When it comes to assessing our own capabilities, studies have shown that many of us believe we are better than average in comparison to our peers.
The irony, however, is that even though we all think, when asked, that we are ahead of the pack, deep down, we don't truly believe that we have unique and exceptional strengths. Seeing the greatness that we offer is a struggle.
When working with clients or speaking to groups, I consistently get the same response to my belief that we all have a superpower strength that I call genius:
"I don't have a genius."
Well, it's important to note my definition of genius. I am not saying that everyone has the IQ of Albert Einstein. What I have observed is that everyone has a unique and powerful way that their brain thinks through problems or challenges they face. Something that is innate, and exceptional. The problem is that most people don't see this--and the failure to see it ultimately holds them back in the workplace and beyond.
With that in mind, here are three common roadblocks to finding your inner genius--and three ways to overcome them:
Problem: We can't see our greatest strength and ultimately our genius. Why is it that hearing feedback or reading assessments about ourselves is so endlessly fascinating? Because we can't be objective about ourselves. In absence of being able to see our talent and genius in the mirror, we don't believe it exists.
Solution: Get feedback from people you work with, on the work that they think you are best at. Ask them to be specific on what your unique approach is to the work that you are doing. Ask a variety of people and look for patterns in their responses, in addition to overlaying it with the work that you find the most exciting.
Problem: Our minds default to the negative, while being positive requires a choice. Our brains are wired to pay attention to the negative. This is a biological way we protect ourselves from danger--however, in absence of a sabertooth tiger lurking around the corner, it ends up hurting our ability to be the best we can be in daily life.
Solution: Pay attention to the negative messages your brain is telling you. Are they serving you? If not, remember that your own negative chatter is not necessarily the reality. Practice reversing some of those messages to something more positive. Watch to see how that impacts your performance.
Problem: We all have psychological baggage that prevents us from owning our greatness. Everyone has baggage--it's the nature of being raised in environments we didn't chose. Everyone's is different, but collectively, most baggage can prevent many of us from accepting and acting on our greatness.
Solution: Find some help. Seeing your baggage can be difficult. You may be one of the lucky ones with baggage that doesn't create any obvious problems. For those that are experiencing challenges, it may be helpful to hire someone to help you dig deeper into your challenges and figure out if some of your habits are really your baggage. If so, there is nothing more rewarding than rewiring your brain so that you can become the person you want to be, versus the person you were made to be.
The bottom line is that we all possess something exceptional within us. I have yet to find any downside to knowing what this is, owning it, and being able to use it to create your dream job or make the world a better place. Can you think of one?