much stronger place now. I look forward to seeing what you build going forward. Stay in touch!

  14. Abhishek says:

    I am excited about your TED talk too! I signed up on this website only a few days back and watched the first introductory video of yours. I was little sad it was so short and so a more proper and comprehensive talk is something I look forward too!
    I am still not sure if I actually belong with you guys here(and yes, I checked your posts regarding this confusion).
    All I know is I barely ever want to sleep – with so many on-line resources, I just want to learn every single thing there is. My challenges however are two-fold – where do I start? and how do I make a living out of it?
    I am hoping your site will help me in learning things I want to learn. If it does happen, let this post be reminder that I’d owe you so much!
    All the best! And I hope I get to connect with the people here too!

    • Emilie says:

      Hi Abhishek,

      Thanks for your thoughts! And that’s cool. If the site resonates for you and helps, then awesome! If not, no worries. But for whatever it’s worth, you definitely sound like a multipotentialite to me. :)

  15. Rachél Payne says:

    Hey Emilie, I am new to your circle…but not to living the multi-(pick your favorite “p”) life. I just put a thread out on my personal FB asking folks what they thought I did for a living. The answers were gorgeous and telling. My peeps know me…for the most part. Feeling inspired by your message this week…sharing it with my tribe. Cheering for you and your adventure….whatever it looks like.

  16. Em says:

    I love this, as well as all the other personal notes and posts :) You do know how to get back in touch with people.

    If it gets hard with the negative feedback, always remember that there are tens and hundreds of people who do adore and need everything you are and do and that you did change many people’s lives. Just by naming this “thing” we all have in common, but also by writing a lot about it, you also have the whole tribe of followers and curious multipods who need the lead and inspiration to keep them up on the difficult days. You are important and what you do matters :) Sounds cheesy but if you ever feel a little doubtful after some possible harsh comments, this is the honest feedback from the other side ;) I personaly feel so much more secure and content about my moodswings in hobbies and not finishing everything I started since I found your blog, I can’t imagine what my life would be without knowing that the multipotentiality is a thing, and a good one. I might have been still be very upset about myself and I’m not, quite possibly thanks to you ;)

  17. jack says:

    Emilie, Ted will open everything wide open for you ! Very excited for you and this new Ted stardom. Not everyone can say they did a ted show! Be proud, listen for ideas in any negative comments for new directions in marketing and sales. This is your hour don’t let anyone take it away from you. All your peeps will hold you up . Look forward to the next chapter.

  18. Kate says:

    My thoughts …

    Those feelings – every one of them – are the currency of ‘lived experience’. They are your companions Emilie and a sign of living a meaningful and compassionate life.

    Regarding your TED talk, you are wise to be prepared for a range of comments/feedback. I see similarities between the Multipotentialite community and the HSP community – lately there has been an increase in publicity around high sensitivity in mainstream press and there are always comments from people who choose to be critical. Just remember you have the support of people in your community who are grateful for your courage to speak out.

    And now … wrap your arms around yourself and squeeze. I hug myself a lot … and find them extra-therapeutic when feeling anxious.

  19. M. Kata says:

    I can’t wait to watch the TED talk, I am sure you will be really, really great. :) I’ve been reading this site for half a year now, and it helped me understand my multipotentiality. When I was a child, I wanted to be an author, but I suddenly stopped writing a few years ago, and I didn’t know why I lost my enthusiasm. After finding Puttylike, I realized that I was not alone, and that there was also hope to find some new hobbies.

    So nowadays I write a screenplay for my fictional series and also design posters and magazines, just for fun. And I like my new hobbies as much as I loved writing. :) So thanks and keep going!

    And don’t feel ashamed about your quest. I like safety in my life, so it seems a very big deal for me that you were able to go on this adventure. You can always go back later or be satisfied with this achievement.

    • Emilie says:

      Awesome. And I bet you wouldn’t have pursued screenwriting or design had made yourself stick solely with writing.

      Thanks for the encouragement!

  20. Maria Mar says:

    Hi Emilie,

    No shame in following your heart. It has deeper wisdom than your mind. It sees across time and space,so it’s a good thing to follow it. Our mental plans and constructs can actually get on the way of Divine Design.

    I’m so proud of you for the TED Talk. Girl, that is a HUGE achievement! Celebrate it. Practice Peacock Humility here and show the beauty of your feathers. You’ve worked hard for this.

    You are already a viral phenomenon, so the TED Talks has no way but viral to go. Don’t worry on that department.

    Also, I do hear the home-need and I’m glad you honor it. There’s something warm, sustaining and sustainable there.

    Lots of luck… and love to you and Valerie.

    Maria Mar
    The Dream Alchemist

  21. Tess says:

    Hi Emilie, I have been very bad (head bowed in shame) for not responding back to your many reachouts. The last few years have been tough journeys personally and professionally. You know that feeling when you stumbled into mud that turned out to be a sinkhole. Well, I have come out of the hole bruised and muddied BUT more equipped in survival skills (bring it on!). I am still a multi-potentialite with retirement in the horizon in 5 years. Yes, I am your grandma’s age but no matter, I am a big fan and look forward to your first TED.

  22. Tessa rosemary says:

    Your transparency—–>>>>
    Simply marvelous.
    Cha Cha changes——simply melancholy. Chin up cheerio. You are in the divine correct place at the right times always.
    I had hitchhiked the states for 1 year, and in all it’s glory, I hoped to settle too. After all—-Maslow’s Hierarchy Of Needs must be met at all times. You asked what we are up to? Well, I am getting my Masters in clinical psychology – – – mostly so I can love my clients, help them develop healthy communication styles, and cycles in general, but also to help “multiplayer tent your lights” (no joke this was multi potentialities via voice recognition! Ha!) —-I will help them become aware of fully harnessing your lovely term. I am also moved by Elaine Aron’s work “The Highly Sensitive Person”. Also Jacob Glass’ Book “Feed A Champion Starve A Bully.” People need healing—-that’s what I’m up to. Thanks for sharing!

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