In mythology, the genius is the divine that resides in all things, living or inanimate.  In those times, a person’s power came from their soul, or genius.  It wasn’t limited to people though, The genius of a vineyard is what made the grapes grow exceptionally well.  The same with natural wonders like volcanoes, genius is what unleashed the power of destruction.
When we talk about genius in terms of employee engagement, we’re talking about roughly the same concept.  What is it about a person that makes them the individual they are?  What are the specific sets of talents and interests that cause a person to stand out from the crowd in terms of performance or ability.
Research shows that individual, or as some people call it, personal genius, is found at the intersection between your talents and your passions.  When you find that sweet spot where you are doing things that you are really good at, and at the same time you are loving the work because it feeds your interests and passions, you have found your genius.
One of the struggles employees have is trying to figure out what that sweet spot is for them.  To that end, there are some helpful questions you can ask yourself that may help uncover your secret source of power.  The genius that gets you noticed.
  1. What activity or activities do you do that cause you to completely lose track of time because you are so absorbed in what you are doing?  I love doing research and then using that research to craft a story.  Recently I lost an entire afternoon bouncing from newspaper article to newspaper article reading about a single topic I was interested in and wanted to craft a story that would hold the attention of a group I was speaking to.
  2. Did you receive feedback as a kid that maybe you could do less of something?  I’m a relationship guy.  I like to visit.  When my report card came home at the end of 4th grade, my teacher very politely encouraged me to get all my talking and visiting done over the summer!
  3. What are you known for?  Is there something that you regularly get asked questions about?  These are the things that you may be good at but not realize it.
  4. What work would you do, even if you didn’t get paid for it?  This one is closely related to #1 but slightly different.  I have a friend who is a massage therapist and she loves it so much that occasionally she forgets to charge her clients.  Not recommended as a business strategy, but you get the idea.
  5. When you look back at different times of your career and think about the times when things just clicked.  You know, the times when you felt like you were adding a lot of value and really feeling satisfied while you were working.  What types of projects or tasks were you working on during these periods?
There are other questions that get at this concept of personal or individual genius, but if you can come up with answers to the ones above, you might start to gain some insight into the types of work that tend to provide you the most satisfaction.  The satisfaction comes from that internal power.  It means you are working in your genius.