If you want to realize your full potential, you’ve got to stop feeling guilty about saying “No!”
I say no to lots of things. I only support causes I really care about and I’ll say no even if you keep asking. I won’t go to events just for networking. I’ll reject any business opportunity that doesn’t align completely with my calling. Some people find it hard to say no because they don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings. But remember, it’s not your responsibility to make someone else happy.
Say yes to people and things that will help you unleash your genius -- and that should be a very short list. Right now, my list includes writing and recording Delivery Tips, staying physically fit, and surrounding myself with people who are conscious and committed.
You’ve got to learn to say no far more often than you say yes because the hard truth is, genius is demanding and selfish.
Where do ingenious ideas come from? They can come from anywhere, at any time, in any place. Your creative genius always moves at its own rhythm and pace.
I’ve gotten insights while on the freeway driving, at the store grocery shopping, and far too many times I’ve been awakened at two in the morning. When your genius shows up, you’ve got to give it your full attention, even if it’s really bad timing. Pull over, get out of line, or roll over and turn on the light. When your genius calls, you must answer even if it’s in the middle of the night.
Of course, you can choose to ignore the call, but then you’ll have to rely solely on your own limited knowledge and expertise. But I wouldn’t advise that strategy. Speaking from experience, it’s difficult to ignite your creative fuse without considerable help from your muse.
Are you experiencing a creative block? You keep trying and pushing but the ingenious ideas aren’t flowing?
When this happens, you need to back off and take a break. Shift your attention to another activity and patiently wait. Your genius is always hard at work – sifting and sorting through the raw materials you’ve given him. Sometimes, he just needs a moment alone to find the gems. When Einstein couldn’t solve a tough math problem he played his beloved violin. When I feel blocked, I retreat to my garden. After spending time planting, pruning, and putting my hands in dirt, things start to click effortlessly when I return to work.
If you try to force the creative process, you won’t find success. That’s because you can’t browbeat genius.
What are you resisting? Acknowledging that you’re scared and confused? Telling your boss about the kind of work you really want to do? Trashing an idea and starting anew?
One of the main inhibitors to unleashing genius is resistance. There are three main reasons why you resist. You desire something different but you’re fearful of moving forward. You can’t embrace new opportunities because you’re clinging to what is instead of anticipating what could be. You’ll also resist if what you’re trying to pursue isn’t really you. You’ll hesitate because your genius is trying to prevent you from making a big mistake. And you’ll resist if your genius wants you to see another perspective. You may think you know which way to go, but there’s really a better way to reach your goals.
Whenever someone or something causes resistance, remember that it’s simply your genius trying to give you guidance.
What choice do you want to make? People who achieve great things aren’t afraid of choosing. There’s no waffling, no hemming and hawing, no straddling the fence. They simply declare, “This is the life that I choose to have and I will achieve it!” They don’t leave life to chance. They take a bold stance. In the book, The 8th Habit, Stephen Covey wrote:
Between stimulus and response there is a space.
In that space lies our freedom and power to choose our response.
In those choices lie our growth and our happiness.
Today you must choose. Do you want safety and security or adventure with uncertainty? Do you want success or fulfillment? Do you want to achieve greatness or settle for second best? Remember, genius doesn’t wait to be picked. It chooses its target.
What piques your curiosity today? Staying curious is a cornerstone for unleashing genius.
For a moment, forgot about the kids, the bills, and your fears. Look within and ask yourself these important questions. What do you want to learn more about? What have you always wanted to pursue? If you could play hookie today, where would you go and what would you do? What makes your toes wiggle? What thrills you?
Your genius yearns to keep learning. It’s like a 4-year-old who can’t stop asking. What your genius most wants to learn is... Why am I here? How can I be of greater service? What’s my legacy? If you don’t ask yourself these questions during the day, you’ll ask them in your dreams at night.
Remember, the moment you get curious about the important stuff, your genius will take flight.
What’s your truth? That’s the question you must address if you want to unleash your genius.
In this moment, what rings true? What do you truly value? What are your true strengths? Does your work truly match your interests? Truth is what your genius seeks. Truth inspired Martin Luther King, Jr.’s I have a dream speech. Truth lies in the heart of the homeless man who plays for pennies on urban streets. Truth guided Michael Jackson dancing freestyle. Truth inspired Mona Lisa’s smile.
Genius takes disparate thoughts, ideas and images and creates something novel and new -- and truth is the glue. To unleash your creative genius, truth must be reflected in everything you do. Shakespeare wrote, “To thine own self be true.” You’ll know for sure that you’ve found truth when joy and peace find you.
I’m often asked, "What's it like to be on the journey of unleashing genius?"
The simple answer is that unleashing genius is very much like going to an amusement park. Some days it’ll feel like you’re on a roller coaster, ascending a hill filled with anticipation and delight. But the twists and turns of life can quickly turn fun into fear and fright. And sometimes...before you can get what you want, you’ll have to wait in very long lines. There will be so many attractions to see and things to do that you’ll have to carefully choose what really excites you.
The journey of unleashing your genius is messy, magical, and mysterious. It’s not for everybody. It’s only for the select few who are ready and courageous.
What have you learned? I’ve learned that you don’t need to be a child prodigy, have an advanced degree, or be blessed with an IQ of 140 to set your genius free.
Anyone can achieve greatness like Einstein, Mozart, and Mandela. Or leave an enduring legacy like Steve Jobs and Oprah Winfrey. You just need to possess two important qualities. These qualities are essential for anyone who wants to realize their full potential.
You must possess discipline and a will to win. You must be disciplined enough to stay focused on your purpose every day even if your efforts are fruitless. You must have a will to win because unleashing genius will greatly test your courage and conviction. Remember, you are born with talent. It is God-given. But discipline and a will to win can only be earned by conquering the negative forces that dwell within.
Who pushes you forward? Sometimes gently. Other times forcefully. You need people in your life who coax and challenge you into becoming the person you were born to be.
Like my colleague and friend, Laurie. We speak by phone once or twice every week. She makes me focus on the tough questions. Where’s my attention? How does it align with my intentions? What behaviors and beliefs are holding me back? Where am I really off track?Everyone needs a Genius Nemesis – a friendly rival who riles you. A person who won’t let you coast along or sidestep truth. Unlike a best friend, your genius nemesis won't cater to the needs of your ego. His or her role is solely to push you to fulfill your potential.