“I expand in abundance, success and love every day as I inspire those around me to do the same.” ~ The Ultimate Success Mantra in The Big Leap, by Gay Hendricks
The above “mantra” is encouraged to be said regularly in Gay Hendricks’ book, The Big Leap. I put it here because while we are all trying to figure out what the hoo-hah we’re supposed to be doing to live our purpose and genius, we need to remember to keep moving forward during that process, and saying this mantra can be a good reminder. Plus I simply dig quotes.
Hendricks says it even produces results – just saying the mantra! Why not! But more on mantras another time. If you’re as impatient as I am, you probably want to know if there are any tools out there that can also speed things up towards your genius 😉
Here are four questions to help you move closer to discovering your purpose and living your genius (you can read more about them in The Big Leap) .
4 Questions to Discover Your Purpose and Live Your Genius
1. What do I most love to do?
I love to play in the mountains and have adventures. Ever since I discovered them, the mountains have been one of the most consistent joy-producing sources in my life. I also love to dance. Throw me in the mountains to dance, and I am a pig in mud, a bee on pollen, a bear on salmon. What do YOU most love to do, so much that you could do it for long stretches of time and never get bored?
2. What work do I do that doesn’t seem like work?
When I am coaching, I remember the Double Dare Club I started as a kid (see below). I would feel a tickle in my stomach and a tingling in my whole being when I was doing something that stretched me, and watching and inspiring others to experience that as well. I could do that all day. I still feel that in my adult career as a coach. In the end, I can’t get enough of helping others see the truth that is already there: that they are magnificent, that the Universe wants them to manifest all their dreams (and is constantly conspiring to help them do so), and that life is so precious they need to get on it and LIVE it fully, right now, because they deserve to have a kick-ass time while they’re here.
When you’re at work, what are you doing when time seems to fly by, when you are feeling like you have endless energy to do that particular thing? Perhaps that thing even gives you energy. How much of your current workday is spent doing that activity? How can you increase that amount of time doing that? You must!
3. In my work, what produces the highest ratio of abundance and satisfaction to amount of time spent?
Gay Hendricks gives his example of allowing a few minutes of free-flowing thought every day. He finds that when he sets aside time for this (he takes an hour to meditate each day), he can have breakthroughs that result in marked increases of success in his work. Sometimes it takes months, but other times in a few seconds he’ll have an idea that will end up resulting in a product or book or workshop series that adds exponentially to his abundance.
This doesn’t mean YOU need to start setting aside an hour of free-flow thought a day (unless of course, that is your thang). However, it does mean it would behoove you to figure out what that special little thang is for you. And no, that’s not a typo. It’s a thang because it will bring you more satisfaction for the time and effort you expend at work than anything else ever would. For me its journaling and reading every day. Those two things gives me ideas for articles, workshops to offer, add to my skillset as a coach, come up with new programs…lots of great stuff! And I love doing it.
Maybe for you it is talking a walk in nature during lunch, calling up that colleague who really gets your creative juices flowing whenever you talk about projects, doodling…whatever it is, pinpoint what that thang is for you and spend more time doing it in your workday!
4. What is my unique ability (a.k.a. Superpower)?
I adore and appreciate how Gay’s granddaughter described one’s “unique ability” as a Superpower. So yes, let’s rephrase: What’s your Superpower? One client of mine excels at telling stories. Ever since she was a child she could captivate an audience with her stories. On a deeper level, she describes her superpower as knowing how to capture and hold attention on a deep level, and transport others with her voice. She could also tune into what story or lesson would be most beneficial to a group at a given event. Another client of mine didn’t discover her unique ability…ahem…I mean Superpower, until she was in her 40s. She discovered that she could see and be with others’ grief in a way very few people could, and this opened up a whole new career and way of being in the world for her.
Often this unique ability is developed at a young age. One of Gay’s granddaughters said her superpower is “sensing other people’s feelings” (she’s12 years old). It is not unusual that it develops as a coping mechanism to deal with some kind of stress, such as a volatile parent, an overbearing sibling, or being very shy in social situations.
For example, as a kid, I noticed that my cousins and friends and I got bored pretty easily. We were energetic, adventurous, bursting with life…and we lived in the ghetto. This meant we couldn’t run amok all over town lest something horrible happen to us. And our parents were strict enough that we couldn’t get away with even trying, lest something even more horrible happen to us at home. So, I had an idea: “The Double Dare Club.”
I think I was eight years old when I thought of starting the Double Dare Club. What was this club about? Well, it essentially consisted of me thinking up wild and crazy ways we could all expand our comfort zones in the relative safety of our own backyards. Then I’d double dare the club members to do it. “Expanding our comfort zones” is an adult way of putting it, of course. Back then I saw it as a way for us to have fun, be a little scared, and stop being bored. I was an only child and abhorred boredom. I’d cry from boredom, and avoided it at all costs.
No matter why we were in the club, however, it was paramount that what we did had to push our edge. Otherwise it would be boring.
These dares were customized by me. After all, members ranged in ages from 6 to 10 years old, and even boys joined my club. In fact, mostly boys joined my club. As an example of our dares, I had people climbing tall fences barefoot and launching off the fence into the neighbor’s backyard then stealing a basketball (which we’d quickly return once the deed was done) then coming back and shooting 3 straight free throws and making them, then jumping back over to return the ball all in 2 minutes. Did I mention the neighbor was mean? We also climbed up the REALLY tall redwood tree (yeah, we had one in the ghetto and it fell into our yard after a storm one winter and we didn’t have it anymore) and would see who could get the highest and then climb down, sometimes with one arm. Sometimes blindfolded. Sheesh. My poor mother. She didn’t know about any of that though.
In any event, I LOVED seeing my friends’ faces after they did each dare. They were absolutely thrilled and proud and giddy! If it wasn’t a hard enough dare, everything felt kind of flat. My unique superpower was hidden somewhere in there, for sure.
So..how do I describe what it is?
Articulating your unique ability is a tricky one to get at, as it is often hidden under a lot of layers. So, here are a few questions to help you peel those away:
• I’m at my best when ………
• When I’m at my best, the exact thing I’m doing is …..
• When I’m doing that, the thing I love most about it is ….
When I did this inquiry of “What is my unique ability” several times in the past, I thought my unique ability was to coach clients into a fulfilled life, or to midwife families into an empowered pregnancy and birth experience, or take them into the mountains to push beyond being scared, and instead be inspired and discover their courage. However, it was deeper than that.
When I peeled back the layers I discovered that I am at my best when I am totally present and connected with my clients. The exact thing I am doing – whether I was coaching, guiding, or midwifing – is completely tuning in to where they are at. I am listening on all levels to what they are communicating, and feeling intense compassion for them and excitement about how their life is unfolding as they learn more and more about what is possible for them, and integrate these truths themselves.
In being with my clients this way, I create a safe and courageous space for them to take risks (by the way, this is what happens whenever ANY of us are being with others in this way). Over the years that showed up in births, in the mountains, and in my client’s wild-innerness. The thing I love most about when that is happening is that I get to witness another being discover their power and live their truth, and that is a freakin’ amazing thing to behold. It gives me boundless joy because I know yet another precious life on this precious planet is going to be lived even more fully, and we ALL benefit from that. And they will never be bored. This life is too precious to EVER be bored.
I hope you take some time to discover your genius and create ways to live in it more and more each day. The world doesn’t just want you to – it needs you to.