How to tap into your inner genius

All that self-examination helped her give one kick-butt presentation.

It doesn’t require any superhuman abilities, says Gina Rudan, author of ‘Practical Genius.’The five steps to turn you into an office rock star.  Plus, six things that hinder your progress

1. Identify your genius: “Take time to do a self-diagnosis of the six ingredients that I argue contribute to genius: values, passion, creative abilities, strength, skills and expertise. Think, ‘in my own life, what are my values, creative abilities and passions?’ I consider those to be a person’s soft personal assets. People have been conditioned to focus on their professional identity, so they don’t really think about their values. Then I ask them to think about their professional hard assets, which are strengths, skills and expertise. When I ask people about to tell me their strengths, a lot of people know because this is what they are measured against in their performance evaluations. The next challenge is to identify where the soft and the hard intersect. That, to me, is where genius resides: It’s between the heart and the mind, between what you love and what you are good it. A lot of us check half of ourselves at the revolving doors of our offices — we can no longer do that if we want to be competitive, innovative. You think only the logic, strategic and professional side of who you are matters at work, but that is no longer the case. The whole self matters.”

2. Surround yourself with genius
: “Look at who you are spending your time with. Sometimes, you have to remove people. That is the hard reality.”

3. Express your genius: “‘Express’ is about telling your true story.  Check out your résumé. Is it showing the whole picture, or just half of who you are? If you have a blog, are you truly expressing all sides of yourself? Most of us only express one side of who we are: Moms tell mom stories. Lawyers tell lawyer stories. Doctors tell doctor stories. Expressing genius is about really sharing the full story of who you are, and learning how to play with the tools available for effective storytelling. We are living in a communications-on-steroids environment, so expression today really matters, online and offline.”

4. Sustain your genius: “This is about paying attention to what you eat, exercising and feeling the body. This is a lifestyle proposition. A lot of people know what they should be doing to stay healthy, but not a lot of people make the connection that if you don’t take care of your body and mind, you are losing competitive advantage.”

5. Market your genius: “Everyone has this bittersweet opposing force within them, which I call a ‘paradox.’ Everyone should market their paradox. A lot of us try to conform and be one way, or be what our organization wants us to be. That’s not appealing. You need to out your difference, and that means that if you play in a band and you are a CEO, you need share that. If you are a lawyer who is also a former graffiti artist, well, that’s fascinating. People care about how different you are, how unique you are.”

Genius generators

Rudan recommends finding the following types of people to help you bring out your full potential.

Yodas: Your mentors
Ambassadors: “Connectors,” she says. “People who are going to introduce you to others and be your cheerleader.”
Fat brains: People under 30. “They are brilliant. I think that a ‘fat brain’ should sit on every corporate board. Multigenerational relationships work.”


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