The following is an excerpt from The Inner Edge: The 10 Practices of Personal Leadership, and discusses the fourth practice – tap into your brilliance.
You are hardwired with certain characteristics that make you you – distinctly, irreplaceably, inimitably you. The way you live, the way you learn, and the way you lead – all of these are guided by the gifts you were given at birth and the ones you have collected in the course of your life. Knowing these attributes gives you tremendous power.
To be able to tap into your brilliance, you must answer the question “What makes you unique?” You need to discover your distinct natural attributes – your DNA. Your distinct natural attributes include personal characteristics like these:
Like your genetic DNA, your distinct natural attributes define what’s true about you. What’s genuinely true about you – the good and the bad – is also what’s great about you.
To tap into your brilliance, you need to understand your distinct natural attributes (your DNA) and be able to leverage them in the most powerful way.
Tapping into your brilliance involves three phases. First, you identify your distinct natural attributes. Second, you investigate those attributes so you see their full promise. Third, you learn to leverage your DNA to reach your vision and goals. Eventually, this process won’t feel like a process at all. It will be the way you look at who you are and what you can do.
THE BEST OF YOU AND THE REST OF YOU
The first step in tapping into your brilliance is to identify and map your DNA. Your DNA map is a simple list of your strongest positive and negative attributes. Your strengths and weaknesses. The best of you and the rest of you.
To map your DNA – at first, anyway – you write down characteristics you’ve discovered in yourself so you can see them at a glance. When you do this, you’ll want to include a mix of distinct natural attributes: your characteristics, behaviors, talents, learning styles, and so on. Other self-evaluation tools sometimes focus specifically on one aspect of your attributes – either your activities or your skills or your behaviors. For our purposes, that would be too narrow a view. We want to know it all. So we will take a very broad view of your attributes. Everything counts. Your talents, your activities, your character traits, the way you think, the way you behave – all of it is fair game at this stage for mapping your DNA.
You can get started identifying your DNA by using your own insight and self-awareness.
Off the top of your head, write down what you believe to be a few of your positive and negative traits. This will give you a glimpse of the attributes you can leverage in the service of your vision and goals.