The definition of genius is an extraordinary ability in something. When we think of geniuses, we think of people like Einstein or da Vinci; people who’ve had extraordinary accomplishments and achievements in this world. But think about that definition. An extraordinary ability in something. Something covers a lot of ground. We all have something we’re naturally extraordinary at. We all have things that come to us easily and effortlessly. And what’s amazing is we don’t even know how it is that we know these things. We just know them.
Beyond the aspect of genius is something I call Deep Genius. Deep Genius holds the building blocks and nuances that r make us the unique geniuses that we are. It highlights how valuable and incomparable we each are.
Your Deep Genius has three components. First, your innate skills, those things that you are just born with. Think of your uncanny ability to solve puzzles, your natural artistic sense, or your patience in listening to others. Second, your learned skills, things you picked up through school, education, or training. And third, life defining experiences. Those are skills inside of you that woke up by way of something happening to or around you.
Ask Yourself The Deep 3:
1- What are your innate skills, those things you are naturally great at?
It’s not uncommon to overlook your most valuable skills, simply because they come so easily to you. You might feel like you’re bragging or overstating your qualifications, so naturally the “Imposter Syndrome” sets in. For a lot of people, there’s a reluctance to acknowledge their gifts. This is when you can have another person’s help to reflect back to you an honest summary of what you’re great at.
2- What are the learned skills and knowledge that you’ve picked up through life?
When formal training or education mesh perfectly with your innate gifts, magic happens. Have you heard the story of Steve Jobs taking a calligraphy class in college? It made him fall in love with fonts and beautiful lettering. As a result, we can open up a document on our computers and know our Verdana from our Arial from our Avant Garde.
3- What life experiences have shaped you into who you are today?
Life teaches us things we may never have signed up for, but through those life events we reached growth we wouldn’t have found any other way. It could be something magnificent and wonderful like falling in love, the birth of a child, getting married, or finishing a triathlon. You may have never known the capacity to love as much or feel joy as deeply. It could be something painful like dealing with illness, death, tragedy, or loss. Yet somehow through those highs and lows, you survived. These are experiences that open us up to our growth edges and we realize we have strengths we never even knew we had.
Redwood trees have seed cones that are tightly sealed shut. They’re impossible to penetrate but contain seeds. How are those seeds going to get out to create the next generation of trees? It’s through intense heat, and that comes from forest fires. Something that can be looked at as tragic and catastrophic can actually be seen as the catalyst for the next generation of growth. Our life experiences, no matter what emotional charge they carry, have the power to lead us to our growth edges.
Your Task: Look Beyond What’s On The Surface
When you look at yourself and those you lead, view things beyond the obvious. Peer beyond the job title, the company jargon, the standardized assessments, the school, the GPA, or even the performance review. Look through the cracks and into the nuances of who people are to unearth their greatest value and contribution. That’s where the hidden treasures are waiting to be discovered.
Ignite Your Deep Genius
Click HERE to learn about igniting your Deep Genius and awakening a whole new level of leadership and accomplishment in your life.
When I was a little girl, I’ll never forget seeing a stray dog. It was running along the street in a panic, approaching a freeway onramp. It was disoriented and fearful, panicking and not knowing what to do. For me, as a small child, this was traumatic to see. I knew what would happen if that dog got up the freeway ramp; I think we can all conclude he wouldn’t have had much of a chance.
I cried through the closed window of our car, tapping the glass with the hope that it could save him. “Doggy! Doggy! The doggy needs help!” My mom was focused on driving and didn’t hear me. Meanwhile I was distraught, imagining the impending doom of someone’s loyal companion.
I envisioned a little girl much like myself crying herself to sleep, not knowing where her dog was.
Then suddenly, a car pulled over. A good Samaritan got out, approached the frightened dog, and managed to rescue it from the side of the road. At that moment, my sadness flipped to elated joy. Every fiber of my being was happy, and for a couple reasons. First of all, Doggy was going to be OK. And second of all, I felt immense gratitude for the kindness of the rescuers. I witnessed compassion, although I didn’t know that word when I was a young girl.
Witnessing compassion has an emotional, spiritual, and physiological effect on people. And this experience shaped my beliefs about the world, teaching me that we are inherently good and that doing good is part of our DNA.[headline style=”1″ align=”center” headline_tag=”h2″]
What Is Compassion?[/headline]
Compassion is defined as a concern for the misfortune of others and wanting to do something about it. It’s often confused with empathy, which is having the understanding of another’s feelings or experience. The main difference is that compassion sparks action.
A beautiful example of compassion in action (and technically, in a workplace) was when professional tennis player Rafael Nadal stopped a tennis match he was in because he heard a girl crying for her mother. Something inside of him was moved to take that single action. He could have ignored it, as I’m sure many people who’ve heard children in distress have blocked it from their minds. But he stopped… in the middle of a game… and made it possible for them to find each other from across the courts and to each other.
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When The Dalai Lama and Brain Scientists Agree on Something…[/headline]
Religious and spiritual leaders have been teaching for thousands of years that compassion is a virtue. Compassion rests as a foundational tenet of Buddhism. The Dalai Lama says, “If you want to be happy, practice compassion. If you want others to be happy, practice compassion.” Biblical quotes and sacred texts from mystics and spiritual leaders speak of the gift that is practicing compassion.
And now Western science has chimed in on the topic.
Brain imaging studies by the National Institutes for Health show that the pleasure centers of the brain – the same ones that light up from sex, money, and chocolate- are activated by compassion. In other words, we feel PLEASURE when we observe someone doing for another. Children, such as myself when I saw the stray dog being rescued, respond when they see good being done for others. It creates an emotional and physiological impact.
Our brains are wired to respond positively to compassion. Researchers say it’s part of our evolutionary survival strategy: when our primordial ancestors showed compassion, it helped the species survive.[headline style=”1″ align=”center” headline_tag=”h2″]
Compassionate Leadership: From “Me” to “We”[/headline]
Compassion helps us in more ways than just a warm, fuzzy feeling… it helps us create healthier, happier, more productive workplaces.
Approaching leadership from a compassionate standpoint is about moving your focus from “Me” to “We”. The “I’m only in it for myself” mindset isn’t what’s needed to create more peaceful, productive workplaces. The shift towards a more compassionate workplace are far reaching: on an emotional level it keeps people happy, and on a financial level it saves money.
- In a 2012 study by BMC Public Health, it shows employee stress levels decrease when they feel more bonded. We all know what happens to communication, productivity, and interpersonal relationships when stress is high. Imagine the reverse of that.
- A compassionate leader encourages stronger relationships and communication: people are encouraged to develop friendships. These deeper levels of understanding help with attitude, focus, and commitment.
- Think of hostile environments you’ve been in. Studies show that compassionate leadership promotes higher employee retention. When people are feeling appreciated and part of something bigger than the job, it promotes a positive work environment and company culture.
- A study published by the Academy of Management review shows that compassion can actually lower blood pressure and decrease heart rate. The decrease of stress and increase of feeling part of something helps the body be more resilient, thus decreasing sick days.
- Compassion replicates itself: A study published by the National Academy of Sciences shows how cooperative behavior “cascades” to others around. It’s actually contagious. When you raise the compassion bar, others follow suit. It becomes the new normal. And here’s an important sidenote: it does NOT open the door to being taken advantage of. The fears of being compassionate have been put to rest.
- An Australian School of Business leadership study polled 5,600 participants from 77 different organizations. Those leaders identified as compassionate consistently showed productivity increases in employees, higher morale, and yes… higher profitability.
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Compassionate Leadership: Just Remember These 3 Things[/headline]
Being a compassionate leader really hinges on 3 main principles. As long as you stay focused on these, it will be much easier for you to make the inner changes you need in order to create organizational changes too.
- Seeing The Big Picture
Be aware of what’s going on, such as situations, processes, and dilemmas in your workplace. If you tend to isolate, or veer away from finding out anything other than what’s on your personal to-do list, then you’re missing out on vital information that is impacting your entire organization. Stay informed, being observant and caring.
2. Understanding Feelings
If you saw this woman with her head in her hand, sitting in front of a laptop, what would you do? What would you say to her?
Here’s a multiple choice quiz to test your response style:
a. Make a joke. “Hey what happened, did someone die? Lost the lottery again?”
b. Try to cheer her up to ease your discomfort: “Hey, wipe that frown off your face, let’s get happy!”
c. Ask a question: “Hey, looks like something’s frustrating you.”
If you answered c, then you came at this from a compassionate standpoint. Asking questions and listening are two of the greatest compassion builders around. Yes, there are loving meditations you can also work on, and I encourage you to do just that. But putting this into action requires us to do things to create a new normal for our responses.
Listening helps you get out of yourself and focus on the needs and feelings of others. When you do that, you cultivate your compassion skills. It’s an all around benefit.
Try this exercise:
Sit with a friend and have them share about a challenging situation for 2 minutes. Your job is to LISTEN. You may not interrupt or offer advice. You may not even nod your head, as that’s a way of communicating. Hold a still, silent, loving space for that person to share a challenge. Your urges to solve, fix, and move on will be immediately put to the test. Be sure to switch roles for another 2 minutes so you can experience what it feels like to be fully heard and given the space. This is a great exercise for a teambuilding event.
3. Move From “Me” to “We” Mindset
Knowing we’re all in this together, and feeling part of something bigger than ourselves elevates people to be their best. It strengthens the workplace relationships, keeps people on board with the company vision, and creates positive change.
Brain scientists who’ve researched human behavior note the evolutionary need for humans to stay together for survival. We have vulnerable offspring who need protecting, we rely on others for our survival as a species. Compassion is a natural human trait that can take us to our next phase of greatness in business and in the world around us.
On a recent interview with Zen teacher Caitriona Reed, I was asked only 2 questions:
- Who are you?
- What was a decisive moment that changed your life?
For close to 20 minutes, we got to explore the depth of just these two questions.
At first, I wasn’t sure how I was going to answer. I’d been given the 2 questions ahead of time with a warning that Question #1 was not to be answered with a standard elevator speech. (Thank God, because those elevator speeches aren’t my favorite).
I do a lot of work around core values and inner genius, so answering the first question didn’t feel daunting. I can describe myself as an insatiably curious person who loves to find out what makes people tick and see the gifts in them they can’t see.
But that second question… I was stumped at first.
I’ve had a lot of defining moments in life, but singling one out was hard.
Then, for some reason, DEATH came to mind.
Growing up in a big family, we had a lot of funerals to go to. We weren’t that family who left the kids at home so the adults could go out, we traveled like a tribe wherever we went. And seriously, somebody was ALWAYS dying. Aunts, uncles, cousins, distant relatives, the school janitor, grandparents… it was a constant.
I saw my first dead body at age 5. He was our school custodian, Manuel. I remember looking at him in the casket, his cheeks rosy. He didn’t look dead. He didn’t look real, come to think of it. I didn’t make much of it, but when I grew up and learned that most of my peers were sheltered from ever seeing death, I realized it was a defining moment of my life to have funerals as a regular part of life. Death didn’t hold a big charge over me, it just WAS.
Countless funerals ensued. I was told I had to get up and read a prayer at my uncle’s funeral and it was at that moment I fell in love with public speaking. I became our family’s go-to eulogy giver and dedication maker at several rosaries and funerals that followed. By the time my parents passed away, I was a veteran funeral speaker, able to make people laugh with loving memories of the dearly departed.
These were definitely defining moments: life events that clearly delineated a BEFORE and AFTER.
My careers have always included public speaking, so I can say that death was a pivotal ingredient in my growth as a speaker.
Now, back to the two interview questions.
Death was the first to come to mind as a moment that changed my life, but I had to ask myself: What else has been instrumental in shaping who I am?
My way of figuring things like this is to NOT try to figure them out. I allow my mind to wander. And suddenly it hit me.
I looked at the work I do in mentoring leaders and entrepreneurs. Secretly, just between you and I, it’s all about helping people understand themselves.
A tool I use to help people understand themselves is to listen closely, and do what I call “Collecting and Connecting”. I gather information about a person (their values, strengths, skills, life experiences), then I start connecting the dots of who they are and reflect back to them the unique gift that is their genius.
Yes, it’s a gift. And yes, a lot of intuition is used to formulate all that left-brain data.
But here’s the OTHER defining moment that changed my life:
I had a few clients who were teachers of psychic arts; they taught things like intuitive development, energy healing, and reading auras. They were incredible at what they did both as psychics and as teachers.
They hired me because their work was too hard to describe, they needed someone to translate what they did into credible terms so people would take them seriously and see the immense value in the work they do.
I used my “Collecting and Connecting” technique and each of them came back to me with the same comments: “Oh my goodness, Nancy, you’re so CLAIRVOYANT!”
I looked over my shoulder, as if to look for that OTHER Nancy who might have been in the room, for surely they weren’t talking to me. I was NOT a clairvoyant. Clairvoyants have crystalline offices in Sedona, wear lots of purple, and have really bad websites. No ma’am, that’s not me!
Again and again, these clients commented on my clairvoyance. “Wow, your 7th chakra is so open!” was even thrown in. I wasn’t quite sure if that was a good thing or not, but I decided to stay curious and stay in the question.
I was supposed to be coaching them on talking about their businesses, but I had to butt in finally. “Can you tell me more what you mean when you say I’m clairvoyant?”
EVERYONE has the ability to connect to extrasensory perception (ESP), it’s how we tap into our intuition. You have it, I have it. It’s just for some people, the volume is turned down too low to get the messages.
Clairvoyance means “clear seeing”. These are mental images that show a future state. When I’m working with a client and I can “see” their message, or “see” them doing something, that’s clairvoyance in action.
Since I’ve brought up the topic, I better list out the other “clairs” so you know there are more than one (and you can recognize which one/s you have).
- Clairaudient means “clear hearing”. You hear things, you pick up telepathic thoughts (“I just knew you were thinking that!”), you give amazing advice that you immediately forget then people say “Where did THAT come from?”
- Clairsentient means “clear feeling”. You feel other people’s emotions. Super empathy on steroids. You might be highly sensitive and have to leave big crowds because you’re feeling everyone else’s energy.
- Claircognizant means “clear knowing”. You just KNOW stuff. You know it without thinking. You get answers to things without trying. Your mind is like this supercomputer that comes to answers without any time going by. You also know whether someone is telling the truth or lying… you just KNOW.
Amazing what two simple interview questions can bring about, right? Now let’s turn this to you…
I don’t want to have you read all this without giving you an opportunity to apply this to your life.
- Answer the 2 questions for yourself. Who are you? What’s a life defining moment? Grab a journal and write or go for a walk and let your imagination speak to you.
- Did the definitions of clairvoyance, etc spark something in you? Tune into your intuition and pay attention to what shows up for you. That’s a bonus question.
Great stuff, I know. (Hey, that’s a sign I’m claircognizant too!)
How does this tie back into business and leadership?
As a leader, entrepreneur, or change maker, your life is all about defining moments. Knowing what makes you tick will make you a better decision maker, creator, and change agent. My coaching and training teach you how to tap into all the gifts you have and use those to lead, communicate, and create in a way you’ve never done before. You’ll clearly understand the future vision for your business or life through our work together. Connect with me, let me know what’s happening with you…
Curiosity, that insatiable desire to know or learn something, doesn’t just make you an interesting person… it actually has far reaching benefits around happiness, achievement, relationships, and survival.
Holding the thought, “Why?”, can lead to discoveries that open you up to new adventures, discoveries, maybe even a new business or career idea.
The Greater Good Science Center from the University of California at Berkeley studies the psychology, sociology, and neuroscience of well being. Their research uncovers findings that aim to make our society more thriving, resilient, and compassionate.
What’s even better is it gives scientific evidence that something I’ve known all along is true: being incurably curious is A GOOD THING!
Here are the 6 surprising benefits of curiosity according to the Greater Good Science Center.
1. CURIOSITY HELPS US SURVIVE
Your brain rewards you for being curious, and that’s a fantastic trade off for human survival! When you encounter something new, your brain releases dopamine, the feel good chemical. That’s incentive to explore and seek novelty.
2. CURIOUS PEOPLE ARE HAPPIER
This goes along with #1. The more dopamine running through you, the happier you feel. The reward of curiosity is shown to create happier people with lower stress levels, higher levels of positive emotions, and a greater sense of well being.
3. CURIOSITY BOOSTS ACHIEVEMENT
According to the Greater Good Science Center, “Studies reveal that curiosity leads to more enjoyment and participation in school and higher academic achievement, as well as greater learning, engagement, and performance at work. It may seem like common sense, but when we are more curious about and interested in what we are doing, it’s easier to get involved, put effort in, and do well.”
4. CURIOSITY CAN EXPAND OUR EMPATHY
Curiosity can lead you to explore outside your social circles and develop deeper levels of understanding people with different lives, experiences, and worldviews than yours. This expands your empathy. Empathy helps us break down the barriers between us and others, and to move into a more peaceful existence. Findings on the positive effects of empathy have been published extensively by the Greater Good Science Center.
5. CURIOSITY HELPS STRENGTHEN RELATIONSHIPS
According to the Greater Good Science Center, “One study asked strangers to pose and answer personal questions, a process scientists call “reciprocal self-disclosure.” They found that people were rated as warmer and more attractive if they showed real curiosity in the exchange (while other variables like the person’s social anxiety and their levels of positive and negative emotions did not affect the partner’s feelings of attraction and closeness). This implies that demonstrating curiosity towards someone is a great way to build your closeness with them.”
6. CURIOSITY IMPROVES HEALTHCARE
Studies involving doctors and patients found that the quality of healthcare improved when doctors held genuine curiosity in their patients. By asking questions and listening more deeply, there was less frustration and ultimately more effective treatment.
So go out into the world with a spirit of wonder and awe, look for the new and unexpected, try things you might never would have tried, and see each person you meet as a gift waiting to be revealed.
Curiosity has the power to open you up to new directions for your business, career, or mission in life. To learn how my style of approaching creativity and leadership can benefit you, your organization, or event contact me HERE
Intuition is your inner GPS that guides you when you most need it, helping you make decisions that come from your place of truth… not hasty reaction or fear. The great news is that EVERYONE can tap into their intuition and use it for guidance, creating, innovating, making decisions, leading, communicating, relating, taking action… the possibilities are endless.
First, let’s take a self-assessment.
On a scale of 1-10, how intuitive do you consider yourself to be? Do you follow hunches, get flashes of insight, or have a strong sense of what action to take next? Do you get feelings about situations or people that you can’t shake?
After learning these 3 steps to tapping into your intuition, you’ll discover yourself feeling more connected to your intuition and trusting it more confidently to guide you.
The best place to start is to have a daily practice of quiet time where you can directly access your intuition. The more you do this, the more you’ll trust and lean into your intuition to guide your actions.
Here’s a simple, 3-Step practice you can do every day at the start of your day, creating a space of open-mindedness, positive thinking, and confidence as you go through your day.
All you need is a quiet place, a few minutes, and something to write with.
STEP 1: SHHHHHHH…. GET QUIET
What do you do when you first get up in the morning? Do you reach over, grab your phone and start checking messages and updates? If you’re doing that… STOP!
Reserve the first few minutes of your day for YOU. If you find yourself greeted each morning with distractions from family, roommates, pets, etc, then challenge yourself to either get up earlier or set some firm boundaries. Find a quiet space that is all yours, and can be undisturbed for at least 10 minutes. Even if it means locking yourself in the bathroom, you deserve to create this space for your intuitive development.
Now that you’ve eliminated the distractions, sit quietly and breathe mindfully. Breathe in for 4, hold it for 4, exhale for 8. Do this 4 times. This breathing exercise will calm your body, clear your mind, and help you to focus.
Call in all your busy thoughts, all the conversations you’ve had (whether in real time or dream time), quiet things in your mind as you breathe.
You can imaging a ball of light glowing right where your heart is. Visualize it getting bigger and bigger, until your entire body is in the light.
This is called GROUNDING, and CONNECTING. It’s very good for calming your nervous system and setting your mind and body up for a great day.
STEP 2: GRATITUDE
What are you grateful for? Start thinking of the things, people, places, situations that you’re grateful for. I suggest you find at least 10 things to be grateful for, and if you think of more keep going!
Having a bad day? Nothing seems good? Focus on the gratitude for things that happen without your help, such as your heart beating, blood flowing, eyes that see, feet that can walk.
No matter what your life circumstances, there is ALWAYS something to be grateful for.
STEP 3: SET YOUR INTENTION FOR THE DAY
Now that you’ve spent a few minutes relaxing your body, calming your nervous system, and lifting your spirits, you’re ready to go to the next step.
If you’ve ever heard someone use the term “High Vibration” to describe a state of being, you’re actually in that state by now. Certain emotional and spiritual states have been recorded to vibrate a higher frequency than others. (For some fascinating research on this, check out the work of Dr. David Hawkins in his book, Power Vs. Force). It’s the palpable feeling of emotion. One of the fastest, easiest ways to raise your vibration is to focus on gratitude. If you’ve done steps 1 and 2, then you’re all set for opening up to your intuition and letting it speak to you and guide your day.
Sit quietly and ask yourself, “What is my intention for today?”, or as I asked myself in the journal entry below, “What are my soul’s instructions for me?”
Phrase it to yourself in a way that will help the question land more deeply with you.
Be still, and allow yourself to receive the response. Sometimes you might have a single word flash in your mind. Other times you might see yourself doing something. You may also get a physical sensation.
This isn’t the time to turn your logical mind on. It’s not time to insert your to-do list, job description, or all the things you have burdening you. It’s time to let your intuition speak to you.
Remember this advice: FIRST THOUGHT, BEST THOUGHT.
Then, grab a journal or something to write with (non-electronic preferably!) and put the word or words down that describe your intention for the day.
I do this exercise each morning. The other day the word that popped up in my mind was “REFINEMENT”.
I took out my journal and wrote it down. I wasn’t entirely clear on what that meant, so I asked myself, “What does refinement look like for me?”
The next thought that sprang up was “Conserve your energy. Discernment of where you place your energy. Be fully present. Be calm. Be serene.”
It’s interesting, because I was right about to go to a conference and it was going to be a full and busy day. I was scheduled to be there from morning until the night. I was geared up to go, go, go.
The awareness of conserving my energy was with me all day long. I checked in with myself frequently through the day to see if I was overextending myself or if I was caring for myself.
At the end of afternoon, I started to feel a slight drag on my energy level. The next day I was to deliver a 2 hour presentation to close the entire event out. It meant too much to me to drain myself on Day 1 of a conference only to putter out on Day 2 when an entire conference was relying on me to bring my all.
I was at a choice point: do I stay for the evening events, mix and mingle, connect with more people, attend a banquet… or do I set a boundary and put my self-care first and leave?
My logical brain was rooting for me to stay; it had plenty of rationale to convince me. But I took a deep breath, closed my eyes, and went back to the intention I set that morning.
“Conserve your energy”, is what my intuition told me.
Trust me, there have been PLENTY of times in my life when I’ve overridden my intuition. Before I knew how to set healthy boundaries (especially around self-care), I would do what everyone else expected of me and ignored all signs my body was trying to tell me. That approach landed me with a great case of adrenal burnout and fatigue.
I also knew how not to sabotage my decision to conserve my energy: leave quietly.
I’m not a quiet exiter by any means. When I leave a party it takes me 2 hours; I call it The Mexican Goodbye. But in this case, I didn’t have 2 hours to go around and tell everyone I was leaving. In fact, when I’ve tried in the past to slip away quietly and opt for the long goodbyes, I inevitably would end up staying (“Oh come on, stay for the dinner!”) Fast forward to me hitting the wall and regretting not listening to my intuition.
I had to trust my intuition in this case. Deeply trust it. I quietly slipped out, and that evening I was able to relax, take a bath, and think about my presentation. I went to bed early and woke up fresh and revitalized to deliver my talk. In fact, in an early morning moment of inspiration, I changed a bit of my presentation and had the time, focus, and energy to update my slides and practice the new part. I’m so glad I did because I know it made a huge difference when I delivered the talk the next day.
Meditation and setting intentions isn’t just a fluffy practice to fill up a few minutes of your morning. It’s how you tap into your intuition and use it to guide your actions, decision-making, and boundaries each day. It keeps your stress levels down, increases confidence, and sets you up to have an intentional, empowered day.
Do this exercise each morning when you wake up and you’ll experience a deeper connection to your intuition and a heightened sense of trusting your instincts.
Curious how you can ignite your leading edge? Set up a free consultation HERE
One of the challenges of being the genius that you are is forgetting listening skills. Remember: other people exist in the Universe… and they might have something to say.
When you’re focusing intensively on your gifts, you might get a little carried away with yourself. You might be so tuned into your genius and your ideas, that you barely notice anyone else out there with an opinion. Your listening goes out the window.
Suddenly, you’ve sucked all the air out of the room without noticing it. Your thoughts, your ideas, and your voice are all you can hear. That’s not good for the Genius Ecosystem. (The Genius Ecosystem is the collective genius in your world: your team, organization, collaborative community. Like a natural ecosystem, it’s a web of interdependence where one supports the other.)
One of the keys to a healthy Genius Ecosystem is great listening. Listening takes you out of your own head and opens you up to receive the ideas and brilliance of those around you.
Here are a couple of exercises you can put into action right now to build up your listening skills and strengthen the Genius Ecosystem around you.
Exercise 1: #STFU
A great exercise to test your listening skills is to partner up with someone and have them talk for 2 minutes straight about a challenge… particularly a challenge that YOU are expert at solving. Your job is to sit there SILENTLY, not interjecting your solution or ideas. You are not to give facial responses to indicate that you know a solution (no “Pick me! Pick me!” faces). You can’t pantomime, wave, dance, shimmy, moonwalk, or use your body to convey anything. You just sit there, mouth closed, eyes on the person, and ALLOW them to speak. For some of you, those 2 minutes are going to KILL!
When you’re done, switch partners and repeat.
Debrief and discuss after… that’s when you can go over all the agony you endured of sitting there silently. But… what did you learn? That’s the important part. And how did the other person feel when they could speak uninterrupted for 2 minutes straight?
Exercise 2: Telephone
Yes, the party game you played in 6th grade that gave you the chance to whisper in the ear of that cutie you had a crush on, is a great tool to improve listening. The beauty of Telephone is that it shows how we create context and meaning from the information we have on hand… even if that information is inaccurate. You start off with “3 circus clowns in a car”, whisper it to the person next to you, they whisper it to the person next to them, they whisper it to the person next to them… and end up with “Trees grow in the forest.” Hmmm where did we go off course, team? Discuss.
Exercise #3: Yeah, What She Said
Ever look down at your phone while someone was talking to you, check your latest text or Fantasy Football scores, then look up and say “Oh, cool. That’s great.” But honestly, you had no clue what they said. You play acted. You tried to be a coy multi-tasker. But guess what? They know and you know that you failed.
Let’s make things right by doing an exercise where you must be attentive and fully present. This is a great team building exercise and can also be used in social situations where you introduce people.
Person A tells you a bit about themselves. Let them talk for a minute or 2. Have them cover the basics: who they are, where they’re from, what they do for a living, and something personal like a hobby or where they last traveled.
You, aka Person B, will then introduce Person A to someone else. You can do this at a meeting as an icebreaking exercise or in a social situation. Your job is to accurately summarize all that they told you (where they’re from, what they do for a living, etc.)
For an icebreaking exercise or team building, you’d then switch and Person A would introduce you the way you did for them.
Can you glance down at your messages while they’re telling you information about themselves? No.
Can you space out and think of all the other things you have to get done today while they’re talking to you? No again.
You simply need to be FULLY PRESENT. If you were around before cell phones, you may recall what that means to be fully present. It’s quite nice when you’re in it.
Put these 3 listening skills to work in your life and you’ll notice a change in how people hear YOU. Honoring another person by listening is honoring their genius… and remember: we all hold genius. Yours is important and so is the genius of those around you!
In Spring 2014, I had a numerology reading with the very gifted Peter Vaughan.
One thing really stood out. He said “By the end of 2015, your business is going to be very different than it is now.”
I wanted to understand what that meant RIGHT THEN AND THERE. Hearing “your business is going to be very different than it is now” could mean I’m making more (or less) money, could mean I’m working with a different clientele, could mean I’m panhandling, could mean SO MANY THINGS! Not knowing what it meant drove me crazy… but I kept following each indicated step. I vowed to trust the process.
Trusting the process is wonderful when viewed through the rearview mirror. However, when in the middle of it, it freakin sucks.
It puts you face to face with all your shit: inner fears shit, core wounds shit, money shit, parenting shit, relationship shit, car breaking down shit, ex-husband shit, adrenal exhaustion shit, perimenopausal shit, family shit, colleague shit, client shit, and all forms of miscellaneous shit.
Dammit, why does it have to be so complicated!
So many things changed in this time… unplanned but following God’s plan: a complete revamp of my business, creation and destruction, birthing and ending.
But as I take inventory today, I see that a lot of good shit happened too! The rearview mirror is looking quite nice:
1. I met The One and fulfilled the prophecy of finding true love when I’m 50. We now share a beautiful home and each day I’m filled with smiles, hugs, and love. Being happy and loved is good for my business and my creativity.
2. I attracted amazing clients: Powerful leaders, 7 figure entrepreneurs, visionary changemakers who saw their strengths in a whole new way. Together we built a plan for them to lead and grow from their genius, communicate their genius, create a legacy, and make a global impact.
3. Developed a podcast (coming soon!) with the amazing help of Doug Foresta! LESSONS FOR THE LEADING EDGE. Which brings me to my next item…
4. Owning MY GENIUS as a guide for visionary leaders and innovators. Boldly integrating LEADERSHIP as an area of expertise. it’s always been there, it’s just now spelled out. Finally!
5. GETTING MY BOOK DONE! The Genius Finder is in the works. OMG did that take only a decade to start or what????
6. Laying out the framework for an INSTITUTE for leading edge entrepreneurs and their organizations. Book and podcast to support this. (message me if you’d like to know about the next training).
Trusting the process… more doors yet to open, more discoveries yet to be made. Step by step.
A lot of successful men come to me for consulting and coaching. They’re at the top of their game, financially secure, and masters in their fields.
But something’s up. They feel restless. Wondering why being BUSY like they’ve always been doesn’t give them the buzz it once did. What’s their genius, they wonder? What is it they’re really meant to be doing here?
And yes, like most men they want to FIX IT! Fix that feeling, fix that restlessness, find a solution and let’s move on!
Look, guys: you’ve spent YEARS finding fast solutions to fix things. But your answers aren’t going to come to you via transactions this time around. When you reach a certain age- say 45 and up- things change. Especially if you’ve enjoyed success and have reached your goals.
More and more men are coming to me with the desire to stop DOING and start BEING.
They’ve built up this wonderful business, taken all the risks, started things, created, constructed… and now they’re ready for something else.
But what is that?
For many, it’s the journey to becoming a mentor, a leader, and a teacher.
To fill those shoes, you need to know about yourself. You need to understand what makes you tick, what your strengths are, and what you want to be remembered for.
It’s not a small feat.
You start to use words like “legacy”, that before sounded strangely grandfatherly. Or you might realize that building for you is no longer about start ups or ventures… building for you is now about something within.
Men, let me tell you something.
If you’re feeling this restless pull to go within and find out WHO you are, you are in good company. More and more men are coming to this place of realization where they want to now be honored for WHO they are, not just for WHAT they have done or can do.
When I work with clients, I take them on the inner journey by delving deeply into their Talent and Genius. I find out their life story, their innate gifts, their character. I learn about their personality, their dreams, and their biggest goals. I discover hidden talents, little known traits, and strengths that couldn’t be revealed until now.
And after that digging and learning, a leader emerges. A man ready to embark on the next phase of his life, a man ready to mentor and inspire others.
The first step, though, is to unhook from DOING… and learn how to BE. Just Be.
If you’re a man on the brink of your next chapter, a man who has built it and done it and is ready to discover WHO you are as a legacy maker, then contact me and let’s see if my work can usher in that next phase.