Are there a Lack of Multipotentialites in Your Daily Life? (a Loving Rant and an Announcement)
Photo courtesy of Jason Rogers.

Are there a Lack of Multipotentialites in Your Daily Life? (a Loving Rant and an Announcement)

Written by Emilie

Topics: Puttytribe

There’s an email that I receive a lot. It goes something like this:

Quite by accident I happened upon your site. It was hard to believe, but at the ripe old age of 56, I have finally discovered that there is NOTHING wrong with me! I am a multipotentialite!

I always felt that I was a loser, couldn’t stick with something, destined to live my life without finding my “niche”. All my life I have gone from one thing to another (very successfully, I might add). Staying with it until I got bored. I blamed it on ADD. I always considered my self the proverbial “Jack of all trades, master on none.

My kids refer to me as a fount of useless knowledge. I now know that is not the case.”

This is a quote from a real email, but I’ve gotten hundreds of emails that sound exactly like this, from people of all ages and from all different backgrounds.

Here’s another example:

I just started reading your manifesto, and I almost started crying…but good crying! I feel relieved actually. I went through a year of counseling to try to find out why I felt so unhappy with where I was. I was at an amazing art school, making good grades, people seem to like me, but I never felt like I fit. Everyone seemed so driven to be a painter, or a sculptor, or a this or that. I even double majored because I couldn’t choose between painting and art history. My studio teacher of 1.5 years kept telling me that I was afraid of success and failure! I didn’t agree, but he said it so often that I started to think he could be right.

Emails like these feel incredibly rewarding. They remind me that what I’m doing matters. But they also break my heart a little…

Over and over, I hear the message: “I’ve always felt like there was something wrong with me,” and “I didn’t know there was anybody else out there like this.”

And as grateful as I am for the privilege of being able to help, part of me also wants to (lovingly) scream: “You are far from alone! There are so many others out there “like this”. I know because I’ve received hundreds of emails exactly like yours!!”

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not frustrated with the multipotentialite letter writers themselves, but with the sheer extent and frequency of this problem. It’s the situation that I’m upset with. The fact that multipotentialites are everywhere, and yet because of all the culturally-based shame around it, so many of us repress our multipotentiality.

I hate that we’re taught to pick one facet of our personality to focus on, and deny all of the other parts of ourselves. And I hate that those who are determined to embrace their curiosity and be their full multipotentialite selves, end up feeling so isolated.

Taking Puttylike to the Next Level

After receiving enough emails like this, I began to feel like the blogging and email format were limiting the potential of this community. I felt like I could be doing more.

I want, not only to connect with you guys on an individual basis, but to connect you with each other. I want to you to be able to share your experiences with one another, get help with the practical aspects of building a life around all your interests (career, productivity, family, etc.), and to make use of the networking opportunities and the incredible knowledge base we’ve got here.

There’s so much talent and diversity in this community. The sort of innovation that might be sparked, if we only just connected? Well, it sort of scares me…

But mostly, I want every multipotentialite to have the benefit of knowing other multipotentialites in their daily lives.

Enter, The Puttytribe

The Puttytribe is an online community I created back in 2012 for multipotentialites of all ages, cultures, locations, and levels. We brainstorm, help each other with our many projects, collaborate, co-work, and learn from one another. It’s a really warm place, where everyone understands “what you’re up to” when you have a dozen projects or jump from passion to passion. We’re a truly global community of over 600 multipotentialites and we’d love for you to join us!

How to Get Your Invitation to The Puttytribe

We open up the doors to the Puttytribe once per month, and only to 75 new members.

More importantly, make sure to sign up to the Puttytribe email list. Otherwise you won’t get the invitation at all:

I consider the Puttytribe the most important thing we’ve ever done as a community.

There’s so much potential here. If us multipotentialites just come together, we’re sort of– unstoppable.

Your pal and fellow multipotentialite,


Emilie Wapnick is the founder and creative director at Puttylike and The Puttytribe, where she helps multipotentialites build lives and careers around ALL their interests. 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 the author of the award-winning book, How to Be Everything (HarperCollins), and her TED talk has been viewed 5 million times. Learn more about Emilie here.


  1. Sarah says:

    This is awesome! I’m also one of your readers who resonates with what you are doing…I’m sure there are lots of us. :) Thanks for sharing such great insight! It’s really freeing.

  2. JocelynBrown says:

    Can’t wait!! “Connect with more multis” has been on my intentions list!

  3. Great idea! What will actually happen? Will Puttypeeps be taken into a secret door and never seen again? Are there Puttypeeps in England, as I am?

    • Emilie says:

      Haha! Nah, everything will stay the same here on the blog. But there will be a “secret door” (or rather login page) for the puttypeep who want to take things further.

      And I’ve definitely met quite a few British Puttypeep. I could name them for you, but this doesn’t seem like the right place for that. :) But yeah, we had a few in the productivity class and a few of my students have been from the UK. They’re around.

  4. Debi says:

    As a multipotentialate (and the parent of 2 who are now adults), I was frustrated with the school system that kept trying to make my kids fit a mold that clearly did not fit them. They both struggled all through school and even into college. I now have a granddaughter who will likely encounter similar attitudes. Our education system needs a major overhaul — but then again, it has for years (Einstein and Edison were also greatly misunderstood by their teachers). Here’s to hoping a light goes on with the folks who are nurturing our young people so they are encouraged to do what they do best rather than being told what they need to do in order to be “successful”.

    • Emilie says:

      I totally agree with you, Debi. The school system does a rotten job of encouraging creativity. We’ve actually got a “group” within the Puttytribe that’s specifically for multipotentialte parents. I think you’ll like it.

      • Sami says:

        I just watched a video from the TED talks that was all about how our schools and work environments are geared toward extroverts, and how introverts get smashed in the process. I think the idea could be applied to multis, too–I know I was not allowed to take the number or variety of classes I wanted because they didn’t fit the idea of a focused student, and so I spent most of school bored and rebellious. When I have kids, I don’t want that to happen to them!


        • I agree, Sami. My daughter is 6, she is definitely introverted and probably a multi. Its encouraged at her age, I’ll have to be strong as she gets older and encourage her to do what she wants and not specialise.

          • Sami says:

            I definitely think it would have been nice to be encouraged to be multi when I was a child! I do think, though, that until something changes drastically, it was good–if grueling–that I learned how to pass as a kid, at least a little. Coping mechanisms, you know? Now, however, I’m adult and I Do What I Want, and I don’t want to just cope anymore–I want to be who I am. And I’d hope that I’d be able to teach my kids the balance between the two. I hope you can, too! Kids deserve that.


  5. Lisa says:

    I am pretty brand new here and I love all the discussions and insights. At 46, I thought I might be the oldest one, so it’s exciting to see the range of ages and experience. Like the rest of you, I’ve pursued many avenues, some for long periods, some not….sometimes feeling guilty or bewildered. Having a Multi husband helps with the acceptance part!I have 3 part-time gigs going at the moment, but who knows what exciting opportunity lies around the corner…? Happy to have found you Emilie!

    • Emilie says:

      Oh you’re definitely not the oldest one in the group. I was actually surprised initially myself, because I assumed that my core audience would be 20-somethings. But it’s really not. The community here is so varied in age. That’s one of the things I love most about it. :)

    • Barb says:

      I am new here, too, Lisa, and I have 13 years on you. :-). My goal is to have something to supplement my income by the time I qualify for a Social Security check. I did the suit-and-pantyhose gigs for 25 years, hating it, never staying in one place for more than a year or two. I finally bailed out, having no idea what I could do next, and the very day I did that, I walked into a graphic design business that later hired me and I stayed 10 years. So that gave me one piece of my puzze, I have to have visual creativity. I guess my point here is, its never too late to go off in a new direction. I would be there yet if I had not had to move to a remote rural area; if we didn’t have internet here I would lose my mind. A Renaissance Business is now my alternative to ringing up candy bars at the dollar store. I am so pleased to have found Emilie and this community which validates my need to have variety, and I look forward to networking with other multipods.

  6. I had the same kind of realization when I read you manifesto 2 years ago (already?!). Maybe it’s time I open myself a bit more and share with other multipotentialites. I think I made great progress since then, but sometime to get to the next level, you need a little help from your friends…

  7. Laura Bradshaw says:

    Hi tribe!
    Oh how I’ve longed for you to errupt. Thank you to mid-wife Emile for your skilled hands and brave heart.
    I’m an older multi who is headed for the World Domination Summit in Portland this summer and am wondering if you (Emile) or anyone else who reads this is also going to be there.
    My very simple goal is to meet up with others (especially those around my age 55) who find themselves drawn to “this” and see what happens.
    I’ve lived my multi-ism serially through out my life(I’m also quite dyslexic and too lazy to run this through Word -bear with the bad spelling please) and have many stories to tell. The thought however of expressing my “multi” all at once is freightening beyond belief and delighful in equal measure.
    I soooo look forward to helping and watching this part of “the (larger?) paradigm shift”.


    • Emilie says:

      Hi Laura!

      I will indeed be at WDS this year. I’ll probably even be putting together a multipotentialite workshop/meetup of some sort.

      I look forward to meeting you. Though hopefully I’ll get to know you a bit before hand inside the Puttytribe. :)

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