I believe that everyone is a genius at something. Some of us are better innovators; some are better problem solvers. Some are better with people; some are better with things like computers. Some of us are good with spatial layout; some are good with sounds; and some are good at sports.
I also believe that most people are unhappy in their jobs because they can't bring their natural genius to work. But at this time, with this global economic malaise, I believe that now is the time to take your natural genius out of mothballs and share it with the world.
Sadly, most people don't even know that they are a genius. Maybe they were born with some natural talent that got honed as they grew up. It's as natural as breathing. They don't understand when others can't even begin to do it as well as they can. They are surprised when people come to them for insights and wisdom about how to do what they can do so well.
What do you do so well that others come to you for it? What do you love to do because it's fun and effortless? What do you love to do whether you get paid for it or not?
That's your genius. How are you going to bring it to bear on today's economic problems?
I'm good at reverse engineering human genius--how people do things well. And I'm an excellent problem solver. I've always been a writer. And I can code software. Somehow, I've managed to grow a business out of these abilities. I have friends who have built businesses out of marketing genius, speaking genius, caring-for-families genius and caring-for-self genius.
It doesn't matter what your genius is; the world needs it now!
So, instead of asking permission to use your genius at work, just start using it. Start small. Develop a prototype of the product or service change. Test it with willing customers. Tune it up. Then show it to your boss and coworkers. If you need to, ask for forgiveness not permission. We don't have time to wait for your genius.
Or, perhaps your genius lies outside of your job. Einstein was a patent clerk when he developed the theory of relativity. Mario Puzo was a postman when he wrote the Godfather on his kitchen table. Maybe it's time to startup a business on the side. It may not grow into Facebook, but it may grow into a business that employs many people.
Think it's hard or impossible to start a business in this economy? Read my ezine on The Lean Startup by Eric Ries. It's easier than you might think, if you use a proven strategy. I bootstrapped my business with a few hundred dollars at my kitchen table. You can too.
Stop hiding your genius under a barrel. Now is the time to bring it out and jump start this economy. But, it's up to you. You can keep struggling with a job that doesn't quite fit or bring your passion and expertise to it. You can stay miserable or start on the path of figuring out how to exploit your genius in service of others. When you start using your genius in service of others, it can become addictive. It's good for you and it's good for them.
Start now. Pick one thing you've been thinking about doing and stop hesitating. Create a crappy first draft or prototype. Try it out on strangers (family members are the first to tell you what's wrong with your idea). Strangers will give you valuable feedback you can learn from to adjust your offering. Tune it up. Try again until you find something people want and are willing to pay for. It's that simple.
Bring your genius to work and the marketplace. It will be good for all of us.