You Know You’re a Multipotentialite When… (Part 2)
Photo courtesy of Brad Holt.

You Know You’re a Multipotentialite When… (Part 2)

A couple of years ago, I started a discussion in the Puttytribe, asking the puttypeep to help me come up with a list of classic multipod behaviors and situations. What followed was a hilarious conversation that in turn led to a Puttylike blog post called You Know You’re a Multipotentialite when…

Well, that community-wide discussion in the Puttytribe is still going; it’s one of our most popular conversations ever. So I figured it was about time we published the second installment of You Know You’re a Multipotentialite When…

You Know You’re a Multipotentialite When…

  1. You hear an ad on the radio for an amateur competition. It’s something you always wanted to try. You get really excited about the idea. Until the end of the ad when they say, “open to kids aged 12 to 18.” And you think, “Why do kids get to have all the fun?”
  2. You tell someone 1/10th of the stuff you’ve done and they say, “Is there anything you haven’t done?” Then you realize you forgot to tell them about the time you were a spy… or an aerial dancer… or a million other things you forget to give yourself credit for.
  3. You’re applying for job #2 in field B in order to get out of job #1 from field A, while you’re already researching possible jobs (yes, plural) #3 in fields C, D, E, F, G, and H that could be the successor of job #2, which you don’t even have yet.
  4. You can easily name a dozen different careers that you’d love to try out, and you know exactly how and where you could get the necessary qualifications for each of them… if only you had the time and money.
  5. You tell someone your day job, and utter confusion contorts their face. They struggle to reconcile the skills you’ve displayed with the skills required for your job, and finally say, “I never would have guessed that.”
  6. You come up with another idea for a new business, design the product, brand it, market it, put it out into the world, hire some friends to work with you, get a nice office in a loft space overlooking a new city, redesign the website, release an app, eventually sell a few shares in your wildly successful company to some big-shot VCs (without selling out), so you can buy a nice house to move into with your significant other and get a dog… all while keeping the company running… and continuing to go to work every day with a big smile on your face… …all while having a shower! ;)
  7. You can’t settle for writing one answer on this thread.
  8. You have too many business cards, and are never sure which one to give to people.
  9. You read one page of comments on “you know you’re a multipod when…,” write your comment, realize you’ve missed a couple of pages of the thread, see Doug’s link on the page you’re taken to after adding your comment, pointing to another thread, so you go and devour that, all the while thinking of ways to programatically merge both threads into one super-thread, plus design some AI for the comments system on the website, which will suggest an existing thread that you should really be posting a comment to, so you don’t miss other people’s discussions in future.
  10. Your home library looks like a used book store, and you can’t ever seem to figure out a good way to arrange your books.
  11. You’re in 4 different social groups and on the fringes of others, several of which have instinctive tribal loathing towards one another. You have to lie about where your ideas come from, because the sources are often verboten. But you realize how similar in mindset the groups actually are.
  12. In the span of a day, you go from working on your business to laying down vocals on a new song to a going to a dance rehearsal to planning 5 international trips to researching climate change to reading one (or all) of 10 books you’re “super excited about” to helping a friend to meditating to journaling to researching tiny homes to wondering why no one gets all that you do (except for the Puttytribe)!

Want to take part in discussions like these and join a wonderful, supportive community of multipods who ‘get it’?

jo_authorbioJoanna James-Lynn is a virtual assistant, podcaster, blogger, and writer. She’s fascinated by personality, identity, and self-awareness – themes she explores in her podcast, Introspectology and on her blog. She’s also a linguist and a runner, and she’s currently writing a book about same-sex weddings. Find out more about her projects at or follow her on Twitter @joannajameslynn.


  1. Shaun says:

    Classic one from last week where my brother in law congratulated me on my new business venture and I excitedly tell him some more info about it while his eyebrow slowly rises and I realise that that I’m talking about this week’s brainwave that i am diving full tilt into I have not seen him since last week’s brain wave. What happened to X business? He asked, “oh no that one is fine……. ” (all set up with website and business cards in 2 weeks lol)

  2. Kaci says:

    Omg, #1 all day long! LOL I’m pretty sure kids get to have all the fun because so many adults don’t try new things until after they’re retired and bored. I just joined an art club and at 42 I’m by far the youngest person there!

  3. Marianna says:

    You keep hearing from your supervisor that you’re doing great but you really need to focus on ONE thing. And while you love your work this makes you wonder whether it’s the right work place for you…

    • Meh. Maybe you need an employer who values multipotentiality :)

      • Marianna says:

        Yep, I’m going to talk about it (she means well, I know…), but if that won’t help..

        The funny thing is that they’re actually awarding me a special bonus for doing so many things. And at the same time telling me I should commit to one thing :))))

  4. #1 #3 #7 #8 #10 #11
    That is all…hmmm

  5. Ajay says:

    #8 not exactly, but I have 10 versions of my resume to highlight different skills so I can apply for the relevant job title.

  6. Gabi says:

    So true, and the wanting to sign up for art classes thing! I actually wanted to take a painting class but I am teaching knitting on one night and fiber Arts on another, so I thought my life couldn’t handle it, then the photography teacher comes in and says “Next term schedule the knitting class on a different night other than my class so I can take it!” I think I found a fellow multi-pod!

  7. steph says:

    #4 since forever and #5, 6, 11, 12… lol

    …when a friend who wants to help, because she knows you’re unsatisfied in your current positon, sends you a job offer she just saw on the Intranet of her company and encourage you to apply; but then you tell her you have none of the required qualifications for the job and that you never did anything like this before: “Oh. [genuinely puzzled look here] Really?”…

    But you apply all the same because it sounds fun and challenging!

  8. Jennifer says:

    “…all while taking a shower.” That’s so me, along with most of the other statements! Love knowing there are others out there :)

  9. Martina says:

    … when I check a list of online courses on a learning platform to enroll in a specific one I heard of, and end up reorganizing my schedule to take part in about 5 courses in parallel, about 5 totally different topics of course ;-)

    • This! I got a catalogue through the door for evening classes recently and I daren’t open it because I’ll want to sign up for all of them!

    • Marianna says:

      I had that with Coursera. On my latest list were:
      Introduction to Search Engine Optimization
      The American South: its stories, music and art
      Modern Art & Ideas
      Fundamentals of Graphic Design
      Successful negotiation: essential strategies and skills
      Plagues, witches and war: the worlds of histoircal fiction
      Advertising and society
      Inspiring Leadership
      Managing Talent
      People Analytics

  10. Inggrid says:

    Omg, the last one for sure. Doing a startup for 1 product, learning a language in the morning, going to an economic conference during the day, helping a friend on an event for fundraising at night, talking to a girlfriend on fb celebrating their success, oh yes- no one gets it..

  11. revanth says:

    I have done engineering in mechanical and has done job in customer support associate and planning to go into department of archeaology. I love bikes and long trips and I told my dad that I am interested in becoming chef..and my dad was like……..WTF is wrong with u…?

  12. Catherine Chisnall says:

    Number 10! ahahaha! A used book store plus lots of things which half work and are half broken, lots of nearly finished projects etc.

  13. When they ask you “what do you do?”
    and you start sweating

    – or –

    When they ask you “what do you do?”
    and you tell them the truth
    and they start sweating

  14. Lisa says:

    Ok… Number 2 is so true and always has been that I don’t EVEN think of dropping a word of my skills yes that I have acquired out of utter unstoppable curiosity . Jesus! Yes I was a commercial fisherwoman in south-central Alaska for 8 years and an Iditarod dog musher in the winter and a professional costume builder all over the PNWest. I DID make my own clothing line for mushers and fishermen and put myself through 2 college degrees.That is the small story..And yes I just consciously breathed for 15 continuous (or should I say contiguous?) then did some stretching and weeding by my baby pool before I get ready to go walk a pup and then play music with old timer hillbillies in the hollow tonight….. IM NOT CRAZY. Im ALIVE and authentically existing here. And, ( “never start a sentence with and!!”) having a darn great time… Of course Im contemplating Hawaii for the winter or back to my old Seattle next month. Gotta love choices! Love my own mind. It’s such an entertaining place to be.

  15. Joce says:

    Oh wow, this whole list is so SO me…hilarious!!! And amazing how similar a bunch of people can be…sometimes labels can be a great thing…feels great to have found the empowering tribe label “multipotentialites” to describe so many of my formerly misunderstood quirks. I love being this way and it’s not ADD or a disorder! It’s fun and beautiful!

  16. Margaux says:

    Just last week I was in a meeting with 2 co-workers and I got onto the topic of coaching rowing back in the day. One co-worker said, “It’s like every time I talk to you, I find out about this other piece of your crazy past where you’ve done all these completely different things.”

    Well, there’s a rough organization on the main bookshelves (stacked two deep and every possible configuration) in the hallway, but then there are the wall mounted shelves where I cluster the lighter books, not necessarily in a meaningful way, and then the cabinet that hides the really heavy texts and books too big to fit on standard shelves…

    Yup: unorganized used book store. Oh the dust! The dust!!

    I know my different social circles aren’t exactly compatible, but once a year, I invite everyone I can think of to join me for Chinese New Year dim sum. Every year, more and more people decide to come, and now, people are inviting their friends, too. We had ~40 people at 4 tables, and because not everyone came at the same time, common friends were forced to split apart and meet people they didn’t know. It’s like I’m hosting a party, but not at my house and not for endless hours. Only regret is not being able to listen in on everyone’s conversations at the same time!

    I could comment on the rest, too, but I’ve got some exploring to get to!

  17. Maia says:

    …know all the coursis and learning options in the learning center of the company you work for after a month of being there much better than those that had been working in that company for 15 years or more.

    …after working a month in a company you want to re-organized all it´s structure.

  18. Sara Richter says:

    I have that book problem–and could open a used book store. (My husband wants me donating books-how dare he!)

    I find myself searching for new career paths constantly. For example, I will think “hey, I enjoy organizing and planning…I could be a project manager.” And seriously start looking for ways to further my education and skills so I can do that. Of course I don’t count the countless other things I’m “certified” in. (Dog training certified, associate in insurance, masters degree in theology.)

  19. Cas Yates says:

    12 definitely and I see no issue with that. Doesn’t everyone do that in one day? Oh yeah, No. And 2 Oh. My. God 2 but didn’t realise till now. But all the time. What people only have one job for life. But think of all they are missing out on. There is so much more out there. You just have to leap. Yippee!!!

  20. Angela says:

    Oh wow! I think there was only one of those that I didn’t relate to. My god!!
    Most days I feel like my life has been so unproductive … I need to come and read this post on those days to remind myself how much I have really done. ( I know that probably not the point of this post but it’s what comes to mind after reading it)

  21. Sarah says:

    This!!! I feel this so much. Number 1 and 4. I’ll see ads for a baseball team sing up and be like ooooh but of course for kids. Cool new thing – for kids. Scholarships to school – for kids. Interns – for “kids”.

    It’s like they figure once you finish schooling you are never going back to learn new things. I want to learn ALL the things!! I just need someone to teach me.

    (It’s hard to explain to people that yes I got a degree in engineering but now I wanna go to art school and learning dance seems fun, how bout that trumpet playing.)

    • Yes! A few years ago I wanted to take another GCSE or A level, in art. I didn’t realise when I was at school and we didn’t have to pay, that they cost hundreds and thousands of pounds each! I wish I could go back and make the most of that time!

  22. Vicki-Lee says:

    Number one – about the competition only open to young kids *that’s so ageist!* And really not fair. I remember a few years back taking my career-option hunting teenage son to a film school open day. He thought everyone was weird and I was egging him to so do it – as my mum wouldn’t let me do something creative ergo: that wasn’t a ‘real job.’ The course was a year long. And I topped my class (helps being older and not rocking up to classes hungover). Thing is, there really is no money in it (not in Australia anyway) and it’s sexist and ageist. So not a good combo when I’m already a tad diabolical with my waxing and waning interest levels. Still, I’ve done it and worked in it. Didn’t make it to Jacques Tati level… but Life is long. I also figured film could be good for me as there are multiple worlds within the universe; camera department, art department, writing, directing, sound, music, editing, distribution, producing (project management) and I jump around in those areas as my past skills come into play and people wonder how I did it! *synthesis*

    By the way, anyone else have multiple LinkedIn profiles?
    *I’ll betray nothing of my feelings beyond a wistful sigh and half-concealed smirk*

  23. JJ Biener says:

    I know I am a multipod when I go to a used book fair and after 20 minutes, I have three boxes of books with at least one book from every single section and more cookbooks than any human could ever use.

    I am always in the middle of at least 10 books. I have them scattered about my house so no matter where I sit down, there is a book I am reading right there. And it isn’t done intentionally. Oh, did I mention I am in the middle of another 50 books on my Kindle app?

    One more book related item. I went through a divorce about 15 years ago and I had to put most of my stuff into storage. The bulk of it was boxes of books. I had well over 100 boxes of just books. I also had boxes of magazines and sheet music. After a dispute with the owner of the storage facility, he sold off everything in my unit. I grieve to this day.

    • Ouch. That is so painful!

      I’m similar with books – I’m partway through about 20. But I’m more towards minimalism, so I just can’t let myself get too many hard copies. It would stress me out. :)

  24. Inmaculada Ranera says:

    The Puttylike, such a great diacovery for me! I have mentioned already that it was shocking for me. All those years trying to see how I could explain the others that there are soooo many things of interest for me. All these years saying to others, well I do this in one of my worlds, but I have several other worlds into which I live, so, which one would you like me to explain? Usually I end up explaininf only one or maybe two of those worlds, but always thinking: So, it’s only me that acts like that? So, my next move: working in creating a headhunting which helps multipods to accommodate into companies which might need us!

  25. Shaun says:

    I take a lot of pride in my eclectic book collection, whenever one of my work friends asks what I’m reading their normally not expecting whatever answer I give them.
    I just wish all my 100+ kindle titles where on the shelf at home with all the other random but incredibly useful (well to me anyway) titles but it’s the cheapest and easiest way for me to info binge on the fly as I spend a fair amount of time out of phone range working remotely.

    If you can’t simultaneously read 10 books on 10 completely different subjects your not a multipotentialite lol…….

  26. Jose says:

    You know you’re one when your wife or loved one tells you – “That’s enough!”

  27. Jose says:

    You know you’re a multipod when your vision is so far outside the box, you can’t remember where the box is most of the time.

  28. My says:

    Almost all of them describes me. As I just discovered your site and am very new to this, how do I handle the downsides?! Like #6, I can’t possibly count the business ideas I’ve developed but never launched. And it kind of hurts to never (not the truth but a strong feeling) finish anything. Is there a self help program or something? Thanks for a great page!

    • I’d recommend digging through the old posts here. Emilie’s covered so many aspects of multipotentiality over the years. She also has a few ebooks and courses to help people start businesses they’ll stick with, etc. And of course there’s the Puttytribe if you need a supportive community. :)

  29. Shahab says:

    i love you guys… laugh myself to death when reading these 12 clues… each of them rings a bell about a memory of mine, just like reading my life story in 12 sections :)))))

  30. Aurora says:

    #s 4, 8, 10, 11, 12 for sure and shades of all the others!!!!

  31. How about this one… You know you’re a multipotentialite when you can only deliver your “elevator speech” if you’re traveling at least a dozen floors! :-)

  32. Shell says:

    One time, I decided I wanted to try to learn some Arabic. I found this great website where you can have people who speak the language you want to learn help you. I found a few Arabic speakers, but then I also had people from other countries wanting me to help them with their English. I ended up trying to learn Arabic, Hindi, and Urdu at the same time! Then, I was getting fascinated in more countries. I spent many hours reading up on all these different cultures and looking at pictures. I would constantly be curious about a new language. I’m guessing that’s a Multipotientialite thing?

    I do admire all of you who had higher education and leanreled so many things. I have always been too scared to for knowing how I am. I can easily be so extremely interested in something and then suddenly it’s gone and somethings else looks better. Always been afraid of the debt I’d have and not have anything to show for it. As of now, I so want to seriously dive into Sign language, but my fear keeps me from going for it.:(

  33. 8. You have too many business cards, and are never sure which one to give to people.

    I JUST gave up carrying multiple business cards or trying to focus on one of my sites over another. I’m a writer. I write. I write what I feel like writing that day, but audiences need structure. Solution?

    The Hub Site: One business card for all of my sites. I can run as many divergent blogs as I see fit (focused for audiences) but still have one business card.

    Darrell G. Wolfe
    Story Teller | INFJ | Intellection | Learner | Ideation | Achiever | Input | Multipotentialite

  34. Kaisa says:

    Hahahaaa, I’m loving this website!! Finally I make sense!

    We have this “bit” with my partner where on a weekly (daily) basis I go: “Hey, I have an idea!” and he replies “Of course you do” Then I go on to tell him my new (business) idea, ask him to secure me a domain and make me a logo (he’s a designer, lucky me), I whip up a website and by the end of the week I have another business / brand / product :D Some of them stick, some don’t but who’s counting!

    My friends wonder how one can be a business consultant, life coach, yoga teacher and a dive master, and I wonder why not cause this is just the START of it all, I still have +40 years to collect skills (I hope). I’m thinking maybe a PhD next on something cool.

    Thanks again, this page cheered me right up! :)

  35. Marie says:

    when you meet a midwife, a lawyer, a therapist (and so on…) and sincerely think you would be great at these jobs…

    (so great to write this, I see clearly my counselor pattern ! (INFJ too !)

  36. Rosie says:

    Slightly off-topic, but had a nice multipod recognition moment when I ran into a guy in the kitchen at work who I hadn’t seen before.

    I introduced myself, and he said ‘I work 3 terms out of 4 so you might not have seen me’. I asked him what he does with his free term, and he’s writing a novel. Told him I worked part-time too and I do music (etc) in my days when I’m not here. He said ‘Oh great, I’m in a band as well and I’m learning the harmonica!’ Good chap!

    Also, I couldn’t decide which website for which project to put down…!

  37. Sam says:

    My day job hasn’t changed much but makes it possible for me to afford to do the many things I love because I don’t want to give any of them up. In my spare time I go to art class, am a hobby photographer, volunteer in an animal shelter, blog, and my bookshelves are full of travel, art, photography, dog behaviour, food, french/italian language cds and crime fiction books.

    Recently I decided to study marketing with the aim of changing my career, it took me a couple of years to decide because I kept thinking I should study ancient history, fine art, photography, writing or italian/french. I’m a little relieved that my procrastination has resulted in deferred enrolment because I’ve been commissioned to draw a couple of dogs and a cat :-)

  38. anne says:

    I thought i am normal. I feel stressed out thinking what should i do next. I get excited when everything is new to me and when i started to master the job i started feeling bored. I was really worried ‘coz i still cant find what really makes me stay in one job and i will be happy doing. I bet i am one of the multipotenialite. =P

  39. Levi says:

    Registered as an Engineering freshman, had so many electives in different and unrelated departments,my sponsor complained about my high tuition fees. I changed my majors at least four times and eventually graduated in Finance and Investments.

    I work in financial services, I’m a blogger, I do freelance work, I’m a guitarist and am working on a music album, after writing this I’m going to find out how I can import a hang drum and learn how to play it, I’m learning how to trade stocks and and and…..

    My poor wife struggles, I always feel sorry for her, its a bit much LOL. On the plus side however, I’ve just discovered this awesome blog and I’m sending her a link. Turns out its a thing LOL :-)

  40. All this is very interesting as it always feels nice to find other people in a similar situation to what you have lived all your life with most people you know looking at you like some kind of a feeble person running around like a headless chicken.

    I am puzzled by the notion of boringness as I actually never stopped adding topics of interest to my long list and NEVER got bored of any. If I stopped some areas of interest it is because other ones became predominant.

    I have always been considered strange and always fitted in different groups but never really got fully involved as for my intellectual friends I was always to much of a partygoer and for my party friends I was way too intellectual. I gravitated in many different circles and ended with many different friends of various backgrounds, interest and lifestyles.

    It still took me 25 years and when I reached 40 and after I did The Hoffman Process (and 43 different employers in various field that I always hated) that I decided to take the bull by the horns and try to develop a sole trading business. First as a Dj (of course a multigenre one, from Funk Soul Jazz to Afro Latin Brazil to Reggae Hip-Hop and Breaks by Trip-Hop, Swing-Hop to Electro Swing, Swing and Bass, Tribal House, Techno, Psychedelic Trance and Breaks and son), then as Mobile Cinema owner, to Cinema classes for adults, soon for adolescents (with unfortunately extracurricular and hard to sell Education to image classes designed to instill the love for critical thinking and self teaching to students of all backgrounds without proper art education), developing as lecturer in philosophy and sociogy in pop culture (the philosophy and mythology of Star Wars, the Alien Saga, Indiana Jones, but also on Comic Books, Bande-Dessinées, Manga, Fumetti) and I also do French to English and English to French tranlsations and soon French classes for advanced adults through Cinema and Comic Books.

    I have studied none of the above subjects (I actually did my French BAC (at 18) in lab chemistry and then a BTS (2 years of study after the BAC until 20) in so-called Marketing. I like Chemistry but was not good enough in maths (useless in a chemistry lab) to keep on going with it. I wanted to study literature at Uni (Kafka, Maupassant, Philip K Dick and Spinoza, Socrates, the pre-socratic atomist philosophers where my choices) or go for a high-end Cinema school in another town, or the top French journalism independent school. My parents, who disapproved of my useless and unproductive centre of interests, chose for me as they had to be the caution for my student loan and went for a crappy marketing school, because I talked a lot and it would almost guarantee me a job and thus wouldn’t have to cover for my loan as I could repay it by being a successful and rich marketer, salesman or better banker.

    It is funny for me to have this website and the brilliant Ted Talk by Emilie just now (after watching a documentary on the North Korean Kim dynasty and on many short ones on the gaming culture and about to read a book of analysis of The Shining and possibly a few parts of another on my many books on the go either Psychology of the masses or another 70’s sci-fi masterpiece by Simak or Zelazny) because I have just officially started to live of the above-mentioned business since Feb 1st.

    I hope I can join the community on Monday as not only it will be interesting to share with other people with the same abilities and potential issues but also because having now made a living of my different wiring (which used to be an issue), I feel that I can offer insight and advices to others with the same “problems” I used to face. People still look at me like a bit of an “all over the place weirdo” but as I am the only one making an independent cultural offering for all people on the small island of Jersey (off the coast of Normandy and Britanny (France), a small paradisiac (when it is not raining non stop since November) outside of the EU tax heaven of an island) which otherwise offer no cultural offering at all (entertainment yes but culture no), I am in an ideal position to throw any idea that spring into my mind combining culture and education and it seem to stick.

    Sorry for the improvised and first draft of my condensed life story but it needed to come out to people who can understand it and I can discuss it with.

    Thank you very much if you read the whole thing and hopefully I’ll join the community soon too.

    Bonne nuit


  41. Julie Leonardo says:

    I never actually get to doing because I realize I have no time for it all. I sit there and ponder it all and then dejctedly walk away cause I cant do it or make a choice. I am still trying to figure out which foreign language to take, but even the idea of having to wait a year or two to move on to the next one is agonizing.

  42. #6 is the story of my live. So happy that I found you guys. Thinking for years that I’m done and on the bad path. But now, really happy to discover that I’m not alone :-D

  43. Nicola Jane Irving says:

    I was feeling slightly embarrassed that I am 42 and have tried most things and haven’t stuck with anything until I came across the word “multipotentialite”. I’ve never been one for labels or pigeon-holes but I like this word, it sums me up nicely. I’ve tried many jobs and many college and university courses and I’ve ended up making comfort bears and turning wine bottles into people (Boddolls). As this is not providing a stable income I’ve registered with a previous employment agency. Then came the question. “Tell me what you want to do?” Aaarrgh! Telling the recruitment consultant that I want to be on Coronation Street wouldn’t be appropriate so I resorted back to my comfort blanket and settled for admin work. I don’t know how long this will last and she’s most likely wondering why I’ve returned 5 years later to do the same job. Don’t ask me!

  44. Nicola Jane Irving says:

    P.s. I also suffer from bouts of procrastination. Is this a common part of being a multipotentialite?

  45. harley says:

    Hi guys, do any of you feel like you have different parts to your personality that drive the different ideas? I’ve recently been doing some inner work and discovered these parts all have different needs but I’m able to round them all up for some calm and consistency, no less creativity I may add. Have a look into internal family systems and sub parts – It’s been a game changer for me. PEACE, H x

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