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3 Steps to Joyful Genius

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As a coach working with entrepreneurs on identifying and making the most of what I call your “joyful genius”, one thing I have noticed is a tendency to jump straight to marketing and promotion.  

Don’t get me wrong, you will need to get your business out there in the world, in front of potential customers.  Just don’t do that before you really understand the full value of what you have to offer.

I describe your “Joyful Genius” as the work that you love to do, and that you are brilliant at.  And that people will pay you properly for!  

My experience tells me that every entrepreneur has a unique genius, and it is made up of four things:

  • What you do, the functional service you provide using the skills and talents you’ve learned along the way
  • How you do it, the special way that you approach it, based on your individual background, attitudes and experience.
  • Why you do it, that deeper reason that motivates you to do it the very best you can, because it actually makes a difference to you, and finally,
  • Who you are showing up as when you do it.

Most entrepreneurs easily understand the first two. Those are what get you to your “USP”, your ‘unique selling proposition’. And as soon as you get to that, the temptation is to jump right into marketing.  

That is a mistake, because then you miss out on the final two elements of genius. The ones that make you truly unique.

And the upshot of that is that you end up putting out a bland proposition that anyone could claim they also do.

You know the sort of thing – “innovative”, “professional”, “caring”, “integrity”, etc. The sort of stuff that, frankly, prospects rather expect.

It is not like anyone ever claimed in their marketing to be an unprofessional accountant, or a lawyer with no integrity.  Nor did anybody ever put on their flyers that they do not care a damn about their customers!

So what do you need to do to get across the full magnificence of your genius?  Here are my observations on the three essential steps to living your Joyful Genius in your work every day:  

1. Step UP

The first thing you have to do is to own up to being a bit special at something.  In other words you have to admit to having a Genius in the first place.

For some of us (especially us Brits!), that can be a bit challenging. Right from when we were kids, we were told “Don’t show off”, “Nobody likes a big-head”, etc. So we learn to be ‘modest’.  It is time to stop that!

I would be willing to bet that when you read the words “the full magnificence of your genius” just now, you felt a little resistance, am I right?  That is your modesty kicking in,  and it doesn’t serve you.   

I remember listening to a very skilled consultant, who I thought was brilliant in his specialism.

When asked what he was good at, his answer was: “Well, I’m not bad at [this]” and “I’m sorta OK at [that].” And he wondered why he wasn’t getting hired enough!

So stop talking down your brilliance.

Identify what you have learned to do very well, and that special way that you do it, that makes you different. Get a handle on the What and the How of your genius – and then claim it, loud and proud.

2. Step INTO

Acknowledging your genius is one thing:  now you need to truly understand it, and feel completely comfortable about using it with your clients.  

If the first step is where you own up to it, this is where you get to truly own it and make it your own.

That is when you can talk about it with confidence and congruence, and inspire confidence in the people who want it, need it, and will pay for it.

For most of us, that genius has been developing for a long time, and we have become brilliant without being consciously aware of it.

You may be consciously aware of what you don’t know, or what you can’t do, and you are probably allowing that to overshadow all the stuff you
do know and can do.
There is some science behind that; in the theory of learning, we start off not even knowing what there is to know;  that’s called “unconsciously incompetent”.    

As you get into your field, you find out all the stuff you don’t know how to do;  that’s called “consciously incompetent”.   

That is a great place to be, because now you can do something about it.  And over time, as you learn and practice, you get better.  

Now you are becoming competent – but it is what is called “consciously competent”, because you are still having to think about it.   

Eventually, all you know all becomes second nature; you can do it in your sleep, without having to think about it. That’s what we call “unconsciously competent”.

It is in that “unconscious competence” that your genius lies.  

And it is all too easy to disregard what you can do in that area – because it feels too easy to be special.  

You forget that other people are – at best – working very hard at being consciously competent when they do it, or struggling to overcome their conscious incompetence.  

It might even seem that in comparison to you, a whole lot of people in your field are still in UNconscious INcompetence!

It is great to be aware of the areas where you need to build competence, because that is how you grow.  Just make a point of also staying aware of your areas of natural, easy competence.
I am sure you have heard the saying “People don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care.

I take that one stage further;

People don’t just want to know
that you care, they want to know Why you care.  

Because that is how they know for sure that this is important to you, and that is what makes you stand out from those who only claim to care.

And who you choose to show up as makes an enormous difference to how potential customers respond to your genius.  

When your entire being is congruent with the genius that you are (now) willing to own up to, people can see that you are the real deal.

There is nothing like being fully aligned with what you’re offering for inspiring confidence in your customers,  and for inspiring your own confidence too.

Oddly, if you’re not feeling completely in alignment with your offer, that is probably one of the biggest reasons holding you back from stepping up and claiming your genius.

Because you know, deep down, that once you claim it, you are going to have to go do it. Until you have truly stepped into it, you do not feel congruent about doing that.

 So you hold back from even stepping up, so that nobody can expect you to actually
BE your genius.

3. Step OUT

Once you can fully embody your genius and feel completely comfortable about its value, now it is time to take it out into the world.

Being fully aligned with it, you can do so with a powerful message that completely resonates with you and who you are showing up as in the world.

That gives you a massive feeling of confidence in what you are offering.

I said earlier that a problem with not having fully “Stepped Into” your genius is the tendency to hold back for fear of having to do this step.

But there is a worse mistake, and that is to leap straight into it, without taking the time to truly embody who you are in relation to your genius.

As an individual business owner, I know how easy it can be to jump too quickly into this stepping out part, before you have really got your message and your specialness sorted in your own head.  

The result of that is that the message is either muddled, or it attracts the wrong kind of customers.

No Short Cuts

The focus on you may seem to go against the normal business wisdom. Most people will tell you that you have to stay focused on the customer, and bend yourself to fit what they want and need.  

I say that twisting yourself into something you’re not is a great way to have a miserable work life.

You are either going to not attract work at all, because people can see that you are not being yourself, or you are going to attract the wrong kind of work, the work you do not like doing.   

In many ways that’s worse!

But there does need to be a match between what you want to do and what people are willing to pay for.

And the trick is to find the ideal clients for you, people who are absolutely aching for someone to come along and offer them exactly what you love to do and are brilliant at.    

Your Joyful Genius!

Andrew Horder

Andrew Horder

Joyful Genius Coach | Business & Marketing Strategist

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