Author Kelly Trach found her genius and turned it into a personally and financially rewarding business, doing what she loves for clients who value her. Trach’s guide to finding your own gifts and putting your genius to work has moments that may test your inner skeptic, but she also offers practical advice while avoiding the usual clichés. Trach’s breezy, irreverent prose entertains readers and draws them into her stories of success and failure.
- Discovering your gifts can change your career and your life.
- Identify your three to five key gifts and combine them into a job tailored for you.
- Discovering your gifts requires deep, honest internal investigation.
- Look for threads and themes in your experiences and passions.
- When you unleash your unique genius, expect a transformation in your work and financial life.
- Don’t let inner voices undermine you.
- As you apply your genius, follow an 11-item playbook.
Discovering your gifts can change your career and your life.
After three failed business start-ups–despite Herculean efforts–author Kelly Trach slowed down and listened to what her body and mind were telling her. She tapped into her unique combination of knowledge and passion for healthy living to produce a blog and then expanded into coaching and online learning. Financial success followed.
“When you know your genius, you instinctively understand the work you should be doing in the world.”
By paying attention to her gifts, Trach built a successful business from scratch with only a few thousand dollars to invest. She has guided many others to similar success through a process she calls “finding your genius.” You won’t necessarily gain overnight riches or reach a four-hour work week. Instead, you’ll honor your unique, one-of-a-kind gifts and turn them into work that you’ll love, with purpose, skill, and financial benefit.
Identify your three to five key gifts and combine them into a job tailored for you.
Trach’s fourth business start-up brought together four gifts: creating, teaching, speaking and coaching – all things she loves doing. These felt like things she was born to do; doing them made her happy and put her in a flow state. And she was good at them. Finding your genius means identifying your gifts and assembling them into a single conception of work that puts them all into practice simultaneously.
“Your genius is the combination of your top three to five gifts working together to create world-class expertise doing something only you can do.”
Most of the time, skills take hard work to develop, leaving you solidly competent but not exceptional. But your gifts feel more effortless; you don’t have to try hard or even much at all to perform them at an exceptional level. Everyone has multiple gifts. These gifts come naturally – you’re born with them. Countless other people might share one or more of your gifts, but when you combine and focus your three to five greatest gifts in a job that’s right for you, you’ll emerge a superstar. You’ll know you’ve hit this sweet spot when you do the work without any struggle. It comes naturally, it’s fun, and you achieve exceptional outcomes.
Discovering your gifts requires deep, honest internal investigation.
Personality assessments didn’t help Trach choose her path – intuition did. To discover your own gifts, don’t look at other people’s lists – look deep into yourself. Stop doing things because they look good on a résumé or might impress your friends. Start doing things that feel right, good and natural. Notice the things that naturally draw you in and give you energy, and let these guide you to your calling.
The following questions and exercises can help you identify your gifts. As a first step, consider the people you most admire. These people and what they do reflect your own gifts – that’s why you admire them. Come up with a list of five amazing people you idolize. Write down their names, and list five skills and traits you admire for each. The resulting list of 25 skills and traits probably includes some overlap. Now think about which of these gifts you also possess.
As you think more about what your gifts might be, don’t get too caught up in the credentials you’ve earned, including degrees and certificates. Your gifts will often be reflected in things you’ve been able to do at a high level without schooling. What things have you figured out your own way of doing? What comes nearly effortlessly? What do you read about, watch or otherwise study in your spare time? What have you done for a long time, and what threads run through the various jobs you’ve held? For Trach, this line of thought revealed that since the time she was a teenager, she enjoyed teaching, whether it was working as a lifeguard coach in high school or assisting professors when she was a university student. And she always did this work at an expert level.
“Despite conventional wisdom, what you consider to be ‘too easy’ is actually the no-brainer work you should be pursuing.”
What you do excellently and easily – things others struggle with – provides tremendous clues to your gifts. But also consider things people criticize you for, such as talking too much or having crazy ideas. These critiques can offer clues to the types of work you’re born for. Or, for a slightly different tack, try imagining criticism that would really sting: What are the three worst things a newspaper article could say about you? For Trach, an article calling her a fake, a fraud and a liar would cut the deepest. Use the opposites of these loathsome labels to guide you to your gifts. For Trach, authenticity, candor and integrity have proved central to her work. Each of these is a gift that she discovered and now applies every day.
You may discover that you already use your gifts – perhaps unconsciously – but not at work. Think about what you’ve done on the weekends or other days off over the past month or two. When you have an empty day in front of you, what do you do? What energizes you? What do you do that makes time pass almost unnoticed? You probably use your gifts regularly without realizing it because they come so naturally to you.
Often, others see your gifts before you do, so think about the questions people ask you and the advice or work they seek from you. Finally, pull out your recurring life dreams, the ones you’ve tossed aside for their impracticality. These represent your greatest ambitions and potential, and they will align perfectly with your gifts.
Look for threads and themes in your experiences and passions.
Now, group the gifts on your list into three to five categories. Look for repetitions and consistencies. Label each category. Now you’ve found what you’ve been looking for: These labels name your key gifts. Trach, for example, groups her skills in marketing, making things and related areas into a category she calls “creating” – one of her gifts. Write a paragraph that describes and defines each gift.
Next, consider your gifts as a whole – a constellation. When you combine your gifts, you magnify them, increase their power exponentially and create uniqueness. With your key gifts in front of you, brainstorm all the things you could do by linking them. Think about instances in the past when you were able to apply more than one of your gifts toward the same pursuit or project. Think about the industries, companies and roles that depend on gifts like yours. Review your list of possibilities and isolate the one idea that feels most compelling. Now, craft an action plan that either helps you leverage your gifts in your current job or points you toward a new one. Talk to your boss about your desire to use your gifts, put yourself forward for special projects, and apply for internal transfers to roles that better suit you. Shadow people who work in the roles you seek. Focus your hours at work increasingly on activities that utilize your gifts.
“Your gifts are already top-tier traits of yours – you love doing them, and all you have to do is keep focusing on where it feels fun.”
If you’re still in school or want to change careers, use the guidance above to explore career options. Build associations with people in your target roles by networking, such as by attending free events and mixers. If you want to start a business, think about the problems people already seek your advice in resolving. Research your likely customer base and tailor your offerings to them. Look for the channels through which people promote services like the one you have in mind. Talk with people who are already doing similar things. Don’t shy away from experimenting for a while – try new tasks at work, different projects or trial businesses – to see what energizes you and puts you in flow.
When you unleash your unique genius, expect a transformation in your work and financial life.
When you find your genius and begin doing what you were meant to do, you can expect to develop a reputation as an expert in your field – someone people come to for advice. You can expect people to pay you for your expertise – probably more than you’ve ever made before. You’ll find a state of flow, that feeling of complete immersion in your work, when time seems to pass almost unnoticed and you have as much energy when you finish as when you started. Work will stop feeling like a burden.
“When people know that you are the best in your field, they come knocking with projects, requests to be your client, and job opportunities.”
When you discover your genius and focus it on work that makes the most of it, you’ll stand out as the go-to person for that work. More and better clients and opportunities will come to you without your needing to market yourself. You’ll learn your true value and get better at negotiating for what you deserve – or walking away. The sooner you recognize your genius and start making choices to shape your work around it, the faster you’ll find the job of your dreams.
Don’t let inner voices undermine you.
When you think of the people you admire most for their achievements – the things you wish you were doing – don’t sabotage yourself by thinking they have something special that you lack. Don’t tell yourself they can do it, but you can’t. The notion that others have already turned your ideas and dreams into successful businesses, leaving no space for you, isn’t true. You have dreams because those dreams called to your gifts – your dreams chose you. No one else has the unique combination of gifts that you have. Your version will differ, and people will pay for what you alone can do. Know your own value and stay confident that when you work according to your genius, the money will follow.
“Your soul is silently pulling you in certain directions, so shut up for a second and listen.”
Avoid the never-ending cycle of thinking that you need to do just one more thing before you can start pursuing your dream and exercising your genius. Don’t postpone embracing your genius to earn another degree or certificate, rent a quiet office with a water view or find a good babysitter. Question your assumptions about the barriers in your way. Will chasing an expensive, time-consuming certificate help you get clients? What if instead of entering a four-year degree program you gave yourself two weeks to start the business you would have started after you finished? This thinking might overcome artificial barriers and reduce the fear of getting started. Recall the times when you didn’t think you could do something, yet you did. Make a list of those memories, and leverage them.
Finally, don’t let fear of what others might think stop you. In the first place, most people don’t really pay attention. Those who do criticize you are probably sniping from the sidelines and likely have no experience doing what you’re doing. Don’t pay any attention to them unless they do.
As you apply your genius, follow an 11-item playbook.
Consider the following advice to apply your genius with ease:
- Do what’s simple. Your gifts make things simple and effortless when other people would find the same tasks complex and difficult. Let your genius make things easy.
- Leverage your uniqueness. Don’t play the copycat. Study the masters in your field, but do your work your way. Trust in your genius and difference.
- Quit what doesn’t serve you. If something you’re currently doing doesn’t flow, if it drains you, if it takes too much effort, if you hate it, stop doing it. Quitting activities that don’t serve you lets you spend your time doing things that generate flow and give you energy. List the activities that drain you, and commit to quitting them within a definite – and short – timeframe.
- Double down on your differences. No matter how niche you get, you’ll find people who want what only you can deliver.
- Don’t try too hard. Throughout your life, people have probably said things like, “Don’t let anyone outwork you” or “If you keep trying and working hard, you’ll succeed.” You will need to work to put your gifts to use, but if you’re doing something that feels like repeatedly running into a brick wall, take the message.
- Seek big results. When you apply your genius, you should see exponential returns – not slow, steady gains. And the more you narrow down your niche, the bigger and faster the returns. Don’t necessarily aim for impossible feats, but go for the big investor, find an amazing mentor, or even just get out there and attend weekly events to make more connections.
- Go with your gut. Listen to your instincts and intuition. Tap your own wisdom. Sometimes you’ll need to set aside what you think you know and go with what you feel instead.
- Don’t try to be everything to everyone. Super-focused people tend to change the world, not well-rounded ones. Well-roundedness will make you average. Aim to do your one thing better than anyone else.
- Keep it easy. Grow comfortable with ease. Stop thinking that it takes great effort to do anything worthwhile. And make things easy on yourself: Take advantage of delivery services, live near the office, find ways to earn passive income. Again, your genius will make your work easy, so embrace it. Do what excites you, accept help, leverage your work, and don’t reinvent the wheel. Meditate. Breathe.
- Don’t settle. You might come across opportunities to gain something good – a job or a promotion, for example – but not exactly what you want. Don’t take the bait. Aim big, do your thing and don’t settle.
- Use your genius to help others. Other people need your genius. Don’t deprive them. Pursue your destiny in service to others.
About the Author
Kelly Trach operates KellyTrach.com, a coaching, consulting and learning firm in Vancouver. She hosts the Kelly Trach Show podcast and develops online courses.
Introduction: “P.S. You’re a Genius: An Unconventional Guide to Finding Your Innate Gifts (Even When You Feel Like You Have None)” is an empowering book written by Kelly Trach. This book challenges the notion that some individuals lack inherent talents or gifts, and instead encourages readers to uncover their unique strengths and abilities. Trach’s unconventional approach offers practical advice and exercises for discovering and embracing one’s true potential.
Summary: Trach’s book takes a fresh perspective on the concept of personal gifts and talents. She argues that everyone possesses innate abilities and potential, regardless of whether they have recognized them. Through a series of exercises, stories, and insights, Trach guides readers on a journey of self-discovery and encourages them to embrace their individuality.
The main sections of the book are as follows:
- Challenging Limiting Beliefs: Trach addresses the common belief that some individuals lack inherent gifts or talents. She challenges this notion and encourages readers to question their limiting beliefs about themselves. By reframing their mindset, readers can open themselves up to the possibility of discovering their unique gifts.
- Exploring Your Passions and Interests: This section focuses on exploring the passions and interests that light up one’s soul. Trach provides practical exercises and prompts to help readers identify areas that spark joy and curiosity in their lives. By delving into these passions, readers can uncover their innate gifts and talents.
- Embracing Uniqueness: Trach emphasizes the importance of embracing one’s uniqueness and individuality. She encourages readers to celebrate their quirks, strengths, and differences. By accepting and embracing their authentic selves, readers can tap into their innate gifts and find fulfillment in their lives.
- Taking Inspired Action: In this section, Trach guides readers on how to take inspired action and leverage their innate gifts in practical ways. She offers strategies for setting goals, overcoming obstacles, and staying motivated. Trach also provides insights on how to align one’s gifts with meaningful work and make a positive impact in the world.
Review: “P.S. You’re a Genius” is a refreshing and empowering book that challenges the notion of inherent talent and inspires readers to embrace their unique gifts. Trach’s writing style is engaging and relatable, making it easy for readers to connect with her message. The book is filled with personal anecdotes, practical exercises, and thought-provoking insights, making it a valuable resource for self-discovery.
One of the book’s strengths is Trach’s emphasis on challenging limiting beliefs. By encouraging readers to question their assumptions about their own abilities, she opens the door for self-reflection and personal growth. Trach provides practical tools and exercises that help readers uncover their passions and interests, guiding them towards their innate gifts.
The book also highlights the importance of embracing one’s uniqueness. Trach encourages readers to celebrate their individuality and to recognize that their unique qualities are what make them truly special. By accepting and embracing their authentic selves, readers can tap into their innate gifts, leading to greater fulfillment and happiness.
Moreover, “P.S. You’re a Genius” offers practical guidance on how to take inspired action. Trach provides strategies for setting goals, overcoming self-doubt, and staying motivated on the path to discovering and leveraging one’s gifts. The book encourages readers to align their gifts with meaningful work, empowering them to make a positive impact in their lives and the lives of others.
In conclusion, “P.S. You’re a Genius: An Unconventional Guide to Finding Your Innate Gifts (Even When You Feel Like You Have None)” is an inspiring and transformative book that challenges conventional beliefs about talent and encourages readers to embrace their unique gifts. Trach’s approach is practical, empowering, and supported by personal stories and exercises. By following the guidance in this book, readers can unlock their true potential and live a more fulfilling life.