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Is Your Genius at Work?: 4 Key Questions to Ask Before Your Next Career Move Paperback – October 3, 2005
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Donâ??t read this book unless you want to discover who you truly are and have fun doing it. I couldnâ??t stop turning the pages. A delightful and enlightening journey. I highly recommend it.―Jack Canfield, co-creator, #1 New York Times best-selling Chicken Soup for the Soul Â® series; author, The Success Principles
I donâ??t think Iâ??ve ever said, â??You have to get this book.â?? But thereâ??s a first time for everything. Richardsâ?? ideas are at the very core of the work we need to be doing. If thereâ??s one book you read this year, it should be this one.―Richard J. Leider, founder, The Inventure Group; author, The Power of Purpose and Repacking Your Bags
From the Publisher
Advice abounds on how to dress for success, write a killer resume, and land the next monster job. Now, in IS YOUR GENIUS AT WORK? Dick Richards takes career planning to a new frontier as he brings the "technology of the spirit" to the workplace, showing how ordinary people can make profound life changes and achieve extraordinary personal and career fulfillment. Drawing on the wisdom of modern sages, ancient philosophies, spiritual traditions, and 20 years of research and study, Richards has crafted a journey of self-discovery to help readers find the one core quality that fuels their soul and drives their success: their true genius.
As ancient as Greece, as trendy as New Age, the concept of genius is fully grounded in contemporary life through dozens of inspiring stories of people who have realized the transformative power of this simple yet life-changing process. Filled with practical strategies and hands-on exercises, IS YOUR GENIUS AT WORK? explores four important questions to help career-seekers define and give name to their genius, uncover the secrets to their life's purpose, and chart a career path to bring their genius to life: What is your genius? Is your genius at work? What is your purpose? Is your genius on purpose?
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In his book, Richards argues that everyone not only has unique talents, but there's a core talent, a "Genius" that's unique to every individual. According to Richards, Our "Genius" is the one thing that we do better than anyone else on the planet. It was a bold statement, but in reading the many testimonials about how people had found their Genius and how it had helped them, I felt that I should give this book a try.
The book led me through a series of exercises which forced me to reflect deeply upon those moments in my life where I excelled. It also made me take a hard look at the areas in my life where I had failed. About halfway through the book I got a very real sense that there was an underlying "theme" that pervaded my life. There was a reason I was attracted to some things, and not attracted to others. There was a reason I got into writing, and not gardening. There was a reason why I left my job in Tokyo and decided to return back to the States.
The reason for leaving was simple: there was a deep seated feeling somewhere inside me that told me my Genius was not being exploited to its full potential, and every exercise I finished, every page I turned in this remarkable book, I got closer to understanding that feeling, to understanding my Genius.
Richards helps us focus our thinking about Genius by defining it as a gerund followed by a noun. Examples of other people's Geniuses used in the book include "Engaging the Heart," "Charting the Course," and "Maximizing Opportunities." These Geniuses weren't predefined. They weren't determined by choosing the best Genius among a list of options but rather they were to be named by the person doing the searching. In this way, the name for each Genius is as unique as each individual. Among the hundreds of people whom he had personally helped find the names for their Geniuses, Richards says that no two were exactly alike.
As I went through the exercises, the first name for my Genius that I felt good about was "Finding Significance." I could see the thread of Finding Significance throughout my life. Finding Significance was the main reason I felt compelled to write certain stories and not others. It explained why I was sometimes not motivated to finish a writing a story even though on the surface it seemed funny, witty or engaging. If there was no meaning, no significance, then what was the point?
Finding Significance also explained why I was probably the best researcher at our headhunting firm. I loved coming up with new methods to find business professionals and their contact information. To me, finding people who had never met a headhunter before and exposing them to the opportunities of the job market was more meaningful to me than convincing candidates to take a job which I wasn't sure was right for them.
Finding Significance stuck with me for about five days. It felt pretty good, but there was a nagging feeling that it wasn't quite right. Eventually, I realized that it wasn't enough to just find significance, I had to convey significance to other people. After some reflection, I was able to revise the name for my genius as "Delivering Significance."
The name stuck, and ever since then I've made sure that whatever opportunity I pursued, Delivering Significance was a core part of it. Because my Genius was "delivering" and not "creating" significance, I realized that I didn't have to come up with the mind shattering insights by myself. All I had to do was find that which was significant, and deliver that same significance to those who most needed it. If, for example, I came across an interesting idea from a science or business blog, I could see how the significant ideas in those fields could be applied to other fields (like personal development and career creation, for example). Furthermore, I'd be able to find the best way to communicate those ideas in a way that they could be understood clearly.
After a while, I realized that I didn't even have to be a writer to deliver significance. Even though I had always thought of myself as a writer and was a creative writing major in university, I didn't necessarily need to write in order to deliver significance. The medium was not as important as the message. I could be a psychiatrist, salesman, teacher, public speaker, career coach-even a computer programmer. I could do all these things and still deliver significance.
When got an idea for a web application, I decided to learn how to create it because it seemed an effective way to deliver significance. Because I no longer imposed a label upon myself as a writer or a blogger, but as a "deliverer of significance," I felt more open to opportunities I might have never considered before, web application development being one of them. In university, I had no interest in programming because it seemed to be the the polar opposite of writing short stories and novels. Now, because I no longer think of myself as just a writer, I decided to start learning programming to see if I liked it or not. To my surprise, I found programming to be a very rewarding experience.
Finding my genius was partly the reason why I shut down my old website full-time-writer.com. To market myself as a knowledgeable freelance writer, I wrote articles on the nuts and bolts of writing like: "How to write an outline" and, "Examples of tone in writing." These were articles that I wrote simply to increase traffic to my website and were hardly focused on delivering significance. As a result, I didn't enjoy writing them very much. Now, because the articles I write are 100% focused on delivering significance, I find myself enjoying writing more. Not only that, but I find myself in the flow of writing much more often.
My work these days have been a balance between writing the articles for this blog and working on the web application. Because the web application has the highest potential to make money, I've been spending more time programming than writing. In a way, since both of these pursuits are linked to "delivering significance," you could say that they're but different aspects of the same job. I'm confident that my effort in both areas will complement each other down the line.
I've read many personal development books that had exciting ideas that I eventually forgot about or failed to implement. As you can see, "Is Your Genius at Work?" is a rare exception. I highly recommend Dick Richard's book for anyone who feels a need for direction in their life. It certainly has helped me. Richard's own Genius, by the way, is "Creating Clarity," and considering how good of a job he did to create clarity for me, I firmly believe that to be the case.
I'm extremely happy to have discovered my genius. It will only help me with my life and career.
It's been in front of me my entire life and I never knew. This book really helped me do a lot of inner-reflection as well as close-observation to help me figure out what my genius is.
I really like how this book just shows you how you think you're 100% certain about something, only to realize you were wrong. It does a great job of, what I like to say, "breaking your reality".
No matter. Either way, this refreshingly different book from Dick Richards will help you put your finger on your special "energy" and help you direct it in meaningful ways.
Dick Richards (part shaman, part businessman) presents engaging ideas and well-defined processes for identifying your unique personal gift, which he calls your Genius. He also presents helpful ideas and processes for discovering your personal Purpose (your life's mission) so that you can point the energy of your Genius toward fulfilling your Purpose.
If you like, you read about the connections between many time-honored and far-flung spiritual and philosophical traditions underlying these ideas (across the globe and through millennia). Richards has woven a nice tapestry of these disparate threads.
And if you don't like such metaphysical forays, you can, as he told me in a recent podcast for BNET.com, "ignore Chapter 4!"
Seriously, you can ignore all the stuff about spiritual and philosophic traditions, and just work your way through the practical processes. Either way, you're going to arrive at a deeper understanding of yourself and a clearer vision of your individual potential within the world.
Reading and working your way thru this -- highly readable, relatively brief -- book and its well-structured exercises likely will make a considerable impact on your life and work.
I confess to not liking most exercises in most "self-help" books (they often feel like goofy make-work), but I found these to be well-designed, very doable, and most importantly, effective.
Also noteworthy, Richards generously includes resources to assist other coaches and consultants to teach his methods. And he provides help for groups of people who want to collectively support each other as they make their way thru this highly personal work.
This is a pleasant read with potentially profound implications for people who avail themselves of its wisdom. I am buying several copies for loved ones, clients, and friends.