Are You a Multipotentialite?

If you were to draw out your ideal career path, would it look more like a tree than a straight line? Do you like to avoid being painted with just one brush? Then you, my friend, just may be a Multipotentialite.

What, pray tell, is that?

Wikipedia describes Multipotentiality as “An educational and psychological term referring to a pattern found among intellectually gifted individuals. [Multipotentialites] generally have diverse interests across numerous domains and may be capable of success in many endeavors or professions, they are confronted with unique decisions as a result of these choices.”

I myself am a Multipotentialite. I stumbled upon this apropos term recently while on a quest for my own personal compass. Multipotentialites are also interchangeably referred to as:

• Polymath / Renaissance Person
• Scanner
• Slasher
• Generalist
• Multipassionate
• RP2
• Puttylike Personality, Puttypeep
• Multipod
• Plate Spinner

“Multis” possess so many interests and passions, and simply refuse to specialize in, or subscribe to the world’s view that one must commit to only one goal, one dream, one profession. I recently joined a Multipotentialite community known as Puttylike that is beautifully managed by its creator, Emilie Wapnick.


There, I am among a universe of peers who conduct their lives as I do: undertaking a plethora of passions. For example, mine include med school, business school, catering, road crew, trucking unloader, personal trainer, and foodie (not an exhaustive list – phew!) It’s refreshing to be among thousands of peers who relate to and support you without fear of judgment.

Author and life coach Barbara Sher also coined her own description of Multis and believes that we all fall into two categories: Scanners or Divers. For 35 years, Barbara has amassed a wide following of careerists and has guided them toward pinpointing and fulfilling their goals, helping them turn their dreams into reality.

It wasn’t until 2006 that Barbara began leading the way for Scanners, offering an array of online forums, books, tapes, speaking engagements, and even retreats for “those fascinated by so many areas they can’t settle for only one.” Further in praise of Generalists and Scanners, Barbara penned her 7th book,“What Do I Do When I Want to Do Everything?”

“But”.., Sher advises, “at some point, Scanners who never finish anything should sit down and look at what’s really going on,” “When a Scanner hits a certain wall, they stop. Often, it’s because they’ve lost interest. But sometimes, boredom is actually just a manifestation of subconscious fear. I tell people that they must, at least once a year, push through that anxiety and stick with a project until completion. They need to experience that discipline. And there’s a chance they’ll experience twice as much joy from experiencing that unfamiliar degree of depth.”

So in this world of musts, it’s personally gratifying to know that not only am I not alone in my non-conformist view of wanting to pursue everything I’m passionate about, but there is an entire world of others out there to support, encourage and guide me throughout my journey.

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Career, job, skills