We all remember that one class in school where, no matter how hard you worked, you just never seemed to do well. At the same time, there was another class where the exact opposite was true and things came to you almost effortlessly.

I agree that there are many talents that you can develop through training. But, if your job doesn’t align with your natural wiring, you will always be that student sitting in that difficult class, working harder than anyone else but settling for less success. Let’s be clear—my message isn’t that you shouldn’t work hard to be successful. And you should constantly attempt to grow. But, I am saying there is a difference between working hard in the dark and working passionately in the light of awareness.

What some people call “natural wiring,” John Hittler, CEO, Evoking Genius, calls Genius Talent. To discuss what Genius Talent is all about and how it can help leaders realize their true potential, I invited John to join me for an interesting podcast. Author of books such as The Motivation Trap (2018) and One In A Billion: Finding Your Genius Talent (2020), John holds 1:1 with CEOs to help them grow exponentially by focusing on their strengths—those areas where they can use that Genius Talent.

What is Genius Talent? 

Each one of us is endowed with one ” talent” that is different than any other person on the planet.  Some call it natural wiring, but John calls it “Genius Talent (GT).” Either way, there is a clear difference between trained abilities and genius talent. GT is a talent you bring to your profession, it’s not the same as a profession. Genius-level talent—and work related to that talent—scales much faster than learned skills, roles, or responsibilities. That means teams, organizations, and people who embrace their Genius Talent succeed enormously, enjoy their lives much more and create way more impact in the world than those who don’t.

Finding your genius talent

For some people, identifying our natural talents can be difficult—simply because they may not surface until you are in the right environment. For example, it took me years to discover that I am good at building relationships. While working hard as a first-generation immigrant and finding my feet as a tech entrepreneur in the tri-state area, I can to depend on a skill that I didn’t know I had until I started to need it. But if you are observant and curious enough, you can find your genius talent following any or all of the steps suggested below.

Relive happy childhood memories. Your unrecognized genius talents guide you to make certain choices, enjoy certain activities, and excel at some things more than others. Interestingly enough, what thrilled you as a grade school student and what thrills you as a leader are really very similar. So, take two minutes and recall your most joyous memories from elementary school. What made those moments so enjoyable? As you ponder these childhood memories, consider what similar activities still thrill you as an adult. Likely, you are looking at your genius talent. Now the question is how can you use it to shape parts of your career?

Ask your friends what your best qualities are. What do your friends compliment you on? What do they ask for your advice on? The great thing about asking a handful of trusted friends about your qualities is that they all usually say the same thing—an indicator of your genius talent. Sometimes the people who have known you the longest are the people who know you the best.

Reflect on what do you yearn to do. What fire is burning inside of you at this very moment? Do you love writing? Cool! Start a blog. Does thinking about meeting and connecting with new people send you into happiness overdrive? Perfect! Launch a meet-up for local executives in your neighborhood.

Take a personality test. These tests are an objective way of understanding what makes you tick. Once you know which personality type you fall into, you can start seeing your strengths and weaknesses more clearly in your everyday life.

Remember what you are most often thanked for. When people thank you for something, they have been helped in some way. Notice what actions earn you “thank yous” regularly. Are you a good listener? A good teacher? A good motivator? All of these things are genius talents.

Take stock of your media collections. The books you read, the music you listen to, and the movies you watch say a lot about what you value. Glance through all of your collections to find out one resonating idea. Dig further into this, is there a convention, a class, a workshop you could take to use this talent?

Write in a journal. Let your thoughts flow onto a few pages every morning. Come back after a week and re-read your pages. You’ll notice a lot of your thoughts circle back to one main idea—a talent or desire. Use these notes to look for hidden answers. What are you missing? What are you longing for? What opportunities do you wish would come through?

Final Thought: Whether you are training a struggling team to become the top performer or engaging an audience with an inspiring speech, in the end, it’s not about fixing who we are, it is about trusting your natural talents to guide you through a happier, more productive future.