As Albert Einstein said: “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” So, if you are feeling out of touch with your genius in your career, you are probably not in the right environment to thrive (which for the fish is water) nor engaged in work that suits your abilities (which for the fish is swimming). You are absolutely not alone! May my own journey from career-dread to career-fulfillment inspire you to reconnect with your genius.

I grew up in Germany, a densely settled country in a time were the living world around me was collapsing. Acid rain caused by car exhausts and power plants was killing the forests, industrial pollution was poisoning the rivers and the electricity we used was producing radioactive waste. I thought the latter could have easily killed all of us and our neighbouring countries too.

Growing up in this setting, I felt strongly that something needed to be done to stop the destruction and save the planet. My environmental concerns eventually led me to study geography. Even though my studies didn’t come easy to me (I especially struggled with statistics and chemistry), I was determined to stick it through, so that I could finally do my part in cleaning up the mess we had created.

Buckminster Fuller says: “Everyone is born a genius, but the process of living de-geniuses them.” Growing up in a culture and with a school system that largely focussed on improving weaknesses, I had picked up the belief that work was supposed to be a struggle and that I would grow the most if I focussed on improving my weaknesses. Unfortunately, many people carry this limiting belief around with them. Many of my coaching clients are surprised when I suggest that we focus on their strengths and do mere damage control when it comes to their weaknesses.

Genius Shift #1: Focus on Your Strengths & Accept Your Weaknesses

It was only in my last year of studies (while I was completing my masters thesis in Canada), that I began to realize that the prospect of spending the rest of my career analyzing data and writing reports was daunting to say the least.

During that time, Dave, one of the grad students in my lab group and I developed a friendship. Dave had lost his PhD committee due to his lack of diplomacy and wanted to learn how to foster better relationships as he was trying to form his new grad committee. I listened to him and helped him see his challenges with a fresh perspective. He taught me how to do statistical data analysis, which was the biggest struggle for me in completing my master thesis.

One day, Dave asked me in his blunt way: “Julia, why are you involved in science?” I told him my story about wanting to save the world. He just shrugged and said, “I think you would make a great counsellor.”

This was the first time someone acknowledged a talent in me that I had never given much attention. Dave spoke to the genius he saw in me. It spurred me on to take an elective course on facilitation with the department of planning. I loved it! As a visiting grad student, I also participated in a course on cross-cultural communication and excelled in it.

Focus on your strengths; that's where your genius lives.

Focus on your strengths; that’s where your genius lives.

Taking these two courses confirmed that continuing on my scientific career path, really was like a fish attempting to live on the land. I knew I had to find a different path for myself, a path where I could put my strengths to work and let my genius thrive.

First I felt like a traitor, leaving my oh so important environmental mission behind. Then I felt very lost. If this wasn’t it, what was the right career path for me? What should I do next? Luckily I had found my way to Canada by then and the prospect of shifting into a different career path seemed less daunting here than it would have in Germany, where the concept of transferable skills wasn’t recognized at the time.

Over the course of the next few years, I used my scientific background and my facilitation skills to organize conferences and help researchers collaborate more effectively. It was still hard to admit to myself that I was far more passionate about helping people communicate effectively with each other than I was about the content of their research. However, I had begun focussing on my strengths and was no longer trying to fix my weaknesses.

Genius Shift #2: Tough Circumstances ~ Blessings in Disguise

After working on a number of smaller contracts, I landed my first long term contract. Even though I had a hunch (during the interview) that it wasn’t right for me, I still went ahead and accepted the job offer.

Have you ever been interviewed for a job you knew wasn’t right for you, but you took it anyway? Maybe for financial reasons? Maybe not knowing what kind of job would be right? Maybe it all sounded so great on paper and you hoped that your hunch was wrong?

Well that’s what I did for all those reasons and it was a very painful experience to say the least. The atmosphere in the office was toxic, the leadership was in disagreement and I very quickly knew why my predecessor had left this position.

Genius Shift #2: Tough Circumstances ~ Blessings in Disguise

Genius Shift #2: Tough Circumstances ~ Blessings in Disguise

Most days I dreaded going to work. It sucked all the energy out of me and affected the rest of my life in many negative ways. I had trouble sleeping at night and my relationships suffered. I couldn’t help but carry the stress I experienced at work around with me.

I knew I needed to get out of that job, but I had no idea what I was going to do next. The pain I was experiencing at work, eventually led me to reach out for support. I felt I was meant to do something different with my life. The genius in me was calling to be realized. I just didn’t know what to do and how to get there. I know now that this challenging work situation served as a catalyst to take the leap into living my genius.

You too may be facing challenging situations in your current job. Just like me and many of my career coaching clients you may look back one day realizing that these tough circumstances spurred you on to reach out for support. They may be indeed be blessings in disguise on your journey to finding a career where you and your genius can truly flourish.

Genius Shift #3: Reach Out for Support

Get crystal clear on the career path that's right for you and start living your genius!

Get crystal clear on the career path that’s right for you and start living your genius!

That was when I heard about life and career coaching and because I really was at my wits end, I was ready to try anything. I was so relieved to find a coach who could help me. I wouldn’t have found my way on my own and am forever grateful for my coach who encouraged, challenged and championed me every step of the way. I learned that reaching out for support can turn a lonely quest into one of the most rewarding adventures you have ever embarked on. My career coach helped me get crystal clear on the career that was right for me. Living my inner genius was and still is, you guessed it – coaching. I was on fire.

As Dr. David Hawkins put it so brilliantly: “Until one acknowledges the genius within oneself, one will have great difficulty recognizing it in others.” When I recognized the spark of genius within me, I was instantly filled with a deep longing to help others recognize and live their genius.

Live Your Genius…

I signed up to do my coach training, got certified and started my own coaching business. For the first time in my life, things seemed to come easy to me. I was accessing inner strengths I didn’t even know I had. My genius felt like a happy fish, swimming in a beautiful lake. Now, my purpose was clear and I claimed it: “Helping people transform their careers and lives for the better.” My contribution to the planet doing this work is far greater than any contribution I could have ever accomplished in the scientific arena.

Twelve years later I am even more passionate about my career as a life and career coach as when I first started. I am so passionate about this work, because I know from personal experience and my clients’ successes that finding your genius and creating a fulfilling career path, transforms your whole life for the better. I concur wholeheartedly with Dr. Wayne Dyer who exclaims: “Genius can show up in as many ways as there are human beings.” It is an absolute joy to see the rainbow of possibilities in the clients I am privileged to coach on their courageous journey to career clarity.

Living your genius makes you come alive!When you are truly happy at work, your happiness infuses all aspects of your life. You enjoy more fulfilling relationships, better health, more confidence and an overall sense of well-being and contentment. Once you truly blossom, everyone in your family and community benefits.

Wouldn’t it be great to be engaged in work you truly love AND contribute in the most positive way you could ever imagine?

The great news is that when you are engaged in the career that gives you the most joy, you are also making the greatest positive contribution! As Howard Truman put it: “Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”

Take a powerful step now towards finding your genius and creating your fulfilling career: Request your free career clarity consultation!