Friday, June 08, 2012

Give me an "A"

If you read my previous post entitled, "Are you a genius", you are now waiting for me to explain the A in the MAP process of discovering your genius.  Well to recap since it has been a few days since I've posted, the M is Motivation.  It's about taking the time to discover or re-discover what you have a true passion for.  What you care about. What motivates you to take action.  But being motivated and passionate don't necessarily translate to being good at something.

A is for Abilities
So let's jump to the A - Abilities.  What comes easy to you?  Reading, Basketball, Cooking, Encouraging?  Stop reading and take a few minutes to jot down some thoughts on your abilities.  It's not just about your natural abilities but also those learned abilities and the ones you've gained through experience.  They can be functional or relational. Everyone has them so don't cop out and say, "I'm not good at anything."  You may not be a world class athlete but you may be a world class encourager.  If evaluating yourself is just too difficult ask someone who knows you very, very well to give you some direction. Now I say direction because you are the only one who can definitively say, "Yes, that's one of my abilities." Don't feel pressured by what others say if it doesn't feel right. Okay?

Give me a M, Give me an A...
We're not done yet though.  Having an idea of your Motivation and your Abilities is great but there's one more piece of the puzzle that will clarify the context in which you should use your Motivation and Abilities.  We'll get to the P in my next post.  Stay tuned.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Are you a Genius?

There are some incredible people in the world.  Actually every person is incredible. Most of us are incredible in ways the media isn't interested in but we all have our own genius. What got me thinking about this is a quote from Albert Einstein,

"Everyone is a genius.  But if you judge a fish on its ability to climb a tree, 
it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid."

There are several parts of this quote that I find worth talking about.  How we judge people is a biggie but will have to be saved for another post. Today I'll tackle finding your genius.  It's obviously very important.  But is it simply identifying your strongest abilities?  Or does it go further?    

Discover Your M.A.P.
I've been on a personal journey to discover my own personal genius and how to best use it for the past 30 plus years. I've taken numerous tests to discover my strengths and weaknesses. Often, I've been excited by what I've learned but have come to a seething frustration when the discovery never seems to end in a clear path to putting my strengths to their best use.  From this journey I've developed the M.A.P process for not only discovering your strengths but the right context in which to use them.

Instead of starting with strengths, I've found it better to start with motivation. When you understand clearly what you truly care about, you'll have some great clues about the best context in which to explore using your genius when you discover it.

So get your iPad (or a piece of paper) and start answering the following questions:

What do/would you love to do? When do you feel most fulfilled?
- If money, talent or time were not an issue and you could be assured of success what would you do?

What are you passionate about?
- What subjects/areas of interest get you energized? What issues concern you? What gets you fired up? 
Where are you volunteering your time now? What causes are you giving money to?

Who do you enjoy working with (who do you think you'd enjoy working with)? - both co-workers and/or those who will benefit from your work.

So what happens if you stop here?  Should you just follow your bliss?  Maybe, but maybe not.  There's still an A and a P to explore... and we will over the next few days.


Monday, March 05, 2012

Rediscovering Richmond - Living beyond Charles Collie Land

If you're anything like me you often find yourself living a very narrow life.  Sometimes it seems as if I don't know what's happening outside my home, my office and my facebook account.  I live in Richmond but I tend to live most of my life in Charles Collie Land.  Which is a real shame because Richmond is an amazing city and region.

I'm not going to make this post a tourism commercial but if you live here and aren't constantly exploring what the region has to offer you are missing out. Everyone talks about the history of Richmond but that history is talked about in a monochromatic way.  Richmond is not only the place where the United States was born and then divided, it is a place where creativity and innovation has blossomed time and time again (and not only at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts - which is awesome).

In a recent conversation with my friends Gayle Turner and Tom Laughon at Catch Your Limit Consulting, they reminded me of the visionaries, crazies and misfits that have made our region the center of so many creative activities.  A guy named George Washington developed a unique canal system that allowed Richmond to become the center of trade in a new nation.  But at the same time Richmond had also become the theatrical center of our new nation - and may still be if not for harsh fire regulations that allowed the backwater town of New York to draw the theater away.  Also, Richmond claims the writer of a uniquely dark style of poetry named Edgar Allen Poe, remember him.  Speaking of innovations, Richmond was home to the first electric trolley system in the U.S.

Well, fast forward to today and theater, art, and creative activities abound. From huge music festivals to 10ks and open innovation centers for Fortune 500 companies to Innovation Centers at major universities and hundreds of little companies doing mind blowingly amazing things.  Just go to Google, pick an industry, a category or a crazy thought and then type Richmond, Virginia or just RVA after it and prepare to be wowed.  Don't live the narrow life.  Enjoy and be a part of the creativity that is Richmond!