'Wait. I Am A Genius? No Way!' Finding Your Circle Of Genius
October 11, 2016
Everyone has genius in them. You just have to know how to uncover it. When you do unlock your inner genius you will be amazed at what you are capable of achieving and how fulfilled you'll be as you advance your career. Genius is different for everyone. Your inner genius is personal and unique. It's already within you just waiting for you to discover it.
To unleash your inner genius you need to find what we call your 'circle of genius.' Your circle of genius is the place where your top skill and passion collide. It's at this point of convergence you become unstoppable. Aligning your top talent with your passion is the career equivalent of pouring gasoline onto a burning fire - it will quickly set your career on a roaring path to success. But, first we have to find our circle of genius.
Just being good at something is not enough. We're conditioned - by parents, teachers, society - early in our lives to 'find, and do, something you'll be good at" and while that advice may help us survive - to find a job that we can perform well in, ensure we make enough money to support our families and give us security - it is unlikely enough to make us truly happy.
When we perform a task or job well, we may find ourselves within what is known as the 'circle of excellence.' There is widely accepted belief that most of us are capable of finding and reaching our circle of excellence. Finding it requires us to be willing to work hard, be open to learning and development and investing the time it takes to grow. If you're willing to grow your capabilities and experience then you are capable of arriving within your circle of excellence. The majority of the high performers at your work would almost certainly be in their circle of excellence. It sounds like a great place to be, right? Excellence, surely that can't be a bad thing. It's not. It's just not enough!
Performing in the circle of excellence means we're doing something that we're good at and we're doing it well. We're actually stronger than most at it. The problem is that just because we're good at something it doesn't automatically mean that same thing will make us happy. While we may out rank our peers in whatever work we're doing, it doesn't mean that work fulfills us. I am sure there are aspects of your work you're good at but you'd never do again if you were given the chance. I know there are many things I am good at but would happily give up if I could!
It's important that to remember that just because you're good at something, that doesn't mean it fuels your happiness!
To become truly content, you don't want to settle for the circle of excellence. Instead, find the circle of genius. The circle of genius is the place where your top skill matches your passion. It's the place where the thing you're best at is also the think that you want to do the most. It's a place where you're enthusiasm for something matches your ability to do it. It's the Holy Grail for your career. Careers take off when you land in the circle of genius.
To find your circle of genius, you must first start with some personal reflection. You need to understand yourself. We get too wrapped up in the work we do to properly check in with ourselves. We owe it to ourselves to slow down and ask; "What is it that I am passionate about?" "What is it that really excites me?" "What do I love doing that makes my work feel meaningful to me?" When we have no doubts about what it is that we want to do - the things we are most passionate about - we can begin to align that with our skills. The next questions we need to ask ourselves are "What makes me unique?" "What is it that I am recognized by others as being strong at?" "What is the strongest skill I possess?" Take the two distinct answers - your passion and your skill - and fuse them together to illuminate the path to your circle of genius.
I was reminded of my own path earlier in the week when my boss asked what I saw myself doing next and into the future. My answer wasn't a position or title, but a statement (an unplanned and unscripted statement); "I would like to use my passion for coaching and development to help individuals and teams improve their performance in meaningful ways." That's the type of work that energizes and excites me. I am deeply aware that any work that aligns with that purpose supercharges me. That's what I am most enthusiastic about. For me, the path to my circle of genius doesn't require me taking on more responsibilities; it's actually about relinquishing a lot of what I do today to focus on the areas I am enthusiastic about.
It's easy to be swept up in the hierarchy of organizations. You can easily get caught up chasing the next job title because that's how others define our success. It's not uncommon to say 'yes' to a promotion or opportunity because you fear it would be perceived badly if you say 'no.' But just saying 'yes' and doing things you're good at won't necessarily make you feel more fulfilled. Don't stop short and settle for the circle of excellence. Reflect on what you're good at and what you're passionate about and use that insight to guide you toward your own circle of genius. Say 'yes' to only those opportunities that move you closer. Fulfillment should be our top personal goal after all.
There's a quote I love (but have no idea who said it) "The only difference between you and someone you envy is you settled for less." Shouldn't we all be asking, "Are you settling for less?" and "What more do you want?" Go unlock your inner genius!