Genius is not handed out at birth, it is earned. Does, “I’m just bad at math, sorry!” or “Geography and I aren’t a thing” sound familiar? Before making a statement like this, think about how many hours you’ve put into improving your skills. If your answer is 0 – 12 hours on a single occasion – you’re not bad at it, you just haven’t committed to trying.
While some people seem to be born Olympians, the truth is they likely had some natural talents that they built on with dedicated goals. The good news? It’s never too late to start. (PS: Let us know your thoughts in the comments on Women On Topp!)
Isolate your strengths
It’s time to determine what areas you have a passion for or potential in. The best way to do this is to make a list of your strengths and weaknesses. For instance, if you’re unorganized – it might not be your first choice to strive towards becoming an event planner. However, if you have a great eye for design, you could pursue interior decorating, graphic design, or even a creative director role. If you’re having difficulty coming up with strengths, think back to courses you succeeded in or compliments you’ve received.
Remember, just because you nearly failed grade 11 math does not mean your dream to be a pilot or an engineer is forever off of the table.
Once you’ve built a sufficient list of your strengths and weaknesses, it’s time to do some research.
Research roles you want
Not sure how to write your first novel? With Google at your fingertips, you can map out the steps to become published. Read how-to blogs from those who have tried and succeeded. Peruse job postings of careers you want, and see what the requirements are. Research what it would take for you to gain those credentials or experience – then start making some goals.
Make attainable goals
Two words: time management. If your genius seems unattainable because you simply don’t have the time, you need to start taking note of the steps to reach your goal and reserving the time to do so. Start by dedicating one uninterrupted hour a night to the initial steps of your goal, and slowly increase that.
You’ll need to start putting in the work to build your genius. Tennis player Serena Williams spends hours at tennis practice, then follows it up with a couple more hours of cardio and strength training. She mixes up her workout with yoga and pilates multiple times a week. She surprisingly despises working out, but is motivated by her desire to win.
Seek education if necessary
If further education is required, research if there are continuing education opportunities at your local College or University. LinkedIn Learning (formally Lynda.com) is a great asset for building on your skills. Often your local public library will offer membership access. Alternatively, Ivy League schools such as Harvard University offer a ton of online learning that will surely impress future employers.
Network, network, network
Research people who are in positions that you want to be in and take note of their route to get there. Connect with them! Are they speaking on a panel near you? Be there. Are they on LinkedIn? Interact with their posts. Having difficulty reaching out to upper level managers? Think about the route less travelled – direct mail or LinkedIn.
Ask for advice from those who have paved the path for you. They may have crucial industry insights such as if schooling is the most direct route, or maybe hands-on experience is more valued.
Start somewhere, anywhere
Starting is the hardest part. Practice saying your dreams out loud – if nobody knows your goals, they won’t be able to help you.
Don’t be intimidated by the greats who are much further along than you. While some people are exceptionally natural at their genius, most have dedicated their time strategically towards their dreams. Make a personal commitment to your area of genius today. Remember: geniuses aren’t just born, they’re made.
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