Claiming your inner genius.
This is the space where your talent meets your competence, energy, passion and results.
For the last four years I have been working with individuals and teams on the subject of strengths (a more conventional way to call your inner genius), amongst other things.
I have noticed an interesting attitude difference between women and men when it comes down to strengths. Of course it is a generalization and as always one rule does not always fit all. And at the same time, reaction to this topic is so noticeably different in my experience, that my curiosity is driving me to share it with you.
When ever the topic of strengths comes up in the room, men tend to lean in and be comfortable exploring the topic. They usually would have a rough idea what their strengths are. And, most importantly, eager and ready to jump in to understanding how they can leverage it better.
On the other hand, a lot of the time women feel not so confident around the topic. They either do not have a concise way to communicate their strengths, or shy away from owning them.
Now, a big part of it might be due to the way many girls were brought up around the world. Told to be humble, agreeable, non-argumentative. Be grateful for opportunities given at work. Work hard and let your hard work talk for you.
For some of us owning strengths and being comfortable to talk about them can feel like arrogance and unwarranted self-promotion.
This really has to change if we, as women, want to step up and bring our full contribution and lead in all areas of industry and organization.
Downsides of not playing from your inner genius
- When you do not speak up about your strength – you are wasting an opportunity to bring your best contribution forward.
- Your manager can see your zone of competence but it is very hard for them to see how much energy that competence gives you. It is on you to bring it up.
- If you do not speak up and advocate for yourself, then some one else will speak up and get that spot on the project or new position. And they might not be the best option for it, but again, unless you can articulate why you are – you will always risk that decisions are made for you, not with you in mind.
How to start
- Talk about your energy v competence with your manager, next time you have a project feedback discussion or your performance review
This will help you to move the conversation from your development in the area of competence only, to the area of competence and high energy. For you to move in to the zone of inner genius, you need a chance to practice your talent. One way to make sure you can do that is to align as many activities in your role as possible to the tasks that meet the criteria of competence, high energy and positive results.
- If you are not sure about your inner zone of genius a good way to start is internal and external reflection.
External reflection will take you reaching out to other people and checking on what they would rely on you for.
This is a great exercise for two reasons. On one hand we sometimes take our zone of genius for granted. It comes so natural to us that we presume everyone else around us can do it. It also will help you to see if the perceptions others have about your inner zone of genius is aligned with your own belief.
Perception is very important when promotions or participation in key projects are considered. It is not so much about what you can do, but more about the belief of what you can accomplish.
Internal reflection will take you down the road of thinking about your past success. What did you do in those roles/ projects that helped to make it a success? Can you see a common thread between your contribution in all those projects?
You also need to be able to explain that contribution in a concise manner. Example: In project X, my contribution was Y, and because of that the positive result was Z.
As I have written in my recent blog post This is The Best Time For Your Bold Ideas, the world and your organization is more than ever ready for bold ideas. The ones that will address not only many great challenges of today, but also opportunities that abound as well. Your inner zone of genius is needed for those ideas to become a reality.
What are you core five strengths? Let us know – we would love to hear from you. If you are not sure how to answer this question then register for our upcoming FREE webinar Unstoppable Energy, Electrifying Results.