How to uncover and leverage your unique genius

Focusing on your unique genius and strengths in your business, body of work, and daily activities provide you with the greatest opportunity for fulfillment and growth in your work.

Leveraging your strengths is also your greatest opportunity to create value for others and to contribute to something bigger than yourself.

When used in the right way, your strengths are a competitive advantage and a key element for strong brand positioning as a thought leader. A strong brand position helps you stand out and attract your ideal audience and customers.

Understanding your unique genius also helps you create courses, products, and services that leverage your strengths. When you do this, you create greater results for your clients and students.

Further, you feel more confident when you talk about (i.e. market and sell) and deliver your products and services because you have a greater understanding of how your customers will benefit from working with you.

Finally, this process provides you with the exact language to describe what you do best and how it is unique. This makes your messaging more compelling to the clients you enjoy working with most and do your best work with.

For the past decade, I’ve refined a process for helping my students and clients uncover and connect with their unique genius.

Today, I’d like to share with you a worksheet that walks you through part of that process. This is pulled directly from my Launch Your Course online workshop.

You can access the Google Doc version of the worksheet here.

Are you taking this opportunity for granted?

I told her she was overlooking a huge opportunity.

I was on the phone with a client who wanted to build a personal brand as a thought leader in the homesteading niche.

She and her boyfriend recently purchased a plot of land. She was waiting to start the brand because they have a lot of work to do before they can move there.

I told her that would be a mistake to wait. Then I gave her the following advice.

“Capture everything you do, starting now. Shoot videos with your phone, take photos, and/or take lots of notes to turn into blog posts. But whatever you do, start sharing your journey online now. There so much you will be doing in the coming months that will be fascinating to the audience you want to attract.”

Building a fence around the property.

Setting up an address with the Post Office.

Researching what kind of solar panels to install.

All of these topics would make for excellent audience- and brand-building content.

One of the best places to find compelling content is in your day-to-day activities.

This could include:

  • Things you think about
  • Decisions you make
  • Something you are learning or researching
  • Your routines and systems
  • A tour of your space
  • Challenges you’ve run into and how you manage them
  • An “over the shoulder” explanation of how you do something
  • A sneak peek at a new project

And that’s just to name a handful of possibilities.

It can be as simple as turning on the camera and giving them an inside look for five minutes.

This kind of content is exceptionally effective because it feels real and transparent, it helps them connect with you, it satisfies curiosity, and it’s just really valuable and interesting for your audience.

Don’t take this for granted.

Get in the habit of creating content by mining your day-to-day and capturing things you are already doing.

You’ll never have to wrack your brain again for content ideas.

It’s important to have practices in place to intentionally counterbalance that with noticing the good.

When your brain is a real @$%&*

Think of one of your most vivid memories. What’s the first thing that comes to mind?

Was it a good memory or a bad memory?

When I was given this prompt by a friend, the first thing that came to mind was receiving a phone call from my brother telling me that my dad had passed away.

Research tells us our minds are more likely to remember bad memories than good ones. Scientists believe there are deep-rooted evolutionary reasons for this.

In other words, our brain can be a real @$%&* sometimes.

Perhaps this is related to why we are much more likely at the end of the day to dwell on the things that went wrong or didn’t get done rather than what we did well.

We’ve all had those moments when we doubt our ideas, feel like we haven’t done enough, or impostor syndrome gets the best of us.

If our brains have an inclination to more readily recall negative things, it’s important to have practices in place to intentionally counterbalance that with noticing the good.

I recently came across just such an exercise from author and psychotherapist, Pete Walker. It’s called a 12×12 Self-Gratitudes Matrix. You make a list of twelve things about yourself in the following twelve categories.

  1. Accomplishments
  2. Traits
  3. Good Deeds
  4. Peak Experiences
  5. Life Enjoyment
  6. Intentions
  7. Good Habits
  8. Jobs
  9. Subjects Studied
  10. Obstacles Overcome
  11. Grace Received
  12. Nurturing Memories

The idea is to memorize and recite these lists in those moments when you get caught in a downward spiral of fear, doubt, or “not enoughness.”

I was stunned at how hard it was to make these lists. It was as if my brain was afraid to acknowledge the good for fear that it would leave me vulnerable to the possibility of the bad.

It was all the more reason for me to persevere and do the exercise.

Whether it’s the 12×12 Self Gratitudes, positive affirmations, keeping a gratitude journal, or something else, I encourage you to integrate some sort of practice to train your brain to notice and remember the good things about you and your life.

As a creator and thought leader, you put yourself and your ideas out there, set ambitious goals, and expose yourself to the criticism every day.

It’s vital to have a source of grounding that reminds you of the good in your life for those moments when self-protection goes awry and threatens to slow you down or derail you.

Self-efficacy is defined as a person’s perceptions about how capable they are at executing a course of action and handling given situations.

Do Your Intended Customers Have All Three of These Reasons to Believe (and Buy)?

My seven-year-old daughter is away for a week-long sleepaway camp for the first time.

When we presented the idea to her earlier this summer, she immediately started dancing around and singing excitedly about what it would be like to be away from her parents for a week.

I was both inspired by her bravery as well as caught off guard by her eagerness to be rid of us!

Upon further investigation, we realized her courage originated from a show she’d recently watched about kids going away to camp for the summer.

Watching a story about kids her age having a rewarding experience at sleepaway camp had fed her belief that she would be fine being away and would enjoy the experience as well.

Your intended customers often need a similar dose of self-efficacy before they will say yes to working with you.

Self-efficacy is defined as a person’s perceptions about how capable they are at executing a course of action and handling given situations.

Your marketing can do a perfect job of getting someone to believe in you and your product, but if they still don’t believe that they are capable of successfully reaching the outcome, they won’t say yes and invest.

This is especially true if they’ve previously tried other solutions and failed to reach the desired goal.

So how can you help a prospective customer or client to believe in their ability to successfully take advantage of and benefit from your product or service?

Research by psychologist Albert Bandura points to several factors that are proven to boost self-efficacy.

Today, I want to take a look at one in particular that you can use right away in your content and marketing.

In the same way that my watching a show about kids her age at sleepaway camp increased my daughter’s confidence, you can increase your intended customer’s belief in their abilities with storytelling.

Bandura calls this “modeling.” When we see someone else succeed, it boosts our own self-efficacy. This is especially true when we view that person as being similar to us.

Tell stories that model self-efficacy in your content, particularly content that plays a part in earning someone’s trust before they do business with you.

Include details that help them identify with the character in the story so they get that “if they can do it, I can do it, too” feeling.

Until all three levels of belief are in place — belief in you, belief in your solution, and belief in their own ability — you will lose potential clients and customers.

One final note, it’s also important to build self-efficacy boosting factors into your courses and other programs to maintain the motivation of your clients and students.

Now let’s just hope that when my daughter gets home tomorrow she still believes she still needs her mom and dad? Yay for independence! But she’s still my little girl for a while longer. 🙂

How to Stand Out in a Noisy Market

How can you stand out in a marketplace where so many are saying and offering similar expertise as you?

The commonly echoed advice is to have a compelling Unique Selling Proposition. Which tells your audience why they should choose your solution over others valuable to them.

While there is truth to this statement, it takes the focus away from one of the most powerful ways to create a one-of-a-kind thought leadership brand and business.

Resonance.

Ultimately people will follow your message, support your work, and do business with you because of who you are, how you think, and how you make them feel.

This requires infusing your content and brand with your values, stories, opinions, and unique point of view.

The more you share these parts of yourself, the more your audience discovers the things you share in common.

This shifts the relationship with your audience and customers away from being simply transactional. It turns it into a relationship of shared meaning and values.

This is Resonance.

Resonance breeds trust. Our brains are wired to trust people that we perceive as being like us.

Resonance elevates you above the sea of sameness in your market.

You go from being one of many experts in the marketplace to being the best and only choice for those who resonate with you.

To do this, you must infuse your content, brand, and messaging with the things that are most foundational to who you are — your stories, perspective, personality, values, purpose, beliefs, etc.

Even things as simple as your mutual interests — Great British Baking Show anyone? — plant seeds of Resonance with your audience.

While expertise and credibility are important, if you rely on these elements at the expense of shared meaning, it will limit your reach and impact.

When you create content this week, find opportunities to share the resonant side of who you are. Lean into it. It’s one of your greatest assets.