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What is your genius?

“What do you do?”

I hate that question.  Yet it is the one that helps others make sense of what I have to offer.  The problem is that I offer many things and…

…I have some shame around one little thing……

I have a full-time job.

Although I would love to be able to do all the things that fulfill me and make a full-time living – Life Coaching, Nia and USANA Health Sciences – the truth is, I haven’t found my way there. Yet.

Here are  a few of the scenarios I have found myself in as a result of the “What do you do?” question:

Scenario 1:  Overwhelm

Me: “Oh, I, uh, well I am a Life Coach but I haven’t managed to make a living from it, so I am still teaching.  Oh, yeah, and I also teach Nia on the week-ends and am on a team with Dr. Christiane Northrup building my USANA business.”  
Them: Eyes glazed over. “Oh, wow.  You’re busy…. Me too…”
Me: Huh… (change subject to something predictable and safe so I don’t have to run away screaming)

Scenario 2: The challenge

Me: I am a life coach.
Them: You’re the fourth one I’ve met tonight.  Everyone seems to be a life coach….
Me: Yes, I suppose there is need for us.
Them: What makes you different?
Me: For starters, I went through a pretty rigorous program to become a Certified Professional Coach.
Them: Well, good luck with that.
Me: Thank you.  Nice to meet you.  Sigh. 

It would be so much easier to be a one trick pony when answering this question – I could have some succinctness and clarity.

But I am a Renaissance woman.  I have many interests.

And I have been too chicken-shit to leave my JOB in order to see if have what it takes to make a living at it.  The shame I carry around it makes me feel like I’m a fake.

I wish the question I was asked were:

“What is your genius?” 

Then, I could answer it without missing a beat:

  • I’m a brilliant networker. 
  • I have an uncanny ability to connect people to other people, to ideas and to resources to help them live out their best selves. 
  • I can take an idea and make it bigger, better. 
  • I am awesome at brainstorming and problem-solving.
  • I am unbelievably creative.
  • I think in terms of possibilities.
  • I am a catalyst.
  • I am a researcher of new information.  Everything I learn is raw material for something completely new.
  • I am resourceful.
  • I am confident and optimistic.
  • I can paint a picture of “what could be” for my clients.
  • I focus on what’s right with my clients.
  • I am an emotional person – always tilting upward.
  • I derive my strength from others – I can’t help myself, I am compelled to uplift them.
  • I create a trusting container for my clients.
  • I like to energize a group.
  • I am a great facilitator of people.
  • I’m intuitive.
  • I go with the flow.
  • I follow my instincts and have the ability to teach others to do the same.

Shall I go on?

I suspect that I’m not the only Renaissance dreading the “What do you do” question.

What creative ways have you found to response to the question “What do you do?” What is your funniest, “What do you do?” story?  And, most importantly, “What is Your Genius?”



7 Responses to “What is your genius?”

  1. I like that. When someone asks what you do, you should answer them with the What is your genius, answer… My favorite one is… I am unbelievably creative. That’s what I’m going to say from now on! 😀

  2. Cindy Blass says:

    After having my first child (I have 2 boys) this was after the 17 year old was born in June 1994. I was at a Christmas party (so Dec. of 1994) when asked what do you do. I would say I have a new born son and stay at home with him. Time after time, people would look VERY disinterested and quickly walk away. Giving birth and staying home, I became a nobody! Tired of this, I was asked again at the party. I sorta knew of this lady. She worked outside the home and had a very young daughter. When she asked me what do you do…I said, I just gave birth to a boy and stay at home teaching my son to not sell your daughter drugs or get her pregnant! I thought that was a good answer…apparently no one else agreed with me, including my Ex husband! Apparently he didn’t get me either!

    • Joëlle says:

      Letting to of the importance we place on those who don’t get us seems like a lesson on our journey, doesn’t it? xoox Joëlle

  3. Joëlle says:

    Isn’t that the perfect answer? We get so caught up in the minutiae – myself included. This is why I coach – to learn the lessons myself while I partner with others. xoxo Joëlle

  4. Jane Wang says:

    I totally resonate! I’m just starting out in the ICA program and am living my first year as a “freelancer” trying to figure out the next stage in my life/career — and it is so hard to define myself in social settings, esp when so much of our social selves are based on what we do! If I had a website like yours, I would just give them my card with the website on it and some simple key words, like “creative * intuitive * etc, or “life coach * teacher * dancer * catalyst * etc., or a quote that sums it all up. You probably already have a card, but just in case not, it would be the perfect way to encapsulate everything you want to say. Just a thought =) Thank you for being honest about something that we all encounter when we are finally working toward our dreams. You are inspirational. Look forward to hearing you speak at the ICA talk next week!

    • Joëlle says:

      Jane, SO glad you found the site! Yes, this is messy and delicious space. With perseverance, courage and community, clarity will set in – And, you, like so many of us, is a Renaissance Woman….. By launching and learning, you can bring yourself from mess to success. It’s all a matter of time. I look forward to sharing my “mess to success” stories for ICA when I interview with Merci. xoxo Joëlle

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