Discover Your Innermetrix by jolinmilioncherie

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What’s Your Genius? © Copyright 2007 by Jay Niblick

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First Publication: August 30th, 2008

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“Stop trying to put in what God left out and instead, work with
                        what He put in.”
                                              Dr. Robert S. Hartman

(Under Construction)

To Melanie, whose Genius has “moved” so many others and to Zach, Baker
and Joseph, whose Genius remains untapped yet still infinite. Just Do You!

   Contents   6

Did you ever have that one class in school where no matter how hard you tried you just
never seemed to get it? No matter how hard you studied; no matter how hard you
worked; results just never seemed to come easily if at all. Even if you did do well it was
always a struggle. But, if you are like most people, there was also another class where the
exact opposite was true and things just came to you almost effortlessly? The whole
concept just made sense and you achieved success with much less effort.

One reason for this is because each of us has certain innate talents for thinking decision-
making. These natural talents allow us to see some aspects of reality very clearly while
filtering out other aspects almost completely. For example, some people naturally see the
big picture very easily (the talent for strategic thinking), or intuitively understanding how
various parts work together (the talent for integrative ability), while still for others
understanding complex problems is like second nature (the problem solving talent).

Our thinking talents and decision-making styles comprise the very core of who we are.
They make us the unique individual that we see in the mirror each morning and they hold
the greatest potential for delivering our greatest levels of performance and success.

For the most part, science agrees that these decision-making styles are pretty much
permanently engrained in who we in both our genetics and early life experiences. As a
result, these are not things that you can develop through training exercises or sheer effort
in adulthood. If your job (or class) depends heavily on a talent that you don’t possess, or
if it doesn’t align well with what talents you do possess, you are in trouble. You will
always be that student sitting in the difficult class, working harder than anyone else just
to keep up and achieve less.

Conventional wisdom, however, would argue that you should do just that. The traditional
view of self-improvement says that it is good to place yourself in that difficult class, to
stretch yourself, to become well rounded in a wide variety of areas and to identify your
weaknesses so you can fix them and turn them into strengths. Unfortunately, conventional
wisdom, which this book will challenge, is based on time-honored principles. And the
problem with such principles is that they can become subject to less and less
consideration over time. Eventually, such “wisdom” becomes such a part of the norm
that it fails to be questioned at all, becoming accepted without question – even when it is

More specifically the conventional wisdom I’m talking about here is a legacy of beliefs
concerning how companies manage people and how people allow themselves to be
managed. It is a legacy created in a bygone era where the world operated in an industrial

economy, but this era has passed. Today the world’s organizations, and those who work
in them, find themselves in a new and very different kind of era – an intellectual age. Had
the beliefs of the old era passed silently into history, along with the era in which they
were built, there would be no problem. Unfortunately, they didn’t fade away. The beliefs
on how to manage people, and how to be managed, survive today in the very foundations
of the management principles most companies employ, and given that they were created
for another era, they are out of place and inappropriate for both the organizations and
individuals they affect today.

This legacy of beliefs has created a significant problem throughout the world where we
find people in every culture feeling unfulfilled, dissatisfied and frustrated with roles that
bind their performance and management beliefs that limit their potential. The problem
this creates has grown to such levels as to legitimately be considered a pandemic. All
over the world people are suffering from this problem and this book seeks to address that
problem by seeing what we can learn from those who do – and don’t – suffer from it.

What’s Your Genius is the result of seven years of research, statistical analysis of over
197,000 people, interviews and personal work with some of the most successful people in
the world in a wide variety of fields. This study separated performance into five levels,
the fifth level being the absolute peak of performance or what the book calls “Genius.”
So this isn’t a book about how to increase your intelligence; it’s a book about how to help
anyone reach their peak level of performance (i.e., their genius).

What the study teaches is that the most successful people don’t follow conventional
wisdom. They understand that their natural talents are fixed and therefore they don’t
spend their lives trying to become the A+ student in that difficult class. Because they
understand that they are who they are, instead of wasting vast amounts of energy trying to
become something they are not, they invest that energy in trying to better apply the
natural talents they already possess. In a sense, and to quote Dr. Robert Hartman, “they
stop trying to put in what God left out and instead work with what He put in.” This is
what the very best do, and this is what this book is meant to show you how to do as well.
What’s Your Genius is about helping you learn how break from conventional wisdom,
become more self-aware, more authentic and much more successful.

The results of this research shatters the conventional wisdom on personal development,
and delivers a radical new approach to improving performance by freeing individuals to
become more true to their natural talents and strengths – not slaves to fixing their non-
talents or weaknesses. The book also explores how these successful people think and
make decisions, and details what the research discovered about the traits these extremely
successful people possess that guide them to success over and over again. It specifically
shows how the most successful people reject many of the commonly accepted beliefs
about self-development and in many cases do the exact opposite of what traditional
teachings would have us believe.

When we really know ourselves and our talents, when we are completely authentic to
those talents and when we create goals and objectives that feed off those talents - an

almost mystical energy seems to show up in what we are doing. The stars seem to align
and as Basil King put it, “mighty forces come to our aid.”

In the end it’s not about “fixing” what we don’t have, but rather learning to trust what we
do have and letting it do its thing. In that moment, when we are in the flow - where all of
our talents are optimally aligned with what we are doing – anyone really can become a

Like the research, this book has been written in a dozen different countries, from a
thousand individual thoughts inspired by a world of sources. From the margins of a book
read on a flight to Johannesburg, to cocktail notes in a Tapas bar in Madrid, to sticky
notes on my bathroom mirror - bit-by-bit these thoughts have gathered. Eventually,
however, they coalesced into one coherent thought. A thought that holds the potential to
help you eliminate any problems you have with feeling frustrated, dissatisfied or
unfulfilled with your role.

This global creation is fitting since the world it was written across is the same world
affected by its story, and the very world intended to benefit from its message. If
benefiting the world seems an overly ambitious goal, please understand that my audience
in this regard is only as large as the problem itself. That audience is individuals in every
organization, at every level, on every continent, and the problem they suffer is a growing
lack of motivation, satisfaction, fulfillment and success. My hope is that this book helps
you become true to yourself and all of your potential. If this book offers only one
promise – I believe it is the promise of a truth worth learning.

Some of the successful people studied for this book include:

  •   Anthony Robbins – Personal Life Coach and Peak Performance expert
  •   Dan Lyons – CEO of Team Concepts Inc., seven-time National Team member,
      World Champion and Olympian in rowing
  •   Frances Hesselbein – Founding Director of the Peter F. Drucker Foundation and
      former CEO of Girl Scouts of America
  •   Laurence Higgins M.D. – Chief of Sports Medicine and Shoulder at Harvard
  •   Dr. Marshall Goldsmith – NY Times best-selling business author & executive
      coach to Fortune 500 CEOs
  •   Michael Lorelli – former Chief Marketing Officer and President of PepsiCo Inc.
  •   Mickey Rogers – World Authority Demolitions Expert
  •   Randy Haykin – Founding Vice President Sales/Marketing Yahoo Inc.
  •   And many more…

                             How to Use This Book
Sir Frances Bacon once said, “Knowledge is power.” Unfortunately, he was only half
correct because only applied knowledge is power; otherwise it remains only potential
power. On the difference between knowledge and applied knowledge, Executive Coach
to the Fortune 500, Dr. Marshall Goldsmith, says, “Most leaders have access to the same
knowledge. They read the same journals and listen to the same experts. It’s not an issue
of lack of knowledge. For most leaders, the great challenge is not understanding the
practice of leadership - it is practicing their understanding." Likewise, while this book
will indeed give you new knowledge, the great challenge is not to understand the practice
of being authentic - it is learning how to practice that understanding.

Books are wonderful sources of knowledge, but if such knowledge isn’t applicable it is
only valuable for its entertainment factor. As Benjamin Franklin once said, “Tell me and
I will forget, show me and I might remember, involve me and I will understand.”
Throughout this book I will be giving you a lot of new knowledge, but to help you really
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understand that knowledge I will also be getting you involved by asking you to complete
certain activities. These are called Genius Action Steps and they reside in an online suite
of tools developed specifically for this book. You now have free access to all of these

To access your personal account simply go to: and
create your own free account. It only takes a few seconds to register and activate your
account. This system is a secure, password-encrypted site, so you will be the only one
who has access to it.

Throughout the book these online activities are marked with this Genius symbol.
Whenever you see this symbol you will know it is time to go to your WYG online
workbook to complete a simple exercise or activity to help you apply some new bit of

                         1 - The Problem

I could see the frustration in her face and I could hear it in her voice. As I sat there
listening to Lina describe her current level of satisfaction with her life, her job and her
success it was glaringly apparent that she was tired, frustrated and just plain spent from
working harder than she thought she should have to, only to achieve less success than she
wanted to. She didn’t feel her current job was allowing her to reach her full potential.

Lina and I were sitting in a coffee bar in downtown Zurich, Switzerland where earlier that
day I had given a lecture to a group of executives and entrepreneurs on the key drivers of
individual performance and excellence. At the end of the lecture I asked a simple
question, “How many of you feel satisfied with your current level of personal
performance and that your role allows you to reach your fullest potential?” The show of
hands throughout the room might have represented half of the attendees at best – a room
containing over 300 individuals. And there I stood, yet again, staring out into a room full
of people with both hands on their laps, looking around somewhat sheepishly, not very
excited about their inability to raise their hands up high.

I say “yet again” because this wasn’t the first time I had asked this question. I’ve asked it
all over the world, and the response is pretty much the same no matter where I go - from
Istanbul to Sydney, New York to Hong Kong, Johannesburg to Zurich. And every time
I’ve asked that relatively simple question (a question one would hope is not asking too
much) at best 50% of the crowd raises their hands while the rest remain timidly still,
indicating more to themselves than anyone else, that when they really think about it they
do not feel truly fulfilled in their work or fully satisfied with their own performance and
success. In talking more closely with many of these people I find that they:
     • Feel frustrated and unfulfilled
     • Feel that they putting in more effort than they get out in results
     • Feel they have lots of unrealized potential
     • Are dissatisfied with their performance and success
     • Know they can be happier and more passionate

Simply put; they don’t feel their current roles allow them to maximize their full

Perhaps even scarier than the percentages is the realization of whom I talk to in these
presentations. I typically present only to executives and entrepreneurs, so if the leaders of
the world’s organizations aren’t fully satisfied and passionate about what they do, what
does that mean for the organizations and people they lead?

                         ~ I feel like I put in more than I get out ~

Lina, the Vice President of Human Resources at a medium-sized retail company, had
approached me after my lecture and asked if I had a few minutes to talk, so we found a
quiet corner in a coffee bar in the same building. She was considering hiring one of our
executive coaches and as she explained to me that she felt she was always putting in more
than she got out, one of the most telling indicators of her lack of fulfillment and
satisfaction came in her acknowledgment that more weeks than not, she looked forward
to the weekends but dreaded Mondays. Lina had a first class case of the “golden hand
cuffs”. As the primary breadwinner for her family, and with three young children at
home and a husband out of work, she needed the financial rewards her job provided, but
those were some of the only rewards it did provide. She had developed some very close
personal relationships at work as well, and part of her reason for staying was the loyalty
she felt to those in her department. But outside of providing her with the money she
needed and some dear friends, she was constantly battling to achieve the results and
success she wanted. In her own words she didn’t feel that her job allowed her to be
“true’ to herself. This feeling of being “untrue” would turn out to be a clue to a problem
suffered by far too many people around the world.

Lina was cuffed to a job that she couldn’t afford to leave, literally, but couldn’t afford to
stay in emotionally. As a result, her dissatisfaction was up and her passion and results
were down - way down.

Unfortunately Lina isn’t alone. In my work as a business consultant and coach I have
met too many people who feel unfulfilled by their roles and are frustrated with the lack of
performance and success they achieve. All too often I meet people who work to live
instead of the other way around. A recent Harris poll1 of 23,000 individuals revealed that
only half were satisfied with the work they had accomplished by the end of the week. It’s
so common for people to not be fully in love with what they do that we’ve even
developed cliché’s like: The Monday morning blues, Hump day and TGIF.

How many times have you heard someone make the following kind of statement?
  • I cant wait for retirement
  • Thank God it’s Friday (repeated every single week)
  • Tell me again why I’m here
  • I never seem to get ahead
  • I’m just going through the paces, I’m bored
  • Something’s missing

How many times have you made a similar statement? How fulfilled are you in your
current role? Do you feel like you are free to use all of your intelligence, natural talents
and potential in the work you do every day? If you found yourself in one of my
lectures…would you raise your hand?

    For more information about the Harris Poll visit

Over the past ten years I’ve seen so many people suffering from the same kinds of issues
that eventually I gave it a name. Now I just refer to it as The Problem, and the formal
definition of The Problem is, “a growing trend of people who feel unfulfilled in their
roles and dissatisfied and frustrated with personal results or success.”

The Problem isn’t something suffered only by unsuccessful people either. The Problem is
just as evident among those who are actually quite successful but feel stuck and unable to
reach the next level of performance. They may be performing at level 4th (excellence),
but they want peak performance increases and nothing they do seems to help them break
through that next barrier. These people are equally as frustrated with their level of
success, as much as anyone else. Regardless of the level of performance, any individual
who feels unable to improve, for long enough, will start to become uninspired,
impassionate and dissatisfied with their performance. They will eventually begin to suffer
from The Problem.

Today, too many people are uninspired, impassionate and unfulfilled. Too many people
suffer physical and mental health complications as a direct result of the stress and
unhappiness they feel in their daily lives. And given the increasing frequency and
globalization of this problem, I decided to try and find out why these issues existed in the
first place. I wanted to better understand the differences between those who did and did
not suffer from The Problem. Why did some, despite great effort, struggle to achieve high
levels of performance and success while others achieved it much more frequently and
with much less effort and frustration?

I knew I had to find some answers to this problem otherwise more Linas would be
dreading Mondays, and more people would be leaving their hands on their laps and their
true potential unrealized. And so was born the Genius Project.

  ~ The Problem is an epidemic of people who feel frustrated and dissatisfied with their
                           own performance and success ~

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                                   Chapter 1 Review:
                                     • “The Problem” is an epidemic of people that feel unfulfilled, dissatisfied
                                  and frustrated with their performance

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                                    Chapter 1 Gut Check
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How fulfilled are you? Sometimes, when I ask this question, people insert the original
inspiration behind their chosen profession or role. But I’m not talking about your original
reasons for being in the career you are in, just your current level of fulfillment in chasing
that inspiration. Many times people have a passionate reason for getting into a line of
work, but then something happens. Things get added. You take on new roles, and new
responsibilities, and before you know it you are off course. These new additions are like
tiny steps, each one taking them just a little bit further away from their original objective.
These steps are so tiny that they are easy to miss, but they add up and the next thing you
know you are way off course. In the military we had a term for getting off-course like
this. We called it “Mission Creep.”

Have you gotten off course? Has your original objective grown into something you don’t
recognize or like anymore? When you stop to look up, are you where you thought you
would be, or wanted to be, five years ago?

                                     How far have you crept from where you intended to be? (Circle one)
                                    Very Far away 1      2     3     4       5 Right where I want to be

To help you determine how significant this problem may or may not be for you, please go
online now and take the first Genius Action Step. If you haven’t set up your account
please do that first, then you can complete this short exercise to help you objectively
assess just how satisfied you are with your own level of performance and how fulfilled
you feel in your roles.

                                    Genius Action Step 1: Please log into your WYG Online workbook and complete the
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                                    Problem Pre-Assessment
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“The Problem” Self-assessment results

Now that you have completed Genius Action Step #1, let’s go over what the results
mean. This self-assessment has eight categories designed to help create a comprehensive
overview of just how significant The Problem is or is not for you. Some of the categories
covered in this assessment are things we have not yet discussed at this point, but
beginning in the very next chapter we will be exploring more of these so it’s good that we
gather them all at the same time, up front, to get the most objective and unbiased opinion
possible. Those categories are:
    • Self-awareness – How aware are you of your talents and non-talents?
    • Authenticity – How true to those talents are you in your roles and work?
    • Level of Performance – At what level do you feel you are performing?
    • Self-Direction – How clear is your vision for where you want to go?
    • Role Awareness – How well do you understand your roles in life?
    • Self-Belief – How much belief do you have in your ability to succeed?
    • Effort/Ease – How much effort do you have to put in to get results?
    • Levels of Satisfaction – How satisfied are you with your overall success?

Your assessment gives you an overall score for each category above. If you scored less
than four on the overall score then The Problem is a significant one for you, and the
lessons in this book will help you correct that. If you scored less than four in any single
category than that category should become a primary focus in the exercises to come. To
that end, I recommend you print a copy of this self- assessment out so you can refer back
to it from time to time as we discuss each individual category throughout the rest of this

Simply put, the lower you scored on the Problem Pre-Assessment, the more you probably
need this book.

Note: if you know someone whom you think is also suffering from The Problem; you can
invite him or her to take the same self-assessment for free. Check out the “share with a
               friend” button online next to your self-assessment results.

                  2 - The Genius Project

Michael Lorelli is one of those guys who some might like to hate, and I mean this in the
kindest of ways. I’m sure, like all of us, Michael has had his share of failures, but overall
he is a guy who has managed to succeed more often than not. You could say it has
become a way of life for him. At the age of 18 he earned his private pilot’s license in just
three weeks (a record that stood for over twenty years). He finished his MBA at NYU in
twelve months. He has been the former Chief Marketing officer at PepsiCo, President of
PepsiCo East and President of Pizza Hut’s international division, finding significant
success in each role. As Director of Marketing Michael brought Clairol into the hair care
market and successfully defended them against a pivotal challenge from the FDA. He is
the guy who was responsible for the first-ever commercial advertisement on the sails of a
boat in the America’s Cup race (thanks to Michael we now can barely make out the shape
of a boat behind the flurry of advertisements). He was also the first one ever to put a
commercial advertisement in a home video (Paramount’s smash hit, Top-Gun in 1987).

Clearly Michael is a guy who gets things done, and in talking with him I found the exact
opposite of what I heard from Lina. Here was a person who suffered little to no real
frustration, outside of the relatively normal amount we all do at least. He didn’t feel
unfulfilled at all, and he certainly didn’t think that he put in more effort than he got out in
results. Everything I saw in Lina’s face was completely absent in Michael’s. All the
stress, tension, struggles and frustration to feel satisfied and successful that existed in
one, were absent in the other. What was it that was different about the two? Both are
very intelligent; both well educated; both in environments that were conducive to success
and superior performance – at least for some.

One difference that jumped out at me was that Michael was quick to say that he has
always been true to himself. He has always lead from his gut and gone with his strengths
instead of having to depend on his weaknesses. When he has been true to his natural
talents he has found that success came more naturally, but when he has been untrue to
himself success has eluded him.

Remember Lina’s comments about not feeling her role allowed her to be true to herself?
Michael felt the exact opposite was true of his life. This authenticity that Michael
describes is something we found to be common among the most successful people we
studied, and least common among those who suffered the problems Lina did. It turns out
to be one of the core findings of the research and central themes of this book.

The Genius Project grew out of a desire to better understand:
   1. The differences between those who did and did not suffer from the Problem and
      any possible causes
   2. The real implications of The Problem

The Genius Project

The Genius Project was originally only the nickname for the study we started in 2000
called the Innermetrix Comparative Performance Study (now you see why we decided to
stick with the nickname). Innermetrix is the name of my consulting business and this
study compared the abilities of those who suffered from The Problem against those who
did not. This study spanned seven years, involved hundreds of thousands of individuals
across twenty-three countries, and was designed to identify any causes that might explain
the difference between these two groups. In our effort to understand the differences
between the most successful people and the rest, each individual was given a
scientifically validated instrument called the Attribute Index2 to measure their ability in a
wide variety of attributes relevant to individual performance. These attributes are
naturally occurring talents that people possess based on how they think and make
decisions. The science behind this profile has been rigorously validated and proven
through its use in business for more than fifty years. The study itself was designed
according to traditional scientific research principles3 and our hope was that we would
identify statistically significant differences between these two groups that might help
identify a cause and develop a solution.

We also chose these attributes because we, as a company, had lots of experience with
them. This is important when you are trying to understand what these data are telling
you. We already had over 75 PhDs and 900 certified professional consultants and coaches
around the world with the experience and understanding required to accurately administer
and interpret the results.4

The results of this study are the main underpinnings of this entire book, and the rest of the
book will tell you what we found and what you can do to take advantage of this new
knowledge to become more successful and satisfied yourself.

  To take your own free Attribute Index Genius Profile visit
  For the Scientific Method followed in the Genius Study see Appendix A
  For corporations interested in learning how to unleash the genius in their organization see the
resource guide at the back of this book

What’s a Genius?

              “Genius is the ability to put into effect what is in your mind”
                                                                        ~ F. Scott Fitzgerald

To be able to statistically compare the differences between the most and least successful
people, we needed to separate them into categories of performance. We started with a
fairly universal set of four levels of performance:
    • 1st Level – below average
    • 2nd Level – average
    • 3rd Level – above average
    • 4th Level – excellent

Very early on, however, as we started interviewing people and looking at the best
performers, we began to see the need for perhaps yet another level of performance. Those
who were describing the absolute best performers they knew were having trouble with
the four levels of performance we were using. The interviewees were telling us that these
people were better than excellent. You’ve no doubt seen this yourself. Think of someone
who is so damn good at what they do that they are better than “excellent.” The word falls
short of conveying just how good these people really are, and you want to give them an
even stronger description.

Time and time again, as we interviewed people, the most common word they used to
describe this level of performance was “genius”. They would say, “John is so great at
seeing the big picture, he is a genius” or, “Mary is an absolute genius when it comes to
understanding the client’s problem.” Because we heard this talk of “better than excellent”
so much, we decided to add another level of performance on top of excellent. This
became the 5th Level of performance and because we heard the word genius so many
times, that became the nickname for this new level.

The revised rankings then became:
   • 1st Level – Below average
   • 2nd Level – Average
   • 3rd Level – Above average
   • 4th Level – Excellent
   • 5th Level - Genius

Since we were searching for an explanation to what separates the most successful people
from the rest it only made sense to call the whole thing the Genius Project.

When I say Genius, by the way, I’m not referring to a person’s IQ. My use of the term
genius has nothing to do with how intelligent a person is and everything to do with how
well they perform. My use of genius is descriptive of a person’s ability to perform, not
their ability to acquire facts or information (the more classical definition of genius).

The formal definition of Genius for our purposes is, “a natural and joyful ability for
delivering the highest levels of performance.” The natural part of this definition comes
from the fact that these abilities are driven by your natural talents, and the joyful part
comes from the fact that this kind of performance is not only more comfortable, but also
more productive (both of which are more joyful).

Someone once asked me, “Not everyone can be a genius right?” My answer to this
question is a definitive “yes.” I say this because I truly believe that anyone can indeed be
a genius – at something. That might be a genius surgeon or genius sales person or
architect, but that might also mean a genius auto mechanic or genius server in a restaurant
or even a genius janitor. The descriptor “Genius” doesn’t have to be used only for high
profile or high paid roles. It isn’t reserved for celebrities, artists or scientists alone.
Somewhere out there is someone doing a job that no one would normally associate with a
genius, but any role that exists can be fulfilled at a genius level.

However, even geniuses have bad days, or weeks or even years. Even the best can’t
deliver genius level performance all the time at everything they do. Our lives and our
roles are constantly changing. We grow into new duties and responsibilities. We outgrow
roles and employers. When such changes occur even geniuses can struggle with
delivering peak performance. A major aspect of being a genius is experimenting with
what you do and how you do it. Sometimes you will do it right – sometimes you wont.
The geniuses I interviewed would be the first to admit that they have had lots of roles in
their lives where they were not able to be geniuses. The one big thing that differentiates
them from non-geniuses, though, is that they realize this fact and they don’t allow
themselves to take up permanent residence in those roles. Their willingness to try new
things, and their ability to recognize that those new things may have been a mistake, are
two keys that make them the geniuses they are today.

As humans we will all surely make mistakes. We will all find ourselves in the wrong
place at some point in our lives. The trick is to acknowledge this fact and do something
about it. While no one can be a genius at everything all the time, anyone can be a genius
at something for some time.

What We Didn’t Find

Before we talk about what we did find in the Genius Project, let’s look at what we did not
find because it’s actually quite important as well.

After crunching all of that data, and conducting all of those interviews, what we did not
find was a single attribute, or natural talent, that showed up as being more responsible for
success than any other, at least not on a universal scale. It turns out that being better at
seeing the big-picture (the natural talent known as Conceptual Thinking) is not more
likely to make everyone successful than is being better at seeing the small picture (the
natural talent for Attention to Detail). Neither does being better at understanding others
(Empathy) have any greater impact on success across the board than does being great at
doing what you are told to do (Following Directions).

Sure, in some roles a specific set of attributes may be more critical to success than others.
We see this all the time in the job benchmarking work we do with our corporate clients,
but this criticalness exists only within a certain role or job. We did not find any attributes
that had a super beneficial affect in every role and job. For example, possessing the
natural talents for understanding and persuading others is crucial in most sales roles, but
when you look at non-sales roles those talents may have little impact on success. Yes,
some natural talents may indeed be vital in certain roles, perhaps even lots of roles - but
not all roles.

While finding out which talents play an important part in any single role is beneficial,
that’s not what the Genius Project was designed to do. The Genius Project wasn’t meant
to understand what talents might make someone successful in any single role. The
question we wanted to answer was, “could we find natural talents that are a common
denominator among all successful people, in all roles, industries, markets, levels or
locations?” In order to answer this question we needed to find natural talents that showed
a high correlation with success in all the roles and all the successful people we studied.
And guess what…we didn’t find any!

That’s right. We failed to find any single natural talent that was the key differentiator
between success and failure in all cases. While this might sound disappointing at first, it’s
actually great news! It’s great because were this the case, and had we found talents that
must be present in order to succeed, and you happened to not possess such talents, you
would pretty much be out of luck. You’d be out of luck because natural talents are hard-
wired or engrained in how our minds work, and as such they can’t be developed through
learning and effort. If we had found certain talents that were mandatory for success in
any role, then only people with those talents would be able to become geniuses. But
thankfully that’s not what we found.

What We Did Find

When I say that we didn’t find any natural talents, however, that doesn’t mean we didn’t
find any correlations at all among the most successful people. It just means that we didn’t
find any natural talents that correlated. What we did find in the Genius Project were two
acquired talents, and these two acquired talents were present in all of the successful
people, and quite absent in those who suffered from The Problem.

Natural talents come from the way your mind is built and because of this they do not
change much over the course of your life. Acquired talents, on the other hand, are the
knowledge, experience and skill that you learn throughout your life, and they can be
developed. If natural talents are engrained in you early on in life, acquired talents are
added later. If natural talents are fixed and something you can’t develop through
conscious effort – acquired talents are the opposite.

Acquired talents are just that – acquired. They are those things that you do very well
because you learned to do them very well. You weren’t born with these talents. You
acquired them through gaining knowledge and experience. Unlike the natural talents we
studied, the two acquired talents we found to be so common among the most successful
people can be developed through conscious effort. These talents can be learned, and in
so doing, you can become much more successful.

As I said, all of this is great news because it simply means that regardless of the natural
talents you do possess you can take whatever those talents are and become more
successful with them. This means that the playing field is level. Genius performance
isn’t reserved for just those with IQ’s above 140. It isn’t just for those who were lucky
enough to be born with certain talents. Everyone possesses his or her own unique set of
talents, so anyone can become a genius at something. It just requires that you develop the
acquired talents we discovered in our study, and I’ll show you how to do just that in this

Those two acquired talents are called self-awareness and authenticity.

Acquired talent #1. Self-Awareness

Self-Awareness looks at how aware people are of their own natural talents and non-
talents. For example, does John know he has a great natural talent for strategic thinking
that makes him a genius for seeing the big-picture and making accurate long range plans?
How aware is Mary that her greatest natural talent is for empathizing and understanding
others? Self-awareness also looks at how well a person understands their non-talents, so
while John knows he has a natural talent for strategic thinking, is he also aware of his
lack of natural talent for paying attention to details, or being empathetic?

Many people make a very common mistake in assuming that self-awareness is automatic.
They think, “surely if you possess some natural talent, you must be aware of it right?”
Unfortunately this is simply not the case. Just because someone has a natural ability for

something doesn’t ensure that they fully appreciate it. Being self-aware is more than
simply thinking, “I could do that.“ Being self-aware requires a much deeper
understanding for the way you think and make decisions, the talents you possess and how
they fit into your world.

Being self-aware is being aware of your own true potential and this is a beautiful thing. In
F. Scott Fitzgerald’s, The Great Gatsby, Jay Gatsby is described as having, “something
gorgeous about him, some heightened sensitivity to the promises of life.” When a person
has high levels of self-awareness, they too seem to hold a heightened sensitivity to all the
promise they contain. They know very well what they are and are not good at, and what
potential lies within them.

If self-awareness deals with the knowledge you have for your natural talents, then the
second acquired talent we found deals with how you apply those talents. We call this
acquired talent Authenticity.

Acquired talent #2. Authenticity

Authenticity, at its simplest level, is “being true to you.” Knowing your strengths and
weaknesses (self-awareness) is only half the picture. Properly applying that knowledge
to your life is the other half. Setting goals that capitalize on your natural talents is being
authentic. Finding a job that depends primarily on your natural talents is being authentic.
Working from your strengths is being authentic.

The opposite of being authentic is being inauthentic. When you are aware of your natural
talents, but fail to incorporate them into what you do and how you achieve success, you
are being inauthentic. When you allow yourself to fill a role that requires natural talents
that you don’t possess (but hope to develop), you are being inauthentic.

So, of all the people we studied and all the various aspects of those people we looked at,
the only two things that showed up as being really different between the most successful
and the rest were their level of understanding for their natural talents and their ability to
act on these talents, to incorporate them into what they do and how they do it. The
message in this study then becomes, the more completely you know your own natural
talents (i.e., are self-aware), and the more your incorporate these talents into the roles you
fill (i.e., are authentic), the greater your satisfaction and performance will be.

Figure 1 below demonstrates the simplicity of this concept.

Philosopher G.E. Moore puts it as simply as anyone could. He said, “Everything is what
is it, and not another thing.” In other words, we are what we are, and not what we are
not. We are our natural talents and our non-talents, and the more aware of these we are,
the truer we are to this fact, the better we perform. Trying to be something we are not is
fruitless. If your natural talent is not for strategic thinking than the more your success
depends on this ability, the more you are likely to suffer from The Problem.

~ Only when we are what we are, and our roles and objectives are true to that - only then
                    can we reach the 5th level of performance ~

Natural Versus Acquired Talents

There are really only two kinds of talent: natural and acquired. Lots of people toss about
words like skill, knowledge, competency, aptitude and a hundred other descriptors for
someone’s ability to do something well, but in the end they all fall into one of these two

Natural Talents: are your innate ability to do something, your natural endowment or
aptitude. The key word here is natural. These talents can be physical, as in Lance
Armstrong’s remarkable lung capacity (a physical talent due to his anatomy and
physiology) or they can be mental as in Anthony Robbins’ ability for speaking and
engaging people through words (a mental talent due to his high empathetic ability). The
natural talents we are concerned with in this book are only those mental ones. Natural
(mental) talents are patterns of thinking and decision-making that you were either born
with or that you developed very early on in life. Natural talents are the result of your own
unique neural networks and how your brain works. Based on your genetics and the way
your brain is structured you are naturally good at seeing certain things, while you may be
completely blind to other aspects of reality. Those things you see clearly are your natural
talents and those things that you do not see clearly are your non-talents. We all have our
own unique mix of these two. Your set of natural talents is unique to you. In the entire
world, no two people possess the exact same set or level of natural talents.

Your natural talents are also fixed and do not change much over the course of your life,
so it is important to understand the ones you have because you will not be developing any
more. This permanence aspect is very important because it makes the old “nature versus
nurture” argument over where these talents come from somewhat irrelevant. Regardless
of which side of the argument you fall on, the end is the same. Your natural talents are
what they are and they aren’t going to change very much anytime soon.

If you believe the nature theory, which argues that your genetics controlled these kinds of
talents, then the point is moot because you can’t change your genes. If you believe the
nurture camp, which argues that the social and environmental influences in your
childhood controlled the development of these talents, the point is equally as moot
because you can’t go back and change your upbringing. In reality, the leading thought on
this issue is that we are the result of both our genes and our upbringing5.

The point is this; natural talents are very stable patterns that your brain has developed for
thinking and making decisions, and whether these patterns have been with you for your
entire life, or just most of your life, we know from research and experience that they are
not something you can easily develop through conscious effort (e.g., reading a book, or
training or meditation).

Acquired Talents: unlike natural talents, acquired talents are those talents that we can
acquire or develop. These are the knowledge and experience we gain throughout life.
The person who doesn’t possess a natural talent for empathy may become, through lots of
reading and training, competent at being sensitive to other’s needs. The person who isn’t
naturally good at seeing the big strategic view may take classes on strategic planning and
become somewhat proficient in long-range planning. The key is that while someone
might improve their ability through acquiring knowledge and experience, if it isn’t a
natural talent for them, they will never be a genius at it.

The sales person who learns the technical steps of the sale and the features, functions and
benefits of the product they sell has one form of an acquired talent for selling. The
accountant who has the knowledge of math and accounting principles has an acquired
talent for her work. The airline pilot who has learned the principles of flight and
aerodynamics has an acquired talent for flying. The differences between acquired and
natural talents, however, are significant, and having one without the other will never
deliver 5th level performance.

The sales person who has acquired knowledge and experience only has one half of the
picture. If he doesn’t possess the natural talents for being aggressive, persistent or
empathetic than all that acquired talent is for naught. If he isn’t aggressive enough he
won’t apply the steps of the sale when he needs to. If he isn’t persistent enough he is
likely to not get past the gatekeeper to talk to the key decision maker in the first place.
And if he lacks empathy and doesn’t innately sense when the prospect is ready for the

    Read Nature via Nurture by Matt Ridley

close he might either push for the close too early or wait too long and miss the window of

Without the natural talents to support him, all of his acquired talents will not make him a
genius at what he does. What success he does achieve will be like that of the student in
that difficult class who struggles to get results. He may get them, but not easily, not
passionately, not consistently and not without feeling like he has to put in a lot more
effort than he gets out in results.

Likewise, the accountant who has the acquired (learned) talents for accounting may be
very proficient at those aspects of her work, but without the natural talents for being
attentive to details and being driven by perfection, she may miss details that add up to
costly mistakes or settle for less than perfectly balanced books (which is nirvana for the
best accountants by the way). Without the natural talents driving her performance, her
true potential is unlikely to be met and the results are someone who feels unfulfilled and
dissatisfied with their performance and success.

I fly a lot and I’m glad that the pilots who fly me around the world have acquired the
talents for knowing how to fly the actual plane and the policies and regulations for
piloting a Boeing 777 from Hartsfield to Heathrow. But I would not want to fly with
someone who didn’t also have the natural talents for decisiveness, intuitive decision-
making and an ability called compartmentalization that the best pilots possess. Being
technically proficient is important, but in that moment when the left engine goes out and
the pilot has seconds to react, if he is too indecisive or isn’t able to intuitively isolate the
real problem quickly enough, I wouldn’t want to be on that plane with him.

Every role is different, as is every person who fills it, but the one thing we’ve learned in
this study is that without both natural and acquired talents being fully present,
performance will be hindered. What we learned is that every role, performed at genius
levels, requires that the right natural talent be present. The 5th level of performance is
impossible without natural talents.

A Simple Mistake

The problem, though, is that the vast majority of people assume there is no real difference
between these two kinds of talents. They assume that all natural talents can be developed
through learning, training and hard work. They fail to appreciate just how fixed these
neural networks really are. Instead, because they assume that all talent can be acquired,
they set about identifying what talents they need for a given role and then start trying to
develop them. They take training programs, read books, attend seminars, get mentors
and coaches and do a whole host of things to try and develop their talents for their job.

What happens, however, is that they manage to develop only the acquired talents. They
don’t change their neural networks. They don’t create new natural talents and so in the
end they become one of the most knowledgeable sales people in the company, but they

still don’t think like the great sales people. They become the greatest knowledge expert
on the planet for the rules of accounting and workings of mathematics, but they still don’t
think like the great accountants do. They become the pilot who knows more about the
technical manual than the engineer who wrote it, but they still don’t meld with the
controls and become one with the plane as an extension of their own body – like the great
pilots do.

By assuming that training and development will develop all the talents they need many
people, and organizations, fail to understand that they are only building up half of the
picture. When the other half of the picture isn’t there (the natural talents half) they
wonder why they continue to struggle; continue to be emotionally unengaged and
continue to lack a certain passion for their work. Unfortunately, when people fail to
achieve the level of performance they want, the solution is often even more training and

People spend a great deal of time trying to put in talents that are just not there to begin
with, and aren’t going to be put in regardless of the effort. They exert a tremendous
amount of energy attempting to change themselves, when in reality it is the job that needs
to be changed. That’s what geniuses do.

What Geniuses Do

The most successful people we studied don’t make this simple mistake. Remember the
two things that Geniuses do. First, geniuses possess a superior level of self-awareness, so
they know what their natural talents are (and are not). Second, they are also very
authentic, so they find ways to achieve success that rely on their talents. They find jobs
that rely on those natural talents they already possess, not their ability to develop new
ones. When they do this, they find that success comes more naturally and more

The most successful among us don’t spend their lives trying to become the A+ student in
that difficult class I mentioned in the introduction. Because they understand that they are
who they are, instead of wasting energy trying to become something they are not, they
invest it in trying to better apply the natural talents they already possess. In a sense, they
stop trying to put in what God left out and instead work with what He put in. This frees
up a lot of extra energy. Imagine how much more successful you would be if 100% of
your energy was directed towards just using your natural talents.

This is not to say that Geniuses don’t grow or continue to refine themselves. Dr. Marshall
Goldsmith, one of the Geniuses interviewed for this book, says that when it comes to
continuing to develop and refine himself, “I constantly try to refine the strengths I have,
but that doesn’t mean I try to develop things I don’t already have. One danger in the
message of only focusing on strengths is that people may perceive this to mean that they
don’t have to improve at all. Rather within their natural talents they must always
improve. The key is to find a role that depends primarily on what you do well, then

continue to get even better at it through practice, awareness, acquired knowledge and

If they need to acquire new knowledge or experience, Geniuses definitely do. But if the
job calls for natural talents that they don’t possess, they either find another way to do that
job, or they find another job. That’s what the very best do, and that’s what this book is
all about. Remember the formula for 5th level performance; Self-Awareness +
Authenticity = Success.

The key to being “true”, however, is not about identifying non-talents so you can turn
them into talents. The Genius Study shows that the best among us take a very different
approach to their non-talents. While the best do indeed seek to understand their non-
          talents very well, they do not do so for the purposes of fixing them, rather they
          use this knowledge to create objectives, goals, and roles that simply do not
          depend on those non-talents.

           Geniuses wouldn’t argue that eliminating weakness is the key to success, but
           it’s how they eliminate them that is so different. Instead of eliminating
           weaknesses by developing new natural talents, they eliminate their dependence
on their non-talents.

Here’s what just some of the geniuses I interviewed for the book had to say about natural
talents, self-awareness and authenticity when it comes to being successful.

                  Marshall Goldsmith on Self-Awareness

“I think I am very aware of my strengths. My strengths are being very good at
coaching others – specifically the teaching aspect of coaching due to my love
and passion for teaching. I love teaching and I’m very good at it because, in
part, I am very good at taking complex concepts and organizing them in a simple
way that is easy to understand. This is one of the gifts I have for teaching others.
My job is helping others set realistic goals, evaluating them in those goals, and
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teaching them how to better reach them. As for my weaknesses, I am not good at
managing people, so I just don’t do it. I have lots of weaknesses, I just don’t do
them and I have no interest in correcting them. I constantly try to refine the
strengths I have, but that doesn’t mean I try to develop things I don’t already
possess. One of the keys to my success is that I’ve been able to find a role, or
create one actually, that depends primarily on the natural talents I already

                  Randy Haykin on Learning Your Talents

“Early on I was pushed to be very self-aware and true to myself. My parents
used to give me batteries of tests in high school that helped me understand my
natural talents better. My whole life I think I have been taught to follow these
talents and not focus on acquiring tons of others. I carried those lessons with
me to college where at Brown I took sixteen classes that had nothing to do with
each other, all in an attempt to find out which ones resonated with my natural
talents the best. At Harvard I took all sorts of classes on exploring self-
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One of my talents is for putting people together and creating relationships.
People call me the “gardener” because I’m always cultivating productive
relationships among others. An example of this is a club I created we call the
Boys of Breakfast. For the last six years a group of us here in town have gotten
together for breakfast once a month to explore what life is about, discuss each
others challenges and accomplishments, and dive into what makes each of
them who they are and help find their direction to their own happiness or
success. I also always trust my gut. I try very hard not to rationalize around
that inner voice telling me what it thinks is the right direction to take.“

                  Frances Hesselbein on Authentic Passion

“Peter Drucker would say all the time, ‘your job is to make the strengths of
your people effective and their weaknesses irrelevant!’ I think I’ve always been
very aware of my strengths and weaknesses. When I am at my best it is when I
am focusing on what I do best, when I am less effective it is when I am
ignoring those talents but choose to carry out those practices which rely on my
non-talents. The thing to keep in mind is that success is a matter of how to be,
not how to do. People like you and me have never had a job. They have been
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called to do what they do best. Warren Bennis calls it the leader within or the
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spirit within.

When you are doing things that align with your talents and strengths, you don’t
consider it work. It is your passion. I think the purpose of a good leader is to
mobilize people around a passionate mission, but it has to be in their way to
reach their passion. Great leadership requires the best and to be the absolute
best you can’t be false, you can’t be trying to be great at something you aren’t
naturally great at.”

                      Michael Lorelli on Authenticity

“I’m a perpetual optimist. I’ve always been called incredibly optimistic, and it
shows in the energy that a great leader brings and I can’t imagine that it doesn’t
impact the bottom line significantly. In my 30s and 40s there was a huge focus
on learning and on what HR called our ‘developmental needs’ and we spent a ton
of time trying to become excellent in our non-talents. In the end, though, we all
eventually just let most of that work fall by the wayside and migrated back to
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I focus much more on my talents than my weaknesses. I know what my talents
are for and I know what they are not for, and I’ll hire a great COO to manage the
details and pennies and micro-manage that which should be micro-managed.
Those are things that I choose not to spend my time on because I know I will
never be great at them. I hire the right person to handle it, as opposed to trying
to train myself to do those things better. It’s simply not in my DNA, so I try to
align myself better, not change myself. I believe in supplementing non-talents
through others and delegation.”

                   Dan Lyons on Specializing Your Talents

“I was hyper-competitive so much of my early life that I had to become very
aware not only of what I was very good at, but also what I did not do well. In
this process, I learned that when I try to do things that relied on my non-talents,
I didn’t perform well. This meant that I let others down and I didn’t win. The
result was that I learned early on to excise those things that I didn’t do well
because they depended on my being excellent at things I wasn’t excellent in.
Since I wanted so desperately to win I realized that to make sure I win all the
time I had to play to my strengths and only compete in areas where my talents
could be capitalized. So you could say that my discovery of becoming
authentic to my natural talents and non-talents was driven by my desire to
please others and win. From then on I learned to only focus on being true to
my natural talents, which fed my ability to succeed and win.
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I know we’re talking about my mental talents, but my physical talents make a
great analogy. When I was young my dad said to me, ‘there’s no reason you
can’t run a ten second 100-meter race.’ Now there are lots of reasons why I
can’t run a ten second 100-meter race, but my build and musculature made me
a very good cross-country runner. Trying to compete at everything like I did
back then, it took me a while but eventually I realized that my natural physical
talents were such that they made me a very good long distance runner, but
those same elements made me not a great 100-meter sprinter. That same
understanding for the physical world carried over to the mental world and I
eventually learned that the same principle holds true; the natural mental talents
I have make me very good at some things and not good at others. The message
is the same on either side of the analogy; become great at what your talents will
make you great in and let the rest go. You can’t do it all.”

                 Anthony Robbins on Discovering Talents

“I have always believed that one of my talents has been for loving people and
having passion for making a difference in their lives. Understanding others and
communicating with them and being very good at being able to sense their
emotions, fears, desires and needs is perhaps one of my best talents, but I’ve
built my entire life around another talent which I didn’t learn I had until the
10th Grade.

Speaking or making an impact on others emotionally wasn’t a talent I was
aware of until, in my junior year of high school, one of my teachers, Mr. Cobb,
came to me after speech class and looked into my eyes and after this long
pause he said, ‘In all my years of teaching speech, I’ve never seen a student
have more compelling power to move and influence people. When you get up
you don’t do a speech, you don’t talk about anything you are not passionate
about.’ He knew more about me than I think I did at the time and he asked me
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to compete in this speech competition just one week away. I gave that speech
and I won that competition and it changed my life. He showed me, and
convinced me, that if I was completely sincere and passionate and told the truth
and just let myself be myself, I could really impact the world with my talents.

Trying to use a strategy or be something you are not may deliver some results;
it may work for a while, but being inauthentic long-term, you aren’t going to
be happy. How do you take your talents and tie it into the role that is most
aligned with those talents and maximize them, that ability is the real
difference! I even recently told one of my sons, who was trying to duplicate
what I do, ‘you have all the words, you have the concept, you put the hard
work in, you have the drive, but you are trying to be me - but you are not me,
you are something more powerful than me…you are you. You doing you will
be more powerful than you trying to do me.”

                  Mickey Rogers on Trusting Your Talents

“Intuition comes into play when you are designing the shot. You have to be
able to see clearly in your head how to set the charges to take the building
down just where your client needs it to go. There are a lot of books on the
technique of how to demolish structures, but when it comes right down to it -
you touch it, you feel it, there’s just a feeling that almost overwhelms me that
says ‘I don’t care what the books say – this needs to go this way instead. That’s
when my gut is talking to me big time and I just have to listen to it. I don’t
have a choice.

Each shot is completely different, and each time my gut is what guides me to
the greatest extent. Now I’m not saying that there isn’t experience, knowledge,
skill, etc. and you just suck your thumb, stick it in the wind and take a guess.
But I learned early on that my intuition was very good for what needed to be
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done to make the shots work just right.

As I walk the shot my gut is talking to me very loudly and I will make changes
to the blast sequence or timing or anything that just doesn’t ‘feel right.’ Even
though the shot has been set according to the way all the books and experts
say, if my gut doesn’t feel right about how something is, I go with it as
opposed to what some textbook says. That textbook isn’t standing there and
isn’t able to see all the variables I see, but I think my gut is, my intuition, my
subconscious mind. It sees all of those aspects that my conscious mind may
have missed and it tries to communicate what it sees to my conscious mind but
it’s in such a soft way that most of the time I can’t clearly define what it is
saying, but I can feel it. So my gut almost always wins out over my head on
those moments. 99% of the time my gut gets the final vote. I call it rock-sense
instead of common sense.”

                     Short Thoughts: Mind-Fields
In the classes I teach, I like to use lots of physical analogies because they help you
connect a new concept to one you either already know or can more easily understand.
When it comes to understanding the general concept for the two different approaches
to dealing with weaknesses I like to think of two different paths through a minefield.

Imagine you are a soldier tasked with getting from point A to point B. You look at
your map and determine the best route to take to achieve your objective, and you start
out on that path. Along the way, however, you come upon a minefield. You have two
choices; you could chose either Option A, where you stick to your original path but
stop to defuse each mine as you come to it, or Option B, where you change your path
so that you simply walk around the mines. Which would seem the most
advantageous and expeditious? Most people would choose option B (find a way
around the mines) because it is faster and much less risky.

Many people, however, unknowingly choose option A in their real-life roles because
they are given an objective and determine a path to it, then once headed down that
route, when they realize that they have a weakness (a mine), instead of changing their
path they stop to try and fix that weakness (defuse the mine). They do this by trying
to develop new natural talents.

The process of becoming a genius lies not in becoming an expert at defusing mines,
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rather in being an expert in plotting a course that bypasses the mines altogether. If
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you chose Option A the mines become a liability, a risk. Not only do you have to
stop your progress to defuse them, but you also run the risk that they might explode
and injure you. When you choose Option B the mines are still dangerous, but since
your path to success doesn’t take you through the minefield they remain only
potential hazards.

In World War II General Douglas MacArthur, Commander of the Allied forces in the
Southwest Pacific, and Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, Commander-in-Chief of the
Pacific Fleet, demonstrated this concept in a tactic that become known as Island
Hopping. In the push to take over islands held by the Japanese, in order to set up
American bases close enough for US Bombers to reach the Japanese mainland,
MacArthur and Nimitz decided that instead of attacking each island along the way
they would bypass those which were the most strongly held, and leave them to wither
on the vine. These islands are analogous to your weaknesses (your mines). Instead of
allowing them to become obstacles, these two leaders removed them from the
equation altogether by sidestepping them.

Since this book is about helping you discover potential mental obstacles instead of
physical ones, think of these potential weaknesses as your “mind-fields.” This book
will help you reach your objectives by placing little red flags throughout these mind-
fields - so you can plot a course around them instead of through them. In the end, this
course is much faster, easier and less likely to blow up in your face.

The Myth of Strengths and Weaknesses

There is a myth about strengths and weaknesses, which states that we all naturally
possess them. In reality, we don’t. No human possesses any single strength or weakness.
What we do possess are natural talents and non-talents, but these are not the same as
strengths and weaknesses. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not one of those that thinks it is too
negative to tell someone they have a weakness and wants to call it “an opportunity for
development”. I actually hate this term because more often than not it supports the
incorrect view that I can fix a weakness by developing a new natural talent for something.
If one of my clients is suffering from a weakness I tell them so straight up, but the key is
that this weakness isn’t natural, it is manufactured. Weaknesses and strengths don’t exist
naturally, only talents and non-talents exist naturally. If, however, I rely on a non-talent, I
create a weakness for myself. Likewise, if I don’t rely on my talents, they are never
strengths for me.

In other words, you are ultimately in control of your strengths and weaknesses. You may
be born with talents and non-talents, but you are in charge of whether or not those talents
and non-talents are used to become strengths or weaknesses. When you allow your
success to depend on your talents, you create strengths. When you allow your success to
depend on your non-talents, you create weaknesses.

This might seem like I’m talking about some minor difference of semantics,
but I assure you that this is much more than a simple play on words.
Understanding this concept requires a total change of perspective. Most people
buy into the myth that they possess their strengths and weaknesses and fail to
understand that they don’t actually possess them, they create them. The power
is theirs as to whether these strengths and weaknesses exist or not.

Both talents and non-talents are only potential. Natural talents are only potential strengths
and non-talents are only potential weaknesses. A talent can’t become a strength until you
use it and a non-talent wont become a weakness unless you try to use it. The thing that
controls how these potentials turn out is how you apply yourself. If you have a non-talent
for strategic thinking and allow your role to depend on your ability to create complex
systems or long-range plans, then you manufacture a weakness. If your role doesn’t
require strategic thinking, however, then you don’t create any weakness for yourself.
That non-talent remains only a potential weakness.

When you make this shift in perspectives and realize that any area in your life where you
have a weakness exists only because you manufactured that weakness (by allowing
yourself to depend on a non-talent), you should also realize that you can correct it by
removing that dependence. Just like Mom used to say, “I brought you into this world and
I can take you out,” so too did you bring your weaknesses into this world and so too can
you take them out. But instead of trying to take them out by developing all kinds of new
natural talents, you’re simply going to remove your dependency on them.

Think of talents and non-talents like two boxes. The first box contains a gift and comes
all wrapped up in pretty gift paper with a bow. The second box contains trouble and is
marked Pandora’s Box on the outside. Regardless of the contents, however, each box
only contains potential. The first box is only potentially good, the latter only potentially
bad. Nothing happens until you actually open the boxes. If you never open the gift box,
you never receive the gift contained inside. Likewise, if you never open Pandora’s box,
you never suffer the consequences. Talents and non-talents work in very much the same
way. If you never rely on your talents (open the gift box) then you never realize the
strengths contained inside – and if you never rely on your non-talents (open Pandora’s
Box) then you never suffer the weaknesses contained inside.

The key is in how you apply yourself, and the impact of this understanding is incredibly
important because once you realize that you create your strengths and weaknesses, you
realize that you are in control. You realize that you don’t have to suffer from weaknesses
which were given to you and about which you can do nothing. You are in control because
while you definitely have non-talents, nothing in the universe states that you have to
depend on them and if you don’t depend on them, then they aren’t weaknesses now are

Geniuses understand this. Their control lies internally within them. They know that they
are the only ones responsible for whether they benefit from strengths or suffer from
weaknesses. They manage to turn potential strengths into actual strengths by relying on
their natural talents and they manage to leave potential weaknesses as just that –
potential. They do not allow their success to become dependent on their non-talents.
Their primary focus is on maximizing their dependence on talents and minimizing their
dependence on non-talents. When Peter Drucker, the elder statesman of management
wisdom, spoke to leaders in organizations about whether to fix weaknesses or remove
them from the equation he said, “your job is to make the strengths of your people
effective and their weaknesses irrelevant.” He didn’t talk about correcting their
weaknesses by developing new natural talents, he championed making them irrelevant
(by not depending on non-talents).

Geniuses don’t have more talents than anyone else. They are just as flawed and imperfect
as the next man. Geniuses don’t have fewer non-talents, they just have fewer weaknesses
because they are very aware of their non-talents and they do a damn good job of not
depending on them. To quote Dr. Marshall Goldsmith again, “there are a whole lot of
things I stink at Jay. I just make sure I don’t have to do them to be successful.”

The level of success these Geniuses achieve is hard to argue with, so there is much we
can learn from their view on strengths and weaknesses. They achieve significantly more
success with less effort, while finding more passion, satisfaction and happiness. And they
do this by maximizing their dependence on natural talents and minimizing dependence on

The Numbers

From a pure statistical perspective, Geniuses are quite rare but they significantly
outperform the non-geniuses across the board. The percentage of 5th level performers in
the study was only 9% of the total population (n=197,000+) but the difference in their
results was astonishing:
     • The average level of self-awareness for the 5th level performers in the study was
         92% compared to 62% for the 4th level performers and less than 47% for the 1st
         through 3rd level performers
     • Those who were 5th level performers had levels of authenticity that were 91%
         versus the levels of authenticity seen in the 4th level performers of 79% and in
         the 1st through 3rd level performers who were at 63%

These differences make a very compelling argument for how to address The Problems
we’ve been discussing. Figure 1a below shows you just how significant the differences
are between the five levels of performance studied.

                                               Genius Project Data

                               90                                  8991

                               80                             79
            Acquired Talents

                                                      63   62
                               60              59

                               50      46           47
                                             40                           Self-awareness
                               40    37                                   Authenticity
                                     1st    2nd     3rd    4th     5th

                                            Level of Performance

These data showed us that there is a direct and positive correlation between the levels of
awareness you have for your own abilities, the degree to which you are authentic to them
and your overall level of performance. These data showed that those who performed at
the lower levels had lower levels of self-awareness and authenticity. The higher the
performance went (further to the right in this chart) the greater their level of self-
awareness and authenticity became.

                                                          37   38
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                                   Chapter 2 Review

Chapter 1:
      • “The Problem” is an epidemic of people that feel unfulfilled, dissatisfied and
           frustrated with their performance
Chapter 2:
      • To find out why, we created the Genius Project to study why and what we
           found were two key things:
               o There is no “Genius Talent”
               o Self-Awareness and Authenticity are present in higher levels in the
                   best performers

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                                    Chapter 2 Gut Check

If you look at the times in your life when you have felt the most passionate, the most
fulfilled and the most natural at what you were doing, these are probably times when you
were being authentic. These are also times when I bet you were much more successful
with less effort and stress. Please think of a role, or major aspect of a role, that you have
filled in the past that you were passionate about and did very well, and then answer the
questions below.

What was this role and which part of it came naturally for you?

How comfortable were you at this time? (circle one)
      Very uncomfortable 1          2        3      4                             5 Very Comfortable

How happy were you? (circle one)
            Very Unhappy 1                                  2       3       4    5 Very Happy

How successful were you? (circle one)
           Very unsuccessful 1 2                                3       4       5 Very Successful

Now think of a role, or major aspect of a role, in your life where you did not feel this
way; where you struggled; where you did not feel passionate about what you were doing
and you did not perform as well as you wanted to. You probably didn’t enjoy it, didn’t
do it well and if you had your druthers wouldn’t do it again. Chances are very good that
these were times when you were not being authentic.

At this time, how were you being inauthentic? __________________________________

How comfortable were you at this time? (circle one)
      Very uncomfortable 1          2        3      4                             5 Very Comfortable

How happy were you? (circle one)
            Very Unhappy 1                                  2       3       4    5 Very Happy

How successful were you? (circle one)
           Very unsuccessful 1 2                                3       4       5 Very Successful

This is just a short little exercise to give you a glimpse of what it feels like to be a Genius
every day because Geniuses find ways to make sure almost everything they do feels like
the first set of questions. They always strive to be authentic. The question to you is,
“would you rather create a life where you feel like the first scenario all the time or would
you rather continue to experience lots of the second scenario? As you will see, the choice
it yours alone.

                       3 - The Implications

In the course of doing the research for the Genius Project, we wanted to find out what
differentiated those who suffered from The Problem from those who did not. That was
our primary objective. But we also wanted to get a better understanding for just how
significant the implications of The Problem were. What were the effects of such a large
percentage of people being dissatisfied with their results, frustrated with their constant
attempts to improve and left feeling unfulfilled with their jobs in general? The impact is

Just imagine what The Problem means to a single company. Think of the profits left on
the table by a company with a workforce that is uninspired, unmotivated, and unfulfilled.
Imagine the impact on the one company if even 10% of the workforce suffers from The
Problem. What does it do to service levels when those who are serving don’t feel well
served themselves?

When you move past one company to all the companies out there, how many millions of
dollars are wasted on remedies that fail to address the real problem and how many
billions of dollars are never realized in the first place because a significant percentage of
the workforce’s true potential is never realized?

Who knows how much this problem is really costing the world, but here’s your chance to
tell us what you think the real impact is. If you go to you
can share your thoughts on this question and check out what others think about the real
impact of The Problem as well.

While the problem at the organizational level can be immense6, what The Problem does
to the individual is even more significant.

At the Human Level

Today Gretchen Dougherty is one of the top sales people in her company, but this wasn’t
always the case. Her company sells home security systems, and Gretchen’s job as an
inside sales agent is to prospect over the phone to schedule home visits where a field
sales representative gives a security consultation (otherwise known to you and me as a
sales pitch). She spends her days sitting in a cubicle dialing out to homeowners trying to
get them to schedule a home evaluation. Gretchen gets paid a sales commissions for
every security system that gets sold to people she scheduled.

    See the example of Compaq on page 66 as an example of corporate impact

When she first took the job she was taught that sales is a numbers game. They told her
that she had to make a specific number of outbound calls every day in order to beat the
odds and find that one needle in the haystack that would agree to a home visit. Gretchen
was told, “If you want to make money, you’ve got to call on more people.” The best
sales people in the company made approximately ninety to one hundred phone calls a
day, and ended up scheduling three to five field appointments, out of which one would
normally sign a contract. Management really stressed to her the importance of making a
high volume of calls. Each sales person even had a daily call quota.

Gretchen, however, thought differently than most of the other sales people. Unlike the
majority of them she had a very high natural talent for empathy. It was this empathy that
actually got in her way because while other sales people would spend no more than a few
minutes trying to push for an appointment, Gretchen found herself talking to people for
five, ten even fifteen minutes or more. She knew she had to generate a high volume of
calls so she was constantly trying to suppress her empathy and not connect too much with
the person on the other end of the phone.

When she did this, she was not being true to who she was. She was awkward and
preoccupied with watching the all-holy clock that sat next to her computer. The more she
tried to ignore her natural tendencies and think differently so she could follow the script
and stick to a time limit, the more awkward and ineffective she became.

Gretchen was in trouble. She wasn’t performing well at all and the top question on
management’s mind was would she quit before they fired her. She was definitely ready to
quit when I first met her. I had been asked by her company to consult to them on why she
wasn’t performing.

After I spoke with Gretchen, and did some preliminary work it became pretty clear right
up front that the issue seemed to be a poor fit between her natural talents and her role.
Because of this I gave her a battery of assessments to help understand what her true
talents were and how well they were aligned with her existing role. One of these
assessments was the Attribute Index that we used in the Genius Project.

The moment I saw the results it was obvious to me what the problem was, and Gretchen
confirmed. Her extremely high empathy was causing her to want to connect with the
people she was calling far more than the predetermined time limit would allow. The rest
of the sales people in the company didn’t have anywhere near her level of empathy, so
they didn’t have any problem running scripts and pushing through enough people until
they found one that would agree to an appointment. Getting on and off the phone as
quickly as possible wasn’t a problem for them, but it was proving to be a big problem for
Gretchen. She felt bad about talking at people instead of talking with them. The result
was that Gretchen was trying to be something she wasn’t and it was negatively affecting
her performance in a big way.

Luckily, the company was pretty open-minded about how to fix the problem. They had
spent a lot of money training Gretchen and, already suffering from a high human turnover
rate, they gave me the latitude I needed to attempt to correct the problem.

What did I do? I simply told Gretchen to figure out how to be true to who she was. I told
her that the objective was fixed (schedule X many appointments per week), but the way
she went about reaching it was up to her. I asked her how she would do the job if she
were in charge. I said, “Just do you.” As a result, Gretchen got rid of the clock on her
desk and decided that she would not have a daily call quota, or any call quota for that
matter – just a single quota for how many appointments she scheduled.

A very interesting thing happened when she did this. Gretchen, instead of suppressing
her natural tendencies, started letting them guide her. She spent much more time with
those she talked with. She got to know them and understand their needs much better.
She once even told me about one call where she learned about the caller’s teenage
daughter, what her name was, how often she was home alone, where she was going to
college and even what she was majoring in. This was typical of the level of
communication Gretchen was having with the people she called on. She was really
connecting with these people.

Instead of trying to force herself to ignore her empathy, Gretchen was now using that
natural talent to connect with people on a much deeper level than the rest of the sales reps
were. Doing so meant that she spent a lot more time with each person, and only made as
few as twenty to twenty five calls per day. But doing so also meant that she was
establishing relationships with people, relationships that were returning results. Despite
the fact that Gretchen was making less than 20% of the calls the other reps were, she still
averaged to book three to fives appointments each day. Even better than that, instead of
the company average of one signed contract for every five appointments, Gretchen was
averaging two signed contracts for every five appointments.

Pretty soon, the field sales people were fighting to see who would get to call on the
appointments that Gretchen had scheduled because they knew their odds of making a sale
were a lot better.

The lesson of this case study is that by being inauthentic Gretchen was hurting her
performance. When she became authentic, though, not only did her performance reach
the expected levels, but actually exceeded them. When she was inauthentic she was no
more satisfied with her job than the job was satisfied with her. Now that she is authentic,
she views her job as a vehicle for her passion for meeting and helping people and now
she is as satisfied with the job as it is with her.

If you ask the field sales representatives who they want booking their appointments, they
will tell you, “Gretchen man, she is a genius at finding people who sign contracts.”

The Long X

Gretchen is a good example of what I call the Long X, which is a simple but effective
way of understanding the relationship between authenticity and performance and how
much effort you have to put in versus the results you get back.

When you are authentic, you are making sure that the work you do, and how you do it, is
well aligned with your natural talents. The result is that you achieve more success with
less effort. When you are inauthentic, you allow your success to be dependent on your
non-talents and what results you get are hard won and feel like they took lots of effort.

The benefits of being authentic are significant, not only from the perspective of how well
you perform, but also with regards to the satisfaction and sense of fulfillment you get.
Basically, being authentic is much more productive. You just do better when you are

The diagram below gives you an easy way to understand the differences between being
authentic or inauthentic and the effects this has on how much effort you feel you put in
and how much performance you get out.

                                                      44   45
The discussion on effort is a qualitative one, not a quantitative one. It is more on effort as
a feeling, not necessarily an amount of work. To say that geniuses don’t put in as much
effort is not to say that they don’t work hard, just that when they align their talents with
their work, they tell us that it doesn’t feel like effort. Think about it. We’re talking about
aligning your natural talents so when you are working from them – it comes naturally.
Something that comes naturally doesn’t feel like effort compared to trying to work from
something that doesn’t come naturally (non-talent).

Frances Hesselbein, the founding director of the Peter F. Drucker Foundation, and former
CEO of Girls Scouts of America, talks about effort like this, “Success is about finding
your passion and being true to it. People like me have never had a job. When you are
doing things that align with your talents and strengths, you don’t consider it work, it is
your passion.”

When you are authentic, the effort you feel yourself putting in, from a subjective point of
view, is much less. Instead of “effort”, you put in passion, you put in desire and you put
in you. When you are inauthentic you are forcing yourself to be something you are not,
and that feels like effort.

Best selling business author Bill Brooks once wrote, “we may be able to force ourselves,
with mature will and self-discipline, to do certain unpleasant things in order to get very
desirable results. But it is almost impossible to force ourselves to do so consistently.”

For a time, you might be able to make yourself somewhat successful, but if you are
inauthentic in how you do it, even if you do achieve success, the results will be hard-
fought and short-lived.

When you think about the Long X just remember; sometimes less really is more. When
you are inauthentic, you achieve less with more effort and stress, but when you are
authentic, you achieve more with less effort and stress.

How do you feel in your role right now? Do you feel upside down? Are you on the
wrong side of the Long X, always having to put in more effort than you get out in results?
What score did you give yourself on the Problem Self-Assessment under the Effort/Ease

                             My Effort/Ease Score? ________
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Beyond Performance

The effects of being inauthentic reach far beyond simple performance issues. The more
disconcerting aspects of being inauthentic are what it does to you emotionally and even

Being inauthentic is stressful, and I don’t mean healthy stress (eustress) I mean harmful
stress (distress). Being inauthentic in the first place is stressful enough, but the lack of
performance that usually results adds even more stress on top of that, and when you look
at what modern medicine is just now learning about the impact of stress on the human
body (let alone psyche), the effects are startling.

According to Dr. Leon Pomeroy, the founding President of the International Academy of
Preventive Medicine, “psychological and emotional stress can gravely affect the human
body in many negative ways. Such stress triggers an overdose of hormones like
epinephrine and cortisol that, over time, can become toxic to the human body. Chronic
stress negatively affects your body’s ability to regulate it’s own processes (homeostasis).
Your ability to absorb nutrients, lose weight and even fight off infections are negatively
affected. Even the chemistry of sleep is disrupted by chronic stress, and sleep deprivation
itself only aggravates the symptoms even more.”

Some common side effects of chronic stress on the physical body are:
   • The immune system: Under stress, the body becomes more vulnerable to
      illnesses, from colds and minor infections to major diseases. If you have a chronic
      illness stress can make the symptoms even worse
   • Cardiovascular disease: Stress is linked to high blood pressure, abnormal
      heartbeat (arrhythmia), problems with blood clotting, and hardening of the arteries
      (atherosclerosis). It is also linked to coronary artery disease, heart attack, and
      heart failure
   • Muscle pain: People who are stressed often have neck, shoulder, and low back
      pain. This may be caused by constant tension in the muscle because of stress.
      Stress also affects rheumatoid arthritis
   • Stomach and intestinal problems: Recent research indicates that stress plays a
      significant role in gastro esophageal reflux disease (GERD), peptic ulcer disease,
      and irritable bowel syndrome

In addition to the negative physiological impact chronic stress can adversely affect your
thoughts and decisions as well. Psychological signs and symptoms usually associated
with stress can be:
    • Increased irritability or sensitivity to minor disturbances
    • Feeling jumpy or exhausted all the time
    • Difficulty concentrating
    • Worrying about insignificant things
    • Frustration and a feeling of something being wrong somewhere, but not sure

According to Elissa Epel, PhD and an assistant professor in the department of psychiatry
at the University of California at San Francesco, “The problem lies within our
neuroendocrine system -- a brain-to-body connection that harkens back to evolutionary
times and which helped our distant ancestors to survive. Though today the sources of
stress are more likely to be an unpaid bill than a saber-toothed tiger, this system still
activates a series of hormones whenever we feel stressed. These hormones give us the
biochemical strength we need to fight or flee our stressors, but while this system works
fine when our stress comes in the form of physical danger - when we really need to ‘fight
or flee’, and then replenish - it doesn't serve the same purpose for today's garden-variety

According to Shawn Talbott, PhD, an associate professor in the Department of Nutrition
at the University of Utah, our response to stress today doesn’t involve burning any of
these extra hormones that we create in anticipation of having to fight or flee. These extra
hormones are created but not used up and this build up adds to the detrimental effects of
chronic stress.

Granted being inauthentic is not the only cause of stress in our lives, but being
inauthentic definitely adds to our level of stress. There are a lot of things that cause stress,
and a lot of factors that determine our ability to handle it, but we do know that being
inauthentic - having to work in an uncomfortable job, having to modify your behavior all
day long, constantly having to apply a non-talent – is definitely stressful.

And the more inauthentic you are, the more frustrated you get with your results, the less
fulfilled you feel in your work, and the less success you achieve – the more stress you
will suffer. And that’s bad news for your physical and psychological health and
wellbeing. I once worked with one of our consultants to help a client of hers whose
corporate world-headquarters were in Manhattan. This company was really suffering
from The Problem. They had moral issues, health and wellness problems, increased
sickness and absenteeism, and a whole host of performance issues caused in large part by
the level of stress in their office. It was so significant that one day the Executive Vice
President Human Resources for this company told us that, “on average an ambulance
pulls up in front of our building 350 times a year.” Now I’m sure there are a fair number
of accidental staples to be removed from fingers, and twisted ankles on stairwells and
other reasons for an ambulance to show up at an office with thousands of employees, but
350 times a year? Unfortunately too large a majority of these visits were for people with

chest pain, who had passed out or were feeling so sick they felt they needed an
ambulance. This was a workplace filled with way too much stress. Was all of this stress
from people being inauthentic – of course not. Was it a major contributing factor – you
bet! To say that people are physically damaging themselves, even dying, from stress is
not hyperbole, and The Problem is a major contributor to this concern.

The Neglected Child

Outside of the physiological effects of stress, being inauthentic takes something out of
you emotionally as well. When you attempt to fill a role that requires you to have natural
talents that you don’t, you are pretending. This pretending to be something you are not is
basically like turning your back on your own self. You disrespect yourself when you are
inauthentic. Instead of adding to you, pretending to be something other than what you
are actually subtracts from you. In the end, all that is left, when you look back, is time
spent (perhaps a life time unfortunately) playing a role, pretending to be someone else.

But your inner-self isn’t stupid. What are you saying to your inner-self when you pretend
to be something else? Deep down somewhere, pretending like this tells your inner-self
that your real self must not be good enough - that you aren’t good enough. Pretending to
be something else is like ignoring what you really are.

Let’s imagine for a moment that your inner-self were an outer-self. Let’s make it a whole
other personal actually, and that person is your own child who looks to you for love,
recognition and validation. What would the effect on that child be if you neglected her?
How would that make her feel? It would probably make her feel as if she wasn’t worthy.
By ignoring the child you would make her feel not good enough.

Being inauthentic has the same subconscious effect on your inner-self. By ignoring that
which you truly are, and pretending to be something else, you are in effect telling
yourself that you are not good enough. You are ignoring yourself in favor of what you
need to be as defined by a job. And for what; some job, some role, some set of
competencies that was written by an HR Generalist purely out of a desire to serve some
set of business objectives?

Something I ask every inauthentic person I work with is, “How much sense does it make
to ignore and offend something with emotions; with feelings, needs, desires and a soul
(like you) – for something inanimate, that has no emotions, no feelings and no soul (like
your job description)?”

Most people tell me that they are not intentionally trying to ignore themselves, just that
they are trying to develop new talents so they can become more successful. The irony is
that by ignoring your talents so you can develop new talents to become more successful,
you are actually hurting your chances for success.

There is a most remarkable quote from Maryanne Williamson that captures the fear that
many suffer from when it comes to admitting our own true potential. Nelson Mandella
used it in his 1994 inaugural speech and it goes,

       Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are
       powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens
       us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?
       Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small
       does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that
       other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as
       children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within
       us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light
       shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we
       are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

Respect for an individual can take no higher form than self-respect. Living an
inauthentic life, failing to seek to know yourself or even worse yet, knowing yourself but
then neglecting that self, is the greatest form of disrespect one can commit against
themselves. In Henrik Ibsen's play Romersholm, a middle-aged tutor named Ulrik
Brendel brags to his friends about all the potential he has inside of him just waiting to be
let out. But one day, he shares a shocking revelation with them: "For five and twenty
years”, says Ulrik “I have been like a miser sitting on his locked money chest. And then
today, when I opened it to take out my treasure, there was nothing there. The mills of
time had ground it into dust. There was not a blessed thing left of the whole lot." The
tragedy Ulrik shares is that he waited too long to acknowledge the true potential he
possessed within, and by the time he finally did try to be authentic – it was too late. He
had ignored his true self for too long and that neglect caused his potential to whither to
dust in the end.

~The act of ignoring your own true self, in the name of reaching your own true potential,
                              is the greatest act of folly~

God’s Mistake or Yours

Here’s another way to look at it. To assume that you – at your very core - need to fix
yourself requires the presupposition that you must be broken, and that implies that God
screwed up. Feel free to substitute whatever spiritual belief you have, but it likely wont
change the concept. Think about it. If you believe that at your very core the way you
were made is insufficient to achieve success, then you have to admit that you view
yourself as flawed. Now I’m not talking here about developing new acquired talents,
rather a belief that “I need fixing.” Acquiring new knowledge and experience is great.
That’s a prerequisite for anyone’s success and something all 5th level performers
constantly do by the way. But when you attempt to fix who you are instead of fixing how
you are, then you must first think who you are is insufficient. And if you think that then
you can’t avoid the question, “Who screwed up?”

In reality it’s not what you are at your very core that needs work, but how you apply
yourself that needs fixing. God created you for a purpose and you have a completely
unique and incredibly powerful set of natural talents for that purpose, so it’s not what raw
materials you have to work with that you should be concerned about. What you should
be focused on is how you apply those raw materials.

          ~ If you need to fix anything, it is the way you apply you – not you! ~

Geniuses understand this. They don’t view their set of talents as flawed, rather any flaws
they see come in how they apply those talents. Because of this radically different
perspective on themselves, when they focus on correcting flaws, those flaws are in their
application of themselves, not themselves. In other words, they achieve tremendous
leaps in performance by adjusting their environment (what they do or how they do it) not
themselves. They don’t change their talents, they change how those talents are applied.

Give yourself up to your inner genius and allow that which is you – as you were created –
to do what it does best. Remember, regardless of whatever higher power you believe in,
if you believe that such a higher power is infinitely more powerful and knowing then you,
you have to ask yourself, “did that power know what it was doing when it created me?”
If you answer yes, then you can’t blame your God for making you incorrectly. If you still
agree with me then any mistakes in your life are not - cannot be - in you but in the
application of you. In other words, God made you, but you decide what to do with
yourself. If a problem exists it’s not with the thing God created, but how you apply it.

I say all of this because there is a huge difference between thinking you are broken and
realizing that you are just poorly aligned. The former is a racecar with a blown engine
that must be completely rebuilt (broken). The latter is a perfectly good Ferrari trying to
race in an off-road rally (poorly aligned).

            ~ Success in not about developing talent – it’s about aligning it ~

Dropping the Rock

One of the first things I often hear from people who start to become authentic is how
good it feels. With each step they take towards becoming more self-aware and authentic,
the more at peace they feel.

Imagine you are holding a heavy rock above your head. Once you decide to throw that
rock down, the moment it starts its journey off your shoulders, you start to feel a sense of
relief. Even before you let go of it, just the knowledge that it is about to be removed
creates a sense of energy and relief in you. Your tired muscles see hope at the end of the
tunnel. Your strained back appreciates an easing of pressure. Your quivering legs feel
themselves starting to stand tall again. Your whole physical body appreciates the
removal of this incredible strain. Finally, as the rock falls completely away, this relief
spreads throughout your entire body until eventually none of its heaviness rests on you

Being inauthentic is very much the same in its effects on you. When you are inauthentic,
there is some small part of you that knows it. You feel the weight of that load every day,
every minute. It can be incredibly stressful. However, when you become aware of this
inauthenticity, before even acting to remove it, just the knowledge of its existence and
your decision to get rid of it, starts to deliver relief. Every step you take towards
becoming authentic is like every inch that rock moves from your shoulders. Admitting
your inauthenticity and deciding to do something about it delivers an immediate sense of
relief and peace – a peace that only grows the more authentic you become.

The most vital aspect of awakening your authentic self is the recognition that you are
inauthentic in the first place. One of Albert Einstein’s famous quotes is, “to continue to
do the same thing yet expect different results is truly madness.” Einstein is speaking of
process, but he makes a valid point. Being inauthentic is actually a little “mad”. One
way of looking at inauthenticity is as a minor form of “madness”, albeit one that all of us
suffer from at one point or another in our lives.

Later in this book we will help you identify exactly how you are being inauthentic, but
your first big step, right here – right now - is to ask yourself, “How authentic am I?” The
Danish philosopher Soren Kierkegaard said, “Face the facts of what you are, for that is
what changes what you are.” By this he meant that in order to change something you
must first understand what it is. You have to face the fact that you are inauthentic before
you can stop being so.

                         ~ Illumination is 80% of remediation ~

Author Eckhart Tolle describes in his book A New Earth, what Hinduism calls “Maya”,
or the veil of delusion. While I’m not talking about morality in this book, he makes a
compelling argument for how to end an illusion by identifying it first. Tolle says, “you
do not become good by trying to be good, but by finding the goodness that is already
within you, and allowing that goodness to emerge. But, it can only emerge if something
fundamental changes in your state of consciousness. To replace one’s own insanity is, of
course, the rising of sanity, the beginning of healing and transcendence. The good news is
that if you can recognize illusion as illusion, it dissolves. The recognition of illusion is
also its ending. Its survival depends on your mistaking it for reality. In the seeing of who
you are not, the reality of who you are [starts to] emerge.”

In our discussion, let’s substitute “Genius” for Tolle’s “good.” In our discussion, to
replace one’s own inauthenticity is the rising of authenticity. In other words, you do not
become a genius by trying to be a genius, but by finding the genius that already exists
within you and allowing it to emerge. To become authentic requires that you leave your
state of inauthenticity. Being authentic is about seeing what life can do through you, not
to you. You do this by releasing you inner genius – not creating it. With self-awareness
comes the tapping into of intelligence far greater than any book learning or experience
can deliver. It is an ancient intelligence, refined throughout hundreds of thousands of
years (in our genes, in our society, in our traditions) and ideally suited to make you a
genius in something. You contain much more potential than simply the learned
knowledge you have acquired over the course of your life. You possess unique natural
talents that are the result of everything learned by everyone who has come before you.
Each of them has left some indelible reference to what they discovered as well. The trick
is finding out what that something is, and being honest enough with yourself to let go of
your preconceived notions about how the rest of the world thinks you should be and
follow your own path to who you are.

In the end, once you admit your being inauthentic, you have already taken the biggest
step to becoming authentic. As you progress on this journey, with each step you take
towards becoming more authentic, the more successful you will become, the greater your
sense of relief will be and the more peace you will feel. This feeling can be so amazing
that once you feel it you will not likely go back.

As a matter of fact, I’m going to bet that even now you’re feeling something. Without
having taken even a single action yet, I bet that having just considered turning inwardly
and asking yourself the question “Am I being authentic?” you are feeling an early sense
of excitement, some little spark of something that you have a strong urge to see catch fire.
When it does catch fire it will become your passion, around which you can craft a truly
authentic role. One of the reasons being authentic feels so right is because it
automatically taps into your passion.

  “To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the
                               greatest accomplishment”
                                                                 ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Passion and Purpose

In one way, learning your talents and being true to them is the same as learning what your
passions are and being true to them. When you are being true to your genius, you are
being true to your passions. When you are doing what you love to do, and naturally do
well, you are drawn to it. Passion is the force that drives all successful people and
actions, and being authentic is being passionate. In The Eighth Habit author Stephen
Covey talks about the importance that authenticity plays in passion. “The key to creating
passion in your life is to find your unique talents and your special role and purpose in the
world”, says Covey.

Geniuses are passionate about their roles. Their roles are well aligned with who they are.
They don’t consider it work. They love what they do and they would still do it even if
they didn’t have to. When you are engaged in work that taps into your talents and is
fueled by your passion, therein lies your calling, your Genius. Covey goes on to say that,
“There is a deep, innate, almost inexpressible yearning within each one of us to find our
voice in life.” That voice he is talking about is your genius!

Our passions are also tied to our sense of purpose. In the book Blueprint for Success,
author Tim Kelly ties passion to purpose in the following way,
    Each of us has a unique life purpose – some reason why we were born –
    someone we are meant to be, and something we are meant to do. Not
    everyone believes this, but the people who do believe it often get an itch, a
    feeling, or a calling. They have a sense that there is something they are
    supposed to be doing, and until they are doing it they don’t feel completely
    fulfilled in their lives. It’s a question that each of us needs to answer, because
    we’ll be happier, more successful and more fulfilled when we do.

In Tim’s use of “purpose” I don’t think he is talking about specific jobs or duties as much
as he is the way in which you do these things. Your purpose is not a title or what you do,
rather who you are and how you are. In many ways, being true to your genius is
analogous to being true to your purpose.

Some see a deeper spiritual meaning to their purpose in life. Many think of purpose as a
vocation. The term vocation comes from the Latin “vocar” (to call) and means the work a
person is called to by God. In his book Secrets in the Dark, author Frederick Buechner
says, “There are all different kinds of voices calling you to all different kinds of work,
and the problem is to find out which is the voice of God rather than of society, say, or the
superego, or self interest.” I think Beuchner is talking here about the tendency we all
have as humans to seek a career based on what the world tells us would be good to do,
rather than seeking to understand our true nature or to understand what would be the best
application for our natural talents.

Author Parker Palmer also considers purpose as vocation when, in his book Let Your Life
Speak: Listening for the Voice of Vocation, he describes our vocation in life in the
following way:
      Vocation does not mean a goal that I pursue. It means a calling that I hear.
      Before I can tell my life what I want to do with it, I must listen to my life
      telling me who I am. I must listen for the truths and values at the heart of my
      own identity, not the standards by which I must live – but the standards by
      which I cannot help but live if I am living my own life. Today I understand
      vocation quite differently – not as a goal to be achieved but as a gift to be
      received. Discovering vocation does not mean scrambling toward some prize
      just beyond my reach but accepting the treasure of true self I already possess.
      Vocation does not come from a voice ‘out there’ calling me to become
      something I am not. It comes from a voice ‘in here’ calling me to be the
      person I was born to be, to fulfill the original selfhood given me at birth by
      God. The deepest vocational question is not ‘What ought I to do with my
      life?’ It is the more elemental and demanding ‘Who am I? What is my

Whether you take a secular approach, or a more spiritual one, your natural talents are the
basic building blocks you must identify and understand in order to enlist your passion and
find your purpose. Being untrue to yourself will never guide you to either passion or

In the Flow

When you do all of this. When you openly and honestly acknowledge that God didn’t
screw up and the only mistake has been in how you apply what was given to you; when
you stop neglecting your inner-self; once you have dropped that rock from your shoulders
and once you have become truly authentic and begin to maximize the talents you already
possess, you will find there is an almost mystical aspect to the performance you will
achieve. Basil King said, “Be bold and mighty forces will come to your aid.” I like to
think that by being “bold” he meant daring to be who you are, and those “mighty forces”
he talks about are the natural talents you already possess coming to your aid now that you
have acknowledged them. They were always there, just hidden in untapped potential.
When you become authentic, though, and once you let those talents out, it is as if you are
suddenly plugged into some invisible energy that powers your performance and the
results you get often elicit a feeling of “How did I do that? It didn’t seem that hard.”

When this happens - when you operate on the far right side of the Long X - you are in
what I call the flow. Abraham Maslow talks about B-Cognition, or Peak Experiences,
and these are times where people are in the flow. He describes people in peak
experiences as being one with what they do. The two are not separate. The person is not
“thinking” about doing it, they are just doing it. Athletes and artist commonly get in the
flow, and the professional athletes I’ve worked with tell me that if they have to think
about it, it’s too late. In First Break All The Rules, author Marcus Buckingham describes

this moment by saying, “your whole brain seems to light up as if a whole bank of
switches were suddenly flicked on.”

Garry Titterton is a world-class ad guy and one of the geniuses I interviewed for this
book. Author of Brand Storming, he has had phenomenal success in his profession, from
leading the team that created a marketing promotion for Coca-Cola that generated a
Guinness Book of Records winning 40 million entries, to helping create the wildly
successful and award winning catch phrase, “I can’t believe it’s Not Butter.” He has
successfully lead ad agencies around the world, taking D’Arcy’s Asia division to the 5th
largest ad agency in all of China (when they started outside the top 40) and helping
McCann Global achieve over $250 Million in new business from Master Card, Motorola,
Goodyear, General Mills and others. Garry was even one of three founders that created
the premium chocolate brand Choix before they sold it to Alders.

In one of my discussions with Garry, he shared his thoughts on how self-awareness and
authenticity have been a driving force behind his success all of his life and what it means
to him when he is in the flow:

       I’ve always been very aware I think, at least compared to others I’ve known,
       of what my natural talents were for. I’m a very strategic person and while I
       can be the detail-oriented guy who moves quickly and in a more tactical
       manner, I prefer to take the strategic approach and think big picture. I
       outsource the implementation of those strategies to others since that is not a
       strength for me. If I don’t do this, if I make my success dependent on my
       ability to be the tactician, I feel I am doing myself a disservice. When I am
       ignoring the strategic vision to implement actions I feel I’m being untrue, and
       I am not in the flow. And when I’m not in the flow, I don’t feel that sense of
       oneness with what I am doing. The results show too. When I’m not in the
       flow, results are just much harder to come by. I have an incredibly strong
       sense of this inner voice and I’ve learned to trust and follow it and it leads me
       to being in the flow more often than not. When I’m in the flow my success
       comes so much more completely with so much less effort.

       As a young sportsman it was this sort of Zen thing where when I was in the
       flow (when the game was playing me) I did great and loved it, but when I
       wasn’t in the flow (when I was trying to play the game) I did very poorly and
       didn’t enjoy it at all. In a funny way you can’t control the flow, it just comes
       to you. You can’t manufacture it by trying to think about it or be untrue, you
       just have to do what comes naturally to you and go with it. Lots of artists say
       ‘I didn’t paint that, it just sort of came to me, I was the instrument and
       something happened to me and there it was.’ When you are in the flow there
       is this overriding sense of completeness when you are being authentic and
       true to who you are. There is harmony and rhythm not unlike music. You
       feel complete. There is a line in a Robert Browning Poem that says, ‘On
       earth the broken arcs; in heaven the perfect round.’ When I’m not being true

       to myself I feel like the broken arc, but when I’m being authentic and true, or
       when I’m in the flow, I feel like a complete circle – perfect (heaven).

When Garry talks about the Browning quote he is describing what I hear so often from
others I work with. When they try to over ride their natural talents, they feel broken, not
whole and unfulfilled. They suffer from The Problem. When, however, they let nature
take its course and they allow who they are to come to the surface they feel complete,
whole and fulfilled. They become Browning’s “perfect round” and The Problem is not
much of a problem for them. In the flow they perform much better and often they are a
little mystified with the results. Like Garry, they don’t feel as if they had to put in as
much effort as they would have expected in order to achieve such stellar results. But
when in the flow, they get them none-the-less.

There is one final benefit you receive by being authentic. When you are authentic not
only do you find amazement in it but also those around you are equally as inspired. Tolle
describes the influence that authentic people have as, “going far beyond the function they
perform. They bring about peacefulness and wonder in everyone who comes into contact
with them. It is truly fun and captivating watching someone who is completely authentic
do their thing. It should come as no surprise that these people are extremely successful at
what they do, when they do it in this fashion.”

Others may be technically very good at what they do, but if they are inauthentic then they
sabotage their ultimate success and they do not inspire those around them nearly as much.
Only part of their attention can be applied to their actual work – the other part has to be
given to themselves, as what they are doing is not natural and thus it requires that they
slow down to think about it more cautiously or with more intent. They are spending
some of their effort on thinking about how to be something instead of just being it.

Inspiring others is a wonderful side-effect of being authentic. For some of you it may
even be your purpose, your vocation or your genius. But just remember, once you
become authentic, and once others are inspired by what you do, make sure to teach them
how to find their own authentic self, not try to do what you do in the way you do it for
they have to find their own path – not follow yours.

The research and the interviews show us that the real key to being very successful is to
find ways to be in the flow more often than not. To give you a super simple way to
remember this lesson yourself, I give you a figure from my childhood that is the
quintessential authentic character. As Popeye so famously said, “I yam what I yam and
that’s all that I yam”. The Geniuses in our world wouldn’t argue with him one bit,
spinach or not.

   R   QuickTime™ and a
 are needed to see this picture.

                                   Chapter 3 Review

Chapter 1:
      • “The Problem” is an epidemic of people that feel unfulfilled, dissatisfied and
           frustrated with their performance
Chapter 2:
      • To find out why, we created the Genius Project to study why and what we
           found were two key things:
               o There is no “Genius Talent”
               o Self-Awareness and Authenticity are present in higher levels in the
                   best performers
Chapter 3:
      • The effects of the problem go beyond performance issues to include negative
           physical and emotional effects as well
      • Inauthenticity causes you to feel upside down, always putting in more effort
           than you feel you get back in results, and blocks you from your passions, and
           being in the flow

 GC      QuickTime™ and a
  are needed to see this picture.

                                         Chapter 3 Gut Check

How stressed would you say you are right now in life? (circle one)
             Very unstressed 1    2       3        4       5 Very Stressed

What’s an example of a time when you were “in the flow”? What are you doing when
this happened?

What percentage of your week do you feel like you are in the flow? (circle one)

                                    0%     10%    20%   30%      40%   50%   60%   70%   80%    90%   100%

When you are in the flow, is it through professional or personal activities? (circle one)

                                                  Professional         Personal          Both

This gut check is designed to help you think about your own levels of stress and your
ability to get into the flow. Geniuses feel less stressed and find themselves in the flow
more often than not.

                            4 - The Cause

Why are so many people around the world being inauthentic and suffering from The
Problem? This lack of authenticity stems from a flawed belief system concerning the
value and management of people that is outdated and simply wrong, at least in today’s
business environment. The flaw I’m referring to is the lack of appreciation for the
uniqueness and individuality of people. It is a flawed belief that finds the job as
sacrosanct and the individual as sacrificial. It is a belief that the job’s duties and
responsibilities should remain fixed and the individual is the one who should change to
better fit the job. Such beliefs are the primary cause of an individual becoming
inauthentic and they lie at the very heart of the struggles we’ve been discussing. To
understand this flawed belief system we need to consider its origin.

 ~ It is a flawed belief that finds the job as sacrosanct and the individual as sacrificial ~

Food, Stuff and Ideas

In 1758 a young Scotchman named James Watt was suffering with his own struggles.
Having been mostly home schooled and not meeting the requirements of completing a
formal apprenticeship, the local Glasgow Guild would not allow him to take up work in
his chosen career as an instrument maker. Later that year, however, Watt was offered the
opportunity to set up a small workshop at the University of Glasgow Scotland. Within
four years this unofficial instrument maker would create one of the most significant
technological breakthroughs of his time. His invention was a radical modification to the
then woefully underpowered and inefficient steam engine, and it was this breakthrough
that would fuel an entire world of change – one we’re still feeling today.

What Watt invented was a new way to build a steam engine that was up to five times as
powerful and efficient as the previous steam engines, and his work initiated a series of
improvements in generating and applying power that transformed the world of work and
would go on to power the industrial revolution.

The industrial revolution was a period in the late 18th and early 19th centuries when a
major change occurred in the primary form of business. Prior to the industrial era, world
economies were mostly agrarian wherein the main production activities were in
producing food through farming and manual labor. With the advent of modern
technology and machinery, very much driven by Watt’s improved steam engine, the
world shifted to an economy based on industrial manufacturing rather than farming and
through the use primarily of machinery rather than manual labor. The onset of the
industrial revolution marked a major turning point in human society where nearly every
aspect of daily life was eventually affected in some way.

The specifics of the industrial era are important for our discussion because the raw
materials of the industrial economy were natural resources and the processes that
transformed them into products and goods. People were not the primary asset in the
industrial economy. In the early 1900’s if a worker quit the production line at Ford Motor
Company, Henry Ford could replace him with another worker without so much as a
hiccup in production. That’s because in the Industrial economy, a very small minority of
the workforce was considered a knowledge worker. The vast majority were simply
laborers, and companies relied on their ability to do more than to think. They were
valued more for their bodies than for their minds.

This is no slam on Henry Ford, who paid his workers above average wages and was more
concerned with human needs than most industrialists of his time, but the world Ford lived
in revolved around the physical ability of the employee more than it did their mental

It was in this industrial era where the majority of the management principles we know
today were created, including the principles of how to manage people. While these
principles might have been appropriate for the industrial economy, that age is dead. Like
the agrarian era before it, the industrial era eventually gave way to the new intellectual

With advances in modern technology, production capabilities, the globalization of
competition and ever-tightening labor pools, the world has shifted to an economy that
relies much more heavily on a person’s mental ability than their physical ability. In the
intellectual age people are the new raw material (their creativity, their knowledge, their
talents). The real value of an employee in today’s organizations is based on their ability
to think, not do. They are more valued for their minds, hearts and spirit than simply for
their bodies.

University of Maryland’s George Ritzer describes the intellectual economy as, “a
transition from the production of goods to the provision of services.” Peter Drucker
described the world as moving from, “an economy of goods to an economy of knowledge
and from a society dominated by an industrial proletariat to one dominated by brain
workers.” Drucker believed in empowering the individual worker, in treating workers as
a resource instead of just an expense. He was also a very harsh critic of the assembly-line
system of production that then dominated the manufacturing sector of his day – mostly
because it failed to engage the creativity of individual workers. He insisted that this
would have profound implications for managers and organizations. Managers had to stop
treating workers like cogs in a machine and start treating them as brain-workers. He
called this new economy the “age of the knowledge worker”, wherein the most vital
assets were not the raw materials and processes that transformed them, but the minds and
intellects of individuals who created and controlled them.

Here are some statistics that demonstrate that this shift from an industrial to an
intellectual era has indeed taken place:
    1. Most staff now devote more time to solving complex problems through the
        application of knowledge than in the manufacturing of products
    2. Today, eight out of ten employees produce services rather than products
    3. Most tangible products are purchases on the basis of intangible assets like brand,
        reputation, employee satisfaction and service
    4. 80% of the US GDP is generated by service, not manufacturing
    5. Companies that do a better job of managing intellectual assets like brand,
        employee engagement, customer satisfaction and service:
            a. Enjoy market values up to $40,000 higher per employee
            b. Outperform the S&P 500 by 50% the last ten years running
            c. Have significantly higher survivability rates

Best selling author Seth Godin does a great job of summarizing this shift by explaining,
“we used to make food, and then we made things, now we make ideas.” Chairman (Ret)
Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Colin Powell shared his thoughts on people as the key asset
in the December 1996 issue of Management Review where he said, “In a brain-based
economy, your best assets are people. We've heard this expression so often that it's
become trite. But how many leaders really ‘walk the talk’ with this stuff? Too often,
people are assumed to be empty chess pieces to be moved around by grand viziers, which
             may explain why so many top managers immerse their calendar time in deal
             making, restructuring and the latest management fad. How many immerse
             themselves in the goal of creating an environment where the best, the
             brightest, the most creative are attracted, retained and, most importantly,

             But here is the rub. While the world has shifted from an industrial age to an
             intellectual one, most of the management practices applied in today’s
organizations have not shifted. The majority of today’s management beliefs about how to
manage people are very much the remnants of past industrial organizations, and as such
they are flawed when it comes to managing people today. In many ways, we’re still
practicing old management practices, which used to be appropriate and effective, but are
not anymore. As Stephen Covey says in The Eighth Habit, “we live in a Knowledge
Worker Age but operate our organizations in a controlling Industrial Age model that
absolutely suppresses the release of human potential.”

Individuals in today’s organization are now the single most important asset. They are the
greatest competitive advantage a company has and their ability to think is responsible for
generating more profits today than their ability to do. But we still manage these
individuals in much the same way as we did when they were not the primary drivers of
performance and profits. We find companies still adhering to a view of individuals that
was created in the industrial era – the one that doesn’t exist anymore. We have not
managed to change our beliefs about individuals and their relationship with the
organization as significantly as that relationship itself has actually changed.

The effect of this failure to shift management principles accordingly has resulted in
people still being viewed primarily as commodities, expenses or as labor. The fault for
this problem doesn’t lie just with the organizations, but with the individuals in those
organizations as well. Individuals themselves continue to adhere to an old paradigm of
how to be managed. They continue to believe that it is management who knows best how
they should do the job. People continue to look to management to tell them the best way
to work and how to be successful.

The error lies on both sides of the divide. Both management and those being managed
continue to perpetuate the old beliefs of a bygone era, and both fail to fully comprehend
that the playing field has changed. To understand why yesterday’s views on people are
insufficient today, we need to look at how people were viewed in the industrial age.

A Legacy of Dependence

One of the most pervasive management principles that remains from the industrial era is
the belief that companies have to manage and control people. The conventional wisdom
of the industrial economy was that all workers should do things the prescribed way, the
way the company says. To achieve this, if the job required a worker to be able to do
something, and the worker wasn’t good at it, it was the worker who was expected to
change to better fit the role, not the other way around. This has created a legacy of
dependence where people look to the company to tell them how to proceed, how to work
and how to be. This creates a sense that the job is more important than I am, and therefore
what I think isn’t as important as what the job or company needs. People become
dependant on those with management authority to decide for them what must be done.
They consent to being controlled, but unfortunately all these remnants of the old
industrial age do is prevent people from tapping into their own talents and Genius.

So, just how did we arrive at a point where the majority believes that the company knows
your talents and abilities better than you do? How did we, even in the industrial era, first
get to a point where most people depend on the company to determine how best to apply
their talents, or which talents they should even have in the first place? To understand this
we need to take a look at how management in that era saw people.

In the Industrial economy people were considered in many ways a distraction, an obstacle
to performance or an unavoidable expense. This is due, in large part, to the work of one
Frederick W. Taylor, who is commonly known as the Father of Scientific Management.
For those not familiar with Scientific Management, or Taylor himself, Frederick W.
Taylor was one of the most influential thought leaders of the industrial era. His seminal
work, Scientific Management, ushered in an entire new paradigm on the “one best way”
to manage people for optimal efficiency in an industrial era. According to Dr. Stephen
Byrum, author of The Recovery and Sustainability of the Human Element in Modern
Organizations, “this short but incredibly powerful 80-page book would have as much
impact on the world of business as Karl Marx’s The Communist Manifesto or Mao’s
Little Red Book had on governments of the time.” With the addition of his other great

work, The Principles of Scientific Management, Taylor would become a world famous
thought leader on how to manage people more effectively. Most of the great
organizations of the industrial era became his followers and they instituted his principles
of efficiency in manufacturing and process management. Whole governments even
adopted his lessons. A thorough understanding of the world of business today is not
possible without acknowledging the impact that Frederick Taylor had on the cultural
consciousness of the world in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. It was immense!

The only problem with this, though, is that Taylor’s impact, while perhaps not
intentionally malicious, had a powerfully negative impact on people in general. Taylor
saw the individual as a flawed element to be controlled. As absurd as it seems, people
were his greatest obstacle to higher organizational performance. While some scholars
argue that it was not Taylor’s intention, his work would have a terribly dehumanizing
effect on the world’s work forces. His writings, in too many instances, became the
impetus for the eventual reduction of the worker to nothing more than the automatons of
Orwell’s 1984.

To understand what I mean, let me share some examples of Taylor’s work with you so
you can get a better understanding of how the industrial era saw the individual worker
through Taylor’s eyes. On instructing managers how to manage workers for optimal
performance, Taylor stated, “You do it my way, by my standards, at the speed I mandate,
and in so doing achieve a level of output I ordain, and I’ll pay you handsomely for it,
beyond anything you might have imagined. All you have to do is take orders and give up
your way of doing the job for mine.” In his famous tract Shop Management, Taylor
wrote, “Each man must give up his own particular way of doing things, adapt his
methods to the many new standards, and grow accustomed to receiving and obeying
instructions covering details large and small, which in the past had been left to individual
judgment. The workmen are to do as they are told.” In Taylor’s opinion, the workmen
“didn’t need to think at all.”

You can start to see how the world of industrial business, being strongly influenced by
Taylor and his principles, would come to view the worker as nothing more than a
machine. Taylor’s influence was incredibly powerful in shaping the industrial era’s
thoughts on managing people and the organization’s need to use rigid job descriptions
and regulations to determine the “one best way.” Basically, our heritage from the
industrial era is a mind-set wherein it is up to management to determine the best way to
do things. The individual just needs to shut up and follow directions.

I know what you are saying, “Yeah, but that was over a hundred years ago. Business
today is nothing like that.” Before you start to dismiss all of this as ancient history,
though, we need to appreciate how this mentality of control survives even today in the
basic DNA of most organizations. We have inherited a significant legacy from Taylor
that continues to drive management beliefs that undervalue the individuality of the person
and, worse yet, cause the individual to be dependent on management for complete
guidance as how to best achieve success.

While many organizations argue that this isn’t so - that no real legacy exists and that they
have updated their entire approach to people to be aligned with the realities of today’s
economies - in practice they continue to operate from a basis closer to Taylor’s industrial
view. They just don’t realize it.

I see it all the time in the organizations I work with and to help make my point to these
companies I have developed three litmus tests. Whenever I work with an organization
that tells me that people are their absolute most vital asset, but their actions don’t support
their words, I ask them the following questions to help make my case:

   1. “If you have a Chief Executive Officer, and a Chief Financial Officer, and even a
      Chief Operations Officer, can I meet your Chief People Officer?” While there are
      a growing number of companies that do have some similar title or position, the
      great majority of companies that tell me they value their people above all else,
      don’t show me this in their actions because they have no such role. Finances,
      operations and governance are still more important and require Chief positions to
      head these segments of business. People are usually the primary responsibility of
      a Vice President of Human Resources who reports to one of the other Chief
   2. “Where do you record capital equipment purchases and payroll on your books?”
      The answer is almost always that capital equipment is listed as an investment,
      which is itemized out over a certain number of years, and payroll almost always
      goes in the expense column. While the company may want to believe that people
      are their most important asset, they continue to practice an old belief as to how
      they manage that asset. At least from a financial perspective, they don’t view the
      money they spend on people as an investment, just an expense. Not much has
      changed from Taylor’s view that people are an expense and something to be
      reduced as much as possible.
   3. If the company manufactures anything I ask them, “What is the defect rate for the
      products you make compared to your human turnover rate?” All too often the
      company tells me that their defect rate is much lower than their turnover rate.
      This just means that they do a far better job of production management than they
      do people management (i.e., they fail less with things then they do with people).

This is not to say that these companies are lying. For the most part they truly do
appreciate that they are in an intellectual economy and they really do believe that people
are the most vital asset, but the very field of management itself is so founded in the
industrial mentality in which is was born that they just can’t appreciate these basic flaws.
Sometimes, when you live inside of something, it’s easy to take it for granted. An
associate of mine, Dr. Rem Edwards, recently said that explaining such familiar things is
like, “Trying to explain water to a fish.” It’s easy to miss this kind of “big-picture”
insight because we all exist within the very thing in question, the thing that is flawed. It’s
so big that we can completely forget we are inside of it.

The earth is a good example of how easy it is to take for granted something that is so
basic, so large, that you become oblivious to it. You could easily go your entire life

without realizing that you are spinning 1,000 miles per hour in a small circle and at
67,000 miles per hour around a much larger circle, but that’s how fast the earth rotates
and moves around the sun. It’s easy to miss this fact because everything you see is
moving along with you. There is no context that exists outside of your reality, so to you
nothing is moving. It’s not hard to remember this fact, it’s just really easy to forget it.

Today’s management beliefs are much like this. They exist as such a basic part of our
business lives that they are simply taken for granted. These beliefs continue to perpetuate
workplaces where individuals depend on the organization to tell them how to work,
where individuals are reluctant to speak up and share their own “best way”, or challenge
leadership’s “best way.” Not only is this bad for the individuals of course, but it can be
equally as damaging for the organization as a whole.

A greatly simplified example of this effect was seen with Compaq. In 1998, when
Compaq acquired Digital Equipment Corporation, then CEO Eckhard Pfeiffer had very
little vision for how the two companies and vastly different cultures would work together.
While there were several underneath Pfeiffer who are on record as feeling that the merger
was not a good idea, they were either not comfortable challenging their leader’s
decisions, or their challenges went unheard. The result was a failed merger that
significantly damaged Compaq as they lost ground to lower-cost competitors like Dell.

The result of this legacy of management principles is a belief system that remains not
because it makes sense, but simply because it’s a basic part of the fabric of management
practice. We have not managed to get far enough outside of our reality to be able to
perceive some other context, so whatever flaws are contained in that core belief system
go unnoticed. I call such beliefs “legacy beliefs”. Legacy beliefs may or may not be
valid anymore, but they are always beliefs from a time that is no more. The danger with
them is that they exist simply because they have always existed. They are not in place on
their own merit, but rather by default.

The legacy belief we’re dealing with here is that management is still expected to control
the worker, where the company knows the “one best way” for every individual to
succeed. Granted, there are lots of modern-day exceptions to this, like Google or Wal-
Mart (who does have a Chief People Officer by the way). Fortune’s list of the Best
Companies to Work For shows that one of the top factors for respondents was their
feeling trusted to try new ways of doing things, make mistakes and step out on their own.
In other words, many companies, some of the better performing it seems, are breaking
away from the legacy beliefs of a bygone era, and allowing individuals to create their
own best way.

Unfortunately, the vast majority of companies have not fully appreciated the incongruity
between their legacy beliefs and the reality they find themselves living in today. The
result, as General Powell says, is that they fail to “unleash” the genius hidden within their
own organization.

In many ways we have not really moved all that far from Taylor’s dehumanizing view of
the worker because we as individuals continue to allow others to tell us how to be.
Instead of being authentic, and depending on our own self-awareness to determine the
best way to achieve results, too many people continue to depend on the company to tell
them what they must do or how to succeed.

We allow ourselves to be put into roles with predetermined duties or responsibilities and
ways of doing things that completely fail to factor in our unique and individual talents
and abilities. We allow others to force us into their “one best way” instead of divining
our own (i.e., my best way). Remember my comment about how believing that you are
broken requires the presupposition that God screwed up? Well if you believe that it is
you who should change to better fit the job, then that requires the presupposition that the
job is more important than you, doesn’t it? This legacy of dependence is so central to the
way we think about ourselves and our roles that it can be hard to step outside of it, but in
order to become a genius at something – you simply must!

                     Short Thoughts: Taylor’s Upside
In this chapter I’ve given Frederick Taylor a pretty hard time. This is not to say that he
doesn’t deserve it, and while his work is responsible for a tremendous amount of
dehumanizing in the world, there were actually very positive things about his work as
well. To be fair I think we should at least shed a little light on those aspects as well.

Professor William Judge, the E.V. Williams Chair of Strategic Leadership &
Professor of Strategic Management at Old Dominion University, weighed in for this book
on Taylor’s positive effects in our world, of which there are actually a great many.
According to Dr. Judge, Taylor made lots of contributions to our world, but the four most
significant were:
   • Efficiency: Coming out of an agrarian economy, there were no systems in place to
       streamline production on a grand scale and Frederick Taylor’s work provided
       incredible efficiencies in manufacturing and industrial processes in general. Our
       modern world has reaped great benefits from his work in these areas
   • Mutual Benefits: Hidden among Taylor’s writings there is a good deal of content
       arguing strongly for the benefits of creating mutually beneficial environments
       where both the company and the worker benefited together – equally. The primary
       benefit he was concerned with was monetary, but at the turn of the century money
       was arguably the single greatest concern for most workers. Unfortunately, this is
       one of Taylor’s messages that was ignored by many companies where management
       decided to keep the profits for themselves
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   • Worker safety: At the time Taylor was becoming popular working conditions in
       many organizations were horribly unsafe. Workers we exposed to incredibly high
       risk levels compared to today’s standards. Taylor was very vocal about his belief
       that a healthy and safe worker is more productive. His arguments resulted in
       drastic improvements in worker safety, thus preventing unknown numbers of
       injuries and deaths (likely a great many). Even though his motivation for
       improving working conditions was driven strictly by a desire to improve
       productivity – and had nothing to do with benefiting humans – his work definitely
       improved working conditions around the world
   • Management Abuse: Taylor was a stickler for written protocols. As part of his
       Scientific Management Principles, he urged all companies to create rigid process
       guidelines that were to be written and formally established. Again, while his
       motives for doing this were to benefit productivity, the positive side-effect of
       written guidelines was that it helped constrain management abuse

  Frederick W. Taylor did indeed create a really big idea that shaped the world (and
  continues to do so) and we owe him much. Even though his ideas were misapplied and
  ended up contributing more to the problem than the solution in many ways, his
  processes for managing things remain some of the most influential work in the entire
  field of business management. Standard fixtures in organizations today, like TQM,
  Six-Sigma or the Toyota Way would not exist were it not for the scientific standards
  that Taylor brought to the fledgling Management theory of his time.

Acme University

In fact, there is an entire industry that has grown out of the massive need to change
people to better fit the needs of the job. The Corporate Training and Development
market in the US alone grew 9% in 2007 to become a $13.5 Billion industry. The
industry as a whole is projected to grow 30% in the next five years. Companies are
budgeting more and more money each year for such training and development efforts.
Granted, much of the work of this industry is dedicated to developing acquired talents
like technical knowledge, skills, etc. And as a whole, this kind of investment in people is
a welcomed and wonderful thing, but how much of this development do you think
attempts to try and develop natural talents because some manager somewhere has said
that their people need to be better at this or that?

When such training deals with helping people develop acquired talents that is one thing.
But the majority of these personal development programs fail to differentiate between
natural and acquired talents. For example, the two largest segments of this training and
development market are in leadership and management development. Both of these two
areas are heavily dependent on natural talents so many of these programs focus on trying
to develop these natural talents. The outcome is a world of companies investing billions
of dollars trying to develop talents that simply can’t be developed, and in the end all that
is created are more inauthentic people.

Think I’m being idealistic? Think it’s a pipe dream to assume that such a radical shift in
management beliefs is even possible? The geniuses studied in this book don’t think so.
They are doing it right now, today, and they are living proof that not only is it possible to
change this flawed belief system, but that doing so results in remarkable leaps in
individual performance and success.

These geniuses have a very different view on their roles and how much they depend on
the outside world to tell them how to be. To them, the role is no more secure than are the
words of a rough draft they write. To a genius, it’s the role that is to be modified and
changed - not themselves. Geniuses see themselves as sacrosanct and the job as
sacrificial. They don’t do this out of some narcissistic ego drive by the way. Their
motives are very practical actually. They know that the more authentic they are the more
they succeed, so if it is a question as to what needs to change – the role or themselves –
the role will lose every time. They refuse to conform to the conventional wisdom that
management knows best what talents they need and how they should apply them for
maximum success.

Follow That Crowd

One reason why our legacy of dependence on management persists today is due to a basic
human need to fit in. Not only did past management beliefs engrain into us a belief that
conforming was good, but our very nature as social creatures provided fertile ground for
such a belief to take root and grow. At our core, all humans have a basic fundamental
need to belong. Evolution has taught us that survival and prosperity is more likely if we
live and work together. When we agree on things and share common beliefs, values and
attitudes it is that much easier to live and work together. While some are obviously more
the non-conformist than others, for all of us there is some part of our upbringing that
instills in us an urging to conform to the rules or expectations of other people. The more
we see others behaving in a certain way or making particular decisions, the more we feel
obliged to follow suit. For example: most people will be much less willing to express
their opinion if they believe they are in the minority. They will also be more vocal if they
believe they are a part of the majority. Right or wrong this is a basic part of being the
social creatures we are.

       In the end the Party would announce that two and two made five, and you
       would have to believe it. It was inevitable that they should make that claim
       sooner or later: the logic of their position demanded it. And what was
       terrifying was not that they would kill you for thinking otherwise, but that
       they might be right. For, after all, how do we know that two and two make
       four? Or that the force of gravity works? Or that the past is unchangeable? If
       both the past and the external world exist only in the mind, and if the mind
       itself is controllable—what then?

This quote from George Orwell’s 1984 is one example of social conformity, albeit a
fictitious one. In the book the totalitarian government of Oceania insists on total
conformity, to the extent that the protagonist of the story, Winston Smith, proposes that
even if the State were to suggest something so blatantly incorrect as 2+2=5, the masses
would not only be expected to conform and agree – but they would.

While we would like to believe that real people would never do such a thing,
unfortunately conformity, even at this level, is not restricted only to the imagination of
great writers.

According to Dr. Heather Williamson, a professor of social psychology at Virginia
Commonwealth University, all humans have a basic need to want to fit in. One reason is
called the Similarity Principle, which states that, “we trust people who are like us or who
are similar to people we like” says Dr. Williamson. She says that, “when we are trying to
decide whether to trust someone, we often do not have time to find out how trustworthy
they actually are, so we take a short-cut by assuming that someone who is either similar
to us or who is similar to someone we would trust can be trusted themselves.”

“We seek similarity in beliefs, values, attitudes, ways of thinking, understanding and
making decisions. We also look for short cuts in physical appearance, words and actions.

Since we long to be trusted it is in our best interest to be similar to others, and therefore
we strive to conform, to fit in, to be like the rest” says Dr. Williamson.

Another reason we conform, according to Dr. Williamson, is due to a psychological
phenomenon called Majority Influence. The degree of influence that this effect can have
on us is surprisingly strong. The Asch conformity experiments, performed by Dr.
Solomon Asch in the 1950's, were a series of studies that starkly demonstrated the power
of conformity in social groups, and how we aren’t as far from Smith’s description of his
conformist countrymen as we might like to think.

Asch asked groups of students to participate in a "vision test", but in reality, all but one of
the participants were working with Asch, and the study was really about how the one
remaining student would conform to the other student’s behavior. All of the subjects
were seated in a classroom and were presented with two cards. One had on it a “standard”
line; on the other were three comparison lines. They were asked to judge which of the
comparison lines was equal in length to the standard line.

The group was told to announce their answers out loud and the only true study participant
would always be the last to answer. While this sole study participant didn’t know it, the
other students were secretly instructed to give the wrong answer. The idea was to see if
the single study participant would conform to the group and give the same answer as the
others, even when it was obviously the wrong answer. In other words, when asked, all of
those student’s working with Professor Asch would state that the standard line was the
same length as line A or C on the second card. Even though this was obviously wrong,
the one student who wasn’t a part of the Asch’s group would give this same incorrect
answer a significant percentage of the time.

The results showed that 75% of the time the single participant gave a knowingly wrong
answer to at least one question, whenever the control group gave the wrong answer.
Of the 125 participants, only 25% gave the correct answer every time, compared to the
95% result from a control group. Clearly participants did not want to stand out like a sore
thumb or rock the boat, risking group disapproval. The lie they were telling was blatant,
but they told it anyway so as not to stand out and risk being rejected or lose trust.

Due to majority influence, people are more likely to depend on others for the answer, and
the more knowledgeable a person is, or the more authority they have, the more valuable
they are as a resource, thus people are even more likely to turn to experts or leaders for

Studies like these show us that one of our most basic human instincts is to follow the
crowd, but that doesn’t mean doing so is always the correct thing to do. Conformity can
have either good or bad effects on people. Driving safely is an example of where
conformity serves us well. Trying drugs because of peer pressure, however, is an
example of where a need to fit in doesn’t serve us well at all. The Asch experiments
proved that people frequently followed the majority judgment, even when the majority
was wrong.

Even though more and more people feel inauthentic in their roles today, and even though
somewhere deep down inside they know it is wrong, they continue do it anyway. When I
say “wrong”, by the way, I don’t mean immoral. I mean that the way they are attempting
to achieve results doesn’t feel “right” to them, or like they are following the “correct”
path as far as getting results goes. The desire to be like others and to follow the crowd
reinforces the legacy of dependence we have on others telling us how to be successful.
What works for another works because of their unique talents. This doesn’t mean,
however, that the same will work for you unless of course you happen to have an
identical set of talents, which is next to impossible.

Perhaps Peter Drucker sums this legacy problem up best when he says, “in a few hundred
years, when the history of our time is written from a long-term perspective, it is likely
that the most important event those historians will see is not technology, not the internet,
not e-commerce. It is an unprecedented change in the human condition. For the first
time – literally – substantial and rapidly growing numbers of people have choices. For
the first time, they will have to manage themselves. And society is totally unprepared for
it.” Becoming authentic and achieving the 5th level of performance requires that you stop
following and start leading – yourself. I think Drucker is saying that as a society, we are
not prepared (totally unprepared I guess) to lead ourselves. We suffer from a legacy of
dependence that leaves us looking to others to manage us because too many people are
just not ready to manage themselves.

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                                   Chapter 4 Review

Chapter 1:
      • “The Problem” is an epidemic of people that feel unfulfilled, dissatisfied and
           frustrated with their performance
Chapter 2:
      • To find out why, we created the Genius Project to study why and what we
           found were two key things:
               o There is no “Genius Talent”
               o Self-Awareness and Authenticity are present in higher levels in the
                   best performers
Chapter 3:
      • The effects of the problem go beyond performance issues to include negative
           physical and emotional effects as well
      • Inauthenticity causes you to feel upside down, always putting in more effort
           than you feel you get back in results, and blocks you from your passions, and
           being in the flow
Chapter 4 (the Cause):
   • Today’s organizations have shifted from an industrial to an intellectual economy
   • Legacy beliefs left over from the old industrial economy cause dependence and
      inauthenticity that damages individual performance

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                                   Chapter 4 Gut check

Think of a time in your life where you depended on the company to tell you how to be
successful. What is one talent, which you don’t think you possessed naturally, but that
you were told you needed to possess in order to succeed?

What was that talent? _____________________________________________________

What did you do to try and acquire that natural talent? ___________________________

How much effort did you put into acquiring this natural talent? (circle one)
                    Very Little 1 2        3       4        5 A Ton

How did that work for you in the end? (circle one)
       I improved little to none 1 2          3                         4      5 I became a genius

    The Solution   75
                        5 - The Solution

There is a famous passage in Plato’s dialogue, The Republic, where Glaucon says to
Socrates. “Now, old man, you have talked about the problem aplenty - now tell us the
solution.” I think I’ve talked about the problem aplenty as well, so for the rest of the
book we will dedicate ourselves to just one thing…the solution.

Over all the years that I have been professionally working to help people improve their
performance through better understanding how they think and make decisions, I’ve
personally worked with over 10,000 individuals. While not all of these people were
being inauthentic of course, a great many were, so I had to develop a system to help them
develop a better level of self-awareness, put an end to their own legacy of dependence
and learn how to become more authentic.

In addition to helping individuals do this, I’ve also taught over 1,400 professional
counselors, consultants, managers, psychologists and educators this same process so not
only do I personally know the process works, but lots of others have proven it works as
well. One pleasant side effect of having to teach others, by the way, is that you have to
simplify and organize materials in a way that isn’t required when it is just you. When
you are the only one involved, you can get away without as much structure or
organization, because it’s in your head. When you teach others, however, you have to get
it out of your head and organized in a way that makes it very simple for others to
understand and follow. The result is an effective and easy-to-understand system that will
help you break any legacy of dependence you might have, re-discover the natural talents
you do have and finally become authentic to them so you can reach the 5th level of

While the system has been around for some time, in honor of this new book I’ve given it
a brand new name. I now call it the “5th Level Performance Program.”

The 5th Level Performance Program

Unlike the training and development programs I mentioned earlier under Acme
University, the 5th Level Performance Program does not start with the false assumption
that you need to change who you are, because you are not flawed in the first place. The
only thing this program seeks to change is how you are, because the only flaw in your life
has probably been how you apply yourself.

The 5th Level Performance Program consists of three main sections or what I call
Evolutions. I borrow this title from my days in the military. Instead of putting us through
training stages or phases, our instructors in the Navy and Marines called them evolutions.
Their use of the term was intended to signify the act of improving, not just changing. A

stage or phase signifies a distinct time period in a sequence of events, but it doesn’t
necessarily indicate progress or betterment. Evolution, on the other hand, is what
happens when something passes by degrees to a different stage – in an ongoing process
of improvement.

My use of the term “evolutions” in this program is very much the same as my former
instructor’s in that by following the lessons in this book, and by using the online 5th Level
Coaching tools that you will have free access to, not only will you change; you will
change for the better.

The sections of the 5th Level Performance Program are:
   • Pre-evolution - creating the right conditions for your evolution
   • Evolution #1 – Know Thyself (Socrates)- becoming self-aware
   • Evolution #2 – Choose Thyself (Kierkegaard) - finding your authentic path
   • Evolution #3 – Create Thyself (Mirandola) – becoming authentic

The 5th Level Performance Program you are about to begin is designed to help you
assess your level of satisfaction and success, align what you do naturally well with
what you do for a living and overall improve your satisfaction, passion and success
in life. Basically, it’s designed to help you eliminate The Problem in your life.
Together we’ll either improve your existing roles or we’ll help you create better
ones. At it’s core, this program is designed to help you either love what you do – or
go do what you love.

            Short Thoughts: From Sisyphus to Perseus
Sisyphus was the Greek figure who, due to his hubris in thinking he was equal to
the Gods, was punished by Zeus to suffer an eternity of frustration pushing a heavy
rock up a long hill, but before reaching the top the rock would always roll back
down again and Sisyphus would have to start all over again. Perseus was another
Greek figure upon which the Gods bestowed all sorts of gifts but unlike Sisyphus,
Perseus trusted that his gifts were sufficient to achieve his mission, defeat the evil
Medusa and realize his destiny.

In Sisyphus we find a perfect example of someone suffering a life of perpetual
frustration as the result of his hubris in believing that he knew better than his
creators what gifts he needed. In Perseus, you have the opposite in a person who has
also had gifts bestowed upon him by his Gods, but unlike Sisyphus, Perseus does
not assume he knows better than his Gods. He is satisfied with what he is given and
uses these gifts to fulfill his destiny. Basically, Sisyphus failed to be satisfied with
his gifts and in trying to get more he ended up causing himself much misery,
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whereas Perseus accepted his gifts, was satisfied with them and used them to their
fullest advantage.

Sisyphus’ hubris represents what many of us do when we assume we are broken
and need fixing (need more gifts than what we already have). Perseus’s faith, on the
other hand, represents what Geniuses do when they assure themselves that they
have all the natural talents they need to be as successful as they want. Where one
lacks faith and finds failure – the other believes and finds success.

Do you want to be Sisyphus or Perseus? Perseus marries the beautiful princess in
the end by the way.

The evolutions you are about to undergo will take you from a person who,
regardless of effort, suffers a never-ending uphill battle – to someone who
recognizes the gifts he or she has been given and utilizes these gifts to their greatest

                              Pre Evolution

In order for anything to evolve the conditions must be right. All the potential in the
world might be lying in wait inside of you, but if the conditions aren’t right than all of
that potential will never be realized. You have hidden within you infinite potential, but
the principle condition that must be present in order for you to realize this potential is a
belief system that supports your success – not The Problem. You have the freedom to
control your own destiny, but you must believe this before you can actually take that

Who’s In Charge

Most likely, if The Problem is a significant one for you, your current belief system allows
you to suffer from your own legacy of dependence. If you depend on the company, or
the world, to tell you how to succeed then before you start becoming more self-aware you
need to examine your own belief system about who’s in charge of your own success. The
question you must ask yourself is, “who is in charge of me?”

The first common problem with many inauthentic people is that they have a
belief that the company or the outside world has more control than they do
over their life. There is a term in psychology called locus of control and it
speaks to a belief about whether the outcomes of our actions are contingent
on what we do or on events outside of our personal control. Authentic
people believe that they have control over their life and destiny. They have an internal
locus of control. Most inauthentic people, however, tend to have an external locus of
control so they share a common belief that they are less in control of what happens to
them. The way individuals interpret such events has a profound affect on their
psychological well-being. If people feel they have no control over future outcomes, they
are less likely to seek solutions to their problems. It isn’t the problems that I’m saying
we have control over, mind you. Of course we can’t control natural disasters, or birth
defects, or being laid-off. But how we respond to such events - the solutions we create to
the situations and adversities life throws at us – these are things we do control. Having
an internal locus of control means believing that you can make a difference in how your
life turns out. It means believing in your heart that you do have a lot of influence over
how successful you are, no matter the obstacles.

This is why it is crucial that you start to believe in your own ability to control your life,
your performance and your success. You must stop depending primarily on the “one best

way” according to others, and create your own best way (a “my best way”). Perhaps your
best way is not very far from theirs. Perhaps your best way is just a minor tweak on their
best way, but it is your tweak, not theirs, and as such it will be more effective because it
factors in your self-knowledge and your own talents.

Taking charge of your success and level of authenticity doesn’t have to involve radical
change or a revolution to overthrow your manager or even quitting your job necessarily.
Sometimes it just means focusing more of your efforts in areas where you get in the flow,
and always looking for ways to outsource any responsibilities or duties that prevent you
from being in the flow. Of course, if your role never puts you in the flow then it is
probably such an inauthentic role for you that you may never reach the 5th level of
performance. If this is the case then your best bet may indeed be to quit, but most of the
time little changes can make a huge difference. Right now we’ll talk about how to change
your role without leaving it.

We all have many roles or titles in life (e.g., husband/wife, father/mother, employee,
friend, etc.) but in order to really take charge of your life you need to add one more. That
new title is what I call the SEO or, Self Executive Officer, which simply means that you
will be the boss of your own life from now on. The exercise for this section will take you
through creating a job description for your new role as SEO.

Michael Lorelli talks about taking charge of your own destiny when he describes the
culture at PepsiCo. Michael says, “It was a cultural phrase at PepsiCo to say ‘it’s easier to
ask for forgiveness than permission.’ The culture supported being independent, taking
risks and not looking to management to guide every action.” Being your own SEO
means getting rid of your legacy of dependence, taking control of your own path to
achieving your goals and doing what “feels” right even if it isn’t the traditional way.
Sometimes it even means doing what feels right even if it’s not what your company has
told you to do. That’s right. I said it! Sometimes to succeed you need to do things that
management wouldn’t approve of or hasn’t “authorized.” Of course I am by no means
talking about doing anything illegal or against strict corporate policy, or unethical. But
there are a lot of things people can do to make themselves more authentic that push the
edge a little - that operate in a grey zone.

Is there an inherent degree of risk associated with becoming your own SEO, and
changing the way you do a job - absolutely. Please know that I’m not ideally spouting
off about taking blind leaps and jeopardizing your financial security without due
consideration. I am, however, suggesting that you consider the risks of doing so and
weight them against the risks of your continuing to suffer from The Problem.

I knew a sales representative once named Rowan who was one of the most persuasive
people I’ve ever known. When they say “he could sell ice to Eskimo’s” this is the guy
they were talking about. As good as Rowan was at the actual art of selling, though, he
absolutely stunk at being organized and seeing details. He wasn’t lazy, and it wasn’t a
matter of attitude. He truly had a blind spot for that kind of work and as a result he was
always missing his paper work, was constantly missing appointments or showing up

without the proper equipment. It was holding him back from succeeding in his role, so he
asked his manager if he could get some help in these areas. Rowan asked if perhaps he
didn’t have to fill out so many reports or maybe he could get some assistance from the
sales manager’s regional secretary. For reasons that aren’t important here the manager
said no, so instead of living with that decision, and allowing someone else to be in charge
of his personal success, Rowan decided to take his success into his own hands and
become his own SEO. Instead of saying, “I asked”, and living with someone else’s
decision that negatively affected his success, he took that responsibility for himself and
acted on his own. Without asking his manager Rowan worked out a deal with a secretary
in the office to help him with his organization woes, in return for a small share of his

Would it have been ideal for management to see the benefits of freeing Rowan up to do
what he did best and help him create a more authentic role? Of course it would have. Did
management do this? Of course they didn’t. Why didn’t they, who knows for sure.
Perhaps they feared that by allowing one person to modify their role, before you knew it,
people all over the company would be thinking for themselves, creating their own job
description and managing themselves. Before you knew it, it would be utter chaos.

The point is that the sales rep didn’t allow his manager’s poor decision to hinder his
success. He found a way around his obstacles and while he spent some of his own money
to do it, it paid him a lot more in sales in the end. Two years later, after his sales manager
quit, Rowan let his new manager know all about the unauthorized contract with the office
secretary. The new, more enlightened, manager was able to see the value and the only
change he insisted on was that his regional assistant take over the responsibilities instead
of the office secretary and that she do this at the company’s expense instead of it coming
out of Rowan’s commissions.

If, as you read this story, you are thinking that what Rowan did was totally wrong - if you
are thinking that he should have been fired - then perhaps you should step back and look
at just how much of that legacy belief you bring to the table. If your first thought is that
the Rowan didn’t follow directions, cheated, was lazy or incompetent, you are thinking
like an industrial era manager. When you look at it from a different vantage point,
however, what really happened? Regardless of whether or not Rowan followed
directions, he took action to correct a problem that was inhibiting his success. Regardless
of who took action, the rep was freed up to focus on what he did best, was able to get in
the flow much more often and ended up making a lot more money for himself and his
employer. At the simplest level, what he did made him happier and made the company
roughly $450,000 more in sales. Outside of not doing as he was told, what did he do

In As Man Thinketh author James Allen views the issue of individual control over our
own success in the following way, “the divinity that shapes our ends is in ourselves; it is
our very self. And so we are held prisoner only by ourselves; our own thoughts and
actions are the jailors of our fate – they imprison, if they are [untrue]; they also are the
angels of freedom – they liberate, if they are [true].”

Think of a time when you knew that another route was the better way to go, but your
company didn’t agree. What did you do? Can you think of a time when you didn’t
become your own SEO and as a result, your success was limited? If you had gone ahead
and done what you thought should be done, and it worked, what would the benefits have
been versus the fact that you didn’t follow directions? The questions to ask yourself are,
“Are you your own jailor or angel?” and “Are you willing to take what risks might exist
to achieve greater success, satisfaction and happiness?”

You Get What You Accept

The second common problem I’ve witnessed among people who are inauthentic is that
they settle. The geniuses we studied don’t settle. They are unreasonable in their
expectations, regardless of what the culture says. They force life to work with them on
their terms, not the other way around. They know what they are good at and what they
like to do and they refuse to allow themselves to get into work or roles, or relationships
for that matter, that force them to be unhappy being something they are not.

Just after college I went to work for Johnson and Johnson as a surgical sales
representative. I was struggling as a sales person. It wasn’t that I wasn’t a good sales
person, or that I wasn’t smart or hard working enough, but that the sales process I had
been taught wasn’t a good fit for my natural drivers and talents. My motivations weren’t
the same as most of the other sales reps. One day I was telling my sales manager, Rick
Gilson, how unsatisfied I was with my own results. Rick told me something that day that
seemed rather insignificant at the time, but later his words would take on a life of their
own. Rick said, “You get what you accept.”

When you really think about it, this disarmingly simple thought is actually one of the
most powerful concepts you can own. It is the realization that you are in control; that you
are the master of your own destiny, and this grand idea holds the power to set you free
from any inauthenticity you have. As Lao-Tzu put it in the famous Tao Te Ching, “Hold
the great elephant – the great idea – and the world moves.” The concept of “you get what
you accept” is the great elephant, and when you truly grasp this concept you realize that
whatever your condition in life, you alone are ultimately responsible for how you deal
with it. And this realization should move your world because it means that you just put
yourself in the drivers seat.

Anthony Robbins, in Awaken the Giant Within, recalls the point in his life when he
stopped accepting what he got. “I remember feeling like my life didn’t matter, as if the
events of the world were controlling me. I also remember the moment my life changed,
the moment I finally said, ‘I’ve had it! I know I’m much more than I’m demonstrating
mentally, emotionally and physically in my life.’ I made a decision in that moment
which was to alter my life forever. I decided to change virtually ever aspect of my life. I
decided I would never again settle for less than I could be.” Not only is this a good
example of someone who decided to stop accepting what they got, but it also shows the

important shift from an external locus of control to an internal one. When Tony realized
that he was in control of his success and destiny his locus of control switched from
believing that the world controlled him, to believing that he controlled him. He realized
he was in the driver’s seat.

Speaking of driving, when best selling business author Jim Collins talks about improving
performance from management’s perspective in Good To Great, he talks about “getting
the right people on the bus, at the right time, in the right seats.” All due respect to Mr.
Collins but this is exactly the kind of legacy thinking that supports the notion that the
company will decide which bus you get on, when you get on it and in what seat you will
sit. To his credit, it is important that organizations change their view of people, and Mr.
Collins does great justice to the organization’s perspective, but What’s Your Genius is
meant for the individuals – not the organization. I firmly believe that it is the individuals
who must take ownership of this changing paradigm first and foremost. Perhaps
organizations can pull such change into existence, but this book champions individuals
pushing those changes from their end primarily. In today’s intellectual economy
companies need to realize that no one rides a bus anymore. Today, geniuses don’t want a
bus ticket, they want a company car – and they want to drive it themselves.

Our legacy of dependence teaches us that in many ways we are not primarily responsible
for our success. If we follow management’s rules, and do things as dictated, then we
should be successful. Instead of taking ownership, our primary responsibility is simply to
follow directions as perfectly as possible. In all too many cases, instead of controlling
our own path to success, we’re just fulfilling the prescribed path chosen for us by others.
Our only success is in how compliant we are.

When you think about Rick Gilson’s words, however, you realize that you are the only
one who really can be responsible for your success – including defining what success is
to begin with. And if you are the only one responsible for that success, and you don’t
have it, then you are the only one who can do anything about it. A significant part of
breaking that legacy of dependence means assuming full responsibility for your success,
or lack thereof. As scary as this might seem to some, it is also incredibly liberating to
realize that it really can be that simple.

We don’t live under a totalitarian regime. You are not forced into one role or one job for
life. You are free to do whatever you want, wherever you want, and as more
organizations become enlightened and start to realize that geniuses drive their own cars,
they too will start to allow you to control more of your own destiny within the company.
So, if you are unhappy with where you are in life, just remember - you get what you

As for me, Rick’s words will always play an important part in my life, but in some ways
he probably regrets them because when I did take them to heart I realized that I was being
inauthentic and once I decided to stop accepting that – I quit. It wasn’t that Johnson &
Johnson wasn’t a great company to work for, they were. It wasn’t that my role wasn’t a
valuable one because it definitely was, and I enjoyed a great many aspects of it. It was

just that I had allowed myself to take a job that did not let me be as authentic as I wanted
to be. I’d guess I was only being 80% authentic, which isn’t too bad really, but I think
that missing 20% was also why I was only reaching the 3rd or 4th level of performance at
best. I had allowed myself to take a job that didn’t fully maximize my greatest natural
talents and once I realized I was the one who was responsible for this, I also realized that
it was my responsibility to correct it. I owed it to myself. I left Johnson and Johnson and
eventually started my own consulting firm and now I get to be in the flow all day, every
day. So thanks Rick!

Geniuses don’t place their success in the hands of others, they fully accept it themselves
and they absolutely refuse to settle because they know they get what they accept and they
accept only the best for themselves…and they get it.

The Above Average Trap

One of the things that many people tend to accept is the goal of becoming “above
average.” Many people actually set a goal to be considered above average. Being above
average is safer than being the best. Being the best puts the spotlight on you, requires
more bravery and often more self-honesty. For some - those who don’t want to stand out
- being above average allows them to feel good about themselves without having to be
the best. Being above average is secure, whereas being great is always more tenuous
(e.g., “Maybe next go round I won’t be the best”). Being great requires that you challenge
yourself, which is hard. Being mediocre and settling is easier.

The problem with being above average, though, is that it becomes a pair of padded
handcuffs that hold you back and prevent you from becoming the genius you could be.
Just like the leech that numbs you while it sucks your blood, being above average allows
you to feel just fine with yourself while your true potential is drained right out of you. Be
just average. Hell, be below average; at least that hurts enough that most people react to
the pain and try to improve. Being above average is that dangerous middle ground that
isn’t as painful as below average, but not as hard and scary as being the best either. Its
siren call can actually be very strong for a lot of people, and once you’re there you can
become so hypnotized that you lose all interest in anything else. Cover your ears and
don’t listen to that sweet, pain-free call of mediocrity. The most successful people among
us don’t accept mediocrity. They don’t accept learned helplessness. They don’t accept
that they are flawed. They refuse to accept being just another runner in the race and if
they can’t be the best then they change races and find one where they can be. They seek
out environments where their talents can make them the best, not just above average.

If you can’t be the best in what you do – get the hell out! Do what Seth Godin talks
about in his book, “The Dip.” Seth’s advice; “Quit for all the right reasons.” Don’t
waste your potential genius. Don’t settle for anything less than what you deserve. Don’t
settle for being anything other than a genius at what you do.

     ~ Being “above average” is to success as being “above ground” is to living ~

           Genius Action Step 2: Please log into your WYG Online workbook and complete the Pre-
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           Evolution Exercises.
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                                   Chapter 5 Review:

Chapter 1:
      • “The Problem” is an epidemic of people that feel unfulfilled, dissatisfied and
           frustrated with their performance
Chapter 2:
      • To find out why, we created the Genius Project to study why and what we
           found were two key things:
               o There is no “Genius Talent”
               o Self-Awareness and Authenticity are present in higher levels in the
                   best performers
Chapter 3:
      • The effects of the problem go beyond performance issues to include negative
           physical and emotional effects as well
      • Inauthenticity causes you to feel upside down, always putting in more effort
           than you feel you get back in results, and blocks you from your passions, and
           being in the flow
Chapter 4:
   • Today’s organizations have shifted from an industrial to an intellectual economy
   • Legacy beliefs left over from the old industrial economy cause dependence and
      inauthenticity that damages individual performance
Chapter 5:
   • The first step in the solution is to prepare to change by deciding that:
           o You are in charge of your own success
           o You get what you accept
           o You refuse to accept mediocrity

                        6 - Know Thyself

             “Know first who you are, and then adorn yourself accordingly”
                                                                               ~ Epictetus

“Gnothi Seauton” – Know Thyself. These words were inscribed above the entrance to
the temple of Apollo at Delphi, the site of the sacred Oracle in Ancient Greece. People
who visited the Oracle sought to find out what their destiny was or which course of action
they should take in some particular matter. Ironically though, those who entered seeking
guidance failed to truly understand the real meaning of the message right above their own
heads. The message “Know Thyself” didn’t mean know for yourself – by asking some
one else. It meant know of yourself as in “the answer lies within.” The best answers as to
your destiny, or how to proceed, lie within you and the only way to get those answers is
to know yourself by developing your own level of self-awareness. Your destiny is written
by your own hand. While you may have been created with certain talents, what you do
with those talents is up to you.


Aristotle said in the first line of the Metaphysics, “Man, by nature, desires to know.” Few
would argue with this, but the key to success has a whole lot to do with what we know.
The conventional belief on being successful focuses on having as much technical and
factual knowledge as possible. A good lawyer must know the law, and a good scientist
must know his or her science. While true that one should possess a significant amount of
knowledge for the specifics of their job or work, the Genius Project highlighted self-
              knowledge as another kind of knowledge that is even more important to
              success. Self-knowledge involves a keen understanding of and awareness
              for one’s own self (e.g., talents, limitations, motivations, etc.).

             When Descarte said, “I think, therefore I am”, he may have been correct, but
             knowing “I am” is quite a different story than knowing, and being honest to,
             what I am. To become self-aware you must transcend the simple awareness
of “I am” to understand “what I am.” And there is a whole lot that goes into what you
are. You are a wonderfully unique and singular mix of physical, emotional and spiritual
content. You are your emotions, your experiences, your genetics and your dreams. As a
matter of fact, you are so much that a definitive understanding of exactly what you are is
just impossible. There is one aspect of what you are, however, that can be well
understood…your natural mental habits for thinking and making decisions.

Self-awareness is the first evolution in your journey to becoming more authentic and
eliminating The Problem from your life. Unlike the natural talent that it seeks to
understand, self-awareness itself is actually an acquired skill. You can develop it, and it
increases the more you practice it. As self-awareness increases, so too do people’s levels
of satisfaction. People with higher levels of self-awareness take time to first learn, and
then understand, their natural talents. They recognize the situations that will make them
successful, and this makes it easy for them to find ways of achieving objectives that fit
their talents. They also understand their limitations and where they are not effective and
this helps them understand where not to go or how not to be as well. Those who
understand their natural talents are far more likely to pursue the right opportunities, in the
right way, and get the results they desire.

How We Think

The aspect of yourself that you will need to develop better self-awareness on how your
mind actually works to create your natural talents. There is a lot we don’t know about
how the human mind works. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, as
much as 90% of what we know about how our minds work has only been learned in the
past 13 years. Imagine a major city library filled with all the knowledge the human race
possesses on how the brain works. Now imagine 90% of those shelves empty and you get
a picture of just how new our level of understanding for the human mind
really is. The leaps we’ve made, however, in our understanding of the brain
are quite remarkable, and while there is still much more to learn, what we do
know is amazing enough.

Your mind is arguably the most miraculous creation in the entire universe. It
controls every aspect of your life, conscious or subconscious. It never sleeps
or stops gathering information. It can literally slow time, or your perception of it at least,
by increasing your processing speed five-fold in emergencies. It is a remarkably
effective CEO of a trillion-cell organization. It is veracious, taking in more than
11,000,000 bits of information every second of our lives, and it has more processing
capability than the most advanced computer ever built. In 2000 the fastest PC processor
chip on the market was a 700 MHz Pentium. Those smarter than I have done the
calculations and based on what is known about the brain’s processing capability, the
human brain is like 24,000 of these processors, or a 168,000 MHz Pentium chip. Even as
I sit here typing today (2008) the fastest chip in the world is IBM’s Power 6, but even at
4.7 Ghz (4,700 MHz) this is still 163,300 MHz slower than the average human brain.

We are born with one hundred billion brain cells called neurons (100,000,000,000 cells or
1011). That’s more than any other creature on the planet. As we grow each of these
neurons reaches out and connects to other neurons to create what are called neural
networks. By the time we are three years old each of our one hundred billion neurons has
created a connection to approximately fifteen thousand other neurons, each of those
having the same number of connections with other neurons. Just imagine the incredible
complexity of a network of living cells that large (think - 1,500,000,000,000,000 or 1.5

quadrillion synaptic connections [1.5 x 1015]). That’s one million billion connections, and
a whole lot of processing power. It is these networks that give us our ability to think,
feel, remember, and be who we are.

Our neurons communicate with each other through electrical and chemical signals and
each time a given network of neurons is used the more robust it becomes, at least at an
early stage. Every time we have a recurring thought, or process information in a similar
way, we use a similar network of neurons and that network becomes reinforced. If one
neural network becomes overwhelmed, it can actually even recruit other neurons to help
support the load. These neural networks become mental filters that control which of those
11,000,000 bits of information streaming into our brains get noticed, and which don’t.

Our neural networks are much like an Internet connection. Travis Bradberry, in The
Personality Code describes them as, “The conduits by which our brains think and the
mental funnels through which our choices must flow.” Those conduits that are used often
are built into robust high-speed, high-bandwidth connections while those that are not
used fall into disrepair (atrophy) and become more like a dial-up connection than a cable
modem. The high-speed connections can handle immense amounts of traffic, while the
dial-up connections get choked and clogged with the smallest amount of data. This level
of connectivity doesn’t last forever though.

By the time we reach our early teens nearly half of those connections are gone. Through
the repetitive use of certain networks and continual none-use of others, these networks
become either very robust and fast or more anemic and slow. Throughout our early
years this continual process of creating and pruning neural networks forms permanent
networks that will last our lifetime, unchanged for the most part. It is these neural
networks that determine our natural talents for thinking and making decisions.

Because of the permanence of these neural networks, the natural talents they create are
similarly fixed. We cannot forcibly develop new neural networks through conscious
effort in a weekend training program, thus we cannot develop new natural talents with
any greater effectiveness.

This is what makes self-awareness such a vital aspect of success. Since our natural
talents are fixed, it is crucial that we understand what they are because this is what we
have to work with. This also explains why much of the training and development efforts
companies undertake fail to deliver as promised because much of the work is focused on
creating new natural talents; talents which require a neural network to support them.
Sure, training, new knowledge, experience, intelligence, all of these can help improve my
ability in a given talent, but if that talent is not supported by a high-speed, high-
bandwidth connection, than I will never reach genius levels of performance. At best I
might develop a moderate or even sufficient degree of ability, but no amount of
conscious effort will magically turn my dial-up connection into a cable router.

Geniuses, though, don’t mind this fact. They don’t sit around wishing that they could
become something they are not. The revel in the fact that they have the special mix of

talents they have because they embrace their uniqueness. We are all uniquely imperfect
people and this will never change nor should you want it to be any different. How mind
numbingly boring would it be if we were all the same. Our uniqueness should be
cherished and embraced. Success is not about ceasing to be uniquely imperfect or
flawed. Success is not about striving to become perfect. It is about finding your uniquely
perfect match between your perfections and imperfections and your objectives and roles
in life.

One Brain-Two Minds

We may only have one brain, but it contains two different minds. The first mind, the one
we are most aware of and familiar with, is the conscious mind. This is the logical,
rational mind that we all consider when we think of the mind, because this is the mind we
control. Intent is a key word for this mind because the results of the decisions we make
with our conscious minds are intentional. The second mind, however, operates well
below the surface or our awareness, making much more intuitive, quicker, decisions,
without the intent seen in conscious thought. This is the mind that operates without our
conscious intent. This is the mind we are more concerned with when we talk about self-
awareness and this is the mind you should be most interested in when it comes to
improving your individual performance.

Even though this second mind (i.e., your subconscious mind) operates below the surface,
that doesn’t mean its effects are irrelevant or inconsequential. Quiet the opposite, the
effects on your life from your subconscious mind are remarkable. The jumbled paragraph
below is a great example of how our subconscious mind can deliver results without our
conscious mind.

Read the following paragraph as quickly as you can and see how easily it makes sense.

Could you read the words above? It was pretty easy wasn’t it? Actually, the faster you
read the easier it probably was. That’s because the faster you read, the more you relied
on your subconscious mind. You weren’t consciously working to rearrange the letters of
each word, but your subconscious mind registered these words anyway, and processed
them appropriately. If you tried to use your conscious mind to do this it would take you
much longer (go ahead and see what I mean with just the first line). Our subconscious
minds can detect and pick up information up to 800 times faster than our conscious
minds. Some experts speculate that the subconscious mind can have 100 trillion thoughts
every single second (1x1014). Without involving our conscious mind at all our
subconscious mind can give us super human strength in emergencies by significantly
increasing the hormones and blood that flow to our muscles. It can slow down time, or at
least our perception of it. When not under duress our brain is like a film projector
operating at roughly thirty slides per second. In emergencies, though, the subconscious
mind can more than double this processing speed, firing neurons more quickly, and
giving us the appearance of time slowing down. This increase in processing speed allows
us to absorb and process more information in a fraction of the time, resulting in our
perceiving time as actually having slowed down. It’s very common to hear someone who
has been in a car accident describe how an event that lasted only seconds in reality,
seemed to last for minutes or longer in their mind.

When our bodies are starving the subconscious mind will kick-in to promote our survival
by changing our behavior, increasing our awareness and even urging us to eat things we
normally would never consider eating.

Yachtsman Steve Callahan’s boat sank in the open waters of the Atlantic Ocean in 1982.
After his rations ran out Steve turned hunter/gatherer and starting fishing to survive.
After 28 days of eating nothing but raw fish he noticed his appetite for the fishes flesh
decreasing. Instead he was craving parts of the fish he never would have normally tried.
The pure protein diet of flesh that Steve had been eating left his body depleted of crucial
vitamins and water. Being aware of the vitamin deficiency and dehydration, Steve’s

subconscious mind released hormones like Orexin to increase his mental agility and
coordination. And it created cravings for other parts of the fish. Once Steve sampled parts
like the skin (which contains Vitamin B) or the spine (which contains calcium and
phosphates) or even fish eyes (which contain fresh water), Steve’s subconscious mind
recognized their nutritional value and rewarded Steve by releasing endorphins that made
them actually appealing to Steve. “I found myself eating raw fish liver, not out of some
conscious survival instinct but because it was actually quite pleasurable - like dessert”
recalls Steve. Steve survived 76 days at sea without rations and when rescued he was
actually in very good physical healthy.

You don’t have to be lost in the ocean to see the powerful influence of your subconscious
mind. Each night as you drift off to sleep your subconscious nearly doubles the blood
flow to your mind to support the extra diagnostic tune-ups that will be taking place, and it
partially paralyzes your limbs so you wont act out your dreams.

Speaking of sleeping, your subconscious mind never does. It is always processing the
huge pile of stimuli that floods into your body through your senses, even while your
conscious mind snoozes. I can personally attest to this aspect. During Desert Storm I was
assigned to a unit that served on a ready alert watch. This call duty ran overnight so the
team would try to get whatever sleep it could. However, even though our conscious
minds were off in never-never land, there was always a part of our brains that was
completely aware of our surroundings – that never turned off. For example, there was a
phone set up to ring at the end of the hall whenever we needed to go do something, and
this phone was far from where we slept, so its ring was quiet subtle and something most
would easily miss behind other various sounds (and dreams). The person awake on duty
would take the call then walk down the hall to wake us. No matter how noisy it was,
from trucks rumbling by to aircraft buzzing overhead to obnoxious radio chatter, each of
us were able to make ourselves fall asleep, regardless of the ruckus. Upon the very first
ring of that phone, however, each of us popped immediately out of bed. Normally, by the
time the man on duty made it to the room to wake us, each of us was already awake and
gearing up.

I could fill an entire book with pages of similarly remarkable examples of the things our
minds does to help us survive, but the key thing to understand is that not only does our
subconscious mind play a significant part in helping us just survive – it holds the greatest
potential to help us succeed as well. It is our subconscious mind that influences, and
sometimes even controls, the majority of the decisions we make every day. Just as it took
surprisingly little effort to understand that jumbled paragraph above, so too does using
our natural talents require surprisingly little effort. That’s the whole key to reaching the
5th level of performance and becoming a genius at something. When you learn to trust
your subconscious mind, and manage to create a role where everything you do relies on
how your natural talents (i.e., how you subconsciously tend to think), the results you get
out will be much more efficient and accurate, even though they require less effort.

According to most studies, your subconscious mind is responsible for as much as 70% to
80% of the decisions you make every day. A physical analogy that I often use with

clients to help them comprehend this fact is the act of breathing. Our breathing is another
thing controlled by our autonomic nervous system, or subconscious mind. We do not
consciously think about breathing all day, otherwise we would not get much else done.
We can, however, consciously override our subconscious mind’s control over our
breathing and think about breathing. We can make ourselves breath more slowly or
rapidly at will. But, as soon as we get distracted or forget to think about breathing what
happens? We don’t stop breathing and pass out from lack of oxygen. Control simply
reverts back to our subconscious mind. The acts of thinking and making decisions are
very similar. Most of our decisions are made by our subconscious mind. While we can
override that control and use our conscious mind to make decisions - something we tend
to do with larger decisions - the vast majority of smaller decisions are subconsciously
driven. In other words, we can think about thinking, when the situation is urgent enough
or we are forced to, but whenever we forget to think about thinking control reverts back
to our subconscious mind. Becoming a Genius means creating a life where you align
what you are trying to do with the way your subconscious mind likes to think. The less
you have to think about thinking, the more effective you will be.

                          Subconscious Mind Exercise
       Here’s another little demonstration of the fact that even though you forget it,
       your subconscious mind is always working behind the scenes to influence or
       even control what you do in the real world. While seated, take your
       dominant leg and raise it off the seat but keep your foot hanging down free
       and loose. Now start to rotate that foot in a clockwise circle. Nothing too
       grand, just say a 12-inch circle. Now, at the same time, take your dominant
       hand and place it in the air in front of you like you were writing on an
       invisible black board. While continuing to rotate your foot in the same
       clockwise direction, use your finger to draw a 12-inch letter “S” on the
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       invisible board in front of you. Go ahead and draw that letter S now. What
       happened with your foot when you drew the letter S? For the vast majority of
       you, your foot started following your hand and began to move counter
       clockwise. Why? You didn’t consciously tell your leg to start going in the
       opposite direction did you? It happened because your subconscious mind has
       developed such a strong habit for thinking that the direction of an S is
       counter clockwise, and your conscious mind was overridden and both limbs
       listened to your subconscious mind.

       You may have trouble actually hearing your subconscious mind, but it is
       there. Your body heard it even if your conscious mind did not.

The problem with the subconscious mind, however, is that we don’t trust it. We are
suspicious of it. We live in a world that assumes that the quality of the decisions we
make are directly related to the time and effort we put into them. As doctors treat all
their patients they put lots of conscious effort into each decision – don’t they? When
good managers make decisions, they take time to carefully weight the entire set of
variables before they act – don’t they? And what are we taught about making decisions?
Haste makes waste. Look before you leap. Stop and Think. Don’t judge a book by its
cover. We are taught that the more information we gather, and the more carefully we
deliberate, the more accurate our decision will be. This view assumes that when we are at
our decision-making best, we are the pride and joy of Plato, Descartes and Kant (all of
whom argue that rational reasoning and logic rule the best decisions). Formal logic will,
by itself, get us to the best available solution for any problem – or so we are taught. The
subconscious mind, however, has much more to do with controlling our decisions than
we give it credit for.

One of the reasons experts think the subconscious even exists is because our conscious
mind has a very limited capacity. To survive in the world people must be able to process
a great deal of information, more than we can consciously juggle at one time. It all
comes down to efficiency. When you consider that, thanks to our five senses, we are
being bombarded by that tremendous amount of 11,000,000 bits of data every second of
our lives, we simply can’t process that much information at one time. According to Dr.
Timothy Wilson, “Scientists have tried to determine how many of these signals can be
processed consciously at any given point in time, by looking at such things as how
quickly people can read, consciously detect differences in flashes of lights and tell apart
different kinds of smells. The most liberal estimate is that people can process consciously
about 40 pieces of information every second. Think about it; we can take in 11,000,000
pieces of information a second, but can only process 40 of them consciously. What
happened to the other 10,999,960? It would be terribly wasteful to design a system with
such incredible sensory acuity but very little capacity to use the incoming information.
Fortunately, we do make use of a great deal of this information outside of conscious

Our subconscious mind tends to get more involved in the smaller decisions than the
larger ones. Deciding to close down an entire division is not only a decision that will
most likely be made using conscious thought, but also one that will probably be better
served as a result. My focus in this book, however, is on the thousands, or tens of
thousands, of small decisions you make every day. These have a much greater impact on
your personal performance than do the few and infrequent big decisions you make.

The Father of the Genius Profile

When it comes to understanding how we make these small decisions, we’ve come a long
way since 440BC when Greek Physician Hippocrates first documented a formal
understanding of traits in how we think. Hippocrates called them the Humors. Fast
forward some two thousand years to the early 1900’s and psychologists like Carl Jung
and William Marston made significant advances by defining their own universal models
of behavior. Edward Spranger also added a new dimension to our understanding by
defining our motivational styles. Countless others have added their piece to this
understanding since, but in 1963 a quiet German immigrant by the name of Robert
Hartman introduced work that increased our understanding of how we think and make
decisions to a whole new level.

As a young boy in Berlin Germany in 1917 Robert Hartman would stand with the rest of
his classmates and recite an oath under Kaiser Wilhelm II, which included the phrase, “I
was born to die for Mother Germany.” From an early age Robert believed this oath was
wrong and he would grow to have significant differences of opinion with many of his
countrymen on the sanctity and value of human life. These differences only increased as
he witnessed the rise of the National Socialist Worker’s Party, it’s brown shirted
members and the growing influence of the man who would become the party’s leader and
eventually Chancellor of the entire German Reich.

Hartman would later describe this party, the Nazi Party, and it’s leader, Adolph Hitler, by
saying, “here is the very core of evil being organized into a political movement, and into
a movement that is capturing the whole of Germany - their big song was, ‘Today we own
Germany, tomorrow the whole world’. I had no doubts that if this man with his
tremendous power for hate could organize a million Germans into a military
organization, then there would be another war, and the Nazis might win it. They might
really become the masters of the world. And I thought to myself, what guarantee is there
that this evil will not win? I saw it winning in Germany, and I thought to myself, if evil
can be organized so efficiently, why cannot good? I decided I would organize good. But
then I had to find out what was good - and what was evil. I had to find out what was

His witnessing of the rise of the Nazi party, and the evil they seemed to be powered by,
spurred young Hartman to dedicate his entire life to the study of “what is good.” His
journey to understanding what is good and what is evil would lead him to understand
how we perceive anything. His work in understanding how people evaluate themselves
and the world around them would eventually become the very means by which all of us
can better appreciate our own selves, and in no small way, the impetus behind this book.

Over the years, Robert Hartman would stand up against the Nazi Party and speak out
against them and their leader publicly, which eventually resulted in attempts on his life
that forced him to hide out in an insane asylum for six months until he could flee the
country under the assumed name of Robert S. Hartman (he was actually born Robert
Shirokauer). It is by this new name that the world came to know this man, his work and

the new branch of science he would establish called Formal Axiology. His journey to
understand what is good also took him to the United States where he taught at several
Universities including Yale and MIT. He conducted research with Timothy Leary at
Harvard, during the controversial Concord Prison experiments that sparked a similar life-
long journey in Leary’s case. He collaborated with Abraham Maslow on his famous
Hierarchy of Needs while they shared summer homes in Cuernavaca Mexico together.
Under his guidance, his insight into the infinite value of the individual would even fuel
the creation of the first Profit Sharing Commission in the United States in the 1940’s.
This council would be one of the very first to challenge the Industrial era’s view on the
value of the individual and out of that work would eventually grow the 401K retirement
plan we know today.

Dr. Robert S. Hartman’s impact on our modern world was significant to say the least. His
life’s work eventually earned him a nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1973; an
award many believe he would have won had he not passed away two weeks later since
prizes were not awarded posthumously. Due to Dr. Hartman and those who fought to
make sure his work survived him, we can all now achieve a higher level of self-
awareness and authenticity that will help us appreciate and glorify that which is good
within each of us – in just the way that Dr. Hartman had wished for.

Voices in Your Head

The root of Dr. Hartman’s discovery was in his identification of three distinct dimensions
of value (i.e., different ways of judging or valuing things). Each of these dimensions
could be associated with it’s own neural network if you will, and all of the natural talents
you have for how we think and make decisions fit into one of these three categories or
classes of talent. Hartman titled these three classes of talents: the Systemic, the Extrinsic
and the Intrinsic dimensions.

Dr. Hartman’s work on Formal Axiology has filled volumes so we wont get into a deep
discussion on the specifics of the science. What we do want to take from Hartman’s
work, however, is that since all of our natural talents fall into one of these three classes of
talent if we can understand and measure our abilities in each then we can learn where our
genius lives.

My only problem with Dr. Hartman’s work is with his titles. I’ve found that my
corporate clients think they are too scientific so I’ve given them new titles and definitions
that are a little easier to understand. Those revised titles are:
    • The Head (Hartman’s Systemic): the class of talents that deals with intellectual or
        conceptual thinking, creating order and structure, long-range planning, problem
        solving and big-picture or strategic thinking. This class of talents is sometimes
        simply referred to as Thinking

   •   The Hand (Hartman’s Extrinsic): the class of talents that deals with practical
       thinking, real-world action orientation, details, results and tangible or tactical
       thinking. This class of talents is sometimes referred to simply s Sometimes
       known as Doing
   •   The Heart (H): the class of talents that deals with people, empathy, sensitivity and
       understanding for others and emotional or humanistic thinking. Sometimes this
       class of talents is known as Feeling

While all of us possess some level of ability in all three of these classes, they are not all
equal. All of that creating and pruning of neural networks that we do causes us to
develop our own unique level of ability and preference for each. Some people have a
natural talent for the Head dimension, and as such they possess superior talents for
intellectualizing, theorizing, solving problems and thinking strategically. Some people
have more robust networks for dealing with the Hand dimension and find they have
natural talents for understand how things work, catching the smallest details, being able
to stay locked onto the end goal without distraction, being pragmatic and thinking
tactically. Still others find their greatest set of talents live in the Heart dimension and
they are naturally gifted when it comes to understanding others, being aware of their
thoughts and emotions, communicating with them, perceiving their motivations and
connecting with them.

These three classes are like voices in your head. Since they are subconscious filters,
determining which information you see clearly and which you don’t, they speak to you
all day long, telling you which stimuli to notice and which to ignore. As such they shape
or create your perception of reality. If the neural network supporting the class of talents
called the Head is well developed than this voice talks to you clearly about all the
structure and order in your environment. If your Hand dimensions is built on a robust
neural network, it shares with you all of the data coming in concerning your physical or
tangible reality, and if the Heart dimension is refined and well developed it talks to you
about the emotions and feelings of those around you.

When learning new information it always helps to provide a context that connects the
new concept to something previously known. In class, to do this, I like to pull three
figures from my childhood that many people are also familiar with. These three figures
illustrate the three classes very well. In the early seventies, reruns of Star Trek were a
regular part of daily life for many kids my age. In the TV series actors William Shatner
played Captain James Tiberius Kirk, Leonard Nimoy was Mr. Spock, and DeForest
Kelley played the role of Dr. Leonard "Bones" McCoy. If you are familiar with the
characters you might recognize the three classes of talent right off the bat. Mr. Spoc, the
science officer, is an ideal proxy for the Head dimension; always very logical, very
theoretical, structured, and constantly thinking more than feeling or doing. Captain Kirk
makes a great representative for the Hand dimension as the person who is forever focused
on the tactical situation, much more pragmatic and focused on doing more than thinking
or feeling. Finally there is Bones, the ship’s physician, who is an ideal representative for
the Heart dimension. Bones was always focused on the people, their needs, trying to
balance the needs of the mission with the needs of the people, and forever running afoul

of the logical or practical guidelines in favor of human need. Bones was more about
feeling than thinking or doing.

While it’s possible to have equal talents for all three of these dimensions, and therefore
equal levels of natural talents in each, most people develop varying levels and ability in
each and it is this combination that makes each of us unique.

Masters and Blinds Spots

A very common perception for most people is that we all see the same reality. We tend
to be fooled into thinking that everyone sees things as we do. Surely everyone notices
the fatal flaw in this strategy way down the road, don’t they? Surely the others sitting at
this table appreciate the impact that this decision is going to have on all the workers,
right? Of course the rest of the team understands the importance in taking action right

The truth is that no one sees reality in exactly the same way you do, and your unique
neural networks play a significant part in explaining why. While your emotions, your
experiences, and your knowledge all play a large role in explaining why your view on
reality differs from others, your mental filters and the unique combination of data they
allow in is also an important part. Since your neural networks are unique, so too is the
information that is filtered into, or blocked out from, your decisions. When your neural
networks are like those robust high-speed connections we talked about earlier, they filter
information into you at tremendous rates and you see that one aspect of reality very
clearly. If, however, these networks filter information out then you may be completely
unaware of certain aspects of a reality.

Just as not all neural networks are created equally, so too not all voices are equal either.
The more robust the network, the louder the voice associated with it and the clearer you
see that aspect of reality. The less developed the network, the softer that voice will be
and the more ambiguous that aspect of reality will seem to you. It is different for each
person. One person’s mind might be biased towards the factual aspect of a situation and
blind to the humanistic aspects, so while they make sure action is taken, they are blind to
the fact that in so doing they have irritated a lot of people. Another person might be so
focused on the humanistic aspects of the situation that they completely ignore the big-
picture, so even though the bus is indeed driving off a bridge that is out, at least everyone
on the bus is feeling valued and understood.

I describe the strong networks as masters and the less developed ones, if they are less
developed enough, as blind spots. Master dimensions are so loud that they over ride the
others and demand more attention, while blind spot dimensions are not as dominant and
you may sometimes ignore this aspect of reality in favor of the louder voices of your

I like the use of the term Blind Spot because these voices act very much like the blind
spots our eyes have. Below is a little exercise to demonstrate how our visual blind spots
work. Close one eye and hold the image below approximately 12 inches away. Now stare
directly at the “X” in the center. Without taking your eye off the center “X”, notice the
two “G’s” on either end of the line to the right and left. Now, start moving the paper
towards you very slowly, all the time monitoring the two images but not taking your gaze
off the center “X”. At some point one of the “G’s” will disappear depending on which
eye you chose. This is your blind spot and each eye has one.

Just as we all have physiological blind spots in how we see, we can each have
neurological blind spots in how we think as well. Imagine what the impact would be if,
instead of not seeing the “G” above, your blind spot contained some very crucial
information that you needed to make the best decision. How accurate might your
decision be if you don’t have this one piece of information? Could you miss out on
something important that might cause you to make an entirely different decision? Just
like the physical analogy above, your mental blind spots can cause you to miss key
aspects of a situation and as a result your decision might not be as accurate.

Your varying level of ability in these classes of talent is what creates your talents and
non-talents. Masters are associated with talents and blind spots are associated with no-
talents. The louder your voice, the greater the natural talent you have for any given class
of talents. The softer your voice, the less talent you possess in any given class of talents.

Ready to meet your own Genius? If you haven’t done so, please go the your online
workbook and complete Genius Action Step # 3 (take the Genius Profile). Once you have
your finished report in hand take a quick look through it, but then bring it back here and
we’ll go over how to understand what it all means.

        Genius Action Step 3: Please log into your WYG Online workbook and complete the
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        Genius Profile
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Meet Your Genius

    “Most people live in a very restricted circle of their potential being. We all have
      reservoirs of energy and genius to draw upon of which we do not dream”
                                                                            ~ William James

Now that you have completed your own Genius Profile, let’s walk you through your
results so you can get a better understanding for your talents.

Before we do that, however, let’s address the most common question we hear with this
profile. The question is an important one because without believing the results of your
profile, you wont be able to benefit from the information and insights it provides. That
question often goes something like this, “How can you get anything valuable out of such
a short and seemingly nonsensical ordering of a bunch of disconnected statements?” If,
after completing the instrument, you felt that it ended too soon, or were expecting
something much more laborious and trying – you are not alone. Actually, you are in the
strong majority. One of the great things about the instrument you just completed is that it
is measuring your subconscious decision-making process. Many people have some
experience with other “tests” which measure behavior or some other factor, and those
instruments were probably much longer, and required a lot more effort. Such instruments
are measuring your conscious opinion and as such they require more concentration.

Unlike most other instruments, though, the Genius Profile is not asking you for your
conscious opinion. It isn’t eliciting your conscious views on anything at all actually. It is
measuring a deeper cognitive or subconscious process that drives how you make
judgments or decisions. It does this by giving you a conscious task or distraction (i.e.,
rank order these statements), but all the while it is really looking for how your
subconscious mind makes value judgments behind the scenes. Just like you were
probably surprised at how easily you understood the jumbled text from the Oxford
paragraph, so too does the instrument seem surprisingly easy because it is your
subconscious mind doing all the work, not your conscious mind. There are literally 50
million possible permutations involved in assessing one of those instrument items against
thirty-five others. This is a level of evaluation that simply wouldn’t be possible with
strictly conscious thought. While different and somewhat unorthodox, rest assured that
the science and results have been validated by over 30 independent validity studies,
conducted on tens of thousands of people and in each instance the profile proved
scientifically valid and reliable.

All of this simply means, “ trust the profile.” Trust the profile like you trust your masters
and trust your genius.

I usually recommend that people read through the results more than once and then
observe their lives with an objective eye to truly consider what it says and how you see
that manifested in your daily life. Your report is likely to give you information that is a
little surprising and often takes objectivity to grasp. Being truly objective about ourselves

is a hard thing to do so it doesn’t hurt to ask others how accurate they think the results are

When you objectively and openly look at the results of your Genius Profile, and when
you are reintroduced to your inner genius, it can be a wonderful experience. I say
“reintroduced” because this genius has always been inside you. You knew it well when
you were a pure and innocent child who didn’t give any thought to what you should be,
or how you should be. You approached the world from your own unique perspective
then, without much thought for whether that was correct or not.

In the book, Surrounded By Geniuses, author Allan Gregerman describes our perception
as children like this:
     When we were kids, we saw things differently. We didn’t have preconceived
     notions about ourselves or the world around us. Every day we engaged the
     world authentically, with passion, energy, fresh eyes and a compelling sense of
     wonder, curiosity and most importantly - honesty. But somewhere between
     childhood and the world of adult work, most of us lost this knack for seeing
     each other and ourselves and the world around us as a rich soil for unlocking
     new ideas and opportunities. As we grew older we began to see ourselves and
     others for what they appeared to be rather than what they could be. We began to
     see things and even ideas for what they appeared to be in the context in which
     we found them, rather than what they could be in a new context that we could
     create for them

Your task in this chapter is to take an open and objective view of your results and what
they tell you about yourself. While doing that, ask yourself how familiar this feels, how
much you recognize this genius hiding within. How long has it been since you spoke
with this genius? How good and faithful a friend have you been to it over the years? You
might think of it as something precious and cherished when you were a child, but then
you grew up and it got stored away with other childhood mementos in a box hiding in
your attic. You completely forgot all about it, but now, upon rediscovering it, your
memories of how this genius served you come flooding back, and you want to show it to
those you love (“Hey, look what I found!”). This chapter will reintroduce you to your
genius, and the rest of the book will teach you how to use this genius to become more
authentic and successful.

Now let’s walk through the report and break out each section to explain its content, so if
you haven’t done so yet, please take some time to read through your report before reading
any further in this book.

Pages 1-3
The first three pages of your Genius Profile are basically introductory text. This
information gives you some background on the three classes of talent being measured.

Page 4
Page four gives you an explanation of how your genius pattern was created and how we
create the symbols for each of the seven patterns. Whenever you are dealing with
multiple dimensions, using patterns is a good way to organize them into something
singular, with one title, one description and one set of explanations. We will be referring
to your pattern a lot throughout the rest of the book, so it’s a good idea to familiarize
yourself with it now.

Page 5
Page five of your profile is where you will start to see information that is specific to just
you. This page deals with how developed each of your three classes of talents are and
what your preference is for using them. On the top left of this page is your specific
Genius Symbol, which represents your unique pattern. I’ve given each pattern a formal
name that represents its overall gestalt or meaning.

Underneath the pattern name is a list of your masters and blind spots (i.e., which
dimensions are your strongest natural talents and which, if any, are lesser developed non-
talents). Let me stress here that just because something is listed as a “blind spot” doesn’t
mean that you have no ability or talent in that area at all - just that relative to your master
dimensions these blind spots are less developed; enough so that when you are making
subconscious decisions you may miss these things and they can become your blind spot.
Since, as we discussed earlier, as much as 80% of the decisions you make on any given
day are subconsciously driven, it’s important that you understand your masters and blind
spots as well as you can, because it is this knowledge that you must leverage for optimal
performance. Read through your pattern thoroughly several times and develop a solid
understanding for what your strongest natural talents are, and which talents are not your
strongest because these will be the talents you will seek to become more authentic to.

Action Step: Ask yourself how aware of these talents you have been, how right do they
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At the bottom of the pattern description you will find a very short, overly simplified
“pattern motto” which is simply meant to distill your pattern down to its core essence.
One very good thing I’ve found that helps individual’s make this information more
personal is to write your own pattern motto. This is important because it is impossible for
me to match everyone’s choice of words. So after you have read through your pattern
description, and think you have a good understanding for what it all means, take a shot at
writing your own pattern motto in the space below. When you do this try to come up with
the shortest statement possible that still captures the essence of your way of approaching
the world.

My Genius Pattern Motto:

Page 6
On page six of your genius report you’ll find specific examples of your natural talents
and potential strengths. Remember, these are listed as potential strengths because they
can only become strengths if you rely on them.

Action Step: As you look at the items on page six ask yourself how much your success
currently depends on these things. Take a moment and draw a circle around those things
on the page that you feel your current job or role depends heavily on. Did you circle all
the potential strengths and talents or only some? If you didn’t circle all of them, then you
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might not be maximizing your talents for optimal performance. You might be leaving
talents as unrealized potential strengths. In the next chapter you will learn how to
increase your dependence on any talents you didn’t circle, so you can become even more

Also on page six is a short description of what drives your pattern (Results Drive), which
is a summary statement meant to flesh out the preferred way in which your pattern seeks
to achieve results. Depending on your masters, you might seek to primarily achieve
results through creating systems (master for the Head dimension), or by action and doing
things yourself (master for the Hand), or through others (master for the Heart) – or any
combination thereof.

Action Step: Look at your results drive and ask yourself if you are currently trying to
achieve results in this way, or some other. Is this the primary way in which you seek to
achieve results, is it just one of the ways or is it not a way in which you seek to get results
at all? If your primary way of achieving results is a complete match for your Genius
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pattern’s preferred way, than you are very authentic in this one aspect. If it is only one of
several ways in which you attempt to achieve results, or not your way at all, than this is
another area where you are being inauthentic, and something we will address in the next

Page 7
On page seven of your genius report you’ll find specific examples of your non-talents and
potential weaknesses. Remember, just like the potential strengths on page six, these are
listed as potential weaknesses because they can only become weaknesses if you depend
on them.

Action Step: Just as you did with the talents and potential strengths on page six, look at
the list of specific non-talents on page seven and ask yourself how much your success
currently depends on each. Take a moment and draw a circle around those things that
your job currently depends heavily on. Did you circle any of the non-talents or potential
weaknesses or only some? If you didn’t circle any of them, then you are extremely
authentic in your role because it doesn’t require you to rely on non-talents. If you did
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circle anything on page seven you are allowing your success to depend on these non-
talents, which causes you to be inauthentic and I guarantee that this is hurting your
performance and contributing to however much The Problem is a problem for you. In
Chapter eight I’ll show you how to remove your dependence on these non-talents and
convert them from real weaknesses back to only potential weaknesses.

Page 8
Page eight of your genius profile contains an easy-to-use reference chart called the
Performance Focus Chart. I recommend you print this chart out and post it somewhere
where you can refer to it frequently. Eventually it would be best if you memorize this
chart. It is designed to be used as a guide to help you make decisions that are more
authentic for your pattern. Look at each class of talents and if it is a master for you
follow the guidance in the first column. If a class of talents is a blind spot for you simply
follow the guidance in the second column. For example, John has the Efficient pattern so
he has masters in the Head and Hand dimensions, but a blind spot in the Heart dimension.
When John looks at the Performance Focus chart below he can receive cues as to where
to focus when making decisions.

In John’s specific case, he would want to remember to focus on the details, take action
and keep moving, while also paying attention to the big picture, planning accordingly and
creating a process to follow. Since he has a blind spot for the Heart dimension, however,
he would benefit from remembering to avoid having to be very empathetic, or sharing his
performance with a team of others or get results through others.

Use this guide on page eight to help you maintain a focus on where your talents are.

Page 9
On page nine of your genius profile you’ll find another chart that is meant to give you
some simple rules to follow to help you maximize your talents and minimize your non-
talents. The steps in this chart are meant to help you decide when you need to slow down
and think more consciously (because you are dealing with a non-talent) or when you can
let your subconscious mind rule the day (because you are dealing with a talent). I
recommend you print this chart out as well and become very familiar with it because it
can provide you with some very simple insights into how to change your approach in
what you do.

Sticking with the example of John, whenever he finds himself dealing with a task that
involves talents associated with the Head or Hand dimensions he can: speed up, take the
lead and trust his gut. If, however, he finds himself dealing with people issues, because
he knows that this is a blind spot for him, he can use this chart to help him remember to:
slow down, follow the lead of others who are more talented in this area and question his
initial gut instinct as it might not be as accurate. By utilizing these action steps you can

learn to either let your subconscious mind run free or rein it in and start thinking with
your conscious mind.

Go ahead and review your Genius profile from beginning to end and become familiar
with the talents, non-talents, potential strengths and weaknesses and the two charts on
pages eight and nine. Some of this information can be used to start changing how you get
results immediately.

Master Patterns

When you create a score for each of these three dimensions or classes of talent, you can
actually plot those scores and create patterns, which is an easier way to understand how
they all play together. When we do this, we come up with seven unique patterns (or
Master Patterns). An expanded definition for each of the Master patterns can be found in
Appendix B.

The seven Master patterns are:
   1. The Balanced Pattern – Masters: Head, Hand & Heart. Blind Spot: none
   2. The Social Pattern – Masters: Hand & Heart. Blind Spot: Head
   3. The Director Pattern – Masters: Head & Heart. Blind Spot: Hand
   4. The Efficient Pattern – Masters: Head & Hand. Blind Spot: Heart
   5. The Supportive Pattern – Master: Heart. Blind Spots: Hand & Head
   6. The Practical Pattern – Master: Hand. Blind Spots: Head & Heart
   7. The Systematic Pattern – Master: Head. Blind Spots: Heart & Hand

The chart below gives you a visual understanding for how these three classes of talents
can be mixed to create these seven combinations or patterns. Dark boxes with “√”
represent the class of talent that is so strongly developed, relative to the others, that it
becomes a master in the person’s life, influencing which aspects of life they look at and
which they base their decisions on. Conversely, those boxes in white represent
dimensions that are weak enough, relative to others, to become blind spots and create
areas where information is missed or not factored into decisions. Your talents lie in the
dark boxes (masters) and your non-talents lie in the white boxes (blind spots).

To help flesh these patterns out I’ve pulled some examples from the Geniuses I
interviewed for this book to represent their own specific patterns. The following
interviews are short explorations into each of the seven patterns, to help bring them to life
a little bit more. Find your own Genius pattern and see if you can see some of yourself in
what these geniuses have to say about their own patterns.

            Anthony Robbins (Pattern #1. The Balanced Genius Pattern)
                  Masters: Head/Hand/Heart. Blind Spots: None

       Anthony is a classic example of someone who possesses equally high
       levels of ability in all three classes of talents, and none are more developed
       than any other, so technically his pattern has three masters. As a result, he
       has no blind spots either. The number one trait for the Balanced pattern is
       a feeling of “conflict” in that if at any given moment you are focusing on
       one master, you feel as if you are ignoring the other two. While Balanced
       patterns make very objective and sound decisions they also feel they
       should be living in all three places at the same time. You can think of it
       like a mother of triplets who feels guilty whenever she is caring for just
       one of her children at a time. In other words, they beat themselves up more
       than any other pattern because they are always trying to serve three
       masters (e.g., see the big strategic picture, while focusing on the tactical
       aspects, and being people oriented all the while). Anthony is constantly
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       struggling with this issue. Not only does he drive himself incredibly hard,
       which has been a great benefit to him in his life, but in so doing he can
       sometimes wear out anyone around him who isn’t a Balanced pattern.
       While he has natural talents in all three classes, if those around him do not
       possess equal ability, they can easily become exhausted trying to see
       everything that Tony does. This pattern also supports Tony’s success by
       helping him take the big picture and find a way to make it understandable
       to all kinds of people. His passion for life is so very well captured in this
       pattern (i.e., Help others [heart] understand themselves better [head] and
       apply that knowledge to improve their lives in significant ways [hand]).
       This pattern’s motto captures the emphasis on all three masters, “It’s
       important to think about it, and talk about it, but you’ve got to also get it
       done as well.”

          Dan Lyons (Pattern #2. The Social Genius Pattern)
               Masters: Hand/Heart. Blind Spots: Head

Dan has the Social Pattern, which tends to place more importance and see
more clearly the Hand and Heart dimensions. This pattern is more about
deciding what needs to be done, and eliciting others to achieve those
results. As such, Dan is someone who tends to see the practical realities,
and the people around him, as being more important than following some
previously set, possibly outdated, strategic view or rigid set of policies or
structure. While structure, theory and strategy are important, figuring out
how to make things work right now, and getting those results with or
through others is a more important concern to Dan or anyone else with this
pattern. This pattern often supports people in team settings that are very
dynamic or fluid. Often times following a prescribed set of policies or
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structure is not as important as delivering real-world results, which may
require changing the established procedure or policy. What makes sense
theoretically may not make sense practically to this pattern. When we talk
about the blind spot for this pattern (i.e., the Head) this is not to say that
people with this pattern can’t live in their heads and be strategic, create
structure and follow an orderly process – just that if left to their own
druthers they naturally tend to focus less on creating a plan for everything
and concentrate more on working with what they’ve got and who is
around to get it done. This can cause someone with this pattern to become
more of an Ad Hoc person, favoring a pragmatic approach that
incorporates a solid understanding of others with a realist’s approach to
what must be done to achieve results. This pattern’s motto captures the
emphasis on the Hand and Heart masters, “Don’t over think it, just get
everyone on board then let’s go do it.”

      Garry Titterton (Pattern #3. The Director Genius Pattern)
               Masters: Head/Heart. Blind Spots: Hand

Garry is a good example of the Director pattern, which has masters for the
Head and Heart classes of talent. This pattern finds the greater levels of
talent in the classes of the Head and the Heart. In other words, someone
with this pattern has natural talents for: theoretical thinking, big-picture
understanding, complex problem solving and long-range planning. They
are also naturally good at understanding others and merging their
theoretical talents with their emotional ones, resulting in what typically
becomes strategic leadership (i.e., determining a path and getting results
through others). As such, Garry, and others who share this pattern with
him, are very good at seeing the big strategic picture and understanding
how others fit into that image. They are naturally adept at seeing the long-
range plan for what needs to take place to achieve results, and who they
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have available to get those results through. In many leadership roles this
pattern helps create a person who naturally tends to think about the overall
strategic vision and how to reach it through people. These people enjoy a
structured approach to things instead of an Ad Hoc, or seat-of-the-pants
kind of approach. One con of this pattern is that being somewhat less
concerned with the Hand dimension, someone might lose site of the details
of a situation, and may prefer to ignore such things as minutia or a
distraction. Garry explains how when he allows himself to get sucked into
thinking too much about the details, he doesn’t perform as well because
this is neither where he performs well or enjoys being. He likes to stay in
the balloon at an altitude that allows him to work on the big-picture and
orchestrate the activities of others. This pattern’s motto captures the
emphasis on Head and Heart masters, “Stop to think and talk about it
sufficiently before proceeding.”

           ____? (Pattern #4. The Efficient Genius Pattern)
               Masters: Head/Hand. Blind Spots: Heart

      Alas – I am still hunting for the right person to plug in here
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This pattern’s motto captures the emphasis on the Head and Hand masters,
 ““Make sure to think it through, and then make it happen, no time to talk
                                 about it.”

    Laurence Higgins (Pattern #5. The Supportive Genius Pattern)
              Masters: Heart. Blind Spots: Head/Hand

For some Dr. Laurence Higgins might be a somewhat surprising choice to
represent the Supportive pattern. This pattern indicates a strength in the
class of talents that has to do with people; understanding them, motivating
them, getting results through them and very accurately reading the subtle
signs of their thoughts, needs, fears and emotions. The Supportive pattern
excels in communicating with others, resolving conflict and understanding
people so clearly that sometimes they have a better sense for what the
person should do than the person themselves. This pattern has its cons as
well, though. Sometimes this pattern can become blind to the small details
and struggles with being very well organized on a practical level.
Creating lots of structure and policies that are rigidly stuck to is another
area where this pattern does not excel. Supportive patterns tend to place
much more importance on understanding people than they do on having
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lots of rules and processes. Most people might assume that one of the top
orthopedic surgeons in the world would fit the more stereotypical image of
the surgeon to whom the solution is always “cut”, and where lots of
organization and strict structure and policies rule the day. Dr. Higgins’
true genius, though, is for understanding others. Being acutely attuned to
the emotional mind-set of his patients, Dr. Higgins actually talks more
patients out of surgery than he talks into it. There is a large body of
evidence that shows that a person’s mental attitude plays a significant role
in how successful the outcome of their surgery or treatment will be, and
his genius allows him to be a great judge of whether or not someone is
really ready for surgery from a mental or emotional state. He cites this as
one of the biggest reasons for his success as a surgeon, and his success
rate with his patients. This pattern’s motto captures the emphasis on the
Heart master, “I need to know how everyone feels before I can decide
what needs to be done and how.”

      Michael Lorelli (Pattern #6. The Practical Genius Pattern)
               Masters: Hand. Blind Spots: Head/Heart

The Practical pattern is just that – practical. Above all else; be that other’s
thoughts or opinions, or compliance with established rules, or the long-
range plan, this pattern excels in one class of talents and that is making
things happen…now. The practical pattern has at its center the class of
talents associated with the Hand. Unlike the Head, which deals with
intellectual things, or the Heart, which deals with the emotional world, the
Hand deals with real-world, pragmatic, goal-focused, action-oriented
results. If the Head translates to “thinking about it”, and the Heart
translates to “understanding the emotions involved with it”, the Hand
translates to, “just doing it.” People with this pattern are typically prone to
action without overly drawn out strategies and planning. They become the
jazz musician who improvises, depending on what the world throws at
them to get results. Sometimes this focus can cause them to not focus as
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much on the people involved, or create elaborate structure or reproducible
procedures (choosing often to “wing-it” instead). Michael Lorelli is a
great example of the Practical pattern, and is someone who’s successes
have centered around his willingness to break with the accepted program,
bend the rules where he felt they needed bending and see the most
practical route to achieving his goals based on what the world gives him.
One con to this pattern is that sometimes results come at the expense of
the rules or others, but Michael is quick to recount his favorite saying at
one of his last companies, “It’s better to ask for forgiveness than
permission.” From being the first to ever advertise on the sails of an
America’s Cup sail boat, to the first to place an advertisement on a Home
Movie, Michael’s genius has been his ability to always see the practical
route and not be distracted by what other’s think he should do, or what the
rules say he can’t do. This pattern’s motto captures the emphasis on the
Hand master, “Stop thinking and talking about it…Just Do It!”

      Marshall Goldsmith (Pattern #7. The Systematic Genius Pattern)
               Masters: Head. Blind Spots: Hand/Heart

The Systematic pattern is a process builder. People with the greatest class
of talents associated with the Head dimension are exquisite big-picture
people and creators of systems. They often start by being the one who
sees the obvious simple truth in a complex process or system. They excel
at being able to see the big picture and identifying what is and isn’t
working among all the moving parts. This is something that those who
don’t share this genius may have a very hard time seeing with as much
clarity and especially ease. People with a single master for the Head can
look at a very complicated situation and distill it down to it’s simplest
essence, highlighting the relevant facts and relegating the non-essential
elements to a corner. This helps make them great at first figuring out what
the problem is, and then creating a solution that is reproducible, complete
and very structured. People with this pattern are also often very good at
teaching others how to understand hard to see or complex concepts
because they have such a grasp of the whole system in their heads that
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they can compartmentalize it into more easily understood bits. One area
where this pattern isn’t as clear is in being very attentive to the fine details
from a practical point of view, or being overly sensitive to other people’s
emotions. Dr. Goldsmith has a Systematic pattern and he has taken his
genius in this area and built an incredibly successful reputation as the go-
to-guy who you want helping you figure out how to get to the next level of
performance. As an executive coach who works with already successful
people to make them even more successful, Marshall’s truest talent is for
taking very complex concepts and turning them into easy-to-understand
lessons that anyone can grasp. The lessons he creates are designed to
highlight client behaviors that to him might seem rather obvious, but are
often something his clients are blind to. His slight blind spot to the
emotional dimension (the Heart dimension) actually helps him do this
because he is very good at giving people very negative information about
themselves without, to quote himself, “getting caught up in turning that
into an emotional situation.” He keeps such discussions very rational and
unemotional. This pattern’s motto captures the emphasis on the Head
master, “Think it through.”

Reason Versus Reaction

Intuition: knowledge from within; instinctive knowledge or feeling without the use of
rational processes” Oxford English Dictionary

One of the first questions people ask when they start trying to become authentic is, “how
do I learn to rely on my own talents better?” My answer is that there are two things they
can do. The first involves actually measuring them, as we just did with the Genius profile.
Learning your talents in this manner is the most effective way to really develop a solid
understanding for what you are and are not great at when it comes to natural thinking
talents. As long as the instrument you use is scientifically proven and valid (which the
Genius profile is) than you can trust in this information and benefit from an objective
perspective that you just can’t get any other way.

In addition to actually measuring your talents, however, there is a second way you can
develop a better understanding for your talents as well. In combination with the scientific
assessment, learn to “just listen.” You see, these voices in your head never stop speaking
to you and even though you may have become quite adept at ignoring them, they are still
there. These voices in your head are talking to you all the time - you just don’t realize it
much of the time. They are seen on the surface as what some call intuition and this is
what you have got to learn to listen to better if you are to become the genius you can be.

Intuition is not about extrasensory perception (ESP), a sixth sense or anything mystical or
super metaphysical. It is about data, gathered by our five senses, which is being
recognized by our subconscious mind, instead of our conscious mind. Carl Jung noted,
“intuition does not denote something contrary to reason, but something outside of the
province of reason.” Dr. R. Rowan describes intuition as, “being able to bring to bear on
a situation everything that you have seen, felt, tasted and experienced.” Intuition is about
instinctive or subconscious awareness. When I talk with people about the difference
between using their conscious and subconscious minds I use the words
reasoning and reacting. Reasoning is the result of logical, rational thought
driven by your conscious mind. Reacting is the result of following your
intuitive, subconscious mind.

Such intuition is called a “hunch”, your “gut”, a “funny feeling”, ”an
inkling” and a hundred other euphemisms in as many cultures. The
subconscious mind misses nothing and is aware of everything around us – always.
Whenever we have a feeling about something that we can’t explain, it is more often than
not just the fact that we can’t explain it based on what our conscious mind is aware of.
Intuition is that sudden flash of insight that comes to you out of nowhere. It’s that sense
you get or decision you make without really thinking about it, it just comes to you. In
reality, it doesn’t come out of nowhere. It comes from every everything your
subconscious mind is aware of, but it feels like it comes out of nowhere because your
subconscious and conscious minds aren’t on the best speaking terms. We like to think
our conscious mind is alone in making all those decisions we make all day long, but that
would be a false assumption.

We are not alone in our decision-making. There are two minds at work (or play) here.
Instead of dismissing intuition as an unfounded and irrational impulse, reaching the 5th
level requires that you learn to accept and respect this voice as it is your natural talents
talking to you. In that frame of reference, learn to give that voice the benefit of the doubt
and trust in it. The higher your levels of ability in a given dimension or class of talents
(Head, Hand or Heart), the more intuitive you are about that dimension.

This is easier said then done, though. Just as we are not taught to trust our subconscious
mind as much as our conscious mind, so too are we taught to go with what we know, not
what we feel - stick with what you can prove, not some hunch.

Of mammals, humans are the only ones who discourage listening to intuition, but there is
a lot of research that proves that in reality intuition actually plays a larger role in
decision-making than most conventional teachings would lead us to believe.

   •   Research into the decision-making of consumers shows that as much as 95% of
       the decision to purchase something is subconscious (Harvard-Zaltman, 2003)
   •   Research on Fire Fighters showed that 80% of their decisions were subconscious
       and intuitive rather than logical and rational (Klein et all, 2003)
   •   Research on Naval Commanders showed that 95% of decisions were based on
       intuition and “gut” rather than actually analyzing and comparing options (Klein et
       all, 1996)
   •   Yet another study of commercial airline aircrews in 1991 found that more than
       95% of decisions were what was termed “snap judgments”, which are those based
       on intuition, not rationale (Mosier, 1991)
   •   In a study of offshore oilfield managers, one study showed similarly that 90% of
       decisions were not of the conscious rational type, rather they were snap judgments
       and intuitive (Flin, 1996)

Great athletes are often quoted as saying “if you have to think about it, it’s too late.”
Even those people that most of us would assume must be very logical and rational turn
out to be very much driven by their intuitions. Physicist Albert Einstein’s genius for
conceptual thinking was much more a feeling for him than a rationalization of the facts.
                So intuitive and pure was this talent that he only vaguely understood it
                and rarely attempted to use words or logic to define it. In his work,
                Principles of Research, Einstein said, “There is no logical path to [truth].
                Only intuition, resting on sympathetic understanding of experience, can
                reach it.”

                This is not unusual for any of the modern-day geniuses we studied as
                well. Most had a very hard time attempting to explain their decisions in
                a literal sense, they just knew how they felt and what things they saw
clearly and those they did not. Their level of intuition and willingness to trust their guts
is extreme. Painter Pablo Picasso once told a friend, “I don’t know in advance what I am
going to put on the canvas any more than I decide beforehand what colors I am going to

use. Each time I undertake to paint a picture I have a sensation of leaping into space. I
never know whether I shall land on my feet. It is only later that I begin to estimate more
exactly the effect of my work.” What Picasso is saying here is that he follows his
intuition (genius) wherever it lead him. He is not trying to control it, he is just trusting
his gut and going with the flow. Only after he has created something might he then try to
rationally explain or analyze it. Poet Robert Frost spoke about his process for writing
poetry as one of, “carrying out some intention more felt than thought.” Author Isabel
Allende says of her books, “in a very organic way, books don’t happen in my mind, they
happen somewhere in my belly. I don’t know what I am going to write about because it
has not yet made the trip from belly to the mind.”

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                                   Chapter 6 Review:

Chapter 1:
      • “The Problem” is an epidemic of people that feel unfulfilled, dissatisfied and
           frustrated with their performance
Chapter 2:
      • To find out why, we created the Genius Project to study why and what we
           found were two key things:
               o There is no “Genius Talent”
               o Self-Awareness and Authenticity are present in higher levels in the
                   best performers
Chapter 3:
      • The effects of the problem go beyond performance issues to include negative
           physical and emotional effects as well
      • Inauthenticity causes you to feel upside down, always putting in more effort
           than you feel you get back in results, and blocks you from your passions, and
           being in the flow
Chapter 4:
   • Today’s organizations have shifted from an industrial to an intellectual economy
   • Legacy beliefs left over from the old industrial economy cause dependence and
      inauthenticity that damages individual performance
Chapter 5:
   • The first step in the solution is to prepare to change by deciding that:
           o You are in charge of your own success
           o You get what you accept
Chapter 6:
   • The first evolution is to understand where your talents and non-talents come from
      (i.e., voices in your head), and how they create masters and blind spots which you
      see well or miss altogether
   • The more you are reacting, instead of reasoning, the more your masters take over

                       7 - Choose Thyself

 “One day Alice came to a fork in the road and saw a Cheshire cat in a tree. ‘Which road
do I take?’ she asked. ‘Where do you want to go?’ was his response. ‘I don't know’, Alice
                    answered. ‘Then,’ said the cat, ‘it doesn't matter.”

When Lewis Carroll wrote these lines in his book Alice in Wonderland, he may not have
realized how poignant they were when it comes to becoming a genius, but before you can
get somewhere, you have to know where that somewhere is.

I call this chapter “Choose Thyself” in reference to Soren Kierkegaard’s discussions in,
Point of View, where he discusses his thoughts on man’s ethical imperative to live an
authentic life. For Kierkegaard the most important aspect of choosing who you are was to
choose with passion, to become infinitely interested in existing, and to not simply know
who you are – but to become it. In order to become the genius you can be, you can’t just
know yourself (i.e., possess great self-awareness), but you have to than live authentically
according to that knowledge. You have to choose a self that is true.

Geniuses are two things: self-aware and authentic. Now that you have met your genius –
again – and now that you have become more self-aware, you have the first part of the
puzzle. The next step in the process of becoming authentic is to create a vision of
yourself that is as authentic as possible. As Stephen Covey talks about in The 7 Habits of
Highly Effective People, when he discusses Habit #2 (Beginning With the End in Mind)
he says, “Everything that is created is created twice; first in the mind, then in reality.”
Not knowing where you want to go is one of the most common problems I see with my
clients. If you don’t know where you are going (what your self concept is, your vocation,
who you are to become), how will you get there or even know when you have arrived?

You must have a clear strategic vision for where you want to go. You must create a clear
vision for your Point B on your life map. This requires creating a vision, and goals, for
where you want to go that are authentic (i.e., based on your natural talents).

~ You may not be able to control what talents you possess but you definitely can control
                               what you do with them ~

Creating a clear picture of where you want to go is vital to reaching the 5th level of
performance. Without this guide it is easy to get lost, just as easily as it is to get lost in
the wilderness without a map, compass or GPS. Just like the racecar driver needs to know
the race course in order to maximize every ounce of energy and second of time, so too do
you need to be completely aware of where you want to go. Your natural talents may be a
Ferrari, but your understanding for how to use those talents is like the racecar driver’s
awareness of the course. Regardless of the potential of the racecar, when the driver
doesn’t know the course well, he goes too slowly around one corner and too fast around

others - because he isn’t sure exactly where the road goes. He hesitates, and slows down
as he approaches a hill because he isn’t quite sure what lies on the other side. He holds
back and doesn’t commit 100% because of this lack of certainty. Lack of certainty for
their direction in life is one of the most crippling issues people who are inauthentic suffer.
They lack a crystal clear image for where they are going, or they intentionally choose to
focus only on the here and now, and leave the future to the future. Such myopic thinking
only causes them to leave much of their potential unused or unfulfilled.

Without certainty for where you are going you don’t truly believe, in your own mind, that
you can get there. Without being certain of where you are going you become the ship at
sea with no destination – just floating about in this direction or that.

This concept for where you are going is what I call self-direction and not having a clear
self-direction in life has a very negative impact on your ability to perform at peak levels.
To get a clear self-direction you have to know where you are going, you have to pick
your location in life.

Location, Location, Location

There is an old cliché in real estate that says the three most things in real estate are:
location, location and location. This is also very true in the world of individual
performance and success. My use of location in this sense represents where you live
(your roles in life). Your location is the place in the world that you occupy, both
personally and professionally.

If all of us have talents, why aren’t we all equally as successful? Granted there are lots of
contributing factors as to why one person may be more successful than another, but one
major reason we see such diversity in performance is due to where we live (and I don’t
mean our street address). Everyone may indeed have talents, but unfortunately not
everyone does as good a job of positioning themselves in a location (i.e., job or role) that
is a great match for their talents. Many people occupy locations where their success
                depends on their non-talents more than their talents. The geniuses among
                us do a great job of finding or creating a locating for themselves that
                accentuates their strengths and minimize any weaknesses. A good
                location is one that allows you to depend as much as possible on your
                talents, and as little as possible on your non-talents.

                 Expanding on the racecar driver analogy, imagine you were a dune buggy.
                 Your natural strengths would be for racing in the desert, over rough
terrain, in horrible conditions that required very high body clearance, an insane amount of
suspension, lots of raw power and huge tires that get good traction in the soft sand.
These are your talents as a dune buggy. Now, would it make any sense at all to take that
dune buggy and enter it in a NASCAR or Formula One race? It should seem obvious to
anyone that attempting to race a dune buggy in a formula one race wouldn’t make any
sense because the differences between the strengths of the dune buggy and the strengths

required by the location are so blatant (i.e., the tight, winding city streets in some old
European town).

Athletes are another good analogy for the importance of location. Take Peyton Manning
or Michael Jordan and switch their location on the team. How well would Peyton
Manning, a star NFL Quarterback, perform as a Kicker or offensive lineman? How well
did Michael Jordan actually perform as a professional baseball player? When it comes to
finding the right location for our natural talents, the non-physical ones, the matter of fit is
just as important. The problem is our thinking talents are not as obvious or observable as
are our physical talents. Failing to find the right location for your thinking talents,
however, will have the exact same impact as not finding the right location for your
physical talents. How much of a genius would Albert Einstein have been as a marriage
counselor? Would Oprah Winfrey make a brilliant administrative assistant? Would the
world remember Patton the artist, or Van Gogh the military commander? In the wrong
location, all of these geniuses would have never been considered the best at what they do.
These examples may seem obvious and silly to you, but due to the legacy of dependence
many people suffer from, many still believe it is the company who are better suited for
determining their best location. As Peter Drucker once said,” even today, remarkably
few Americans are prepared to select jobs for themselves.” His use of jobs is the same as
my use of location.

You are the best one to determine your optimal location. You are the only one who can
hear those voices in your head and understand your own best path. Unfortunately, we
don’t realize we are a dune buggy. We are placed into a race, by management, with other
racecars and we assume we must be like them. As a result we attempt to modify the dune
buggy with a new suspension, different tires, and other “developmental” efforts to try and
make it fit the location better. As silly as this would be for the physical world of a
racecar, that’s exactly what people all over the world do when they find themselves in the
wrong race. They fail to see the incompatibility between themselves and the race they are
competing in and they spend a great majority of their time trying to change themselves to
fit their role better – all the meanwhile the race goes on while they are stuck in the pits
trying to modify their racecar. Understanding your natural talents better, and then
understanding which roles you fill and how you fill them is the key to reaching the 5th
level of performance. Geniuses do a great job of finding roles and setting goals where
their talents are optimally aligned with the demands of the environment. In a way, I
guess you could say that geniuses are expert real estate agents.

The Quiet Path

With human nature being what it is, and the legacy of dependence being as prevalent as it
is, people continue to struggle to know themselves and many times they sell themselves
on what they think they should be, or what others tell them to be, or what the job says
they need to be. This kind of path is what I call a loud path. So many voices, so much
pressure to go here, do that, or be this. I call this the loud path because so many voices
are telling you to follow it. Your parents, your friends, your boss, society, teachers, even
authors like me – all suggesting, cajoling, pushing you towards a specific path. The
massive noise from all of these people can become overwhelming and hard to ignore.
They can even prevent you from hearing your own inner voices telling you anything
different. As well intentioned as most of this advice may be, the fact remains that the
loud path is made up of other’s voices and opinions - not your own. These voices know
less about who you really are and what your real talents are for, and the path they
champion is more often than not less authentic as a result. It is the path championed by
your inner voices that is the wisest one for you to follow. Those inner voices are most
familiar with who you are and in turn they are the ones that really
knows best which location you should occupy or which path you
should take to reach it. Relative to the cacophony of voices that make
up the loud path, your truest path is indeed very quiet – and so I call it
the quiet path.

Ancient Chinese texts refer to the Tao (pronounced “dow”), which
literally means “way” or “path”. In Taoist writings this term has a very
comprehensive meaning, referring to a metaphysical principle that
underlies all being; a vast Oneness that precedes the endlessly divers forms of the world.
Ultimately, following your own Tao, or quiet path, means learning to sense its presence
in order to bring your own life and movement into better harmony with it.

Following your quite path means trusting the sense you feel, your gut, because your true
way (Tao) is there – just very subtle or quiet. I think author Henry Rowan Thoreau sums
up the thoughts on listening to your inner-voice very well when he says, “We are
constantly invited to be who we are. So accept these invitations instead of rejecting
them.” These invitations from our own quiet path are easy to ignore, or even reject,
because they are so subtle when compared to the loud path’s message.

Because of the relative quietness, compared to the noisy voices of the loud path, few
people hear or follow their quiet path. Most people follow the louder path and many
times they end up actually heading away from their genius instead of towards it. As poet
Robert Frost said, “Two roads diverged into a wood, and I – I took the one less traveled
by. And that made all the difference.” Learning to hear your inner voices, and to follow
your quiet path, will make all the difference between your reaching your 5th level of
performance or not.

While the quiet path can be hard to perceive, my five-year-old son Joseph provided me
with a great example of something that is just as present in our every-day lives as the

quiet path, but also just as easy to miss. Light rays are always there but often difficult to
actually see. We see the effects of their presence as they bounce off objects in our world,
but perceiving the actual rays of light themselves can be very difficult. If you’ve ever
seen rays of light streaming from behind a cloud, or shooting through a window into a
dark room, you get the idea. But Joe gave me an example one night that I like best of all.

One night, after reading his bedtime book and turning out all but the nightlight on his
bedroom wall, I laid down with Joe to settle him in. As he lay there facing the wall he
said, “I can see the lights shooting off the nightlight daddy.” When I looked past him at
the nightlight at first I didn’t see it, but then when I squinted my eyes a little – sure
enough, single beams of light were shooting out of the nightlight right towards us. It was
as if they were shiny 3D sticks reaching out to us from the center of the light. The act of
squinting my eyes just the right amount caused the rays of light to be refracted by the
layer of tears that gathers against my lower eye lid, and as the rays were refracted I could
see single streams of light shooting right towards me. Joe was pretty entertained that
night, and some nights later, but I couldn’t help but consider how cool it was that there is
something right there in front of me all the time, always present, always visible – but it
was so easy to ignore or miss altogether. Only if I looked at it in the right way, carefully
                enough and with the proper focus, could I see it. Seeing it wasn’t a matter
                of it being there or not. It was always there. Seeing it was a matter of my
                being attuned to it or not.

               Your quiet path is very much the same as rays of light. It is your true path,
               it is your inner voices constantly talking to you, guiding you towards the
               right direction, the right course of actions for you to take to achieve your
objectives. It is, however, very easy to miss. If you are not attuned to it, if you don’t
have the right focus, you can become unaware of it and instead end up following the
common path taken by everyone else. You need to be extremely alert and absolutely
present to be able to detect your own quiet path.

I recommend that you put a nightlight somewhere in a quiet place like your bedroom, and
each night, as you lay down to go to sleep, look at this light and squint your eyes until
you can see the single rays of light streaming out towards you. I now use this on an
almost daily basis as a simple reminder that my quiet path is always there, and I only
need the right focus to see it. This reminds me to ignore the noise of the loud path and
tune into what my inner voices are telling me is the best way to proceed. Using it in my
bedroom is also good because I have ended my day, and my mind is quiet and it is easier
for me to hear my inner voices without the noise and distraction of my busy day. I use
this exercise and time to contemplate how well I have followed my own quiet path that
day. Give it a try. It just might be the best $1.99 you invest in improving your

Genius Action Step #4 will give you an online journal where you can record your
thoughts on how well you followed your quiet path - how authentic you were - on a daily
or weekly basis. On a regular basis take a few minutes to complete this simple
questionnaire. This exercise will create a trend that you can follow over time to see how
true you have been to your own quiet path. It will also map your level of satisfaction,
stress and performance so you can see how your level of authenticity has affected these
areas of your life as well.

       Genius Action Step 4: Please log into your WYG Online workbook and complete the
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The Rarity of Success

“The person who does too much accomplishes very little. Less is more. The most effective
   people in business (and life) have the discipline to focus on doing just a few things
                                   spectacularly well.”
                                                                          ~ Robin Sharma

It was Dr. Hartman himself who, in a discussion with one of his students on the infinite
potential of the individual, said, “What’s a genius? Why you’re a genius. For a genius is
nothing but a person who can put all his power into one thought.” What Dr. Hartman
was saying was that anyone could be a genius. And it isn’t an intellectual genius he is
talking about. He is referring to the potential performance that can be achieved or
                unlocked when you understand how to apply yourself and place all of your
                power (talents) into one thought or task. I think he is talking here about the
                effect that rarity or exclusivity play on being successful.

                One thing we found common among the geniuses we interviewed was
                their concept of rarity. There is a large body of work out there supporting
                the argument that the more specialized you become, the more your
                chances of success increase. Specialization isn’t a new idea. Over two
thousand five hundred years ago Confucius saw the folly in trying to be too many things
when he said, “The person who chases two rabbits catches neither.” Specializing in a
niche area is one key to being very successful. We’ve all heard the old mantra, “you
can’t be all things to all people.” My work has proven to me that there is a direct but
inverse correlation between the levels of performance one achieves and the scope or
degree of specialization they have. Lower to middle levels of performance tend to
correlate with broader scopes of practice whereas the higher levels of performance
correlate with higher degrees of specialization. In other words, the more you try to be, the
less you will likely achieve.

The geniuses I’ve worked with are anything but generalists. They all specialize in a very
fine area of expertise. Think about some of the professionals you know for a moment,

like doctors, lawyers, scientists or coaches. In the medical community we see a clear
association between “the best” and the degree of specialization. Medical professionals
have created some of the most specialized levels of practice in any industry. The
orthopedic community, a specialization in and of itself already, has developed specialists
in the hand, sports medicine, spine, upper extremities and lower extremities, even those
who specialize in just elbows. In law, already a specialization, you see a field that has
fractured into narrower and narrower levels of specialization with tax lawyers, trial
lawyers, defense attorneys, certain kinds of medical malpractice attorneys who focus on
only certain kinds of medicine (perhaps to keep up with the hyper-specialization in the
medical community). Look at Albert Einstein or Stephen Hawking, both genius
physicists, but a specialized kind of physics - theoretical physics (as if physics wasn’t
already specialized enough).

Randy Haykin is a great example of a guy who understands the role that rarity plays in
being successful. “I’ve always believed in thinking outside the box, thinking in ways that
others simply are not, and playing where few others are playing. I like taking the rare
perspective on things,” says Randy. As founding Vice President of Marketing and Sales
at Yahoo! Inc. in the early 1990’s, Randy brought this appreciation for rarity with him
from Apple. Randy summarizes his approach by saying, “I wanted us to be the biggest
fattest fish we could be - in the smallest pond we could find.”

Anthony Robbins captures the same kind of thoughts on rarity when he talks about
success. “One of the reasons I think a lot of people fail to achieve what they truly want is
that they never direct their focus; they never decide to master anything in particular. In
fact, I think most people fail in life simply because they major in minor things,” says
Robbins. The person who tries to do everything, be everything, usually accomplishes

The more specialized you get, the more niche a market you create or serve, the greater the
likelihood is that you will reach the 5th level of performance. In almost every single
category of life or business, specialists significantly out earn generalists at every turn.
The problem with trying to be all things to all people fails to focus all of your genius in
one targeted area. Like the light of the sun focused through a magnifying glass, the more
diffuse the focus, the less power it has. The more focused that beam of light is, however,
the stronger it becomes. If, as a child, you’ve ever used a magnifying glass to catch a leaf
on fire on a hot summer day you understand what I’m talking about. Spreading yourself
too thin is basically futile. It doesn’t work, at least not very well. He who is a jack-of-
all-trades is a master of none, and 5th level performance requires mastery. If we
remember that the key to becoming truly authentic is to reduce your success’ dependence
on non-talents, then by reducing the variables in that success you make this task easier. If
you are attempting to be a genius at lots of different things, you will surely have a hard
time of it. You might become adequate at many things, but not an expert at any of them.
Even those who have talents in all areas or classes of talent, the most rare of patterns by
the way, have non-talents. Everyone has talents and everyone has non-talents. Instead of
trying to be good at lots of things, pick something that you love and are very good at and

figure out how to become even more specialized in that area, and how to make a living at

    “I don’t know what the key to success is, but the key to failure is trying to please
                                                             Bill Cosby

The diagram below illustrates the concept of increasing performance by decreasing
scope. Notice how the more specialized you become, the greater your chances of success

When Marshall Goldsmith set out to establish his professional niche, he wanted to be the
world expert in one very specific area, so he chose a very small focus that added
exclusivity to what he did (i.e., coaching already successful executives, typically in the
Fortune 500, to be even better). By doing so not only did he reduce his competition, but
more importantly his specialization allowed him to occupy a space (role) that depended
almost exclusively on his talents.

Your task in becoming more authentic is to narrow your focus and prune your role to
become more exclusive, more rare - more specialized. In so doing, at the same time you
prune your dependence on non-talents and leave your success dependent only on that
which you naturally do very well. You in effect create a strengths-based reality for
yourself. Creating this vision is the first step.

Action Step: To help you determine how you can become more specialized, list
your industry below and any sub-categories that exist in that industry. If you can’t
think of any that’s great because here is your chance to create some. If you get stuck
here’s some tips. Look at others to see how they have managed to specialize in
their own niche:
    • Who in your industry is considered an expert?
    • Who do you know that specializes in anything?
    • What is one area of your industry that is very complicated or in high
    • If you can’t think of anything within your industry, could you become a
        consultant to that industry, thus creating a specialization in the consulting

My Industry: ________________________________________________________
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Industry Sub-Categories (areas within that Industry that could be considered a
specialty): __________________________________________________________

Based on what you have learned from your Genius Profile, which of the Sub-
categories above could you specialize in? Which parts of your industry do you find
more enjoyable, exciting, interesting and in which parts have you found that you are
just plain “better”?
_______________ ___________________________________________________

In the next chapter I will give you an exercise that will involve using these areas as
one of your targets for goal setting.

MacGyver Wasn’t Real

The other thing I caution people on as they create their new authentic future vision is to
always remember you can’t force yourself into being something you are not. That
location you choose and the roles you fill must be authentic. In the mid 1980’s to early
1990’s there was a television series in the United States called MacGyver. Actor Richard
Dean Andersen played secret agent Angus MacGyver who favored brains over brawn
when it came to fighting bad guys. MacGyver never used a gun, but in order to
accomplish his missions, or escape from his captors, he would make use of every-day
common items found in whatever environment he was in, to craft explosives, or a radio
or laser. Every episode found MacGyver using little more than his Swiss Army knife and
some duct tape to jury rig some complex device to defeat the enemy. Basically,
MacGyver was a genius at jury-rigging solutions for success.

Unfortunately, MacGyver wasn’t real. You can’t jury rig 5th level performance by
adapting yourself to something you weren’t meant to be. While a kitchen knife might
have made a great terminal switch for one of MacGyver’s bombs, you can’t be as
effectively bent and forced into some role that isn’t true to who you are. Yet this is what
we see people doing all the time when it comes to treating themselves like one of
MacGyver’s soon to be destroyed kitchen utensils.

In real life, you might jury rig lots of unimportant things, but when it comes to the
important aspects of your life you would never even consider using a safety pin to hold
your child’s seatbelt together, or duct tape to hold your car brakes in place. So why
would you consider jury-rigging your success by adapting yourself to some role that you
weren’t meant for, a role that isn’t authentic for you?

Anthony Robbins learned early on that his best roles in life were those that satisfied his
talents. In the 5th grade he had to spend weekends with his dad traveling around in the car
“all over the place” so he spent lots of time reading. In the first four weeks of his 5th
grade school year he had completely finished the science book and taken all the tests so
his teacher had to figure out what to do with him for the rest of the year. So, he spent
hours in the school’s library studying anything he was interested in. This early lesson
taught him that his hunger for knowledge and understanding was substantial and later in
life, whenever he found himself in a role that didn’t allow him to continually grow and
learn new things, he wasn’t at all satisfied. When he adapted himself to fit some role that
wasn’t as true to his natural talents as it could have been, he struggled with The Problem.
He says that his best roles have always been those that relied on his continually learning
new things and new ways to apply his natural talents.

As you create your new role in the upcoming step, make sure you don’t adapt yourself
like one of MacGyver’s utensils. Stay true to what you do well and insist on a role that
doesn’t require you to jury rig your performance.


There is just one more thing you have to do before completing the exercise for this
chapter. You have to believe in yourself. To have self-belief requires that you are
satisfied with yourself, and as Thoreau said, “The man who is dissatisfied with himself.
What can he do?” Self-belief is one of the most crucial traits we found all successful
people to possess. Psychologists sometimes refer to it as self-efficacy, which is our belief
in our ability to succeed in specific situations. Some refer to it as self-confidence that you
have an innate sense that you will succeed. Still others call it a sense of entitlement
wherein the individual simply expects that they deserve to succeed. This does not mean
they expect to be handed everything on a silver platter, just that they deserve it as much
as the next guy (or girl), so they go and get it. Basically, geniuses believe in themselves.

Regardless of the various names given to it, for our purposes here we’ll call it self-belief,
and it is defined as, “one’s ability to believe they deserve to succeed and that they will
succeed.” Successful people believe strongly that they can make desirable things happen
in their lives, and that they deserve them. All of the successful people we studied had
high levels of self-belief and as a result they not only felt they deserved to succeed, but
that they would. This self-belief creates in them a certain sense of independence as they
view their success as their own birthright and not something to be left to
chance, or in the hands of others. Successful people are their own SEO’s,
guiding their own fate.

A significant part of self-belief is self-acceptance. As humans, we will all
surely fail – many times. We likely fail more than we succeed in many
ways. To learn a new thing requires that we fail more than we succeed,
but geniuses don’t worry about failing. Many people carry a false
impression that to be good they must be perfect and as wise as possible, admitting only
those failures that are insignificant. But this simply isn’t possible. To become wise one
must first make all the errors he can. It has been said that, “To be wise requires good
judgment, and good judgment requires experience and experience requires poor
judgment.” In other words, to be the best you have to make lots of mistakes. Many
people, however, dislike their mistakes. They shy away from examining their mistakes,
thinking that it is their successes that hold the key to improvement. This distain for their
weaknesses is one of the major driving factors behind their efforts to fix those non-talents
(by developing new talents). They would rather just erase their mistakes and only
acknowledge what they do well. They hold out a false hope that they can create an image
of themselves that only consists of their successes. In order to truly appreciate yourself,
however, you have to appreciate all that you are – and all that you are not.

There is an old Chinese saying that goes, “Recognize beauty, and ugliness is born.
Recognize good, and evil is born.” In other words, it is impossible to qualify something
as good without accepting the existence of things that are not good. You can’t learn to
love yourself fully, and truly believe in yourself, until you are willing to accept all of
your flaws and non-talents as well. You can’t appreciate yourself fully without
acknowledging all that is you – both good and bad. The Chinese concept of Yin-Yang

depicts this dichotomy very well. The image below represents the duality that exists in all
of nature, in all things and even in you. It represents the light and the dark, the positive
and the negative, the right and the wrong – or for our purposes here, your talents and non-
talents. It represents the balance between all things that exists.

The enlightening aspect of this concept is that just as the circle itself is not whole without
both the light and dark sides – your acceptance of yourself is not complete without
acknowledging both the good and the bad of who you are. You cannot feel whole about
yourself until you acknowledge both, and without being whole you will never have true

An interesting side-effect of acknowledging your flaws is that in doing so you remove
much of the power they hold over you. You demystify them, and you take control over
them. And by gaining control over them, you strip them of their power to undermine your
confidence. We fear things we don’t know or understand, therefore not knowing or
understanding your mistakes and failures empowers and gives them control over you. We
end up fearing them; that we’ll make more of them, that perhaps all we can make are
mistakes. This can be the beginning of powerful self-limiting beliefs that many people
suffer from.

If it is true that we fear things we don’t understand, than if we can come to understand
something better, we should fear it less. Just as understanding your talents is a part of
self-awareness, so too is understanding your non-talents. Geniuses understand their non-
talents. They shine big bright lights on their mistakes, acknowledge them readily and
instead of wishing they weren’t so, they consider them learning opportunities that help
them refine their authenticity even that much more. Their mistakes help them find their
quiet path. Thomas Edison once said, “I am not discouraged [by failure], because every
wrong step discarded is another step forward.”

When Geniuses shine the light on their non-talents, they aren’t obsessing over how bad
they are. Rather they are telling themselves that it’s OK to be flawed. They see the
acknowledgment of these flaws as Edison did – as just another step towards the right

You have to strike a healthy balance between acknowledging your non-talents and not
obsessing over them. If you go back to the image of Yin and Yang think of the ideal
target as a balance between both sides of the circle. You don’t want the black space to be
absent (completely ignoring your non-talents) but you don’t want that black space to take
over the majority of the circle either. Either way, you are not fully whole.

This whole process of introspection by exploring what you did and didn’t do right leads
to self-talk, which is what you say to yourself about yourself. We each develop habits for
talking to ourselves about ourselves. Psychologists call the messages we play to ourselves
cognitive scripts and they can be either positive or negative. You have to develop
positive, healthy, well-balanced scripts in order to achieve the best levels of self-belief.

Cognitive Scripting

Cognitive scripts: the subconscious “self-talk” that we generate, the themes or schemata
we habitually apply to ourselves.

A cognitive script is the psychological term given to any messages we tell ourselves,
about ourselves, all day long. These scripts can be described as tapes that we play
repeatedly in our heads – those things we tell ourselves over and over again, most of the
time without conscious awareness. These scripts can influence our emotions and our
behavior. Since they can be positive or negative they can either support our success or
create self-limiting beliefs and self-doubt. Some examples of cognitive scripts might
include: “I am a failure”, “I can’t do anything right”, “I will overcome any obstacle and I
always do well on tests”. These messages are built from our experiences in life and
eventually, through repeating them enough times, they become embedded in our
subconscious. They become habitual enough that they develop their own power and are
repeated even if the circumstances don’t justify it. For example, if I have enough failures
and repeatedly tell myself that I’m no good, with enough time I will repeat this script that
I’m no good, even when I actually succeed at something. People who
suffer from a lack of self-belief often suffer from the problem of negative
cognitive scripts. Regardless of why these scripts were developed in the
past, they live on and influence our future opinions of ourselves.

The good news is that cognitive scripts can be changed. Though you
cannot stop cognitive scripts from being played in your head, you can
control what those scripts say. You can replace the script that is played.
One of the best ways to do this is simply through repetition or positive affirmation
statements. Regardless of the fun that is poked at such “therapy” it actually does work.

There are lots of examples throughout history of things once thought ineffective
eventually turning out to actually work. In most cases it has less to do with the thing in
question not being effective, and more to do with our understanding not being advanced
enough to actually understand why it is effective. The medical world offers up two of the
easiest examples of things long practiced but only recently understood and approved.

A century ago the use of leeches was a commonly prescribed “medical” treatment. In the
last 75 years, though, this practice was condemned by modern medicine and you would
have been hard pressed to find any Western physician using leeches. Eventually,
however, science caught up with the therapy and now modern medicine understands why
leeches were indeed effective in certain circumstances. The use of leeches has now
become an accepted treatment method in the many hospitals to promote circulation of
blood into damaged areas like severed fingers or even frostbitten noses. It seems that the
chemicals release by leeches turn out to be quite effective at helping blood flow return to
damaged areas.

For Millennia, the indigenous peoples of the Amazon have known that certain plants
contain healthy benefits like treating nausea, joint pain and infection. The bark and roots
of the Iporuru shrub have been used as an analgesic for muscle and joint pain, and the
Brazilian Peppertree leaves have been crushed and used as an antibiotic for centuries.
For many years, though, modern medicine considered such “treatments” as pseudo-
science, but in more recent years science has caught up with this ancient knowledge and
now understands the science behind the wealth of phytochemicals contained in these

Positive affirmations are another example of something practiced throughout the history
of mankind, but because science has not formerly understood the science behind it, it has
been much maligned in popular culture. Affirmations have been the fodder of many a
comedian, and a majority of scientists tended to view affirmations as a fanciful but
ineffective way to pacify someone’s need to feel like they have some control over
something they really don’t. Recent scientific advances, however, say that we actually do
have more control than perhaps once thought.

Modern day treatments like Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) provide a means to
replace irrational or negative scripts with rational or positive ones. CBT is practiced all
over the world by the majority of clinical psychologists and psychiatrists, and it has been
proven to be an effective tool in helping to change habitual opinions or beliefs. This
serves as a good example that repetitive thinking activities are an effective way to replace
old scripts with new ones.

When we talk about your level of self-belief, we’re talking about how you see yourself.
What kinds of things do you say about yourself – to yourself? It is unlikely that you give
it much thought, but a significant influence over how you feel about yourself is due to the
cognitive scripts you play in your mind. To develop your self-belief you have to change
these scripts. As so many of us have heard, you can’t get rid of a habit, you can only
replace with it with another one. In the next exercise you will learn how to replace any
negative scripts you have with positive ones. This exercise will be an ongoing part of
your personal development in maintaining a positive self-belief.

          Genius Action Step 5 : Please log into your WYG Online workbook to get the Cognitive
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Future Visioning

We’ve talked about what location you will occupy in your new authentic future. We’ve
discussed how to find your own quiet path to that location and we’ve given thought to
why you should believe in your deserving and ability to get there. Now let’s put all those
pieces together into a single cohesive image for your future self.

In the 1960’s Dr. Maxwell Maltz, an American Plastic Surgeon by training, conducted
research to uncover why some of his patients failed to appreciate any relief from their
mental suffering following successful plastic surgery. Even though the physical cause of
their dissatisfaction was corrected, they continued to be just as dissatisfied with
themselves as they were prior to surgery. Dr. Maltz wanted to understand how a person’s
mental image of themselves influenced their interpretation of their physical image. After
years of research into what drove people’s perception of themselves, what Dr. Maltz
found was that our minds can’t tell the difference between a synthetic experience and a
real-world experience – as long as that synthetic experience was sufficiently detailed or
real enough. By synthetic experience he means imaginary, one held strictly in our heads
and never having actually happened. In other words, if a person creates an image in their
head that is real enough, even if it isn’t real or has never actually existed, their mind is
likely to believe it as though it were a reality.

Dr. Maltz wrote a book called Psycho-Cybernetics, which details the results of his
investigations. In it he described the human brain and nervous system as a “perfect goal-
striving servo-mechanism. Experimental and clinical psychologists have proven beyond a
shadow of a doubt that the human nervous system cannot tell the difference between an
‘actual’ experience and an experience imagined vividly enough and in detail”, explains
Dr. Maltz.

In the book Dr. Maltz provides an account of an experiment on the effects of mental
practice on improving basketball free throws. The study, published in Research
Quarterly, divided the subjects into three groups. Each group was tested for free throw
accuracy at the beginning and the end of the experiment. The three groups were:
    • Group one physically practiced free throws for 20 days
    • Group two performed no practice at all
    • Group three spent 20 minutes a day getting into a deeply relaxed state and
        visualizing themselves shooting free throws. When they missed, they would
        visualize themselves correcting their aim accordingly.

The results were quite remarkable. The first group, which practiced 20 minutes a day,
improved in scoring by 24%. The second group, which had no practice, showed no
improvement at all, and the third group, which practiced only in their minds, improved in
scoring 23%. Amazingly, pure mental practice yielded almost identical results as were
seen in the group that practices physically.

In the book Peak Performance, Mental Training Techniques of the World’s Greatest
Athletes, Charles Garfield talks about a similar experiment conducted by Soviet sports

The study examined the effect of mental training, including visualization like described
by Maltz, on four groups of world-class athletes prior to competing in the 1980 Lake
Placid Olympics. The elite athletes were divided into the following four groups:
    • Group 1 – 100% physical training
    • Group 2 – 75% physical training, 25% mental training
    • Group 3 – 50% physical training, 50% mental training
    • Group 4 – 25% physical training, 75% mental training

What the researchers found was that group 4 – the group with the most mental training –
showed significantly greater improvement than group 3. Likewise, group 3 showed more
improvement than group 2 and group 2 showed more improvement than group 1.

The findings of research like this show that if you believe in something firmly enough,
and can create an image of it in your head that is clear enough, your mind will accept it as
real. The effects of this belief are very important because these effects manifest in the
real world in better performance. If the belief you create is sufficient enough, your mind
will react to it in all the same ways it would react to a real environment. Have you ever
felt your heart beat increase at just the thought of being in danger when there was no real
danger at all? Have you ever gotten sad reading a sad story or watching a tearful moment
in a movie even though you knew it wasn’t real? The suspension of belief that
moviemakers and authors seek to create is one example of what Dr. Maltz was talking

The opposite is also true in that if you don’t possess a clear enough image for some
aspect of your life, you mind will not believe in it and your attitude towards it will be like
that of any other thing you don’t really believe in (i.e., speculative, unconvinced,
uncertain, etc.).

This means that if the synthetic image you create of yourself is a negative one (e.g., fat,
ugly, clumsy, etc.), and it is real enough, believed enough, it can actually become your
reality. While you may be no less coordinated than the person next to you, with a
sufficient enough belief that you are clumsy, you will drop the ball more. If you create a
strong enough belief in your head that you are obese, as you look in the mirror the image
your mind interprets is a far cry from the reality that your optic nerves convey. Although

you may be withering away to unhealthy levels your brain sees an image of obesity and

The same is true for being authentic and choosing your direction in life. If the clarity with
which you see your future self (your self-direction) is fuzzy and unclear than the drive,
motivation, confidence and certainty you would normally get from knowing where you
are going will be lacking. You will become that racecar driver who doesn’t know the
course, and all of the same effects of such uncertainty will occur in your life. You will
not commit 100%, you will hesitate more, you will become indecisive and your actual
ability to succeed will go down. Basically, if you don’t create an image in your head of
where you want to go, and if it isn’t sufficiently vivid enough, detailed enough, you
actually inhibit your ability to be successful in life.

To help focus your drive, motivation and all of your natural talents you need to have a
crystal clear vision in your head for where you are going. You need to create a vision for
yourself that is so real that you can not only see it, but you can actually feel it, smell it,
taste it and almost remember it as if it has already been experienced. I have a friend in
Glasgow Scotland who can give us a good example of this level of clarity.

One day while I was having lunch with Gerry and another friend named Allan, Gerry
started describing his plans for what he was going to do once his business took off. He
envisioned himself buying a ranch in Jackson Hole Wyoming in the United States. As he
started to describe the house he would build he went into such detail that even Allan and I
could see it. At one point he described the master bedroom, and the picture window it
would have overlooking the property, and the skylight above and how the sun would
shine in at certain times of the day. No detail was left out and by the time he had finished
describing this one room I swear I could actually feel the warmth of the mid-day sun
shining down on my face.

This is the level of clarity you must have for your direction in life, your point B on your
life map if you will. And one way I’ve found to help people do this is to take my clients
through an exercise I created, which I call Future Visioning. The goal is to develop a
vision of yourself in the future that is so clear and real that your mind can’t tell the
difference, and as a result, it commits itself and its resources to this vision just as if it
were real. When this happens your certainty goes way up, your conviction increases and
you start to see any indecisiveness you had go away. You truly will believe that this
future vision is as much a reality as anything you can remember from the past.

When it comes to creating this future vision, the past can actually help. Outside of the
fact that your past actually happened and was real, the reason it seems real to you is
because of the level of detail. When you remember a past event there are millions of little
pieces to that memory that you probably didn’t even notice (e.g., the shadowing of a light
on a table, the small cracks on the wall, the dust in the corner, the countless objects in the
room which you never consciously acknowledged). The level of detail for things
remembered is what makes that memory so real and it is your subconscious mind that

provides most of this sense of reality, as it is the one capable of recognizing so much
detail. Think of the difference in detail between a photograph and a painting.

The problem is that many people fail to create a vision for where they are going that is
sufficiently detailed or real enough to actually win their mind over and enlist all of their
strengths and talents. They create fuzzy goals, or an incomplete vision. The result is that
they achieve fuzzy or incomplete results. To create a vision of your future that will be
real enough to focus your talents, release your doubts, gain your commitment and drive
you towards achieving it, you must create a similar level of detail – a level approaching
that of a past remember event or time.

The Future Visioning exercise is simply a process of using your past to help ensure a
similar level of detail for where you see yourself in the future. To do this please go to
your WYG online workbook and you will find exercise #6 - Future Visioning. Remember
to make it as focused and specialized as possible. What will you specialize in? What will
you master, and what will you not?

Before you work through the Future Visioning exercise, though, I’d like you to think
about one thing. I want you to ask yourself, “What’s my dream?” Contemplate what you
would do if money were not an issue. What is your dream job? Imagine that you won the
lottery or inherited millions from a long-lost relative. If you didn’t have to work to stay
alive – what would you do? Of course many of us would answer, “I’d see the world, sit
on a beach for a few weeks doing nothing and buy lots of things” but after that – after the
initial excitement wears off and you get bored doing nothing all day, what would you do
for fun. As radical and idealistic as it may sound, your answer to that question is a good
place to start creating your future vision. It’s a great place to start actually, because it gets
you thinking about what you really love to do, what you enjoy doing and what you do
naturally well.

Once you answer the question of what your dream is, ask yourself, “Why is it still a
dream; why am I not pursuing my dream; why am I accepting what I get if that is less
than what I want or dream of?”

I’ll offer a little warning here. Many people are extremely good at rationalizing their
inability to chase their dream. But if you really take a look at your answer I think you’ll
find that it falls apart with enough scrutiny.

I can’t guess all the possible reasons someone might come up with for why they aren’t
chasing their dreams, but let’s see how one common example falls apart when you shine
enough light on it. A very common “rational-lie” I often hear is:

     “I’m a parent, which means sacrificing what I want for the good of my
     family and children.”

Let’s take an objective look at this argument and see how it falls apart. You say you
sacrifice your dreams in order to hold a job that is less than ideal, but provides the

stability, financial security and income you need to put a roof over your family’s heads,
and survive. That’s a noble and altruistic cause, but if you look closer what message are
you sending to your children? By sacrificing your dreams are you not, in some way,
teaching your children that it is acceptable to sacrifice your dream? It’s a known fact that
children pattern much of their behavior in adulthood after what they experienced in
childhood. While you might tell them to follow their dreams with your words, you’re
sending a very different message through your actions. They are not dumb, even at a very
young age children can sense your happiness or lack thereof. They see and hear much
more than we might like to think they do, so your words carry only so much meaning. It
is your actions that carry a lot more.

Remember back to the quote from Marianne Williamson earlier in this book? “Your
playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about [your]
shrinking”, said Marianne. While your sacrifice might be for noble reasons, and done out
of service to others, in the end you often do a disservice to them by accepting less than
what you dream of. However, when you chase your dream and when your light shines
bright you inspire others and give them permission to do the same. As Marianne says,
“As we are liberated…our presence automatically liberates others.”

My motto in life has always been "facta non verba" (deeds not words) so how could I tell
my children, through words, how I hoped they would grow to follow their dreams one
day, but through my deeds show them the opposite? These are the kinds of thoughts that
rolled through my very own head years back as I sat there justifying my reasons for not
leaving my own unfulfilling and dissatisfying job. I was a genius at rationalizing, but
when I realized that by sacrificing my own dream I could actually be conditioning my
children to grow up and sacrifice their own dreams, I knew I had to change. I realized
that my words meant little if my deeds didn’t back them up. I needed to be a shining
example of what I wanted for my children, so I had to lead by my own example.

Oh, and that inspiration and liberation that Marianne talks about isn’t just for our
children. Several years after I started my own business, my wife stopped some of her
own sacrificing and decided to follow her dream of opening her own fitness company.7

With your dream job floating in your head, go complete the Future Visioning exercise.

             Genius Action Step 6: Please log into your WYG Online workbook and complete the
                                                         QuickTime™ and a

             Future Visioning exercise.
                                                  are needed to see this picture.

Once you have completed your Future Visioning exercise print it out and refer to it
regularly, make changes to it as things change in your life. I recommend making it part of
a quarterly life review, just like any good business person reviews their goals and
objectives on a regular basis, it’s equally as effective for any individual to do the same

    I’d be in trouble if I didn’t give you this link to my wife’s company (

thing with their personal goals and objectives. And remember, no level of detail is too
small when you complete this exercise. Just like the picture, the higher the resolution, the
greater the level of detail and the greater the detail, the more your subconscious mind will
believe in and chase after your vision.

Note: This exercise may take you several hours, even days, to complete as you will want
to give it careful consideration. This is your future you are creating so take your time and
trust that the effort you put in will return much greater results. No long “X’s” here.

In the end, this entire Choosing Thyself chapter can be distilled down to one very simple
message, “To become a genius figure out what you enjoy the most and find a way to do
more of it – a whole lot more. Then figure out how to get paid for it!”

   R   QuickTime™ and a
 are needed to see this picture.

                                   Chapter 7 Review:

Chapter 1:
      • “The Problem” is an epidemic of people that feel unfulfilled, dissatisfied and
           frustrated with their performance
Chapter 2:
      • To find out why, we created the Genius Project to study why and what we
           found were two key things:
               o There is no “Genius Talent”
               o Self-Awareness and Authenticity are present in higher levels in the
                   best performers
Chapter 3:
      • The effects of the problem go beyond performance issues to include negative
           physical and emotional effects as well
      • Inauthenticity causes you to feel upside down, always putting in more effort
           than you feel you get back in results, and blocks you from your passions, and
           being in the flow
Chapter 4:
   • Today’s organizations have shifted from an industrial to an intellectual economy
   • Legacy beliefs left over from the old industrial economy cause dependence and
      inauthenticity that damages individual performance
Chapter 5:
   • The first step in the solution is to prepare to change by deciding that:
           o You are in charge of your own success
           o You get what you accept
Chapter 6:
   • The first evolution in your solution is to understand where your talents and non-
      talents come from (i.e., voices in your head), and how they create masters and
      blind spots which you see well or miss altogether
   • The more you are reacting, instead of reasoning, the more your masters take over
Chapter 7:
   • Choose a place where you want to go that is authentic
   • Make it authentic and real (not forced or jury-rigging)
   • Believe that you can

                        8 - Create Thyself

“Create the self you will be happy to live with all your life. Make the most of yourself by
            fanning the tiny spark of possibility into flames of achievement”
                                                                        ~ Foster McClellan

Congratulations, you are almost done! In truth, you’re only getting started because being
authentic is a never-ending process of maintaining your authenticity by being ever
vigilant and adapting to new duties, new goals and new direction in which life constantly
takes you. For now, though, you have evolved from being blind to any inauthenticity in
your life, and subject to a legacy of dependence, to the realization that you must be
authentic, that you must become your own SEO, and that you can’t fear making mistakes
on your journey to creating the you that you want to be. You have evolved in your self-
awareness to gain greater understanding for your true genius, and you have evolved your
self-concept to create an image of the authentic self that you want to become.

I call this chapter “Create Thyself” in reference to Renaissance philosopher Pico Della
Mirandola, who in his Oration on the Dignity of Man argued vehemently against his
contemporaries, like Montaigne or Shakespeare, who both denied the great potential of
the individual. In Shakespeare’s drama Hamlet, or Montaigne’s Man’s Presumption and
Littleness, both question the potential of mankind and go to great pains to point out the
feeble nature of mankind.

Pico, on the other hand, argues for the unlimited potential of mankind. He argues that
God, “made thee neither of heaven nor of earth, neither mortal nor immortal, so that with
freedom of choice… thou mayest fashion thyself in whatever shape thou shalt prefer.”
(Mirandola 225) His point is that each of us has a freedom of choice and an infinite
potential to craft ourselves into whatever we want to be. If we are restricted in life, it is
only ourselves that is to blame. As humans we can take charge of our own lives and
create for ourselves whatever reality we want. You have the freedom of choice, and you
have the potential. You only need to choose and then act. It’s this action part that this
chapter will focus on.

Here’s a riddle for you. If there are three frogs sitting on a log and one decides to jump
into the water, how many frogs are left on the log? The answer is three, because deciding
to jump and actually jumping are two very different things. So far you have been working
in your mind. You have been considering your attitude, examining long-held beliefs and
gaining new knowledge. And hopefully by now you have decided to jump, but your final
evolution is to leave the world of your mind and move into your reality, to actually make
the changes in your life that you now know are needed and believe possible. To achieve
this final evolution, and finish your journey (or start it perhaps) you must actually create
your authentic self – you must jump!

Comfort Zones

 “You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition.
    What you'll discover will be wonderful. What you'll discover will be yourself.”
                                                                              ~ Alan Alda

One of the biggest things that prevent my clients from jumping is that they fail to get out
of their comfort zones. The comfort zone includes all the things we do often enough to
feel comfortable doing. It is much like the querencia - a term in bullfighting that refers to
the spot in the ring where the bull always returns for comfort. Former CEO of Hewlett-
Packard, Carly Fiorina, describes it this way, “Each bull has a different querencia, but as
the bullfight continues, and the animal becomes more threatened, it returns more and
more often to his spot. As he returns to his querencia, he becomes more predictable. And
so, in the end, the matador is able to kill the bull because instead of trying something
new, the bull returns to what is familiar - his comfort zone.”

                         “Comfort zones are plush lined coffins”
                                                                     Stan Dale

It is the comfort zone's job to keep doing what we've always done. If we try to break out
of these old habits and even entertain the idea of doing something different, our comfort
zone starts pointing out all the negative reasons why we shouldn’t do that, why it is
dangerous, why we should be fearful. Our comfort zones will employ whatever tools it
has at its disposal to scare us back into our own private quarencia. In As Man Thinketh,
author James Allen talks about how effectively our comfort zone manages to keep us in
check. “If we dare to step outside the bounds of the comfort zone, these tools are used
swiftly and with precision,” says Allen.

The weird thing is that you may have become comfortable with being inauthentic, when
being authentic should be more comfortable. You may have spent so much time being
inauthentic that it actually feels normal. In other words, you have become comfortable
with being uncomfortable. To be authentic, this must change! You will have to get
uncomfortable before you get really comfortable, and this takes courage.

Courage to Change

“Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is
                                                                   ~ James Baldwin

Management theorist W. Edward Deming once said, “It is not necessary to change.
Survival is not mandatory.” Change requires courage because change is scary. The best
way to overcome this fear of change is to make the fear of not changing even greater. I
tell my clients, “If you make it easier to fail than to succeed, the only thing you will likely
succeed at is failing.” By this I mean, you have to risk something significant enough to
make it scarier to fail than to succeed.

In the 8th through 11th centuries, Viking sailors were an acquisitive lot. They had
expended their Scandinavian empire to include most of the North Atlantic European
coastal areas, reaching south to North Africa, east to Russia and even as far east as
Constantinople. When it came to invading new lands, the Vikings are rumored to have
adopted an interesting but effective means of motivating themselves to succeed. When
the Vikings would land on a foreign coast to conquer its lands, to ensure that is wasn’t
easier to fail in battle and return to the safety of their boats and the sea, they would burn
their boats. This meant that failure wasn’t much of an option because there was no real
ability to retreat. Talk about not having an exit strategy.

While I don’t recommend to my clients that they risk their lives as motivation to succeed,
I think we can take inspiration from the Vikings by creating consequences to not
changing, not getting out of our comfort zone. These consequences
should be sever enough to help us face our fears, overcome the obstacles
we will encounter and endure in our evolutionary process.

To share my own examples of how I have made it harder to fail than to
succeed, when I joined the Navy I signed on to become a Search and
Rescue Swimmer. As an enlisted person I signed a contract which mean
that for the next six years the US Navy owned me - literally. In return,
they would provide me with the opportunity to attend all the special schools required to
become a SAR Swimmer. This did not, however, guarantee I would pass these schools,
just that they would allow me to try. If I failed the Navy still owned me, and since I
couldn’t take on the role of rescue swimmer, they would assign me to another role. The
big problem with this was that the assignments for those who failed their schooling were
usually all the jobs that no one volunteered for in the first place (like chocking chains on
a carrier deck, which involves running under a jet or helo, often with engines running,
and tying her down – which is also one of the most dangerous jobs in the military by the

Knowing that the program had one of the highest attrition rates of all military training
programs (approximately 64% of students fail to graduate due to medical injuries or
voluntarily dropping on request) I figured the results of failing to graduate were severe

enough that doing so simply wasn’t an option. I viewed this as my way of burning my
boat so to speak. If I failed I was the property of the US Navy for six long years, likely
filling the worst role they had to offer.

There were many times, as I lay there unable to feel most of the muscles in my body (and
wishing I couldn’t feel those I could because they hurt like hell) that I contemplated
dropping out. I watched a good many classmates hit their wall and give up. As they stood
up and walked to the brass ship’s bell and gave it three rings, there were plenty of times
where I was tempted to follow suit. In the end, my desire to win, along with the dread of
sticking my head under a blur of moving rotors on a rolling and pitching flight deck some
18 feet from the edge, was enough to keep me still. Had I been in a situation where
quitting was easier than persevering (e.g., had quitting meant I would have been let out to
return home to a safe and average civilian job) than maybe the temptation to quit would
have been much greater. As it was, though, the prospect of quitting was not very
attractive. As a matter of fact, it was much less attractive than staying and that’s the point
behind everything I’m saying here. I made sure it wasn’t easier to fail than to succeed, so
I did.

~ If you make it easier to fail than to succeed, the only thing you will likely succeed at is
                                          failing ~

Some years later I did the same thing when I started my own consulting company.
Having a nice job at Johnson and Johnson meant security, great benefits, a company car
and all the advancement one could ask for with over 172 sister companies at the time.
Such security is incredibly important to a young guy with two kids and a stay-at-home
wife. But when I walked away from that to start my own business it meant I had to
succeed. If you think the attrition rate for SAR School is bad, try starting your own small
business. At the time, over 50% of all new businesses failed to survive past the first
twelve months and 95% failed to make it past the five-year mark. When I quit I walked
away from a steady six-figure income. I invested everything last bit of savings, took out a
second mortgage on the house and created significant credit card debt to start the
business. If I failed, we would lose our house, and probably have to claim bankruptcy. If
the business didn’t take off how would we pay for food, or the boy’s college? Failing to
succeed would definitely be harder than succeeding and so with that firmly in mind I
stepped off to burn my second boat. I quit J&J and put it all on the line. Thankfully, ten
years later, the business is still alive and growing.

These are just two personal examples of what I mean when I say, “If you make it easier
to fail than to succeed, the only thing you will likely succeed at is failing.” Having a
dream is great, and being tired of where you are is important, but what boat will you burn
to ensure that you become the authentic genius you deserve to be?

For some it might be a personal boat, like the public embarrassment of telling everyone
you are going to change, but then having to admit to them that you failed to do so. For
others it might be a financial boat, as in throwing off the golden handcuffs that bind you
to your current role to pursue your dream job, or even create your own dream company.

What will you put on the line to ensure that you succeed in becoming the genius that you
know you can be?

Action Step: What is your boat? What will you put at stake to help motivate you to
change and become more authentic?

My Boats: _____________________________________________________________
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An Atypical Definition of Success

While it didn't show up anywhere in the hard data, there is one trait which showed up
time and time again in the interviews I conducted. One of the questions I asked each
interviewee was, “how do you define success and what is one of your greatest successes
in life?” In almost every single case, every person gave me a very different answer than I
expected. I was expecting to hear that they defined success as the achievement of
business goals, or the money they hade made, or fame, or power, or some other worldly
manifestation of the typical definition of success. What I heard, however, was that they
defined success as “being happy”. When I asked them what they were happy about I was
equally surprised. Again the happiness they described didn’t have anything to do with
fame, power, money or what one might expect. What they were happy with was the
relationship with their family and friends, or the feeling the got from helping others, or
the satisfaction they received from their ability to give back, or the passion they felt for
what they did, or the lack of stress and general contentment they had with their roles in
life. These were how they defined their happiness.

Were they happy because they were successful, or was their happiness a key component
to their success? In the end I decided it was the latter, and that their happiness was the
driver of their success, not the result of it. I say this because from a pure logical
perspective I can think of lots of people who have loads of money, tons of fame, piles of
achievements and tremendous power and authority – but who are still not happy.
However, all of the people I know who consider themselves truly happy also consider
themselves truly successful. Therefore, happiness must be the key ingredient in defining
your success, not the result of it.

It seems that happiness is the DNA of success. All roads branch out from this and all lead
back to it. Think about it. You desire success so you can have lots of money so you can
be financially secure - which will make you happy (you hope). You want to win the
competition because you feel the need to prove yourself and others will admire you,
which will make you feel better about yourself - which will make you happy (again, you

hope). You have a desire to be in charge, on top, the big boss, which gives you control
and prestige, which proves your worth – which will make you really happy. There are
those who seek to serve others or improve the world, which satisfies their need to help
and love others – which makes them happy. The key is, everything is really driven by
happiness, and so success at its most basic level is built on being happy, not on being
“successful” in and of itself. The trick is figuring out what will really make you happy
because when you know this, only then do you really know what success means to you.

                          ~ Happiness is the DNA of success ~

Many of us, however, get caught up in chasing the means to an end, spending a life
pursuing the trappings of success, not the happiness that makes up its true spirit. We get
easily confused about what the true end point is and many times end up sacrificing our
happiness in pursuit of some objective that was supposed to deliver our happiness in the
first place. When we forget that the ultimate goal of being successful is to be happy, we
can lose sight of that happiness and become fixated on achieving the means to that end.
In such cases the means actually becomes the end itself; and the end of our happiness as
well. One person might get so focused on winning manager of the year that she ends up
hurting others, even those she loves – which ultimately makes her unhappy. Another
person might get so wrapped up in rising high in the organization that the ballast he
jettisons to achieve such altitude ends up being his personal life – which ultimately makes
him unhappy. Still another person might get lost in the race to acquire so much wealth
and security that by the time they have it, they have alienated all those they would like to
share it with - and they are unhappy.

I knew a guy once whom most would view as extremely successful, at least by the more
traditional definition of the word. He had all the traditional trappings of success. He
started his own business and as CEO he had the power and control most assume is tied to
success. His company went international and was a financial success so he had all the
money anyone could ever need. He had somewhat of a public fame, albeit within a niche
community, but still thousands followed his advice and praised his work, which qualified
him as successful. But was this man really successful? From the outside absolutely, but
from the inside he wasn’t at all. To achieve his businesses success, he had sacrificed that
which the geniuses we talked with consider true success. He had sacrificed his happiness.
I’ve never known an unhappier “successful” person in my life actually. Sure, he put on a
good front in public, but when you got behind the curtain he was angry, volatile, hostile,
explosive, insecure and fearful that all he had built would somehow be taken away and
based on his profile his only real value of himself was that which he had built – his
company. He had sacrificed his relationships with his children and wives. He had
sacrificed his health. He had sacrificed his closest friendships and eventually he came to
run his company primarily through intimidation and fear. In the end, he had fallen into
the trap of chasing the means, not the end. To the world, he was a shining example of
success. To himself, however, as he admitted one time during a private discussion late
one night, he was a miserable wreck of a man who felt hollow and unhappy deep inside.

For a great many (all too many unfortunately) they fight so hard to get the trappings of
success that they damage or destroy that which would really make them happy, like
family, friends or even their health. The vital lesson that I think we can take from the
geniuses around us is to not get caught up in the means to the end. To be successful
means to be happy. So figure out what will really make you happy, then chase that end –
always. Chase the end, not the means.

Action Step: To help you define what success means to you, what is your definition of

My happiness is: _________________________________________________________
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This realization of happiness as the DNA of success has marked the beginning of a
transition in the lives of thousands of individuals. When it hits, they begin to see, perhaps
for the very first time, why they have not been as happy as they wished to be. Once they
make this realization, it is nearly impossible to ignore it and continue to be untrue to who
they are and what they do best. I have witnessed a great many people, when they come to
this point, decide this is the information they needed to give themselves permission to
change their role, or even change their career and change their lives.

I often suffer a fair amount of good-natured ribbing from the executives of the companies
I work with because they give me grief as being the guy who got paid to convince their
people to leave. I say “good-natured” because in the end they understand and appreciate
that it is in no ones best interest to have an employee who isn’t a good match for the job.
Unless both sides of the equation are fully satisfied the job is unhappy with the individual
and the individual is unhappy with the job and no one wins in the end.

Genius Math 101 (Unleashing Your Genius)

“Deep within man dwell those slumbering powers, powers that would astonish him, that
he never dreamed of possessing; forces that would revolutionize his life if aroused and
put into action.”
~ Orison Swett Marden

So, unlike the three frogs, how do you go past deciding to jump to actually take the leap?
How do you take the work you’ve done so far in this book - all of which has involved
deciding to jump - and actually pull the trigger? It is a surprisingly simple process
actually. It’s simple because you have already done the bulk of the work, and it’s simple
because when you align your job with your talents better your performance will increase
almost by itself. You don’t have to work as hard to be better when you rely on what your
brain already does well. This is what we have been talking about all along.

Basically, pulling that trigger involves a very simple process of decreasing dependence
on non-talents and increasing dependence on talents. I call it “maximizing your
dependence on strengths and minimizing your dependence on weaknesses.” There is a
sort of math to doing this, which I call simply Genius Math.

The formula below captures the basics of Genius Math. It’s a matter of adding
responsibilities to your role that depend on your talents and subtracting responsibilities in
your role that depend on your non-talents. The responsibilities you add will be those that
are not currently part of your role but will increase your dependence on your natural
talents, and the responsibilities you subtract will be those that currently are a part of your
role but rely on your non-talents.

That’s it! Using your Genius Profile, identify one talent that you can increase your role’s
dependence on and identify one non-talent that you can decrease your role’s dependence
on it. It’s really as simple as addition and subtraction (i.e., add strength-based
responsibilities and subtract weakness-based responsibilities). You will do this one set at
a time (one talent and one non-talent) and then just repeat the whole process until you are
happy with your performance, success and most of all happiness.


                                       • Add one talent
                                  •   Subtract one non-talent
                                          • Repeat

Many times management assigns responsibilities to a job arbitrarily out of convenience or
even just as a random assignment (e.g., someone’s got to do it). Often these expectations
are given without much thought, if any, for the natural talents of the person filling that
role. Many times they create roles that are looking for a superman, where many of the
talents are even opposite and just down right impossible to find in one person. I’ve seen
thousands of roles that were looking for someone who was: empathetic – yet detached,
detail oriented – yet big-picture focused, competitive – yet cooperative, compassionate –
yet aggressive or strategic – yet tactical. No human on the planet could be all of these
things at the same time. The problem is that people assume that natural talents, like skills
and knowledge, can be developed, so with enough intelligence and hard work a good
employee would become proficient at all of these things. It’s ludicrous to think that
anyone could be all this, at least to a degree approaching 4th or 5th level performance

The best thing you can do to help yourself reach higher levels of performance is to
change the way you fulfill a role based on what works best for you. Many times a great
deal of the competencies that managers list are purely subjective and have little to do
with reality anyway (trust me, one of the core deliverables at my company is helping
corporate clients determine exactly what competencies are really needed in a given job,
and many of them don’t have a clue). Changing the requirements of a role means working
with the same objectives, but finding new ways to reach them. It requires flexibility to
adjust how you fill your role.

Role Flexibility

When we start talking about making changes to your role, this assumes you have a certain
amount of flexibility in your role. If you work for someone else, or have a job in a
company where your role is not completely your own to modify as you see fit, you will
need to achieve some level of role flexibility. Role flexibility is simply the level of
ability you have for changing your role, what responsibilities you have, the tasks and
duties that you are expected to perform. Entrepreneurs have high levels of role
flexibility, and the higher up you go in management the more flexible your role typically
becomes as well. Even if you don’t have as much flexibility in your role as you might
like, there are things you can do to change your roles to make them more authentic.

If you don’t have much role flexibility, and you can’t make much change to your role,
one of the best ways to convince your manager or organization that doing so would be in
their best interests is to share a copy of this book with them. It’s imperative that you get
some flexibility in your role because if you cant remove responsibilities that rely on your
non-talents you definitely will not reach the 5th level. Of course, as Michael Lorelli said
earlier in this book, it really is easier to ask for forgiveness than permission. So if you
need to move some things around, lean on someone else or swap tasks (where someone
else picks up some aspect of your work and you help them out with things they aren’t as
good at) do it! If you don’t think your company will let you modify your role, don’t ask
– just give it a try. Why am I suggesting you do something without permission, because

you are your own SEO. You are the one responsible for your success – no one else. Of
course if you have flexibility use it, but if something in your role depends on one of your
non-talents, and you can’t get “permission” to offload that responsibility somehow, it is
better to offload it without permission and improve your performance than continue to
depend on it and give up performance. Trust me, if you take initiative and figure out a
better way to get results, and then deliver those results, any problem management would
have with how you did it shouldn’t be an issue8. If it is, than it may be time to ask
yourself if the role is the right one for you. Remember, geniuses refuse to settle, and all
those I interviewed agreed that sometimes you just have to leave a role if it is too far from
what you need it to be. Michael Lorelli represents these geniuses well when he states, “If
your role is just too inauthentic you either have to suffer through or change roles because
you can’t change your DNA.”

Three Steps to Authenticity

There are three core ways to adjust your role to become more authentic, and these are the
three areas in which you will seek to make your jump. Those three options are:
            • Talent Bartering – partner to improve dual role performance
            • Drop & Grab – change the way you perform your own role
            • Change Roles – change roles altogether

    Option #1 - Talent Bartering: This means finding someone who has a talent where you
    do not; partnering with someone who is strong where you are weak, and vice versa. This
    is where you partner with someone else to swap or barter each other’s complimentary
    talents. This may happen officially with permission but many times it is unofficial as
    well. This is often the case with high-level executives who create collaborative
    relationships with a partner or another senior executives who carries out the duties that
    the other should not because it would rely on their non-talents.

    Many leadership development programs tell you that in order to be a great leader you
    have to smooth the edges and fill in any holes. To become a better leader you need to
    become more well-rounded. The higher up the ladder you go, the more likely you are to
    hear this kind of advice. When you are the top-executive, you are expected to be better
    at most things than those you manage or lead. We hear this so often, but it just isn’t true.
    How many top executives do you know who are excellent at certain things, but just
    down right horrible at others?

    For example, many times we find sales managers who are very good sales managers, but
    they were not the best sales person. Professional sports coaches are another good
    example. How many great sports coaches do you know who were the star athlete? Sure,
    the great sales manager and the great sports coach both played the game, and maybe
    they even performed very well, but in most cases they weren’t the absolute star. Just

    I am, of course, not talking about doing anything unethical, illegal or dangerous

because you lead sales people doesn’t mean you have to be a better salesperson than
they are. Your job isn’t to sell - it’s to lead. You aren’t supposed to be a better sales
person, just a better leader. This is the case because the talents it takes to lead a team of
athletes or sales people are very different than what it takes to be the individual star
player or star sales person.

       “No man has the ability to step outside the shadow of his own character”
                                                              ~ Maximilien Robespierre

When you find yourself responsible for something that relies on one of your non-talents
- outsource it. And many times this means swapping duties with someone else who is
also struggling with their own issues of dependence on a non-talent. Collaborate with
someone who has a complimentary talent to your non-talent, and vice versa. One
example of such a swap can be seen with Kae and Kristy.

Kae was an administrative assistant in the newsroom at a local NBC affiliate. One of
her duties was to compile reports and analyze them for trends which the company would
use for FCC reporting. While Kae had a tremendous master for he Heart dimensions, she
also had a blind spot for the Head dimension and she was not naturally talented when it
came to conducting such analysis. No more did she like it than was she good at it, but it
was an assigned responsibility, about which she could do nothing. In this same
newsroom was an associate producer named Kristy who served as the assignment desk
editor, and Kristi was suffering from her own dependence on a non-talent. For Kristy it
was her responsibility for taking calls from the public with ideas for news stories and
news worthy events happing in the community. Even though Kristy had a master for the
Head dimension, her blind spot for the Heart dimension and her lack of empathy not
only made this work not enjoyable to Kristy, but she just wasn’t good at it either.

Once Kae and Kristy figured out that each of them had a talent that the other could
benefit from they worked out a talent barter where Kae would take the calls for Kristy
and organize them by degree of interest and Kristy would take the reports that Kae put
together and run the analysis on them. While ideally management would approve of
such a swap, in this specific case Kae and Kristy had asked management if they could
offload some of their duties, but both were refused, so they took it upon themselves (as
the SEO’s they were) to do it anyway. The results were an increase in performance for
both of them and two much happier and more productive people.

Action Step: What are two aspects of your current role that force you to rely on a non-
talent (based on your “Non-talents list” in your Genius profile – Pg. 7)?
1. _____________________________________________________________________
2. _____________________________________________________________________

Name some people you know, at work, who excel in these areas. ___________________

What are two aspects of your current role that do allow you to rely on a talent (based on
your “Talents list” in your Genius profile – Pg. 6)?
1. _____________________________________________________________________
                                                  QuickTime™ and a

2. _____________________________________________________________________
                                          are needed to see this picture.

Can you think of anyone at work who isn’t good in these areas and who you could
collaborate with to help them fill their own blind spots?

Think of how you could partner with someone to end your reliance on non-talents and
help them do the same by helping them handle some of the things that rely on their non-
talents. Talk with this person, or persons, about creating some Talent Bartering
collaborations. If you don’t know who has talents in areas where you do not, have them
take the Genius profile. It is free after all.

Option #2 - Drop & Grab: The next option for improving performance is to change
your own role. If there isn’t anyone who you can barter with or swap duties with,
sometimes you may have to drop certain responsibilities (that rely on a non-talent) and
sometimes you may have to grab new responsibilities (that rely on your talents).

Let’s discuss dropping things first. If you have a dependence on a non-talent but there
isn’t anyone to collaborate with, Talent Bartering isn’t an option. In these cases you have
to just drop the responsibility off your plate. The most well known form of this kind of
role adjustment is called delegating. Delegating is not bartering mind you. When you
delegate you aren’t trading duties like you would in talent bartering.

The geniuses I spoke to delegate all the time. Anthony Robbins leaves the negotiation of
contracts and acquisitions to others who don’t share Tony’s level of empathy so they are
more able to carry out tough negotiations. Marshall Goldsmith has a University named
after him and owns a consulting firm, but he leaves the direct management of both to
others because he doesn’t enjoy or feel he is good at directly managing others in those
kinds of environments. Michael Lorelli delegates all the time too. In our discussion on
how he deals with non-talents, he said, “If it’s simply not in my DNA, I try to align
myself better, not change myself. I supplement my non-talents through others and
delegation instead.”

One example of delegation can be found in Mark, a district sales manager for a company
that sells anesthesia machines to hospitals. Part of Mark’s duties involved making sure
his sales representatives were well trained in the technical aspects of new products. These
products were very technical and Mark was anything but a “techie.” Instead of trying to
develop his ability to get the technical side of things, Mark delegated this responsibility
to one of his reps who was very much a techie. In so doing he maintained his focus on his
genius and put the genius of one of his reps to even better use. Mark benefited because
he wasn’t strapped with being directly responsible for something he wasn’t any good at,
and the sales rep benefited because not only did he prove his value to management, but
his compensation was adjusted to incorporate his extra work in training and supporting
other accounts on the technical side.

Sometimes, however, delegating isn’t even necessary. Often times it is possible to just
drop a task altogether by completely getting rid of it. You have to ask yourself if it is a
vital part of the role, or is it left over from all those who previously filled your role -
some inherited part of the role that exists more because it has always existed than for any
real practical reason. Ask yourself why you would continue to do it. Justify your answer
to yourself. “Because they tell me I have to”, or “Because that’s the way it is done”, or
“Just because” are miserable answers so don’t accept them from yourself. If you can’t
find sufficient reason for it to exist, then drop it. Ask yourself, “Would you include the
tasks or duties in question if you were starting from scratch, and why?” If you can justify
the existence of certain tasks in your own role, but are still not the best to do it, seek to
find ways of creating complimentary collaborations or delegate it somehow. If you can’t
justify a given task, however, then why should it be in your current role – really.

Gretchen from Chapter 3 gives us a great example of someone who worked within the
system to change the duties of her and dropped certain aspects of it altogether (she got rid
of her daily call quota).

Action Step: Unlike the previous action step, where the tasks or duties were a more
integral part of your role, other duties are often just randomly assigned and could just as
easily be offloaded or even done away with completely. Think of two tasks or duties of
your role that, A.) rely on your non-talents, and B.) are not truly vital to achieving your
overall objectives or goals.
1. _____________________________________________________________________
2. _____________________________________________________________________

Ask yourself if these duties or tasks really make sense. Are they there because they have
always been there? Are they really practical? Look at the example we saw in Gretchen
                                                     QuickTime™ and a
                                            are needed to see this picture.

where the responsibility to make a certain minimum call quota each day was limiting her
ability to achieve. In the end, the daily call quota wasn’t really an important part of the
job. It was more than likely something a manager created to try and improve
performance. It’s doubtful that anyone had every really questioned the efficacy of such a
rule and all it actually did was hurt performance in Gretchen’s case.

Take a look at the two tasks you wrote down above and figure out how to remove them.
Can they be delegated and if so to whom? Can they just be done away with altogether –
as in they are not a necessary step anymore.

In the Drop & Grab mentality of becoming more authentic, not only to you drop duties
that make your success dependent on a non-talent, but you also grab (add) new duties that
will help make your success even more dependent on your talents. Grabbing is simply
finding new tasks or duties that you can do that aren’t currently a part of your job, and
Jacob makes a good case study for what such a grab looks like.

Jacob was a production supervisor at a manufacturing company. His natural talents were
strongest in the Hand dimension and he had lots of ability when it came to seeing the
practical side of things and figuring out what needed to be done in a real-world sense to
improve efficiencies. As the production supervisor for the pre-build section of the
manufacturing process Jacob’s responsibilities were for the first stage of building the
lawn mowers his company sold. There were other production supervisors for other
segments of the manufacturing line and other shifts, each responsible for their own

Although not something Jacob was responsible for doing, his natural talent for
identifying better ways of putting things together (the natural talent for integrative ability)
gave him sound insights into how he could not only improve the flow of processes in his
one section, but in those of his neighboring sections as well. Without being asked to, he
put his thoughts together on these improvements and took them to the other section
supervisors who thought they had merit, so Jacob shared his ideas with his boss, the VP
of operations. It turned out that Jacob’s ideas were indeed valid and his company
implemented many of them resulting in a 3% decrease in production time (which meant
something to the tune of $430,000 in value to the company). It wasn’t long before Jacob
was asked to sit on an operations review committee where he would continue to
contribute to quality and efficiency issues within the company.

Jacob is a great example of someone who, even though it wasn’t his responsibility, saw
an area where his talents could benefit the company, and grabbed it. Sometimes you grab
the opportunity, sometimes you grab an assignment by volunteering, sometimes you grab
an opening and create a responsibility where one doesn’t exist (e.g., no one is doing it at
all presently), but the key to grabbing is to add duties, tasks or responsibilities to your
role that depend on your talents – thus giving them a vehicle through which to contribute
to your success.

Action Step: What’s something you think you could contribute to your role that isn’t
currently a part of that role? What is a duty that you could volunteer for which would
allow your success to become even more dependent on your natural talents? What’s
something you see in your role that needs doing, and which you think you could do well,
but you haven’t been asked to volunteer for? Could you grab that responsibility and make
it your own?

Write down a couple of things that you know you are good at that you could grab and add
                                                          QuickTime™ and a
                                             are needed to see this picture.

to your role:
1. _____________________________________________________________________
2. _____________________________________________________________________

Take a look at the two tasks you wrote down above and figure out how to grab them.
Who could you approach? Could you just do it? When will you make this grab?
                           Grab date: ____________________

Option #3 – Change the role altogether: One of the most common reason for chronic
failure and dissatisfaction is chronic inauthenticity, and as I said earlier, the first step in
creating your authentic self is acknowledging your inauthenticity. Kierkegaard said it best
when he said, “Face the facts of what you are for that is what changes what you are.”
Many times, when people face the fact of what they are, they find that their roles are just
too inauthentic, too far from their quiet path or too dependent on their non-talents. They
find that in order to be really authentic they would have to delegate or modify the
majority of their responsibilities. If this is the case for you than the best thing to do may
indeed be to find another role altogether. Sometimes, you have to learn to either love
what you do, or go do what you love. If your role is so inauthentic, if you are forced to
be more of what you are not than what you are – all day long - than quitting to go find a
role that will allow you to do what you love is probably your best solution.

The problem with quitting, though, is that it is scary. We’ve all heard the same old
saying, “Winners never quit!” As scary as it may be, though, shouldn’t living a life where
you feel you are always making mistakes, always struggling and always more dissatisfied
than satisfied be even scarier?

Granted, quitting is difficult. Quitting requires you to acknowledge that you’re never
going to be #1 in the world, at least not at this. So sometimes it’s easier just to put it off,
not admit it, and settle for being mediocre. To quote Seth Godin, the problem is that,
“you grew up believing that quitting is a moral failure. Quitting feels like a go-down
moment, a moment where you look yourself in the eye and blink. Of course you were
trying your best, but you just can’t do it. It’s the whole Vince Lombardi thing. If you
were just a better person, you wouldn’t quit.“ In reality, geniuses quit all the time. They
know what they are good at and what they are not good at, and they quit focusing on that
which they are not good at, and instead pour all that energy into getting even better at
what they are very good at.

We can take a lesson from the wisdom of Jack Welch, former Chairman of General
Electric. His philosophy was that if GE couldn’t be number one or two in any category
or market, they had to either figure out how to be number one or two, or they had to get
out of that category. He knew that when you were number one you controlled your own
destiny. So forget the humiliation of failure associated with quitting. Realize that quitting
the stuff that you don’t do well frees up your resources to obsess about that which you
can do well. Many will tell you that “Quitting is for losers,” but as Seth goes on to say,
“quit or be exceptional…average is for losers!”

A former client of mine named Tom makes a great case study of someone who decided
that his professional role was so inauthentic that his best option was to get a whole new
one. Tom was a rising store manager at a national chain of retailers in the United States.
His job was to manage the day-to-day operations of his store, which involved lots of
implementation, putting out fires, dealing with personnel issues and repetition – lots and
lots of repetition. What Tom’s role did not provide enough of, however, were new
challenges, the ability to create something new or the chance to build something from
scratch. Tom loved creating new deals, but managing the daily minutia was not

something he enjoyed. Once the freshness wore off, Tom got bored. He was always
looking for the next new thing to create. This is where Tom’s greatest natural talents were
as well. His master was in the Head dimension and he was a genius for being able to see
the really big picture, think outside the box and envision a brand new concept that no one
else saw yet.

Tom suffered from The Problem on a daily basis and constantly struggled with feeling as
if he was “out of place.” Where his natural tendencies took him was not something his
role expected of him, and where his role required him to be was a place that he neither
liked nor felt he performed very well. He had risen to the rank of assistant store manager
through sheer hard work and intelligence, but he would be the first to admit that he was
making A’s in that difficult class. It was inevitable that Tom would burn out and as his
resolve weakened, so too did his performance.

He tried to swap duties with others in the store, and he tried delegating some duties but
eventually he came to realize that the very core of his role was comprised of duties and
tasks that he simply didn’t enjoy doing. Early on in his career he felt the same way, but
he assumed that if he suffered through, as he rose through the ranks, he would arrive at a
place where he could apply his real talents. Staring future promotions in the face, though,
he realized that his next promotion was to General Manager of his own store. As
attractive as a six-figure salary and lots of authority sounded, one day he had a very frank
discussion with his own GM about how his duties would change when he became a GM,
and if those things that bothered him about his current role would go away. When his GM
told him that they would not improve, but actually increase exponentially, Tom knew it
was time to leave the company.

Despite all the years of service and effort, Tom quit and started his own Real Estate
Development firm where he now gets to use his vision to see possibilities that other’s
haven’t, and to organize a modern sub-division or commercial park out of what used to
be an empty tract of land. Tom’s genius is displayed in his ability to envision something
no one else thought of, where no one else thought of it, and to use his talents in the Head
dimension to guide the very complicated process of taking land owned by multiple
parties, bundling it into a single holding, navigating the complex rezoning process, and
building the infrastructure of roads, electrical and plumbing that were needed in order for
builders to take interest in the land. True to his talents, however, once Tom has done his
magic and the development is established and ready for a more daily-management
mentality (of selling homes, coordinating workers, etc.) Tom is ready to move on to the
next big project.

As big a leap as it was for Tom to quit, he followed his genius and not only is he
financially much more secure as a result, but more importantly – he is happier, feels more
fulfilled and much more successful.

I promise you this. Once you shine that light on your inauthenticity, once you embrace
the truth of your own quiet path and once you decide to take back control of your own
success and stop accepting what you get (even if this means quitting your job), the relief

and excitement you will feel will be incredible. The positive emotions associated with
such a life-changing decision will far outweigh any trepidation you have for the risks that
quitting or changing may create. Can you sense just the smallest amount of excitement
deep inside you right now at just the thought of being in a whole different place one year
from now? Is there a little voice whispering inside right now saying, “Man wouldn’t it be
so great to be…?” The question you have to ask yourself is, “Why not?” Why should you
continue to settle? Why should you continue to accept less than what you deserve? Why
should you be just above average in one role when another role out there holds the
promise to unleash your real genius? Sure you can come up with lots of rational lies, but
in the end…why? Get real. Get authentic. Get satisfied.

                ~ Quit trying to do that which is not you…just do you! ~

If you decide that Option #3 is the best option, and changing the role altogether is what
you must do, here’s a couple of tips to help ensure that you don’t just jump out of the
frying pan and into the fire (or at best another frying pan).

Make an internal move: consider moving to another role with your existing company.
This should be your first option to explore because you wont lose all the good will,
pensions, leave, knowledge and networks you have developed. This may be a very quick
option to rule out, but it should still be your first none-the-less. Talk with your manager
and share what you have learned in this book, about yourself, and your thoughts
concerning your fit with your existing role. A good manager will want to keep you as a
valuable resource, even if that means in another role or even division. Follow the rest of
the tips below when you evaluate other roles within the company.

Interviewing and interviewer: when you interview for any role (internally or otherwise)
don’t forget you are your own SEO. Not only are you being interviewed, but you are the
interviewer as well. You are interviewing the company just as much as they are
interviewing you. You need to know if you are going to be just as satisfied with the job as
the job hopes to be satisfied with you. There are four parts to any good job/person fit.
       • What the job requires
       • What the job provides
       • What the person requires
       • What the person provides

The Figure below depicts these four sides of the optimal job/person fit. The job has its
two sides (i.e., what it requires and what it provides), and the person has the same two
aspects. When you combine these four you get four quadrants in which to fall:
  • Quadrant #1 finds neither the job nor the individual satisfied
  • Quadrant #2 sees the job satisfied but not the individual
  • Quadrant #3 sees the individual satisfied but not the job
  • Quadrant #4 finds both the individual and the job satisfied

Historically quadrant #2 has been the one that gets the most attention, but you want to
find yourself in the upper right hand corner (highlighted in blue). In quadrant #2 we see
voluntary turnover go up because the person is dissatisfied and leaves. In quadrant #3 we
see involuntary turnover go up because the job is dissatisfied and the person is fired. In
quadrant #1, of course, it’s a dead heat to see whether the person quits before they are
fired. Quadrant #4 is where you want to live because this is the only quadrant that
produces Genius levels of performance.

The company makes a profession out of understanding what the job requires and what the
person provides (some companies are much better at this than others obviously), but
individuals, historically at least, haven’t done nearly as good a job at understanding what
they require from the role. Sure, they give you pay, insurance, vacation, a healthy work
environment, the opportunity to advance and many other benefits. As beneficial as these
may be, more often than not the lion’s share of the focus tends to be on satisfying the job.
If you look at a job/person fit like match making with couples, it wouldn’t make much
sense to ask the woman what she wanted without giving equal consideration to what the
man wanted would it? Yet this is what we see far too many times in the world of

As your own SEO you are the one who needs to be responsible for looking after the other
side (i.e., what you require compared to what the job provides). By this I mean
            • How authentic is the job to your talents and non-talents?
            • How well does it align your goals with what you do naturally well?
            • Specifically which of your natural talents will the job depend on?
            • Will it require you to depend on your non-talents to succeed?

Yes, of course look at the traditional benefits I just mentioned, but you also need to look
at the tasks, duties and responsibilities of the job to make sure your success will be
dependent on your talents – not your non-talents. Lots of people, even companies, will
tell job seekers to “interview the job”, but now you have something concrete to go by.
Now you have, in the form of your Genius profile and the talents and non-talents it lays
out for you, very specific items to explore to help you gauge the fit, satisfaction, ease and
happiness you should expect.

Use the action sheet below to gauge how authentic the job will be for you. It is often very
hard to be selective when you need money or benefits, and sometimes you really don’t
have a choice, but if at all possible resist the tendency to take an inauthentic role.
Remember, you get what you accept. You’ll find a clean copy of this sheet on your WYG
online workbook in case you need to use it several times.

Interviewing the Job: When you are considering a new job make sure you evaluate the
fit between what you will have to do to succeed and what you natural talents are. Using
the Head, Hand and Heart as overall measures is an effective way to do this. In the short
exercise below check Master or Blind Spot next to each dimension according to your
genius profile and then consider how important each attribute underneath is in the role
you are interviewing. Could you even have the hiring person help you answer this sheet –
why not? Simple rule: The less dependence a role has on your blind spots and the more
dependence it has on your masters, the better the fit.

Pulling the Trigger

Are you ready? It’s time to put the book down, leave the online workbook alone and take
everything you’ve done to this point and execute, execute, execute! To start unleashing
your genius I want you to look at pages six & seven in your Genius profile. There you
will find the lists of “Talents” and “Non-talents.” Pick just one of the talents that you did
not circle in the action step on page 114 of this book. This is a talent that you are not
depending on enough in your current job, and this is going to be the first natural talent
you work to maximize your dependence on. Then pick one of the Non-talents that you
did circle for the action step on page 115 of this book. This is a non-talent that you are
depending on too much and this is going to be the first non-talent you work to minimize
your dependence on. In genius math you always add one and subtract one – at the same

I recommend you select these talents and non-talents based on which ones are most
relevant to the roles you fill right now. Go ahead and look at your Genius profile and the
action steps on pages 114 and 115 and select these items now, and write them down in
the space provided below.

Write the title of those two items down in the appropriate spaces below, then add a
definition for each in your own words.

My Maximizer (Talent): ___________________________________________________

My Minimizer (Non-talent): ________________________________________________

Next, decide which of the Talent Bartering or Drop & Grab options would be most
appropriate for the talent and non-talent you selected and give them a try. As I said, it is
actually that simple. Granted you will have your own unique obstacles and circumstances
to contend with, and adjusting roles is never easy, but if it were easy to be a genius
everyone would be doing it now wouldn’t they. Use the lessons in this book, specifically
chapters six, seven and eight, as your guide. And remember, the actual process of
becoming more authentic doesn’t have to be difficult. It just requires that you actually do

                    Add one talent - subtract one non-talent - repeat

It doesn’t have to be any more complicated than that. And there is no set requirement for
authenticity either. There is no degree or percentage to focus on. Authenticity is a
spectrum and therefore there is no ideal level of authenticity. If there is a pure “authentic”
or “inauthentic” they exist only at the extreme ends of the spectrum. Most of us exist

somewhere in between, but the more we move towards the authentic side (the right side
of the Long X) just know that the less you will suffer from The Problem and the more of
a genius you will become.

Any steps you take towards becoming more authentic make you that much more
authentic. Becoming authentic is a journey that never ends, but each step you take will
bring you more success, more satisfaction and more happiness.

I’m not sure who said it, but it was once said, “We’re not where we want to be. We’re not
where we ought to be, but thank God we’re not where we used to be.” I love this quote,
as it’s a great acknowledgment of the fact that progress is a journey.

If you decide that talent bartering or adding or subtracting duties wont work, and your
role is just too inauthentic, then revisit Option #3 and continue on the same journey of
progress. Just remember never to settle!

Once you succeed in adding your first talent and subtracting your first non-talent, repeat
the whole process. Go back to your Genius profile and select another set (one talent, one
non-talent) and decide how to maximize the talent and minimize the non-talent. Repeat
this process until you can truthfully say you love what you do.

Once you have run through one or two sets of addition and subtraction and reached a
point where you are much more authentic, satisfied and performing better, I recommend
you complete the post assessment to reassess how much a problem The Problem is for
you now. And don’t worry if you aren’t 100% satisfied just yet. Life is ever changing and
so you’re journey may never end. You might always be changing this or that to ensure
you stay authentic – you probably will. Just make sure you remember what John Lennon
said, “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.” Don’t forget
the discussions on happiness as the DNA of success, and don’t substitute this kind of
personal development for the other kind and lose sight of the whole purpose of this book
– to help you become more satisfied, fulfilled, successful and…happier.

Authenticity is a journey, not a final destination, so enjoy the ride!

   R    QuickTime™ and a
 are needed to see this picture.

                                   Chapter 8 Review:

Chapter 1:
      • “The Problem” is an epidemic of people that feel unfulfilled, dissatisfied and
           frustrated with their performance
Chapter 2:
      • To find out why, we created the Genius Project to study why and what we
           found were two key things:
               o There is no “Genius Talent”
               o Self-Awareness and Authenticity are present in higher levels in the
                   best performers
Chapter 3:
      • The effects of the problem go beyond performance issues to include negative
           physical and emotional effects as well
      • Inauthenticity causes you to feel upside down, always putting in more effort
           than you feel you get back in results, and blocks you from your passions, and
           being in the flow
Chapter 4:
   • Today’s organizations have shifted from an industrial to an intellectual economy
   • Legacy beliefs left over from the old industrial economy cause dependence and
      inauthenticity that damages individual performance
Chapter 5:
   • The first step in the solution is to prepare to change by deciding that:
           o You are in charge of your own success
           o You get what you accept
Chapter 6:
   • The first evolution in your solution is to understand where your talents and non-
      talents come from (i.e., voices in your head), and how they create masters and
      blind spots which you see well or miss altogether
   • The more you are reacting, instead of reasoning, the more your masters take over
Chapter 7:
   • Choose a place where you want to go that is authentic
   • Create a role that allows you to get there
   • Believe that you can
Chapter 8:
   • Get out of your comfort zone by finding your courage to risk what it takes to
   • Define your success by defining your happiness
   • Start unleashing your genius by just doing the math
   • If your role wont flex to your needs – find another role!

                Conclusion - Just Do You

Before I wrap things up, you might be wondering what ever happened to Lina, who we
met in the opening page of Chapter One. I worked with Lina to help her identify where
she was being inauthentic, and evaluate just how flexible her role was. While, as Vice
President, she had a good amount of flexibility, being in Human Resources there wasn’t a
whole lot she could remove from her plate. A lot of the problems were also being caused
by the culture and her relationship with her superiors (the number one reason good people
leave a company, by the way is due to poor relationships with their immediate
supervisor9). Lina took a good honest look at all the alternatives, but in the end she
decided that the culture, and her role, were just too inauthentic. Within a few months she
found a new role with the same title for a younger company that gave her more
flexibility, allowed her to craft her own role from the outset and was a much better fit
culturally. Lina is doing great now and not only is she less stressed – she is a whole lot
more successful, satisfied and most importantly…happy!

Now back to the conclusion. When I started my own company my father gave me a card
with a simple message scribbled on it. It was a rather famous quote by Henry Thoreau
that reads, “Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you’ve
imagined.” I still have this card in my desk and it continues to inspire me to continue to
drive towards my dreams, not just settle for what I get. My hope is that in these pages
you’ve taken a your own journey. I hope that your belief in yourself has evolved and that
you’ve re-learned something about yourself that has always been there. I hope that
you’ve discovered the self-respect and courage to admire and respect that Genius.
Finally, it is my sincerest hope that you now know who you are and what unique and
great potential you possess, and that you will use this knowledge to go confidently in the
direction of your own dreams.

To that end, I’ll keep this as simple as possible and leave you with some final thoughts:
   • Just do what is you and don’t do what isn’t you
   • Just follow your quiet path and don’t blindly follow the path of others
   • Just do what comes naturally to you and refuse to do what doesn’t
   • Just accept the best for yourself – never settle

The ultimate benefit of any conclusion is a simplified message that is so salient and
cutting that you can state it in a single sentence. It should be, like the natural talents this
book is about, something that provides great benefit with little to no effort.

    Gallop poll of one million workers, Good Boss Bad Boss (

To that end, the simple conclusion of this book is:

              Just Do You!

                        About the Author

Jay Niblick is the founder and CEO of Innermetrix Inc. As CEO, Jay led Innermetrix
from a two-man boot strapped start-up to become an international consulting firm with
offices in five countries specializing in providing full service consulting solutions to
professional business consultants and coaches (

Jay’s specific expertise is on the human capital side. He is one of the world’s leading
authorities on application of Formal Axiology in a business environment (Axiology is the
science of decision-making created by Professor Robert S. Hartman at Yale and MIT
Universities). Having personally interpreted over 10,000 individual axiological profiles,
Jay is one of the most experienced experts in the world in this field. Jay holds multiple
technology patents, trademarks and copyrights on psychometric instruments and
methodologies relating to identifying and maximizing human talent.

He has been a paid keynote speaker and lecturer on five continents and author in the areas
of strategic management consulting, peak performance development, executive coaching,
leadership development and organizational development, and has been hired to apply his
expertise to organizations like Johnson & Johnson, British Petroleum, Intel, Google,
Coca-Cola, BAE Systems, The Anthony Robbins Companies (where he has personally
coached Anthony Robbins) and others to help them understand how to find, develop and
keep the most talented individuals. Jay was among only 14 renowned business thought-
leaders and practitioners commissioned to provide essays for Blueprint For Success, the
landmark reference on individual performance and success.

Jay is the youngest person ever appointed to the Board of Directors at the Robert S.
Hartman Institute (a scholarly project at the University of Tennessee in the United States
dedicated to the study of human nature, value and decision-making).

Jay also co-founded, and serves as Chief Science Advisor for, the online professional
development company, which provides him with further insight into
what motivates, drives and fuels individual excellence.

Prior to founding Innermetrix, Jay was Vice President of Business Development for a
private management consulting firm, and Major Account Executive for Johnson &
Johnson at the Mayo clinic and Duke University. Prior to this, he trained as a search and
rescue swimmer for the United States Navy, and a combat medic with a U.S. Marine
Corp expeditionary unit from 1988 to 1992.


                 Appendix A. Genius Project Research Construction

All good research follows the basic principles of the scientific method. Those steps are:
    1. Ask a Question
    2. Do Background Research
    3. Construct a Hypothesis
    4. Test Your Hypothesis by Doing an Experiment
    5. Analyze Your Data and Draw a Conclusion
    6. Communicate Your Results

1. The question we asked was, “why do some people seem to succeed frequently and with
much less effort while others, who put in similar amounts of effort, have similar abilities
and intelligence and exist in the very same environment, fail to succeed to the same

2. The initial background research we conducted was that we began talking with as many
people as we could about this question. We interviewed people who were and were not
satisfied with their level of success. We spoke with industrial and organizational
psychologists, thought leaders, educators, and experts in personal development. In the
consulting work we did, we were already using the Attribute Index to actually measure
individual thinking and decision-making styles so we started monitoring the results of
those profiles to see if any trends popped out

3. The hypothesis we developed was, “based on observation and anecdotal evidence, the
more self-aware someone is of their natural talents, and the more they incorporate this
knowledge into the work they do the more successful they are.” In other words, the truer
someone was to their natural talents - the more successful they were

4. The experiment we did to prove or disprove this hypothesis became the heart of the
Genius Project itself wherein we profiled over 300,000 people around the world and
statistically compared the scores for 197,000 of them with their level of performance to
see what correlations would show up. We were interested in knowing if there were any
single talents, or sets of talents, that only the most successful people possessed in high

5. Our analysis of all of this data (over 24,000,000 bits of it) revealed some significant
findings that the rest of this book will explore

6. This book itself became our vehicle for communicating our findings to the rest of the

                               Genius Study Statistics

59% male / 41%female

Geography description:
54% North America
12% UK
4% Asia
7% Australia
3% Middle East
20% Europe (central and eastern)

1% Accounting/auditing                       2% Government and Policy
6% Administration and support services       4% Healthcare Practitioner and
7% Advertising/marketing/public              Technician
relations                                    2% Hospitality Services
1% Arts, Entertainment, Media                2% Human Resources
8% Banking                                   1% Information Technology
1% Biotech/Pharmaceuticals                   5% Insurance
1% Community Services, Social                2% Internet/E-Commerce
Services, Non-Profit                         1% Law Enforcement and Security
2% Computers – Hardware and Software         1% Legal
2% Construction, Mining and Trades           7% Manufacturing
3% Consulting Services                       2% Real Estate
4% Customer Service and Call Center          1% Restaurant/Food Services
1% Education, Training, Library              9% Retail/Wholesale
2% Employment Placement Agency               11% Sales
1% Engineering                               2% Telecommunication
7% Financial Services                        1% Transportation and Warehousing

5% Entry level
18% Mid-Level
27% Management
33% Executive
17% Senior Executive

                              Genius Study Research (Continued)

Table 1.
             Item                   r=                                           r=
Accountability for Others          -0.1     Persuading Others                   0.1
Attention to Detail                0.2      Practical Thinking                  0.5
Attitude Towards Honesty           0.4      Proactive Thinking                  0.1
Attitude Towards Others              0      Problem and Situation Analysis      -0.3
Balanced Decision Making           0.3      Problem Management                  0.1
Conceptual Thinking                0.4      Problem Solving                     0.1
Concrete Organizing                0.4      Project Goal Focus                  -0.3
Consistency and Reliability          0      Project Scheduling                  0.1
Conveying Role Value               0.2      Quality Orientation                 -0.3
Correcting Others                  -0.2     Realistic Expectations              0.2
Creativity                         0.4      Realistic Goal Setting for Others   0.2
Developing Others                  -0.3     Realistic Personal Goal Setting     0.1
Diplomacy                          0.3      Relating to Others                  0.3
Emotional Control                  0.1      Respect for Policies                -0.2
Empathetic Outlook                 0.5      Respect for Property                0.4
Enjoyment of the Job               -0.2     Results Orientation                 0.1
Evaluating Others                  -0.1     Role Awareness                      -0.3
Evaluating What is Said            0.4      Role Confidence                     -0.1
Flexibility                        0.2      Seeing Potential Problems           0.1
Following Directions               0.3      Self Confidence                     -0.1
Freedom From Prejudice             0.2      Self Control                        0.3
Gaining Commitment                 0.2      Self Direction                      0.5
Handling Rejection                 -0.2     Self Discipline/Sense of Duty       0.2
Handling Stress                    0.4      Self Esteem                         -0.4
Human Awareness                    0.3      Self Improvement                    0.1
Initiative                         -0.4     Self Management                     0.4
Integrative Ability                0.4      Self Starting Ability               -0.2
Intuitive Decision making            0      Sense of Belonging                  0.1
Job Ethic                          0.3      Sense of Mission                      0
Leading Others                     0.1      Sense of Timing                     -0.1
Long Range Planning                -0.2     Sensitivity to Others               0.1
Material Possessions               0.4      Status and Recognition Drive        0.3
Meeting Standards                  0.3      Surrendering Control                  0
Monitoring Others                  0.3      Systems Judgment                    0.4
Persistence                        0.4      Theoretical Problem Solving         0.2
Personal Accountability            0.4      Understanding Attitude              0.1
Personal Commitment                0.4      Understanding Motivational Needs    -0.2
Personal Drive                     0.1      Using Common Sense                  0.4
Personal Relationships             0.1

Pearson's correlation coefficient
                                                    1      Below Average
                                                    2      Average
 Correlation   Negative         Positive
Small        -0.3 to -0.1     0.1 to 0.3            3      Above Average
Medium       -0.5 to -0.3     0.3 to 0.5            4      Excellent
Large        -1.0 to -0.5     0.5 to 1.0            5      Genius

Appendix B: The 7 Genius Patterns

                                 The Balanced Pattern
                                Masters: Head, Hand, Heart
                                    Blind spots: None

Pattern Description:
You are very well developed in all three classes of talent (Head, Hand and Heart) and
with equal proportion for each. You will be very attentive and competent in all three
dimensions from schematic thinking, to practicality to valuing others. You will not
develop a blind spot for any on class of talents. You appreciate and possess equal
strengths in: systems, rules, structure, concrete organization, detailed planning, and
people skills. You are a versatile, quick learner in all of these areas. This can also lead to
your becoming easily bored or anxious in positions that require excessive over or under
focus on any one dimension to the exclusion of the others (e.g., sales activity that doesn’t
allow for ample concern for, or connection with, the individual will fail to satisfy your
Heart Master thus leaving you unsatisfied by the role).

When reacting subconsciously, your genius motto becomes, “It’s important to think
about it, and talk about it, and get it done too.”

    • Head, Hand and Heart dimensions
    • Versatility in dealing with people, job functions or systems equally
    • Quick learning ability in a wide variety of business areas
    • Stability, dependability
    • Understanding and communicating with others
    • Planning and organizing
    • Schematic and strategic thinking
Blind Spots:
    • Technically you have none - as far as the dimensions are concerned
    • You can, however, get easily bored with limited tasks and responsibilities
    • May become anxious if all three areas (people, performance and structures) aren’t
    • Can feel unchallenged if all three areas (i.e., Head, Hand and Heart) are not
       capitalized in whatever you do

You prefer to get results by: Creating a strategic plan, then taking action while involving

                                   The Social Pattern
                                   Masters: Hand, Heart
                                    Blind spots: Head

Pattern Description:
You tend to interpret situations in terms of people and their social and work relationships
as well as the practical aspects of what is right in front of you, what must happen now to
achieve results or accomplish the task at hand. This can cause you to become blind to or
become distracted from the big picture, focusing instead on what others feel and the
immediate situation shows. You can ignore the rules, structure or policies if they do not
seem relevant to the situation at hand, favoring to adapt and create whatever new
structure or rules fit the current reality at the moment – in order to achieve results. The
here-and-now and the productive application of human resources take precedence over
structure and organization, or compliance with previously established (what you might
consider stale or irrelevant) policies and procedures. The more stressed or faster you go,
the greater your dislike for lots of structure. In such situations, you prefer to work freely
without lots of controls. In really high velocity you are much too concerned with people
and getting things done than being constrained by such things as rules that “don’t
understand the real-time needs.” The more stressed you get, the less time you have to
stop and create an elaborate structure or system of steps. You would rather remain open
and just improvise, adapt and overcome as the situation calls for it.

When reacting subconsciously, your genius motto becomes, “Don’t over think it,
just get everyone on board then let’s go do it.”

    • Teamwork or any group effort
    • Interpersonal communication
    • Empathy
    • Practical thinking
    • Understanding others
    • Concrete organizing and functional needs
Blind Spots:
    • Strong preference for production deadlines or personnel needs in favor of rules,
       structure or rigid policies
    • Staunch guidelines
    • Tendency to take an “Ad Hoc” approach as the situation calls for
    • Long Range planning

You prefer to get results by: acting in the now while involving others.

                                  The Director Pattern
                                  Masters: Head, Heart
                                   Blind spots: Hand

Pattern Description:
You are a person who understands situations in terms of people and the structure within
which they exist, or the integration of human resources with an established organization,
system, order, or rules and policies. You prefer coordinating or balancing the needs of
people and the system that they are a part of (e.g., society, corporate, etc.). You’re very
good at this. You understand people very well, and enjoy working within a structured and
orderly environment or set of processes. You develop a blind spot, however, for the Hand
dimension that can cause you to miss the functional or tactical aspects of the situation or
task. Things like tangible or practical details, key features, and sense of urgency are
examples of things that you can lose sight of. The more stressed you get, the more you
want to slow down, isolate one thing at a time and work through it by giving it lots of
thought and discussion.

When reacting subconsciously, your genius motto becomes, “Stop to think and talk
about it sufficiently before proceeding.”

  • Integrating systems with human resources
  • Organizational and human resource management
  • Respect for policies
  • Understanding people
  • Big-picture or Schematic thinking

Blind Spots:
    • Attention to practical details
    • Speed and urgency
    • Detailed work, quality control
    • Concrete organizing

You prefer to get results by: creating a strategic plan then achieving those results through

                                   The Efficient Pattern
                                   Masters: Head, Hand
                                    Blind spots: Heart

Pattern Description:
You are someone who focuses a lot on the efficiency and results of a situation. You are
driven to succeed in whatever endeavor you partake and have very good to excellent
ability to see the big picture that must be taken, and the smaller detail which will get you
there. Efficient organization and completion of objectives and of the work function in
particular, are where you place your attention. Your focus becomes that of, “let’s
carefully plan the process - then execute”, which can, however, leave little room for
consideration of the human elements around you. Individual personal needs or values can
become your blind spot, causing you to overlook, or not consider sufficiently, the
humanistic needs of a situation. While very good at big picture thinking (planning it) and
tactical operations (getting it done), factoring in the human dimension can be something
you either don’t see as clearly or just forget to consider amid all the planning and
executing. The more stressed you get the more you are likely to fixate on creating order
out of any chaos, and acting on objectives yourself, and the more likely you are to forget
to factor in the thoughts and needs of others as much.

When reacting subconsciously, your genius motto becomes, “Make sure to think it
through, but then get it done, no time to talk about it.”

  • Efficient and productive organization and fulfillment of work
  • Conceptual thinking
  • Conceptual and concrete organizing
  • Schematic and or detail oriented thought
  • Big picture thinking

Blind Spots:
    • Communication and people skills
    • Human awareness
    • Balancing people needs with organizational and objective needs

You prefer to get results by: creating a strategic plan and then acting on it.

                                 The Supportive Pattern
                                     Masters: Heart
                                 Blind spots: Head, Hand

Pattern Description:
You place a lot of value on people, compared to getting functional objectives done or
working within a system of established rules. You really can understand people and
communicate with them very well, and when faced with problems you will seek to
preserve harmony among people and personal relationships first. Your blind spots can
become the strategic big picture and the functional or practical deliverables of the task.
Your attention to the humanistic aspects can cause you to lose focus on the procedural or
tactical aspects and you can become more focused on preserving relationships and
individual needs than with things like the overall plan and action. The more stressed you
get, the more you can become blind to the strategic and tactical needs of the situation,
focusing almost exclusively on the personal aspects.

When reacting subconsciously, your genius motto becomes, “I need to know how
everyone feels before I can decide what needs to be done and how.”

  • Communication and people skills
  • Generally good in resolving people conflict problems
  • Sensitivity to others
  • Human awareness

Blind Spots:
    • Objectivity where people are involved
    • Relegating performance and rules compliance behind the personal feelings and
       needs of people
    • Pragmatism
    • Schematic thinking

You prefer to get results: through others.

                                  The Practical Pattern
                                      Masters: Hand
                                 Blind spots: Head, Heart

Pattern Description:
You are, above all else, practical. You understand reality and respond to situations in a
very practical way. You do not get overly personal, nor do you tend toward being overly
dogmatic to certain rules. In actuality, in stressed situations, you pay much less attention
to relationships and rules than may be needed sometimes. The rules that drive you are
functional rather than formal or personal. As a result you are much better at
implementation, goal achievement and focusing on getting the work done than you are at
bigger-picture strategic work or leveraging personal needs or concerns. Due to this you
may actually have to be careful not to ignore some rules, or other’s opinions, too much.
The more stressed you get, the less you look at how something should “ideally” be done,
or “who” could get it done, and the more likely you are to just make it happen (typically
by yourself).

When reacting subconsciously, your genius motto becomes, “Stop thinking and
talking about it…Just Do It!”

  • Capacity for work, both in terms of the application and operation of machines
  • Very much a business mind set versus personal
  • Strong practical thinking
  • Organizational skills
  • Just Do It mentality

Blind Spots:
    • Communication with others (especially with superiors and authority figures)
    • Likely tends to ignore established guidelines and peoples needs in favor of
       pragmatic functionality or goal achievement
    • Established or rigid policies and procedures

You prefer to get results by: taking action yourself – quickly most times.

                                The Systematic Pattern
                                     Masters: Head
                                Blind spots: Hand, Heart

Pattern Description:
You are someone who interprets situations primarily in logical terms, from a theoretical
or rational perspective, rather than an emotional or tactical level. Your focus tends to be
on the established rules, policies, or procedures and how they relate to the situation at
hand. You prefer to solve problems methodically and possibly through your own
“system” for such things. You are much more in favor of order and structure than you are
chaos and ambiguity. Having a set way of doing things is very important to you, and you
feel that following that order allows you to be the most productive. You are very good at
seeing the big picture and planning overall operations or direction. You can become
blind, however, to the emotional and practical aspects of the situation. You can miss
functional details at the minute level by being focused exclusively on the big-picture.
The more stressed you get, the more you will retreat into the confines of your own mind
choosing to process and consider and plan before acting and eliciting the opinions of

When reacting subconsciously, your genius motto becomes, “Stop and Think.”

  • Use of logic
  • Long range planning
  • Schematic thinking
  • Strategic or Big-picture thinking

Blind Spots:
    • Empathy
    • Being practical
    • Taking instinctive action quickly
    • Performance in vague, highly dynamic, constantly changing or non-defined

You prefer to get results by: creating a system that when followed by others will lead to
achieving the objective.

Appendix C – How Your Genius Pattern is Built

                       Appendix D – The Parable of Little Bird

Once upon a time there was a young blue jay that, by a cruel twist of fate, had been
orphaned and grew up without ever knowing who he was or what he was supposed to be.
He didn’t even know he was a bird, or that he was any different from the rest of the
creatures he saw in the woods where he lived. Not having any way of knowing on his
own, he took to watching the other animals to try and figure out what he should be doing.

One spring day, as hunger pangs rolled through his belly, he asked a passing squirrel who
was busy gathering food for the winter for some advice. “I’m hungry”, said Little Bird.
“How can I get some food like you”, he asked the squirrel. The squirrel, not knowing any
better himself and only trying to help said, “I’m one of the best in the entire woods at
gathering food so you do what I do.” So the young bird did just that. He studied the
squirrel’s every move and eventually he struck out at it himself.

Climbing down the face of the tree and walking around on the ground Little Bird found
his first tender nut to take back to his nest. He proceeded to climb the outside of the tree
with his sharp claws but he found it incredibly difficult. The squirrel, however, reassured
Little Bird that if he put in enough effort he would be successful. So the young bird
continued to scrap and hang on and nudge his way up that tree, ever so slowly and with
ever so much effort. Eventually, though, Little Bird finally reached his nest and as he
dropped into it completely exhausted he was quite proud of how hard he had worked.
“Hard work is the key to success” he could hear the squirrel saying in his head.

Little Bird just knew that the harder he worked the easier it would get so he persevered
like this for many weeks. Unfortunately, things never got much better for Little Bird. No
matter how hard he worked, he always seemed to struggle to achieve what others seemed
to achieve with much less effort and frustration. He was living on the far left of the Long

Noticing the difference between his legs and those of the squirrel one day, Little Bird
decided that he need to improve himself and before long he had a membership at the local
woodland gym, where several times a week he could be found trying to develop greater
leg strength. Despite all his hard work, this too failed to deliver any greater success.

For months Little Bird struggled through in the same manner, always wondering what
was wrong with him. “Why don’t the others seem to complain about this like I do?” He
wondered. “What is wrong with me? Why do I seem to be the only one who thinks this
work sucks?” he asked himself over and over again. Before long Little Bird started to
wonder if he wasn’t suffering from some depression because while everyone else seemed
quite content and happy, he was always struggling, just barely muddling through, tired
and fatigued. “I must be sick”, said Little Bird to himself, so the next day he called the
doctor’s office where he was given an appointment to see the physician’s assistant
(because his HMO didn’t cover mental health)

“I’ve felt depressed for months now” Little Bird told the physician’s assistant. “I’m
always tired, I can’t shake this cold and I hate my job,” he continued. “I feel like I’m just
not good at anything – I’m just flawed”, said Little Bird sadly. After a complete exam,
and finding no physical causes for Little Bird’s ailments, the physician’s assistant assured
Little Bird that it was just the normal struggles of life in the woods. He recommended he
get some rest and wrote him a prescription for Zoloft berries and sent Little Bird home
confident that things would improve in time.

Things never improved, though. All summer long Little Bird continued to forage for food
in the same way. No matter how hard he tried, his performance never seemed any better
than average. He even hired a squirrel coach to help him improve, but in the end nothing
seemed to make a difference, so Little Bird had pretty much accepted the fact that this
was the way life is.

Then one day a very old Blue Jay was flying overhead and decided to take a short rest in
Little Bird’s tree. As Little Bird labored his way up the tree on one of his many runs, the
old bird noticed Little Bird’s struggle and asked, ”What ya doing there little one?” As
Little Bird described to the old bird that he was gathering food for the winter, the old bird
could only shake his head in bewilderment. “Why on earth don’t you just fly?” he asked
Little Bird. After applauding his work ethic he softly informed Little Bird of his madness.
“You’re quite insane you know,” said the old bird. “Don’t you realize that you are not a
squirrel, but a bird? You have wings my foolish young friend, and you were made to fly,
not climb.” While Little Bird was quite offended, he was a lot more intrigued so he
listened on. “If you stop trying to be like something you are not” continued the old bird,
“I think you’ll find that you gather a lot more food with a lot less effort”

Over the course of the next few days, the old bird taught Little Bird how to use his
natural talent for flight and right from the start Little Bird saw and felt the improvement.
Here was a talent, a gift, that he had completely ignored because when he asked the world
around him how to succeed they shared their strengths with him, not his own.

Having been reintroduced to his talent for flight, very soon Little Bird was traveling
effortlessly from his nest to the ground and back in a fraction of the time it used to take
him. He learned to appreciate and rely on his differences, rather than ignore or suppress
them. Soon, the young bird was soaring past the squirrels as they climbed up the outside
of the tree. He was finally happy with himself. His frustration was gone, he felt satisfied
with himself and his performance.

To this, and with much astonishment, the squirrels admired to each other, “look how
much faster and with much less effort Little Bird is at gathering food compared to us. I
wonder how he does it.” Some time later, one squirrel was overheard asking Little Bird,
“so how can I gather nuts like you” and the story begins all over again.

There is an old adage that says, “Work smart, not hard.” The moral of this story is,
“Work you, not others.”


(Under construction):

To those who believed in me and sacrificed so much to allow me the time it took to bring
this vision to life. To Dr. Robert S. Hartman, the visionary without whom the world
would have no way to measure their genius. To our geniuses, Dan, Bill, Frances, Garry,
Larry, Marshall, Michael, Randy and Tony, and all the other genius who gave of their
valuable time to share their genius with the rest of the world. To the 300,000 who played
no small role in helping to divine the secret to achieving the 5th level of performance. To
all our consultants around the world who help spread that knowledge and benefit. To the
Master Mind group, Allan B, Allan M, Barb, Bets, Bill, Bryan, Cathy, Dan, David,
Gavin, Gerry, Heather, Jennifer, Jerry, Jim, Kate, Kim, Laura, Renier, Ruth, Scott,
Stewart, Sue, Tammy and Walt & Ann, for their objective and sometimes brutally honest
feedback that helped ensure that the message of this book was conveyed in a way that
allowed it to benefit anyone.

To all the board members at the Hartman Institute, past and present, whose belief and
perseverance allowed Dr. Hartman’s original work to survive and thrive.

Thanks all!


Under Construction

Reference style sample from Chicago Manual of Style: Use Humanities Style (Notes and
Bib). Mark in text citation with superscript number, by chapter

Authors (et al), year, title, source/publisher

Leon Pomeroy, (2007), The New Science of Axiological Psychology. Amsterdam-New
York: Rodopi

Seth Godin, (2007), The Dip. New York: Portfolio: a member of Penguin Group

Warren Bennis, Patricia Ward Biederman, (1997), Organizing Genius: The Secrets of
Creative Collaboration. Reading: Perseus Books

Robert S. Hartman, (1967), The Structure of Value: Philosophical Explorations.
Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press

Martin E.P. Seligman, (1998), Learned Optimism: How to Change Your Mind and Your
Life. New York: Pocket Books, a division of Simon and Schuster Inc.


I interviewed a lot of people for this book, and overall there were approximately 10,000
profiles debriefed. To flesh out the message, however, I felt it beneficial to represent
some of the key points in the book with real-life representatives selected from the list of
interviewees. The following are those who I selected for this book. Thanks to all of them
for their valuable time and input.

Anthony Robbins

For the past three decades, Anthony Robbins has served as an advisor to leaders around
the world. A recognized authority on the psychology of leadership, negotiations,
organizational turnaround, and peak performance, he has been honored consistently for
his strategic intellect and humanitarian endeavors.

His nonprofit Anthony Robbins Foundation provides assistance to inner-city youth,
senior citizens, and the homeless, and feeds more than two million people in 56 countries
every year through its international holiday “Basket Brigade.” He has directly impacted
the lives of more than 50 million people from over 100 countries with his best-selling
books, multimedia and health products, public speaking engagements, and live events.

Robbins has been honored by Accenture as one of the “Top 50 Business Intellectuals in
the World”; by Harvard Business Press as one of the “Top 200 Business Gurus”; by
American Express as one of the “Top Six Business Leaders in the World”; by Forbes as a
Top 100 Celebrity; by Justice Byron White as one of the world’s “Outstanding
Humanitarians”; and by the International Chamber of Commerce as one of the top 10
“Outstanding People of World.”

Robbins has met with, consulted, or advised international leaders including Nelson
Mandela, Mikhail Gorbachev, Margaret Thatcher, Francois Mitterrand, Princess Diana,
and Mother Teresa. He has consulted members of two royal families, members of the
U.S. Congress, the U.S. Army, the U.S. Marines and three U.S. Presidents. Robbins has
had the unique opportunity to identify patterns and model the underlying strategies
generating consistent results for some of the most successful individuals in the world.

American Express asked its entrepreneurial clients whom they would select if they could
choose anyone in the world to personally coach them to take their businesses to the next
level if price were no object. Robbins was chosen along with Bill Gates, Donald Trump,
Warren Buffet, Lee Iacocca and Ross Perot.

Robbins is an award-winning speaker who has addressed such distinguished audiences as
the British Parliament, Harvard Business School, the Gorbachev Foundation’s Cold War
Forum, the Presidents’ Summit for America’s Future, the State of the World Forum, Vice
President Al Gore’s Putting Customers First Conference, and the World Economic
Forum. In 2006, he was invited to speak at the prestigious Technology, Entertainment
and Design (TED) Conference, attended by the world’s most influential thinkers and
leaders, including the founders of Google and Vice President Al Gore. Toastmasters
International recognized Robbins as one of the world’s greatest speakers, awarding him
the Golden Gavel Award, its most prestigious honor. One of the most sought-after
speakers in the world, more than three million people from over 80 countries have
attended Anthony Robbins’ live seminars or speaking engagements.

Marshall Goldsmith

Marshall Goldsmith is one of the world's foremost authorities in helping leaders achieve
positive, measurable change in behavior: for themselves, their people, and their teams.
Marshall has been ranked in the Wall Street Journal as one of the "Top 10" consultants in
the field of executive development. His work has received national recognition from the
Institute for Management Studies, the American Management Association, the American
Society for Training and Development and the Human Resource Planning Society. His
coaching process has been positively described in both the New York Times and the
Financial Times.

Marshall is a managing partner of A4SL, the Alliance for Strategic Leadership, a
consulting organization that includes over 100 top consultants in the field of leadership
development. He is also the co-founder of the Financial Times Knowledge Dialogue, a
videoconference network that connects executives with thought leaders. The FTKD
enables his clients to discuss their unique issues with the world's greatest thinkers. He has
a Ph.D. from UCLA. He is on the faculty of the global executive education program for
Dartmouth and Oxford (UK) Universities. Marshall is a partner with Duke Corporate
Education in the development of their personal learning practice. He is a member of the
Board of the Peter Drucker Foundation.

Marshall is one of a select few consultants who has been asked to work with over 50
major CEOs. His clients have included corporations, such as: 3M, Accenture, American
Express, AHP, Aventis, Boeing, CalPERS, Chase Bank, GE, General Mills, Glaxo
SmithKline, IBM, Johnson & Johnson, KPMG, McKinsey, Motorola, Pitney Bowes,
Southern Company, Sun Microsystems, Thomson, UBS, and Weyerhaeuser. He has
helped to implement leadership development processes that have impacted over one
million people.

Aside from his corporate work, Marshall has completed substantial volunteer projects for
organizations such as: the Urban League; Save the Children; the Institute for East West
Studies; the Girl Scouts; and the International, Canadian and American Red Cross (where
he was a "National Volunteer of the Year").

 Marshall's twelve recent books include: The Leader of the Future (a Business Week
"Top 15" best-seller), Learning Journeys and Coaching for Leadership. The Leadership
Investment won the American Library Association's Choice award as an "Outstanding
Academic Business Book" of 2001. has ranked five of his books as the #1
best sellers in their field.

Michael Lorelli

Mike Lorelli’s 30-year career spans a wide range of consumer products and services, and
B2B categories, with responsibilities for both domestic and international units. His years
as a line-operating manager have largely been with Fortune 100 companies: PepsiCo and
Bristol Myers Squibb. For the last decade, as CEO, he has led revitalizations and
turnarounds for private equity firms. For example, Dr. John Rutledge, Chairman of
Rutledge Capital, will say: “I would invade China with Mike alone in a rubber boat.”
He is presently CEO of Carlstadt, NJ based WaterJel Technologies, the leader in burn
care products. WaterJel is a Riverside Company.

Mike’s assignments at PepsiCo included Executive Vice President – Marketing, Sales
and R&D for Pepsi-Cola North America, President of Pepsi-Cola East, a $1.5 Billion
operating company, and President for Pizza Hut’s International division where he led a
“global or bust” charge, resulting in expanding the Company’s presence from 68 to 92
countries, surpassing McDonalds in country count. During his PepsiCo tenure, he is
given credit for authoring the soft drink company’s “Big Event Marketing” strategy,
which coupled the product with leading- edge events in entertainment, sports, consumer
electronics, movies and home video.

His prior work experience includes key Senior Management positions at Tambrands, the
Clairol Division of Bristol-Myers Squibb, and Air Express International, Inc.

Mike holds a Bachelor of Engineering degree in Industrial Engineering from New York
University, and an MBA in Marketing from NYU’s Stern Graduate School of Business.
He has traveled to 44 countries, is an avid runner, claims to excel at no sport, is an active
private pilot, former member of YPO, and author of the children’s’ best-seller “Traveling
Again, Dad?” with profits donated to children’s’ charities. Mike is a Director of
Cleveland based WorkPlace Media, and Purple Beverage Company. He resides in Darien,
CT with his wife

Randy Haykin

Randy is an entrepreneur, angel investor and venture capitalist located in the Bay Area.
His career spans 30 years in Consumer, Enterprise and Infrastructure businesses in both
technology and consumer services areas. He is also a husband, father, writer, artist,
educator and philanthropist.

In 1995, he founded Interactive Minds, which later became Outlook Ventures, a SF-based
software venture capital family of funds. With Partner, Carl Nichols, he successful
launched three venture funds including Outlook III $140 million fund in 2002. The firm
has funded over 30 early-stage technology firms since inception, including: Overture, Wit
Captial, Impulse Buy Network, DotBank, eTeamz, Active Networks,
eCirlces/, Epicentric, Lasso Logic, Echopass, Loyalty Lab, Xactly,
Digital Chocolate, Randy is currently Director or Observer on Boards of
Reconnex, Bridgestream, Xactly, Digital Chocolate, and Reply!.

A member of the Faculty at UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business, Randy teaches the
“New Venture Finance” course at the school.

As an entrepreneur, Randy worked at Yahoo (1995, was founding VP Sales &
Marketing), Electric Minds (Founding COO with Howard Rheingold in 1996), and
Overture (1997, with IdeaLab). He has been the Director of Business Development at
Paramount Technologies Group, worked with the "think-tank", Media Kitchen, to create
new business plans and models for the use of content on new technology platforms, and
spent 5 years as a sales and marketing manager for Apple Computer where he was
Director/Creator of the Global Multimedia developer program and higher education
schools program.

Randy attended Brown University (received BA in Organizational Behavior &
Management 1985) and Harvard Graduate School of Business (MBA, 1988).

Dan Lyons

Dan Lyons is the Founder and President of Team Concepts, Inc. (1995) and founder of
the non-profit Champions of Hope, Inc. (2002). As an oarsman, Dan rowed on seven US
National Teams, during that period winning two world bronze medals, a world gold
medal, and a Pan American gold medal. In 1988, he competed in the Seoul Olympics in
the coxed pair. He has won 11 National Championships in various events. Dan has
coached since 1983 at the US Naval Academy, St. Joseph’s Prep in Philadelphia, Oxford
University, Stanford University, Drexel University, Georgetown University, and is now
an elite coach at Penn Athletic Club in Philadelphia. His remarkable rowing career was
recognized in 1997 with his induction into the US Rowing Hall of Fame in Mystic, CT.
Dan is the subject of two books ("True Blue", and "The Yanks at Oxford") as well as the
movie "True Blue" which depicts events during the famous "Mutiny" at Oxford in 1986.

Dan received his BS from the US Naval Academy in 1981, MS from Oxford University,
England, in 1987, and MA in history from Villanova University in 1989, and is pursuing
his Ph.D. in Military History and Foreign Policy. He has taught history at the US Naval
Academy and Rutgers University, Camden.

Dan is noted for his intelligent seminars on a wide range of topics related to teams, team
building, and leadership, which reflect his unique combination of high achievement in the
sport of rowing, his perspective as a coach, and his extensive knowledge of military and
ancient history.

Frances Hesselbein

Frances Hesselbein is the Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Leader to Leader
Institute (formerly the Peter F. Drucker Foundation) and its Founding President. Mrs.
Hesselbein was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the United States of
America’s highest civilian honor, in 1998. The award recognized her leadership as Chief
Executive Officer of Girl Scouts of the U.S.A. from 1976-1990, her role as the Founding
President of the Drucker Foundation, and her service as “a pioneer for women, diversity
and inclusion.” Her contributions were also recognized by former President Bush, who
appointed her to two Presidential Commissions on National and Community Service.

She serves on many nonprofit and private sector corporate boards, including the Board of
the Mutual of America Life Insurance Company, New York, the American Express
Philanthropy, the Boards of the Center for Social Initiative at the Harvard Business School,
the Hauser Center for Nonprofit Management at the Kennedy School, and U.C.S.D.
Graduate School of International Relations and Pacific Studies. She was the Chairman of
the National Board of Directors for Volunteers of America from 2002-2006 and is the
recipient of twenty honorary doctoral degrees.

Mrs. Hesselbein has been presented with: the Tempo International Leadership Award in
New York City; the John F. Kennedy Memorial Fellowship by Fulbright New Zealand;
Miss Hall’s School Woman of Distinction Award; the Champion of Workplace Learning
and Performance Award from the American Society for Training and Development and
the Teachers College Medal for Distinguished Service from Columbia University’s
Teachers College. In 2006, she gave commencement addresses at St. Mary’s University,
San Antonio, Texas, and The University of St. Thomas, St. Paul, Minnesota. In 2006, she
sponsored the Frances Hesselbein Leadership Award for Research and the Frances
Hesselbein Educator Leader Award at the U.S. Air Command and Staff College. During
the Military Child Education Coalition’s (MCEC) 8th Annual Conference in July 2006 the
MCEC Board of Directors established the “Frances Hesselbein Student Leadership
Program” in recognition of her dedication to the leadership development of the children
of the military.

Mrs. Hesselbein is Editor-in-Chief of the award-winning quarterly journal Leader to
Leader, and a co-editor of a book of the same name. She also is a co-editor of the
Drucker Foundation’s three-volume Future Series and Leading Beyond the Walls, and
Leading for Innovation, Organizing for Results, the first two books in the Foundation’s
Wisdom to Action Series. She is co-editor, The Leader of the Future 2: Visions,
Strategies, and Practices for the New Era published in 2006. She is the author of
Hesselbein on Leadership and Be, Know, Do: Leadership the Army Way, introduced by
General Eric K. Shinseki and Frances Hesselbein was published in February of 2004. She
is the co-editor of 24 books in 28 languages.

Laurence Higgins MD

Dr. Higgins is an Associate Professor in the Department of Orthopedic Surgery at the
Brigham and Women’s Hospital and is Board Certified in Orthopedic Surgery. He
completed his residency at the Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS) in New York City. He
is the Brigham and Women’s Hospital Chief, Harvard Shoulder Service as well a Chief
of the Sports Medicine and Shoulder Service. He specializes in sports medicine and
shoulder injuries. He performs arthroscopic surgery of the shoulder and knee as well as
total shoulder replacements.

Dr. Higgins completed a Fellowship in Sports Medicine and Shoulder Surgery at The
Center for Sports Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and is the
Team Physician for Brookline High School.

He has been a Team Physician for Duke University, The University of Pittsburgh Athletic
Teams and the professional football team (NFL) the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Mickey Rogers

Mickey Rogers is a demolitions expert and is Founder and CEO of Advanced Blasting
Services, LLC. (ABS). ABS is a full service drill and blast company that also offers
consulting services. Mickey’s expertise has been utilized in projects ranging from small
rock trenching jobs to marine blasting to the demolition of concrete bridges, steel bridges
and smoke stacks. Mickey has personally consulted on and directed the demolition of
many successful industrial, commercial and residential projects. He is no stranger to the
mining and quarry sector either, having conducted projects throughout the Continental
USA, Hawaii, and Mexico. Regardless of the type of project or the scope of work,
Mickey and ABS strive to perform beyond the client’s expectations to obtain the desired
end result and he has become a leading expert in his field. With over thirty years of
experience Mickey is a recognized leader throughout the blasting industry. His innovative
work has been featured in the Journal of Explosives Engineers and on the Discovery

Garry Titterton

Garry has been in the advertising world since 1960 so there isn’t anything he hasn’t seen.
He was appointed as CEO of D’Arcy Asia Pacific in 1999. As a Director on their
Worldwide Board he turned around an ailing region (14 countries) with a loss of US$6.5
million to being profitable within two years. He moved the agency group from being
outside the “Top 20” in Asia Pacific to being 8th in 2002: 5th in Business Growth and
sixth in Creative Awards, turning D’Arcy into the 5th largest agency in China from being
outside the top forty in 1999.

As Executive Vice President McCann Erickson Asia Pacific, Garry was a key member of
the team that grew the agency to second largest network behind Dentsu by 1998, with a
profit of US$34.5 million. He lead the Coca-Cola agency team that created a promotion
that achieved 40 million entries in Japan for Georgia Coffee and set a Guinness Book of
Record for the largest number of respondents to a promotional campaign. He was part of
the McCann Global New Business Team which won in a two year period over US$ 250
million in new billings from: MasterCard, Motorola, Goodyear, General Mills, Boots
Healthcare International, and in 1998 he won the McCann Erickson Global Leadership

As Executive Vice President Europe he created the first in-house brand consultancy that
created a US$800,000 profit in its second year. Garry also lead the team that created the
“I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter” campaign that achieved the first “Brand” to be the
subject of an editorial in “The Times” of London. The campaign took ICBINB to number
one slot in its category within three years and won Bill Young, Director of Marketing
Van Den Burgh Foods, Marketing Director of the year award. He finished his career with
McCann Erickson by moving to London as Board Director and was promoted to
Executive Vice- President Europe within three years, as well as member of the World-
wide Operations Board.

Garry was part of a three-man team that created “Choix” a chocolate brand and sold it to
Alders plc, and as a Director of Osca plc, headed the three most profitable companies in
the group: Advertising, Consulting, and Research. Subsequently sold to Interpublic
Group New York and integrated into McCann Erickson London.

He has been President of the St. Vincent de Paul Society (a society to alleviate poverty);
Governor of Kent Institute of Art & Design (KIAD), and Chairman and Trustee of the
KIAD Foundation (the fund raising arm of KIAD).

Garry is a lecturer at the Graduate business school based in Fontainebleau at INSEAD in
France, and the Madrid University MBA program.


                                                                           Gregerman, 100
                                                                           Gretchen, 40, 41, 42, 43, 151
                5                                    D                     Gut Check, 15, 39, 58
5 Level Performance Program,          Decision-making, 7, 24, 26, 93,
  75                                     99, 114, 163, 164                                 H
                                      Descarte, Rene 86
                                      Desert Storm, 91                     Harris poll, 12
               A                      Drop & Grab, 147, 150, 151, 158      Hartman, 3, 8, 94, 95, 96, 122,
A Simple Mistake, 26                  Dropping the Rock, 51                   163, 178
Acquired talents, 22, 25              Drucker, Peter 9, 30, 36, 45, 60,    Harvard, 9, 29, 95, 114, 180,
Allen, 80                                71, 119, 181, 185                    183, 185, 186
Allende, 115                                                               Haykin, 9, 29, 123, 183
                                                                           Hesselbein, 9, 30, 45, 185
America’s Cup, 17, 111                                E                    Hippocrates, 94
Aristotle, 86
Asch, 70, 71                          Edison, Thomas 128                   Hitler, 94
At the Human Level, 40                Edwards, Rem 64                      How We Think, 87
Attribute Index, 18, 41, 164          Einstein, Albert 51, 114, 119,
Atypical Definition of Success,          123                                                I
   142                                Epel, 47
Authenticity, 16, 23, 28, 30, 38,     Evolution, 69, 76                    Ibsen, 49
   57, 72, 85, 116, 137, 147,                                              Illusion, 52
   158, 160                                                                In the Flow, 54
                                                      F                    Industrial era, 59, 60, 61, 62, 63,
                B                     Fiorina, Carly 139
                                                                           Industrial revolution, 59
                                      Follow That Crowd, 69
Bacon, Sir Francis 10                 Food, Stuff and Ideas, 59            Innermetrix, 18, 163
Basil King, 9, 54                     Ford, Henry 60                       Interviewing the Job, 157
Bennis, Warren 30, 178                Franklin, 10                         Intuition, 33, 113
Beyond Performance, 46                Frost, Robert 115, 120
Blind spots, 97, 98, 101, 105,        Future Visioning, 2, 131, 133,                        J
   106, 116, 137, 149, 157, 160,         134, 135
   171                                                                     Judge, William67
Boys of Breakfast, 29                                                      Jung, Carl94, 113
Bradberry, Travis 88
Brain-workers, 60
Brooks, Bill, 45
                                      G.E. Moore, 24                                       K
                                      Garry Titterton, 55, 108
Brown University, 29                  Genius, 8, 9, 18, 19, 20, 22, 25,    Kaiser Wilhelm II, 94
Browning, Robert 55, 56                  26, 34, 42, 50, 66, 68, 73, 83,   Kelly,Timothy 53
Buckingham, Marcus 54                    84, 88, 101-110, 141, 154 -       Kierkegaard, Soren51, 76, 117,
Buechner, 53                             160                                  153
Byrum, Stephen 62                     Genius Action Step, 15, 16, 122      Know Thyself, 76, 86
                                      Genius Math, 145                     Knowledge worker, 60
                C                     Genius Profile, 18, 99, 100, 125,
Callahan, 90                          Genius Project, 13, 17, 18, 19,
Carroll, Lewis 117                       21, 22, 38, 40, 41, 57, 72, 85,   Lao-Tzu, 81
Chronic stress, 46, 47                   86, 116, 137, 160, 164            Laurence Higgins, 9, 110, 186
Clairol, 17, 182                      Genius Study, 18, 28, 165, 166       Leary, Timothy 95
Cognitive Scripting, 2, 129           Genius Symbols, 2                    Legacy of Dependence, 62
Collins, Jim 82                       Gilson, Rick 81                      Lina, 11, 12, 17, 161
Comfort Zones, 139                    God, 3, 8, 12, 27, 49, 50, 53, 54,   Location, Location, Location,
Compaq, 40, 65                           66, 138, 159                         118
Concord Prison, 95                    God’s Mistake or Yours, 50           Locus of control, 78, 81
Courage to Change, 140                Godin, 61, 84, 153, 178              Long X, 43, 45, 54, 159, 175
Covey, Stephen 53, 61, 117            Goldsmith, Marshall 9, 10, 27,       Lorelli, Michael 9, 17, 30, 79,
                                         29, 36, 112, 124, 150, 181           111, 146, 150, 182
                                      Great Gatsby, 23                     Lyons, 9, 31, 107, 184

              M                     Pomeroy, Leon 46, 178               The Head, 95
                                    Popeye, 56                          The Heart, 96
MacArthur, Douglas 34               Powell, 61, 65                      The Numbers, 37
MacGyver, 126                       Profit Sharing, 95                  The Problem, 12, 13, 14, 16, 17,
Maltz, Maxwell 131, 132             Psycho-Cybernetics, 131                 18, 22, 24, 38, 40, 47, 56, 57,
Mandella, Nelson 49                 Pulling the Trigger, 158                59, 72, 76, 78, 79, 85, 87,
Mao, 62                                                                     103, 116, 126, 137, 154, 159,
Marston, William 94                                                         160
Marx, Carl 62
                                                   Q                    The Quiet Path, 120
Maslow, Abraham 54, 95              Querencia, 139                      The Rarity of Success, 122
Master Patterns, 105                                                    Thoreau, Henry David 120, 127,
Masters, 94, 97, 99, 101, 102,                                              161
  103, 105, 106, 107, 108, 109,                      R                  Three Steps to Authenticity, 147
  116, 137, 157, 160                R. Rowan, 113                       Titterton, Garry, 188
Masters and Blinds Spots, 97        Ridley, 25                          Tolle, Eckhart 52, 56
Maya, 52                            Ritzer, 60                          Top-Gun, 17
Meet Your Genius, 99                Robbins, Anthony 9, 24, 32, 81,
Mickey Rogers, 9, 33, 187
Mirandola, Pico 76, 138
                                       106, 123, 126, 150, 163, 180                     U
                                    Role Awareness, 16
Myth of Strengths and               Role Flexibility, 146               US Navy, 141
  Weaknesses, 35

                                                     S                                  V
                                    Scientific Management, 62, 67       Voices in Your Head, 95
Natural talents, 22, 24             Self-awareness, 16, 22, 29, 87
Natural Versus Acquired
   Talents, 24
                                    Self-Belief, 16, 127                               W
                                    Self-Direction, 16
Nazi Party, 94                      SEO, 79, 80, 81, 127, 138, 147,     Wal-Mart, 65
Neglected Child, 48                    148, 155, 156                    Watt, James 59
Niblick, Jay 2, 163                 Shirokauer, Robert 94               Welch, Jack 153
Nimitz, Chester 34                  Short Thoughts, 34, 67, 77          What Geniuses Do, 27
Nobel Peace Prize, 95               Sisyphus, 77                        What We Did Find, 22
                                    Socrates, 75, 76                    What We Didn’t Find, 21
              O                     Specializing, 31                    What’s a Genius, 19
                                    Spranger, Edward 94                 Who’s In Charge, 78
One Brain-Two Minds, 89             Star Trek, 96                       Williamson, Heather 49, 69, 70,
Orwell, George 63, 69                                                     135
                                                                        Wilson, Timothy 93
Palmer, Parker 54
                                    Talbott, 47                                         Y
                                    Talent Bartering, 147, 149, 150,
Pandora’s Box, 36                      158                              Yahoo! 9, 123, 183
Passion, 30                         Talents, 29                         You Get What You Accept, 81
Passion and Purpose, 53             Tao, 81, 120
PepsiCo, 9, 17, 79, 182             Taylor, Frederick 62, 63, 64, 66,
Perseus, 77, 178                       67
Pfeiffer, 65                        The Above Average Trap, 83          Zeus, 77
Picasso, Pablo 114                  The Father of the Genius Profile,
Pizza Hut, 17, 182                     94
Plato, 75, 93                       The Hand, 96

                             Additional Resources

Check out some of the additional resources available to help you discover and unleash
your genius.

   •   The What’s Your Genius Home Study Kit: over 16 hours of audio recordings
       and additional workbook instructional material to help you make the most out of
       this book. (

   •   5th Level Performance Workshops: learn in a team environment in these live
       two-day workshops facilitated by one of our certified 5th Level Performance
       coaches. Take part in additional exercises, benefit from additional measurement
       tools and receive personal assistance with your role building, future visioning and
       other activities and exercises to help you reach your 5th level of performance –
       faster. (

   •   5th Level Coaching: work one-on-one with your own private 5th Level Coach.
       These coaches are experienced executive and life coaches who have met our
       minimum requirements for education, experience and ability, and are then
       certified through a rigorous six-month training program to learn how to best help
       you reach your 5th level of performance. (

   •   Corporations: if you are a corporation that is interested in learning how to
       unleash the hidden genius within your organization, please contact us at and you will be connected to one of the Certified
       Innermetrix Consultants who worked on this research and can help you with
       corporate needs.


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