Multipotentialites: Synapses in the Neural Networks of Teal

By Mieke Byerley for Enlivening Edge Magazine

I was born in 1980 to “Baby Boomers,” which places me in the first unconventional collection of humanity. Depending on what “Date and age range definition” you use, I am either a “Millennial” or still classified  as a “Baby Boomer”. I am as a consequence neither and both, which makes me a “Transitional”.

I grew up in a very regimented but paradoxically liberal family environment; there were strict rules of conduct, responsibility and boundaries, but within this I was actively supported and encouraged to pursue whatever I dreamed of, whatever took my interest, whatever caught my curiosity.  Besides that, my upbringing took place in two quite different cultures; the first 10 years in the Netherlands, and the second 10 years in New Zealand.

As a consequence of these conditions, I was exposed to a plethora of cultures and allowed to explore with gusto. I was hungry for life, and my exposure to these different realities coupled with very pronounced Millennial tendencies has given me: an enormous range of interests, seemingly unrelated talents, and a never-ending restless appetite to learn.

All of that can make me, like so many Millennials, seem flighty, distracted, unreliable, very “Different,” and sometimes even like having a “personality disorder.” Needless to say, figuring out what career to pursue is an impossible task, and conforming to Established Organisational structures and practices is unbearably stifling, and–as discovered by all my managers–a complete pipedream for us all.

The discovery of Reinventing Organizations by Frederic Laloux provided me with a sense of connection and belonging that up until then had been consigned to my “Holy Grail” collection of possibilities.

Here, “Different” is normal; diversity is actively valued; here the unorthodox and unconventional is celebrated. The ability to perceive, connect, and integrate the seemingly unrelated and paradoxical polarities and contradictions, is sought, because it helps connect the “Teal” ecosystem. Transitionals, Millennials and Multipotentialites have a natural capacity for this; they are natural human capacitors of the Teal “neural networks.”

Above I mentioned two terms which I explicitly covered albeit superficially in my own experience, Transitionals and Millennials. Much has definitely been written and discussed regarding the latter. The third term hinted at is the Multipotentialite, which is starting to be mentioned more widely in the public arena under various different names and descriptions. You may have come across them as Polymath, Neo-Generalist, Multidisciplinarian, Community-Straddlers, etc.


So why are “Multipotentials” becoming a massive trend now?

Well, it comes down to the convergence of collective human development. It is partly, because technology enables, promotes, and even demands that we attend to many of our interests more easily and seamlessly, thus technology is amplifying those natural capabilities of the Multipotentialite.

It is also partly because Millennials (the largest representation of the new workforce) also share a portion of the Multipotentialites’ attributes, that is, their need for meaning, their unswerving focus on purpose, their connected perspective, and their strong aversion to pigeonholing. And, it is also partly because there is an observable shift in human consciousness, noticing that via our natural tendency to realise all that we can be, Life is expressing its preference for variety and diversity.

So who are the Multipotentialites?

The best way to convey them is in the words of Multipotentialites who have studied them;

“A person who has many different interests and creative pursuits in life. Multipotentialites have no “one true calling” the way specialists do. Being a Multipotentialite is our destiny. We have many paths and we pursue all of them, either sequentially or simultaneously (or both). Multipotentialites thrive on learning, exploring, and mastering new skills.

We are excellent at bringing disparate ideas together in creative ways. This makes us incredible innovators and problem solvers. When it comes to new interests that emerge, our insatiable curiosity leads us to absorb everything we can get our hands on. As a result, we pick up new skills fast and tend to be a wealth of information.” — Emilie Wapnick, Terminology, Puttylike

It was a question that was embedded in a post, within the Enlivening Edge Community on Facebook, pertaining to Communities of Practice, which started a conversation, shining light on this normally unseen collection of people.

Due to their very nature they often go unnoticed within a community, that is to say they may be known for specific accomplishments but not necessarily for their greatest gift/strength. They are relatively inconspicuous and hiding in plain sight, usually only identified if you know what you are looking for, or if you have known them for an extended period of time. After all, like the Shapeshifters of folklore, “How do you tell the difference between a real wolf and a Shapeshifter assuming the likeness of a wolf?”

Why are they significant?

“Neo-generalists are catalysts, sparks which move others to action. They are translators and border-crossers, following their curiosity into the unknown, bridging between multiple disciplines, exposing people to new perspectives that challenge their preconceptions. I often use a network metaphor:

The specialist resides in the nodes on a network. They mine deeply and develop narrow but important expertise. The generalist resides on the bridges that connect those nodes. But the neo-generalist, who is both generalist and specialist, is in constant flow between bridge and node. Their energy, responsiveness and connective capabilities help make things happen.” Richard Martin, The Restless Multidisciplinarian, Magazine E-180

A timely article in Enlivening Edge Magazine, “From Community Straddling to Intentionally Diverse Practice: Call for a Global “Teal” Professional Learning Community”, gave voice to a tension being experienced in various spheres across the ever-expanding and diversifying Teal ecosystem.

“I feel a strong tension that the seemingly infinite possibilities risk diluting the core purpose so much as to lose the opportunity in a sea of enthusiastic ideas. Like trying to boil the ocean.  My preference is for action – to just start. I also recognize this tension and my reaction as a personal tendency; once I feel ready, I want to move quickly, perhaps too quickly, and risk leaving others behind.” Susan Basterfield.

She makes a poignant observation that we could take our chances and all work without a plan or intention; or align and coordinate to give ourselves and the world the best chance for this Teal ecosystem to grow. Susan poses this question rather in the form of a challenge:

“How do we ‘community straddlers’ transition from being a group of enthusiastic lurkers to being a group of focused and intentional transformers?  Do we require a framework or a structure to enable us?  Do we require the explicit purpose of intentional creation to coalesce our consciousness?” —Susan Basterfield


How do they excel?

“As big picture thinkers and why-seekers, neo-generalists shine light in unfamiliar places. We need that to solve interconnected and complex challenges. Neo-generalists are driven by a deep desire to understand how the dots connect, and question the status quo relentlessly.

By living in more than one world, they are exposed to a diverse set of interests, people and ideas. Their experiences as critical thinkers, shapeshifters, constant learners and boundary crossers make them uniquely qualified to help shape tomorrow’s world by thinking the unimaginable, exploring the unknown and doing what seems impossible to others.” — Kenneth Mikkelsen, The Restless Multidisciplinarian, Magazine E-180

There are 5 areas that Multipotentialites noticeably excel in besides their tendency to connect, which when intentionally applied can transform the landscape of an entire social ecosystem.

  • Problem Framing and Reframing: This is an area developed through their love of questions, particularly ‘WHY’ questions. They continuously shift their perspectives, and reference frames even challenging their own lenses and perceptions. They are often experts at the ‘Analogy’ due to their desire to understand complexity through patterns and through recognising alignments.
  • Iterating and Experimenting: This is a result of their incredible appetite to learn, continuously updating their concepts, hypotheses, ideas, through seeking continuous feedback and validation. They are Natural researchers which is often enacted in an understated manner devoid of grand release events.
  • Empathy and Imagination: This is an area leveraged though their diversity of interests, but also supplemented by their intense desire for purpose. They look to anticipate needs, and often sense shifts before they happen, as a result of their tendency to scan. Their curiosity often manifests as creative imagination and a tendency to challenge convention.
  • Visual Communication: “A picture paints a thousand words” is a very apt saying. In an attempt to understand and convey relationships of complex connections and diverse interests, information is compressed into visual frameworks. This accommodates flexibility and depth of concepts.
  • Collaboration: This is developed in pursuit of connection and integration of their diverse interests and capacities. It is a recognition of the limitation of an individual’s capacity as opposed to the collective whole. They very much work on the principle that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, to achieve the greatest possible outcomes.

Multipotentialites are well-endowed to intentionally enable and advocate the emergence and viability of the ecosystem of Teal organisations and projects. We have been waiting in the ranks to be called upon for precisely such collaborative effort. Many of us are already actively working independently within our spheres of interests and experience.

What could we accomplish if we were coordinating interdependently for the good of the whole? How could Teal organisations and their ecosystem benefit from leveraging our gifts? Could we play a role of connectors in and among Teal organisations and thereby helping them better express what is mentioned in the below quote?

“It has often struck me that many people who embody Teal consciousness or work in Teal organizations, haven’t learned how to express themselves in ways that sound Teal. When a Teal organization doesn’t act, look, and also sound Teal, that communicates a lack of coherence.” — Edith Friesen

An invitation

If you’re a Multipotentialite, Polymath, Neo-Generalist, Community Straddler, renaissance Person, Multidisciplinarian, under any other name, and curious about how we can better leverage our gifts for reinventing organizations, come out! Let’s explore that together. Please contact me at mieke.byerley(at)gmail(dot)com, or even better, leave a comment below so that our multilogue can start right here.

IMG_5236Mieke believes that humanity’s gloriously complex and diverse potential for good is worth tending to, through facilitating organic ecosystems to nurture, protect and sustain meaning, well-being, abundance and worth.

Founder & C.O.G of Biomimetic Clockworx: Research home of ‘Human-Centric Collective Enterprise as a Complex Living Organism/Ecosystem’. Nature Inspired Organisation Solutions focused on Human-Centric Organisational Analysis, Development, and Improvement.

Transitional Neo-Generalist with a central theme of Humanity, in other words my interests span the whole continuum of Human development and endeavours. Active member of: Teal for Startups, U.Lab, Holacracy, Economy for the Common Good, Economy of Communion, Biomimicry 3.8, Permaculture, Teal NZ, and many more.

  1. I like this article, though I feel anomalous as a 64-year old early boomer, in relation to the timelines. Nevertheless I am for sure a neo-generalist and multidiscplinarian. That is uncomfortable in an age of Orange specialists.

    One other observation, in relation to Edith’s comment in the closing quote regarding whether Teal looks like Teal. In SD theory, it is said of individuals that it is hard to identify 7th stage people. This is because as an integrative adaptor, Yellow (the equivalent of Teal in that SD colour schema) Yellow will speak Blue to Blue, Orange to Orange, Green to Green, all articulated from the Yellow mind-set and integrative overview.

    I see no reason why this should not also apply to Teal organisations. Some will look more obviously Teal than others. Can you tell from outside and without deeper knowledge of the interior operation that Buurtzorg is not Green and FAVI not Blue-Orange? Should you be able to? Or is it more functional for this not to be obvious?


    1. > Can you tell from outside and without deeper knowledge of the interior operation that Buurtzorg is not Green and FAVI not Blue-Orange? Should you be able to?

      Some sense of wholeness is fully compatible with Green. Some sense of self-management is fully compatible with both Orange and Green. Evolutionary purpose is not, it is uniquely Teal.

      1. Tricky one, I feel. Language-wise, Evolutionary Purpose is a description from RO, though it has resonances with Scharmer in the sense of recognising “emerging future”. At the same time, Purpose as a driver shows up in many models of “Conscious” business, and you can even trace roots of purpose back through centuries of Catholic philosophy, as the underpinnings of “Blueprint for Better Business” does.

        In my view, there may be a deliberate choice in Teal to engage with Evolutionary Purpose, and that might identify organisations that are knowingly or self-consciously choosing that frame. But it is also possible, I feel, for an organisation, when choosing its purpose do so unknowingly in ways that bring forth a definition that is, as it happens, evolutionary. And it is also possible for an individual to see and feel something when beginning an initiative, that just happens to have an evolutionary pull. Either of these might happen from people who are operating in Orange or Green.

        What this means, I suggest, is that from the outside, it will still not be possible to tell where an evolutionary purpose is arising from. In which case, is the only thing that identifies a Teal organisation, the fact that it has a stated, knowing and conscious intention to be so? Point being that AES and FAVI did what they did long before Laloux’s book, and indeed, Frederic could only identify the characteristics in his exemplars because they had already done what they did. So were they all Teal when they started? I suspect not.

        1. I really enjoy the way you turn things and observe things Jon. For me a Teal Organization is one that enables/accommodates Teal (Yellow) to thrive in communion with the other paradigms. The interesting thing I always listen for is the manner in which an organisation is described by its members, specifically whether it is considered decentralized, networked, Hierarchical, or like a Living System. It always struck me, from the first time reading RO, that Laloux mentioned that all those Companies described them as Living Organisms or Systems (an entity in its own right). Teal has a very different relationship with an organisation that none of the preceding paradigms (at least not in my interactions or research) can accept, and which is the wellspring in my opinion for the 3 breakthroughs not in isolation but in communion. The other I listen for is ‘Integration’, because all three breakthroughs require this fundamental element. There are other terms I have come to look for too but they are sometimes more subtle and sometimes only in relation.

        2. Thank you @Jon for your insightful questions. I’m enjoying this inquiry and it brings up some questions for me:

          Does Teal have to know it is Teal in order to be Teal? In other words does one need to know the theory of the map in order to be established at second tier? In terms of individuals I feel pretty strongly the answer is no, even though in many cases knowing the map can be a catalyst to getting to second tier. It seems like that’s applicable to orgs as well: the examples in Laloux’s book didn’t necessarily have that framework when they innovated their Teal OS, but now that we have the examples and the pathways available it’s catalyzing many other organizations to move in that direction.

          The second thought is around the idea of “Lines” of development. In individuals it’s really important to distinguish these, as someone can be very highly developed in one area and quite immature (potentially pathological) in another. Does this also apply to orgs? Can an org be Teal in terms of the LR structures but Green in terms of their culture or Orange in terms of their purpose?

          George said “Evolutionary purpose is uniquely Teal.”

          Jon said “an organisation, when choosing its purpose do so unknowingly in ways that bring forth a definition that is, as it happens, evolutionary.”

          What makes a Purpose “Evolutionary”? Do organizations choose their purpose, or do they discover it? Or is that part of what helps identify one stage from another? If we agree with Jon and Alia’s point that you must look at “where the purpose is arising from”, how do we do that? What are we looking at/for?

          Curious to hear some responses form the community…

          1. @Michael – I am quite sure that neither people nor organisations have to know anything to do with stages of development. There are thousands of individuals in the world who display functional Teal / Yellow values systems / priority codes / ways of being and who have never heard of integral / SD. There are many alchemist leaders who have not heard of Bill Torbert.

            I am however very convinced that learning about the ways of thinking that SD and integral offer can be a big help to people and organisations in developing those capacities – whether or not the people who are teaching those ways of thinking use the theory directly, or name it. There are successful consultancies that have demonstrated this in practice.

            I also agree that lines of development can be very mixed in both individuals and organisations. But there is a trap in the way that you phrase your question. Teal is integrative of the first tier ways of thinking. People in Teal organisations do not magically become Teal in their own thinking and being and the task of Teal is to make it possible for eg. core Amber individuals to function optimally within the organisation. The organisation does not lose its first-tier stack of systems by adopting Teal ways of being. What it does is to have Orange be healthy, functional and in service of the Teal whole. And likewise Blue / Amber, Red and Purple and Green. To do this it generally needs to develop smarter, more agile versions of the Blue / Amber, for instance, which is what the advice process does, as one example.

            As for evolutionary purpose, this will be what it needs to be to serve the needs of its niche. If it’s niche is to help increase the health of the Orange system in some way, and help it emerge, then its EP may well look like Orange. You won’t be able to tell the difference by looking at it, and you shouldn’t be able to. Only by going within the organisation would you know whether it was created from a consciously and explicitly higher perspective. But then, would it matter?

      2. That would be because, despite all (orange, green and teal) may be doing similar activities, Orange is concerned with the activity itself, Green for the cause and Teal in the evolution of people teaching them to think and not teaching what to do or to fight for?

        1. Yes. It is an important recognition that when we observe a behaviour in an individual, we don’t know what values system is driving it, nor in many cases how it is being shaped by structures and systems, nor by mindsets in those around.

          However, Teal is concerned with more than the evolutionary impulse or teaching people. It must first be functionally focused on the integration of underlying systems, activity, people needs etc.. Evolution does not happen if the job is not getting done. Even for Teal, survival is a priority.

  2. LOVE that insight, Jon, one I am fond of reiterating myself. My wording is you have to know how the words or behavior are “held by” the person, or organization, interiorly, before you can assess their actual stage. You said it perfectly! AND Edith’s point is one I resonate with. As we know, just inhabiting a worldview doesn’t mean one has mastered all possible aspects and ways of expressing that worldview, and many folks have shadows from prior stages which are inhibiting their writing to those earlier stages. Someone who is a master at encouraging the writing to “catch up,” is good to have around, and Edith is a master! World-class, IMHO.

    I am even older than Jon, and am also a “renaissance woman” and wide generalist. And have felt a bit “outsider-ish” all my life because of that. But the world needs specialists, and the world needs generalists. Each has unique gifts to contribute to the wellbeing of the Whole. (I console myself with that thought when I feel a bit ignorant beside someone who’s done the same thing for 30 years, haha.)

    Mieke, I saw a sign yesterday I knew I had to tell you about. It made me laugh, and it holds a cool truth. It was an auto body repair place, and the sign said “Specializing in all makes.” I’m sure you and others here get the humor! AND the truth, which I’ve been saying to the world for a long time: generalists are specialists! That is to say, they are able to do something most others cannot do, which is probably a definition of a specialist, eh? How ironic is THAT!!! 🙂

    1. Thank you for that quote 🙂 “Specializing in all Makes”, as it sums up the concept beautifully indeed.

      I also very much resonate with your comment “As we know, just inhabiting a worldview doesn’t mean one has mastered all possible aspects and ways of expressing that worldview, and many folks have shadows from prior stages which are inhibiting their writing to those earlier stages.” I myself am a classic example of this, due to being Bi-lingual (and told that my English writing was abysmal in school) and, having spend 15 years dealing with higher education and corporate writing, I find I have a disconnect between how I express in thought and how I articulate.

      I am hoping that by bringing a community of us together we can share and grow together, so that we can then seed that back out in the various areas of our interests. Thereby increasing the Biodiversity in our Ecosystem. 🙂

    2. Thank you for this quote “Specializing in all makes” Alia, it certainly highlights the concept ingeniously. 🙂

      I also resonate with your comment “As we know, just inhabiting a worldview doesn’t mean one has mastered all possible aspects and ways of expressing that worldview, and many folks have shadows from prior stages which are inhibiting their writing to those earlier stages. ” I fall in this category, because I am bilingual (and told that my English writing was abysmal in school) as well as having dealt with 15 years of higher education and Corporate writing, I find I have a disconnect between my expressive thought and my articulation (good old forced conformity).

      I am hoping that bringing together a community of us to grow together, we can then in turn reseed this back into the areas of interest we have, so increasing the Symbiotic Biodiversity of the Ecosystem.

    3. Thank you for this Quote “Specializing in all makes” Alia 🙂 it indeed encapsulates the concept ingeniously.

      I also resonate with your comment ” As we know, just inhabiting a worldview doesn’t mean one has mastered all possible aspects and ways of expressing that worldview, and many folks have shadows from prior stages which are inhibiting their writing to those earlier stages.” As I am a good example, due to being bilingual (and being told my English was abysmal at school) as well as 15 years of higher education and corporate writing, I have a disconnect between my expressed thought and my articulation.

      My hope is that we can gather a community of us to grow together and then reseed out into the various areas of interest we all have. Thereby increasing and strengthening the Symbiotic Biodiversity of the Ecosystem. If you are up for this I would love to have your rich insights into further enquiry if you are open to this?

  3. I can only “imagine” how you feel Jon. The world has been so focused on Specialization since the advent of the industrial age that those who do not fit end up on the peripheral wondering how they fit in the social picture. I suspect that any generation born during the Industrial/Machine age will contain members that suffered this same fate. After all how can you have a cog that can function as a pulley or even a crank? 🙂 Though the Cast systems from earlier times probably wasn’t much easier either, we humans seem to be funny that way.

    I agree wholeheartedly with your assessment on “whether Teal looks Teal” on individual and organisational level. In an intriguing way it echos the nature of a Multipotentialite in that they are able to “Integrate and assimilate”, which begs an interesting question really. Will we see more Multipotentialites as a result of more people evolving to 7th Stage?

    I also love your questions “Can you tell from outside and without deeper knowledge of the interior operation that Buurtzorg is not Green and FAVI not Blue-Orange? Should you be able to? Or is it more functional for this not to be obvious?”. These are fantastic points for discussion and I would love to enquire further into this together if you are keen.

    1. Hi Mieke,

      I realise I missed responding directly to your question about enquiring more deeply. There’s quite a lot about this in the SD world. I would be happy to have a deeper conversation when that suits.

      You may have seen a little more in my response to George further up in this thread.


      1. Thank you Jon, 🙂 That would be really lovely and very humbling indeed, as I have been following your work extensively, though I must confess I am not even approaching a novice in the realm of Spiral Dynamics and Integral Theory etc. We hope to convene around a Zoom call, so I will keep you all updated as to the progress there.

        1. That’s kind of you Mieke. I am always grateful when what I say is appreciated. At the same time I only credit myself less than 50% because I know how much of what I bring derives directly from Clare Graves and SD. And in reference to your other comment today about “Living systems”, Spiral Dynamics does speak of these in 2nd Tier, though more often it is referring to the use of “natural design”. Either way, I don’t have any doubt that Graves’ views reflected a deep understanding of biology and living systems. If I remember correctly he grew up on a farm and was very knowledgeable about horses.

          If you fancy a trip to the UK in February I will be teaching SDi at fundamentals certification level, the first course I have run in several years. It would be delightful to have you join us! And thank you for your posting and for this thread, which is one of the richest in a while. I look forward to whatever develops on Zoom.

  4. Thank you for this article, Mieke. From my perspective, it’s a gorgeous example of what writing from a Teal space or consciousness sounds and “feels” like — embodied, ensouled, enlivening, and emerging. It is a consciousness that shines through, no matter what prior stage the expression may be directed toward. It may be less about content and form (although that is important, too), and more about what is “inside” the content. Chris’s writing resounds in this way, too. Perhaps this is another culture-shifting gift that Multipotentialites are bringing to the world. That very possibility makes my heart sing and even skip a few beats.

    1. Thank you Edith, I am humbled by your comment. Writing is not something I find easy as it is an area of my life that has been Judged and scrutinized to the tenth degree. It has always been considered my greatest weakness by my educators and caused me no end of grieve (some serious shadows) to the point it actually gagged me. So it is with sincere gratitude that I receive your words as guidance for my own articulation.

      1. Mieke, I sense that it is time to crumple your old writing story into a ball, tear it into little bits, burn it, douse it with water, and return it to the earth 🙂

  5. Well done Mieke! I am of course busy making connections to other models and theories and typologies I am familiar with! So yes, I feel I am one of these “multipotentialites”… and of course struggle to focus on “what’s most important now”… Because I see so much of what’s possible, and wanting (and needing) to happen. It is hard for (some) others to understand this, and also hard at times for me to accept that my greatest strengths can also be my greatest limitations. I can “get lost” in trying to influence and birth so many (seemingly unrelated) initiatives at once, that I “fail” to birth anything that I can call “mine”. But then again, I don’t really need to call it mine, or have anyone else really know that I was part of birthing it! (Unless I want to put my kids through college, and contribute economically – in which case, I do need to “deliver” on some solid work that others will exchange value ($) for.) I am a dot connector, community connector, catalyst, innovator, visionary, activator…. and I of course want to help others find their way forward into the “much better” future that I know is possible, and in fact is in the process of emerging… Hello fellow travelers! And yes, I already know many of you! See you on the trail.

    1. Thank you Melissa, I can so relate on the scattered feeling. Mine eased up a little when I, 1) found the central theme of my Purpose (different from a Life Purpose), 2) gave myself permission to simply do things for the sake of the process rather than the outcome and 3) seeing the various project initiatives as holons within a wider ecosystem that I travel between to energize, that way advancing them in sync a little more each time I pass. I also share your sense of “I don’t really need to call it mine, or have anyone else really know that I was part of birthing it!” I actually prefer this, as it allows me to do what I do best. 🙂

  6. Thank you Mieke, great article. I’ve always considered myself more aligned with the renaissance view and I’m not young, so I’m not sure it’s a generational thing (although I have to admit it has been a rather lonely experience). I don’t know whether there are more multipotentialites than before due to changing times, or whether they have always been there but are now coming to the fore with the internet, but I do sense there is finally a shift from Yang to Yin taking place, and the generalists may find a place to be heard. I accept your invitation to come out, and hopefully together as a community we can co-create new potentialities!.

    1. It is lovely to hear from you @Francois. Your observation of the increase in apparent Multipotentialites is a pertinent one, together with the shift. My sense is that Multipotentialites have always existed, but have either been forced to conform to the Specialization cast or rebelled becoming excentrics/genious of their time. However, I also recognize that today’s Networked Society is much more conducive to the development of Multipotentialites. In short it looks like it is a convergence of the two, they have always been there but also the occurrence of New members is increasing. I am humbled by your offer and would love to have you with us to foster this initiative. 🙂

  7. I am happy to be ‘in’ and ‘out’. I think there may be a quality in this around laughing at ones own jokes. I hypothesise that a multipotentialite sees anomalous things that others miss and that the mentally healthy thing to do is probably to laugh, as long as you don’t mind others looking at you strangely.

    I am certainly curious about how we can better leverage our gifts for reinventing organizations.

    1. 🙂 I can so relate to this sentiment. I come from a family who extensively uses Puns and deliberate Double Entendres, which creates a real atmosphere of playfulness, but also creates a communication not always expressly apparent to the outside, like a form of private code. Interestingly, I also remember growing up with Analogies, Fables, Myths, Parables, Folklore, and (real) Fairytales which I suspect also added to the way I perceived and became aware of the extended or often times unintended Impact I have on the wider environment, and vice versa. I look forward to learning with you and discovering our contribution. Thank you for reaching out @Chris

  8. Hi Mieke Byerley ,

    Hope you’re doing good!

    I am Onkarjot (OJ) founder of, based out of Gurgaon, India. I love connecting with multipotentialites across the globe. I just finished reading your excellent article.

    You’re a true ICON, and trust me looks like your journey is highly motivating for other people out there.

    I believe that people need inspiration and motivation to raise their confidence and grow. Our website intends to spread the knowledge about Multipotentiality and help the people to take advantage of their multiple skills to solve their real-life problems by connecting the dots and interchangeably use their knowledge.

    I was wondering if you would like connecting with us (via video conferencing or story write up) and share experiences that may help others. I bet your schedule is running tight but would appreciate if we can connect further via web or in-person based on your convenience.

    Thanks for your time 🙂

    Onkarjot Singh

    1. First of all @Onkarjot it is a honor to meet you. Thank you so much for your very gracious words, and for the amazing space you are providing in service to the Multipotentialites. I feel very humbled by your request to connect and would be more than happy to make time for you and your endeavors. I will connect via your nominated website and reach out to establish a conversation around the opportunity. 🙂

  9. Thank you Mieke, I found the article immensely helpful . The very notion of multipotentiality as “a thing” – especially one to cherish and celebrate – strikes a deep chord. I’m looking forward to weaving it into my bio! You make it safe to stand and laugh at oneself in this position of “cat herder,” one in charge of many diverse interests. The extent of my multipotentiality has lurked in the shadows – the closet – for ages.

    I also resonate with Jon and Alia as fellow older long-time neo-generalists. Who knows how many of all ages suffer for lack of a context to come out in!

    Here’s to claiming our multipotentiality!

  10. Hi Mieke. Thank you for this article. I was not aware of any of this terminology, and I find myself feeling supported and strengthened by the resonance of it.

    I feel called by many different interests, and it does seem to be my nature to be a connecter, weaver, and synthesizer. Yet I also feel that there is a singular core that anchors the entire process, even though I am not yet able to clearly see or articulate it. In moments of inspiration it reveals itself to me from different angles, showing me different qualities and possibilities. But I can’t fully know it, even as I feel its relentless pull, the gravity of my own soul’s yearning for expression, the strange attractor of my life’s unfolding. As William Stafford says:

    There’s a thread you follow. It goes among
    things that change. But it doesn’t change.
    People wonder about what you are pursuing.
    You have to explain about the thread.
    But it is hard for others to see.
    While you hold it you can’t get lost.
    Tragedies happen; people get hurt
    or die; and you suffer and get old.
    Nothing you do can stop time’s unfolding.
    You don’t ever let go of the thread.

    Do you experience something like this? Do you know if it is common for multipotentialites? That the various, seemingly separate, streams and tributaries of our life-work are actually originating from the same sub-terranean source, and ultimately flowing to the same destination?

    I see this as something different from from the common critique of digging many shallow holes and never finding water. Rather, it feels like using multiple tools that I’m borrowing from different places at different times, to dig a well that is unique to me and hopefully contributes something new to the world.

    1. Hi Michael Reuben Stern, Thank you for sharing such a beautiful and deep sense of soul. The answer to your Question of whether I experience something similar is ‘Yes’, and apparently it is indeed common to us multipotentialites commonly known under the term of a Central Theme. So in my case I am a Transitional Neo-generalist with a central theme of Humanity. Everything I do, pursue, and grow for is motivated by human beings (people) individually and collectively. That is my thread, I LOVE People.

  11. hi Mieke,

    You wrote:

    > I am hoping that bringing together a community of us to grow together, we can then in turn reseed this back into the areas of interest we have, so increasing the Symbiotic Biodiversity of the Ecosystem.

    > My hope is that we can gather a community of us to grow together and then reseed out into the various areas of interest we all have. Thereby increasing and strengthening the Symbiotic Biodiversity of the Ecosystem. If you are up for this I would love to have your rich insights into further enquiry if you are open to this?

    Shouldn’t all of us who responded to you have a Zoom call?

    1. Hi George,

      Yes that would be a great idea if people would be up for that. Might have to put the word out in Facebook as well for those who responded there. I think Zoom should be a good solution, we may just need to work out a good time slot to have it.

  12. Have you guys read The Neo-Generalist by Kenneth Mikkelsen and Richard Martin?

    It’s interesting, maybe even a must-read for all us, multi-potentialites. In addition to the print version, I’ve just bought the Kindle version, too, so that i can share my notes from the book and my comments on them with all the other readers. Hoping that with you, too.

    Neo-generalists of the world unite! 🙂
    (or at least form a Community of Practice)

    1. I have recently got the Kindle version but I haven’t had a chance to read it just as yet. Been reading Ricardo Semler’s 2 books. 🙂

  13. I have also found that people usually are very specialized in their work. And that has hindered them to get a broader view and seek a purpose in their work. Often they end up looking for that purpose outside.

    Perhaps the society should measure better how much a person should be specialized. The work can be very specialized, but not people. Maybe in study and research, they can find purpose.

    But overall, maybe we have exceeded this point.

  14. Wow, thanks for giving a name to this. I find that the world of careerism tries its best to convince you that you shouldn’t be like this, that you need to specialise in order to be relevant. Try as I might, I just can’t stay interested in one thing to the exclusion of all others, and I can’t stay engaged when the thing I’m working on is divorced from its larger context.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.