5 Questions To Help You Discover Your Personal Genius

fish lightbulb concept“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live it’s whole life feeling stupid.” Albert Einstein

A Fish Out of Water

Have you ever felt like a fish climbing a tree? I have.

My first job after college was in the bond department of a major financial company. Odd choice for an English major who never liked math! But at that point, I was pretty clueless about what my genius might be or even that I should be looking to discover it.

Every Friday night, armed with a calculator (this was before everything was computerized – I shudder to think of the potential for human error!), I’d hole up in a conference room with another recent grad for hours to calculate Monday morning prices. Though I did my best to work with attention and accuracy, it quickly became apparent I was a fish out of water in this highly structured environment that required detailed financial work. I didn’t last a full year.

What’s Your Genius?

Here are 5 questions I wish I’d known enough to ask my younger self that can help you discover your special genius.

  1. What do you enjoy doing so much you lose track of time? Think of a time you felt so completely engrossed with a project or activity, were having fun and didn’t want to stop. What were you doing and what feelings did you experience while doing it?
  2. What were you criticized for being or doing as a child? Sometimes behaviors we are told to tamp down as children are actually part of our innate genius. If you constantly asked “why?” to the point of annoying everyone, your natural curiosity and persistence are actually great strengths.
  3. What do people ask your advice about or come to you for? Are you the person people come to when they want to brainstorm different career options, need to look at their finances from a different perspective, or find a way to get to yes when the first answer is no? These are clues to what others recognize as your super power.
  4. When people immediately consider you the best person for the job, what is the key ability needed? When a new project is in the works, what is the piece people say you’ll be perfect for, clearly the best choice? Your genius is often something you do so naturally that you take it for granted.
  5. What are you doing when you feel you are in the zone, accomplishing things with such ease and enjoyment it doesn’t feel like work? Think broadly here – this may not be job related. What activities make you feel most excited and alive?

As Gay Hendricks, author of The Big Leap said: “If you are human, you have a calling: to live your genius.” Here’s to living yours!

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