Imposter syndrome: a belief that deep down, you are a fraud, that you shouldn’t be here, and that one day everyone will wake up and realize it.
via puttylike blog by Emilie Wappnick
Imposter syndrome is a phenomenon that most multipods know well. It’s easy to doubt your ability when you feel different from your peers, and it’s easy to feel different when have an unconventional, all-over-the-place history.
We’ve discussed imposter syndrome before, but today I want to talk about a different kind of imposter syndrome…
Multipotentialite imposter syndrome: a belief that deep down, you aren’t actually a multipotentialite. Sure, multipotentialites exist and they’re awesome, but you couldn’t possibly be one. Not you; you’re just flaky.
People experience multipotentialite imposter syndrome for all sorts of reasons. They might feel like they don’t go deep enough into their interests, they might be heavily involved in just one thing at the moment, perhaps they haven’t been able to make the multipod life work financially, or maybe they just feel bad about themselves in general.
This issue came up recently in the Puttytribe. Last month, two or three new members started discussions in the forum to the tune of: “Do I really belong here among you impressive folks? Here’s why I don’t think I do…”
Of course, our community quickly jumped in with reassuring words and shared just how similar their experiences have been (our puttypeep rock, so this didn’t surprise me at all). But as the one who popularized the term multipotentialite and literally wrote its definition, I wanted to address this issue on the blog.
Should you be nervous about adopting the term multipotentialite? Is there some kind of bar you need to meet to qualify?
The short answer is NO! Here’s why:
Unlike polymaths, multipotentialites aren’t necessarily masters of many fields, we’re passionate about many fields. And sometimes, in some areas, that passion evolves into expertise. Other times our interest is more fleeting, and that’s okay, too.
We usually do reach “expert status” in a number of domains as we grow (sometimes in domains we create ourselves) and we may eventually develop into someone who can claim polymathic status. But it isn’t our skill level that determines whether or not we’re a multipod, it’s our curiosity.
Multipotentialites exist on a spectrum:
It doesn’t matter whether you explore your interests concurrently or whether you dive into one interest for a number of years before switching to the next (or are somewhere in between). All methods of being a multipod are equally valid.
In the queer world (one of the places where I hang out), self-identification is a big thing. You decide if you’re L,G,B,T,Q, or something else. You decide what gender pronoun you use. And other people should respect the identity you’ve chosen for yourself.
I view “multipotentialite” in a similar light. The word takes a way of moving through the world that has been stigmatized and flips it on its head. To adopt the identity of multipotentialite is to reclaim your plurality and to be proud of it.
There isn’t a standard that someone has to live up to to qualify as a multipotentialite and no one can tell you that you aren’t one. If you say you’re a multipotentialite, you’re a multipotentialite.
(And of course, if you prefer to identify as a scanner, Renaissance soul, multi-passionate, etc. that’s totally fine, too. Use whichever term feels right, invent your own term, or use no term at all.)
In my experience, if you’re wondering whether you’re a multipotentialite, you probably are one. Most non-multipods hear about the concept and think something along the lines of Huh? That’s a Thing?
But for the sake of argument, let’s say you AREN’T a multipod. So what? If you’re drawn to this blog or community, go with it. Take what resonates, process it through that fabulous brain of yours, and see what comes out the other side. You’re welcome here.
Emilie Wapnick is the Founder and Creative Director at Puttylike, 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 How to Be Everything: A Guide for Those Who (Still) Don’t Know What They Want to Be When They Grow Up. Learn more about Emilie here.