Written by Emilie

Topics: TED

For months I’ve had a secret that I’ve been aching to tell you.

Last January I learned that I would be speaking at a Tedx event in Bend, Oregon. However, I had to sign a non-disclosure agreement saying that I wouldn’t announce it publicly till the day of the event.

That day was April 18, last Saturday.

Giving a TED talk had been a longtime dream. It was on my bucket list.

The talk itself went smoother than I ever could have imagined. The audience was incredible. They laughed, absorbed, and even clapped furiously when I introduced the idea of the multipotentialite!

At the afterparty, I couldn’t take two steps in any direction without someone coming up to me to say that they are a multipotentialite and feel much less worried about it now. Amazing.

Today I want to talk a bit about my feelings about public speaking. A few people at the event asked me if public speaking was one of my “natural potentials.”

The answer to that is a resounding NO.

I grew up shying away from the spotlight at every turn. I never raised my hand in school. I was terribly shy, a complete introvert, and had very bad anxiety. I had pretty low self-esteem in high school too, and actually hated the idea of people looking at me at all.

So how did I end up on stage last weekend, speaking to 1,400 people? Well, I obviously worked a lot on my confidence in my mid-twenties, but in terms of this talk specifically, it really started about two and a half years ago.

Back in 2012, Puttylike was growing. But I was beginning to sense that if I really wanted to get this message (that it’s okay awesome to do many things) out to the world, I needed to address my fear of public speaking. I knew that the idea of the multipotentialite could help a lot of people, and that really motivated me.

I booked a room at Portland State University, plastered flyers around college campuses, and put on my first seminar. It went fine. Nothing spectacular. I was pretty freaking nervous. But I got through it, and people seemed to enjoy themselves.

I slowly began getting more speaking gigs: some high schools, a liberal arts college, an educational organization. I was starting to get more comfortable on stage. I was also refining my ideas and the structure of my talks. I gave a handful of talks over the next two years.

That whole time, the idea of giving a TED talk was in the back of my mind.

I applied to speak at a TEDx in 2012, and got rejected. It was too soon, I wasn’t ready.

But last December, I tried again. I applied to TedxBend, got a phone interview, and, miraculously, they chose me. Then it hit me… I couldn’t believe what I was about to do.

I was terrified. Happy, but terrified. The fifteen year old inside of me wanted to die.

My talk last Saturday was for all of us. But it was also important to me on a deeply personal level. I felt so comfortable on stage. I actually had a blast up there! It was, without a doubt, one of the greatest experiences of my life. It also showed me just how far I’ve come. I’m still not 100% comfortable with public speaking, but I think I may have inadvertently gotten the bug.

My TED talk will be posted online in a few weeks, and I can’t wait to share it with you!







Thanks for all of the love, support, and inspiration these past few years. I couldn’t have done it without my multipotentialite family here at Puttylike!

xo Emilie


  1. Lauren says:

    This is really amazing, that you were able to transform yourself in this way and push yourself way out of your comfort zone. An absolute inspiration to us all Emilie!

  2. Em says:

    This is so exciting! Very happy for you and can’t wait to see the video! :) It’s so good that the message is getting to people through Ted, too.

  3. Shari Clarke says:

    Congratulations, Emilie, you’ve come a long way!!

  4. Sydney says:

    Congratulations! That’s so exciting! I can’t wait to be able to watch it :)

  5. I want to see that video so much!! I “discovered” that I’m a multipotentialite (or renaissance soul or scanner) back in December. Thanks to you, Barbara Sher and Margaret Lobenstine I know that I can pursue many of my passions and live a full life. My life changed so much since that day in December! Thank you so much! I also started a blog, exclusively in Portuguese, to share that knowledge with everyone I can, because there is no literature about this in my language. Thank you so much!

  6. It was so great to see you up there, and then to watch the dozens (!) of people come up to you afterward, all saying some variant of “I feel normal now!”

    I can’t wait for more people to see your talk!

  7. Melissa says:

    Awesome! Way to go, Emilie! I know how my mind opened so much when I discovered, through you & your message, that I was a multipotentialie, just a few weeks ago. I had been telling myself the negative story that I could never commit to one thing, and that’s why I felt like I haven’t been as successful as I imagined at this point in my life. I didn’t even realize that I was still telling myself this story unconsciously! I think it’s so important to share this multipotentialite concept with as many people as possible. Can’t wait til your talk is available, so I can watch & share! :)

  8. Alice says:

    you’re so talented and inspiring, emilie!
    you’ve come a long way since i met you in college. keep up the amazing work!

  9. Jessi says:

    Amazing, congratulations, Emilie! Can’t wait to watch your talk! :)

  10. Tanya says:

    Well done Emilie! Can’t wait to see the video :)

  11. Katja Hunter says:

    Oh Emilie, HUGE congratulations and thank you for doing this for all f us multipotentialites.
    I can’t wait to watch and share your TED talk.

  12. McKensie says:

    Oh my gosh, this is friggin’ awesome! Congratulations Emilie!!

  13. Wow, I had NO idea they require ALL-? speakers to sign a N.D.A. ?

    Look forward to watching as well.
    One of my dreams as well.

    With NINE income streams, as definitely “puutylike”

  14. Dave says:

    Well done, Emilie! I join everyone in looking forward to watching your TedX video. ????

  15. Jane M says:

    Wow, that is so cool. I am sooo not a public speaker either, but one of my dreams is to speak at TED and help change people’s lives the way I have been changed by several TED talks. Congrats!

  16. Debi says:

    absolutely amazing. I wish I would have known about this concept a long time ago. I found you when you first started and I was in my mid fifties. It really helped explain things and I don’t feel like such an oddball. I’m sure a lot of people will benefit from you doing this talk.

  17. Michelle says:

    Congratulations, Emilie! I look forward to seeing your TED Talk! Keep up the great work and thanks for inspiring us to do the same!

  18. Valerie says:

    My goodness, is there anything you can’t do? n_n

  19. Sarah says:

    So happy for you Em! I can’t wait to see the video :) You look so happy in that photo!

  20. Zarayna Pradyer says:

    Well done, multi-faceted friend.
    Looking forward to the film.
    Do pat yourself on the back.
    Many thanks and kindest regards.

  21. Kristine says:

    nothing quite like jumping in with both feet, Emilie! congratulations! you’re doing a lot of good, not only for yourself, but for so many others ~ and what can be better than that?

  22. Brian Deaton says:

    Awesome!!! Looking forward to watching it!

  23. EricEric says:

    Congrats! I am looking forward to see it !

  24. So brilliant! Well done and well spoken, I look forward to the film. So brave of you :)

  25. Radiet says:

    This is awesome Emilie! can’t wait to see the video. Do keep me posted please.

  26. Whitley says:

    That is so wonderful, congratulations!!!

    I found that my story is quite similar in terms of speaking and confidence! It’s awesome to see how far a once shy girl can actually go!! :)

    Im excited to hear the talk!!!

  27. Bob says:

    Congrats Em! Awesome stuff. Cant wait to see the whole enchilada.

    warmest regards


  28. Jo says:

    Hi Emilie, thank you so much for sharing your experiences with us. This is super inspiring as public speaking is right up there as one our biggest fears, and I think the fear of it can stop people getting out there and doing what they know they are here to do. You look so happy up on stage in your photos, really engaged, open and passionate. Love it, cant wait to see the talk.

  29. Linda says:

    Totally way cool. When I grow up I want to be like you!

  30. Michael says:

    Congratulations Emilie!! That is a wonderful and inspiring story.

  31. Christina says:

    Congratulations Emilie!! I can’t wait to hear your Ted talk! ??

  32. Debi says:

    I’m all treaty eyed. I really feel proud of you. I appreciate you sharing…no i would saying your giving yourself for us. It is beautiful too see the fullness of it all. Wow…aren’t you glad you were born!!!!

  33. Debi Dowling says:

    I’m all teary eyed. I really feel proud of you. I appreciate you sharing…no i would say your GIVING yourself for us. It is beautiful to see the fullness of it all. Wow…aren’t you glad you were born!!!!

  34. This is so fantastic!! I’m really excited that you have done a TED talk, and I can’t wait to see it! This is inspiring for me too.


  35. Ann Littlewood says:

    You are awesome! I so admire the way you stretch yourself, blasting through self-doubt into new territory. You just make it happen, spending courage like water. Kudos, kiddo!

  36. Nicole says:

    SO great that you “had a blast” up on stage Emilie! I’ve found the same thing in the past coupla years – used to be shit scared to speak in public, now you almost can’t get me off the stage. It’s a bit like dipping your toe in the pool, then jumping in and discovering it’s actually nice and warm in there!!!
    Well done.

  37. Lori Stalter says:

    I am so happy for you I am quite literally crying right now.

    Way to go and congrats!

  38. Emilie says:

    Thank you all so much! I almost cried just reading through these comments. :)

  39. WAHOO! Em this is so great. Kudos!

  40. Karina T says:

    Emilie, you were one of my favorite speakers last Saturday!! You delivered your message in such a grounded but playful way and the audience clearly loved it – congrats! I was even more impressed after speaking to you backstage that morning (I was there with east forest), knowing that you were running on less than a full-night’s sleep. Bravo, what an inspiration!!

  41. Raffy Longno says:

    Big congrats to you Ems!

  42. Gloria says:

    VERY WELL DONE TO YOU, EMILY!! What a beautiful achievement! You definetely deserved to be on that stage. I look forward to view your chat. xxx

  43. Paul Ricken says:

    Yeah I am a Multipotentialite as well. Gratefulness is what I feel right now.
    I even wrote a blogpost about it just now. It feels like an epiphany for me. Many tx and I am looking forward to your TED talk.

    Power to the Mulitpotentialites!

  44. Sarah says:

    CANNOT WAIT to view it!

    Huzzah to you and every multipotentialite you stand for!


  45. I’m so grateful you’ve been leading the way for the multipotentialite movement!

  46. Paul Ricken says:

    Hey Emilie,

    When will the video be there?
    Searching for it right now. Can’t find it.

    I am so curious…

    With love,

    Paul Ricken

    • Emilie says:

      Hey Paul,

      They told me the video would be out on or before May 18. So any day now! I’ll post on the blog and send out an email as soon as I get word that it’s out.


  47. Paul Ricken says:

    Hey Emilie,

    Tx for the quick response.
    Look forward to the video.

    Awesome greetings,

    Paul Ricken

  48. Melia says:

    Hi Emilie! Long time follower of your blog here. Just wanted to say congrats on this great accomplishment! Looking forward to watching your talk :)

  49. Outstanding Emilie! We’re all so proud of you. I am on a similar path, except I love speaking in public. But now I am more energized to use that to change the world, one passion at a time. Or maybe all at once!

  50. James says:


    I visited TED today, and found your TEDtalk right on the home page. The moment I heard the term multipotentialite, I thought I just might have found my answer to a question that I have been asking myself for most of my life.

    I know, you have heard stories like this before, but as I am typing this reply, I am actually questioning myself if I am indeed a multipotentialite? Maybe I am indecisive? Maybe I have an attention disorder? Maybe I just want to learn about everything and anything?

    I have only read a few articles on your blog, so I do not fully understand the concept of bringing this type of personality and the ideas that go though my mind together to work in my life, career, and future projects.

    The TEDtalk was very comforting, because it has made me realize that, there could be people like myself. Now I need to figure out who we are, who I am, and why we think the same.

    I could seriously talk about this with you for hours, as I have been bottling up inside of me which seems like a lifetime. However, I would like to thank you and TED for shedding some light on this very topic.

  51. Maria says:

    Hello Emilie, the talk was really great, i’ve just saw it and i’m so happy about it. I’m Russian and not so familiar with the part of the internet which is in English. So i’m really greatful that i’m heard you and after found your website which is exactly what i need now.

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