Jobs, industries, companies, economies are subject to change but there’s one thing that doesn’t change and it’s the fact that you are a genius. Yes a genius and you’ve been using that genius your whole life. In fact, it’s what people consistently come to you for even if you’ve never advertised. It’s what people thank you for providing even though you were just being yourself. It may not be what you’ve been paid to do (yet) but it’s valuable and of service to others.
You might be wondering why I’m talking about about genius when Job Action Day this year is about transferable skills. Well, in my 16 years of experience as a career coach, nothing is more consistently valuable through up and down economies than a person putting their genius to use in service to others.
Each of us possesses a unique core genius. It’s the package of skills, experiences, talents, ideas, attitudes and preferences that no one else can replicate in exactly the same way because no one else has lived our life or been through what each of us has been through.
If you’ve been looking to give your career new life, you need look no further than the genius that’s been uniquely yours. Look to the ways you’ve easily been of service to others throughout your life and you will see a pattern of genius shining through. For example, I’ve been asking people about their careers since I was six. I wanted to know what they did for a job and what they liked and didn’t like about it. And if they didn’t like it, what would need to change for them to be happier. Also at six, my mother went to medical school and I had a wonderful life experience that taught me that it’s never too late to change careers to do what you love. (My Mom dreamed of being a doctor since she was six.)
But to make your genius transferable, you’ve got to package it so that others can pay you for it. Before I packaged my genius into the job of career coach, I was giving away unsolicited career advice (and it wasn’t always appreciated). However, it was appreciated at work when we had to set goals and do our own self-assessments as part of the annual performance evaluation process. Everyone dreaded that annual process but not me. I loved it and had fun talking colleagues through their goals and helping them capture the highlights of their performance over the past year. It wasn’t may job but I did it naturally and successfully (without any prior training) and it was fun! And your genius is fun (and easy) for you to use too. You just have to research and test out ways to be of service using it (in ways you can make a living.)
For example, I have a client who’s a genius at making things fun whether it’s coming up with a game to play while waiting in line or it’s making a joke at a tense moment in a meeting to lighten to mood. He’s also empathetic and can see when someone needs encouragement or a boost. He’s also a great critic – he can improve any process or procedure to make it more effective. How is all this a genius? Well he’s been a successful management consultant focused on improving systems and processes. In this case, his empathy for client situations and ability to make things fun has enabled him to bring together teams through difficult improvement-focused projects. He’s currently looking at teaching as a career as well since he knows kids learn better when things are more fun, his empathy will help him relate to students who are struggling and his push to improve will support them in becoming their best. Two very different careers but all stemming from the same genius.
In your case, the same is true. Your genius can be of service in a myriad of ways. If your current company is downsizing or your industry is shrinking, don’t wait for the layoffs, start looking now at ways your genius can be of service in new situations.
Here are three questions to ask yourself to get started:
- What would I do if I knew I couldn’t fail?
- Who’s job would I love to have?
- What do people thank me for?
These types of Soul Search questions are crucial to determining your unique core genius. Once you’ve got that, the next step is to Research careers and jobs where your genius is a key required skill. Case in point, I’ve always been a great note taker and a great typist. I can capture information quickly and accurately. As a career coach, these talents play very well because I’m able to capture my clients career insights quickly and accurately. They love that I’m able to keep such great track of our conversations so they can leverage the insights we uncover to make smart career decisions. I don’t have to work at taking copious notes, in fact, I find it a fun challenge to get everything just as it was said. Your genius is designed to make you great at the job(s) you’re here to do too.
The last step to transferring your genius to a new career is to Job Search. But by this I don’t mean filling out a bunch of job applications. Rather it’s about going after the career possibilities you identified that fit who you are and what you’re here to do. It’s about networking with people in the jobs and fields you’d love to be in (even if you’ve never done that work before). You see, your natural genius will shine through and though you may have things to learn you won’t be starting over at the bottom. You’ll be able to make lateral moves into new areas and move up the ladder more quickly and easily than when in jobs that didn’t match your genius. It’s truly that simple.
So get started now. Identify and package your genius through Soul Search, Research and Job Search. The world needs you to put it to good use in service to problems that only your genius is here to solve. Take action and remember your genius is always transferable!
I’m writing this post in support of LiveCareer’s Job Action Day. Created in 2008, Job Action Day connects workers and jobseekers with unique job-search and career advice from leading experts and bloggers in the career field. This year, we celebrate experienced professionals with the theme: “Survive and Thrive: Using Transferable Skills to Give Your Career New Life”.