If you are clarifying your career direction toward work you love, you must first go through a time of self-examination to recognize the best in yourself. You want to start to see and trust that an inner genius in you exists, and that this is your unique set of talents, experiences, and passions to offer the world. To help clarify career direction, I have developed 4 questions that allow you to gather hard data on your inner genius. This is not simply pie-in-the-sky wishful thinking! You'll learn what skills you've already mastered that people rely on you for and that you find fun and easy to spend your time expressing. Check out these questions to discover your inner genius now.
The 4 questions to discover your genius
1. What was the best part of my day - what did I most enjoy doing/ I felt good and alive?
2. What was the hardest part - what did I do that drained me?
3. What did others compliment me on or did I notice I did well?
4. What insights do I get from what I’ve observed today and in combination with past information?
How to work with the questions
Track your responses to these questions daily over 1, 2, or 3 months and the answers will help you understand where you have shined and where you are ready to expand. It is important to track information from your work life and your personal life too. Often, the skills in your genius zone are things you do all the time, for fun, when no one is paying you. What's great is that you are gathering hard data! You're not simply wishing and hoping to move in a certain career direction - you're seeing what talents you already demonstrate and where people already feel you provide great value.
How to interpret your results
The answers to question 1 and 3 give you clarity around activities and subject matters you love and excel at and so when you spend more of your time in these areas you will experience more joy and inspiration. Put another way, this shows you the most fun and easy ways to spend your time, and it is a game changer to spend your days doing what is simply fun and easy. Work no longer feels like work, it is just you being your authentic self and feeling valued for it.
The answers to question 2 show you work you might think you should do more of because you can, but this actually is not in your genius zone, and so it is important to take these tasks out of your routine and future plans as much as possible. When you do work that feels hard because it is not in your best talents, you experience self-loathing that drags you down. You think you should be able to do it better or faster, but the truth is that is not in your nature. This is precisely what Albert Einstein meant in his famous quote: "Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing it is stupid." Stick with what is in your nature and you will be happy and successful. You're better off to give the work that is hard to you to someone who loves it, and that will help both of you thrive.
The answers to question 4 are to help you capture insights about what you’re learning about yourself through the questions. You’ll notice trends from how your answers are turning out over time that help you discover your genius and the work you’d love to spend your days doing. Ideally, if you already have a career direction in mind, your answers will prove that you're moving in the right direction. What I often see is that the answers show the talents within you that you may not have full confidence in yet, but they are present and come naturally, and point you to the direction you most want to go.
How I initially proved the validity of these questions
At the time in my career when I was a busy non-profit executive curious if I could actually create and succeed in starting a coaching business, I developed these 4 questions and journaled about them every day for several months. The data I collected around these questions ultimately showed me my genius. My answers affirmed that the skills required to succeed in the business I dreamed to start were exactly those skills that came naturally and were most fun for me to express. And that is the business I started 7 years ago and still run successfully today!
The most important takeaway from answering these 4 questions to discover your genius is to deeply understand what you would love to spend your day doing, and what would bring you life and vitality. That is where you are meant to focus. Your Creator designed you and your life experiences all pointing you in that direction. That is your genius. And usually, you don't need more education, you simply need to focus your time and energy on what is in your nature to do and allow your confidence and inspiration to grow. Let this Howard Thurman quote inspire you: “Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”