When I first started coaching, I was working with artists and entrepreneurs. Most of these people knew there was something unique about them, but they had trouble identifying exactly what it was. What they were trying to define was their inner genius.
Having spent the last 10 years as a business coach and performer, I’ve come to know and understand that each one of us has genius within. It may not be on the lines of Monet, Freud, or Einstein, but there is something unique to each and every single individual. This I would describe as their genius. It’s something that makes them uniquely them, a trademark so to speak. We all have something that is memorable, a tone of voice, a gate, a certain pose. Sometimes, like Forrest Gump, it’s several pieces coming together like speech pattern, intellect, and naiveté that create a whole package that is memorable.
When I work with clients, I like to zero in on their strengths and what makes stand apart from others. From my perspective this will be the key to their success. A lot of the times people don’t think that there is anything special about themselves. They don’t realize that some piece of who they are is unique and different from others. As a result, they don’t honor that uniqueness within themselves. They compare themselves to others and see the traits that are different or better rather than recognizing their own inherent strengths.
My purpose today is to help you look at the word genius a little bit differently. Typically we look at geniuses like Einstein and wonder how he was so smart. It’s hard to use the word genus when talking about ourselves. However, we have the ability to change the world in some small meaningful way every day. From my experience, that change will will be a result of sharing your genius
My question today is…
Do you know what your genius is?
If you do, that’s awesome!
If not, no worries, you just have a little more work to do. I guarantee you, genius is present.
Looking at genius I like to take a strength-based approach which is in alignment with my positive psychology based approach. Beginning with strengths offers a great place to start. When it comes to strengths there are those that are obvious and others that are subtle or latent, laying just under the surface. By looking to your strength you will take a first step towards identifying your genius. You can also check out the VIA Character Strengths Test. The results are empirically tested and a great place to start to create a vocabulary to discuss your strengths with others.
Another place to look at are your hobbies. Mihaly Csikszentmihaly Flow theory suggests that Flow happens when people are doing something they both enjoy and find challenging. Often in Flow, they lose track of time. Think of areas of your life when you lose track of time this could be an area where you discover your genius.
Identifying your point of view is another potential identifier of your genius. We see this often in the entertainment business. Comedians, actors, actresses, writers, artists, and even political commentators typically have a point of view which is the reason we watched them. Your point of view may be your genius.
Another area of genius might be physical in nature. Unique physical characteristics may add or point to your genius. Michael Phelps comes to mind as an example. He’s the all-time Olympic Greatest swimmer. One of the reasons is his torso is longer than average, as is his wing span. This physical uniqueness gives him in an advantage in the water…which adds to his genius as a swimmer.
Some may also consider their genius to be there Achilles’ heel. From my experience the things I was made fun of in grammar school and high school are extensions of my genius. At those times, I wanted nothing to do with the very things that may be different. As I got older, I realized I needed to reframe my view of these strengths. I realized that though my mind often moves faster than my mouth and I may not always say things the way I’d like, it often leads to comedy.
It’s also important to know that even though we may have genius in one area, it doesn’t mean that we’re geniuses in other areas of our lives. Case in point is Ryan Lochte, another highly decorated Olympic swimmer. His geniuses in the water not out of it, as showcased in his post-Olympic competition behavior.
If there’s one thing that I can leave you with, it’s a redefining of your definition of genius as something that is already within you. It’s there and I challenge you to identify it, accept it and share it with the rest of the world.