By: Joanne Vitali
What do you do brilliantly? Do you know? I’ll take a wild guess and say you’d probably have to give it some thought. Not many people know the answer to this question off the top of their head. And that’s a shame, because knowing the answer to this one question could literally change your life and your career. Yes, literally — and I chose that word carefully.
Let’s look at some research.
If you know what you do brilliantly:
Your confidence level will be higher.
Say goodbye to imposter syndrome. Just think about the confidence you would have if you knew, actually not just knew, but fully embraced what makes you awesome. Confidence is a known stumbling block for women. We need all the help we can get to bolster it. Gender bias issues like being made to ‘prove it again’ can negatively impact us everyday. Externally we can be bombarded. Confidence ultimately comes from within and knowing your brilliance increases yours.
Your leadership skills will improve
Want to be a better leader or get that first leadership role? Recognize that the best leaders have higher emotional intelligence scores. Three different subscales (Self-Regard, Assertiveness and Independence) in the Emotional Intelligence assessment (EQ-i) relate to self-awareness and confidence. According to Daniel Goleman, the Rutgers psychologist who coined the term:
“The most effective leaders are all alike in one crucial way: they all have a high degree of what has come to be known as emotional intelligence…Without it, a person can have the best training in the world, an incisive, analytical mind, and an endless supply of smart ideas, but he still won’t make a great leader.”
Your quality of life will improve
According to Gallup, people who know their strengths are three times as likely to report having an excellent quality of life. Their strengths survey has been completed by over 20 million people. Need I say more? I’m not one to casually make wild claims. Significant research backs me up here. So what’s next? It’s pretty obvious, if you don’t know the answer to the question, “What do I do brilliantly?” then you need to start figuring it out — pronto!
How to create your Brilliance List
You’ve got some soul searching to do. Start by completing this assignment:
- List the top ten ways that you are brilliant.
Create a list — at least ten items — of the things you do brilliantly. It can be anything, but try to be as specific as possible. “I’m good writer” is NOT something you do brilliantly. What’s the brilliant part of that? Maybe it’s that you are incredible at touching people’s emotions through the written word or that you are able to clearly convey complex technical information to non-techies. See how these are more exact than “I’m a good writer?”
Here are a few examples from my list.
Joanne is brilliant at:
- Reading self-help books and determining if anything in them is useful
- Taking what’s useful from many sources and turning that info into quick tools
- Facilitating a meeting so that everyone is heard and people actually get something done
- Hearing the emotions and intentions that are underneath spoken and unspoken words
Ok, so my list probably doesn’t look anything like yours, but that’s the point. You’ve got your own personal ways that you are brilliant.
If coming up with your list is waaaaay hard, here are some ways to get started:
- Ask a coworker or even your boss what they think you do brilliantly.
- Think about the kinds of projects you enjoy. What is it that you do to make them happen? What skills are you using?
- Think about a past achievement you are proud of. What skills did you use?
- Take the Strengths Finder Test to learn your top 5 or all 34 of your strengths.
Beyond your personal list, you are ultimately shooting for:
Doing more of what you do brilliantly everyday.
Think about how great it would be if you could arrange it so that you do more of what you do brilliantly and less of everything else. It would be way cool, right? Warning: This may involve taking a risk, which means probably feeling some fear — possibly enough to stop you dead in your tracks. Even if you know in your head that you are, say, great at editing, it’s another thing entirely to embrace that knowledge and to take action that allows you to do more of it.
Hey, it’s a worthy challenge though. If you’re living in your comfort zone, you’re really not living to your potential. You can do this. And, if you’d like some help becoming the most brilliant version of you, just let me know.
Click here for your complimentary Own Your Brilliance phone session with Joanne Vitali. Joanne is the Geek Girl coach. A former nuclear engineer and NASA astronaut trainer, she coaches STEM women to attain and strengthen their rightful leadership roles. She has taught at Wharton and spoken to groups like IEEE Women in Engineering and the Healthcare Business Women’s Association. Her clients include names like Astra Zeneca, Johnson & Johnson and Siemens. Her articles have appeared in Huffington Post, Thrive Global, Entrepreneur and Medium. Joanne’s mission is to achieve gender parity and looks forward to the day when 50% female senior leadership in corporations is an everyday thing. She relishes helping all women own their brilliance.
Previously published at www.ellevatenetwork.com.