Finding and monetizing your unique genius – that something that you are so good at, that comes so natural to you that you don’t even think of it as a skill – can take a long time and is a constant cycle of refinement and analysis.
It can be daunting and frustrating to find your “passion”. It is not easy. Everyone else seems to have one. It always seems to be changing on you. It’s murky. And it requires some personal therapy that can be scary.
It can be easier to identify what your passions are not. It’s sometime easier and a good first step to just be able to confidently say “I don’t like this” or “I just kinda like it” or “it’s okay, I guess” or “yeah, whatever”.
What you don’t like can be your guide to what you do.
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We all want to make money. We all want to be able to pay the bills, create a nice cushion, enjoy the finer things, give to charity, be admired, rent a boat, travel the world, buy things . . .
And whether we admit it or not, we likely want to work on something we enjoy. We want to focus on our passions, we want to make money from what we love doing. When we do what we love and what we’re good at, it just comes easily, it comes naturally, it makes us happy.
But we’re afraid. We’re afraid that we can’t make money from what we love. We think it’s impossible, a dream, something others will laugh at, something to not even be considered.
So . . . how do we make money from what we love?
The first step is to not focus on the money. Once we start thinking about making cash, we alter the process. It clouds how we view our passions. It doesn’t help us in formulating what we are really good at. We’re too concerned about the money end game, and not focused enough on the small beautiful details that form our unique genius.
Just in, from the Onion . . .
Law Schools Now Require Applicants To Honestly State Whether They Want To Go To Law School
September 15, 2010
NEW YORK—A growing number of law schools have begun requiring applicants to specify in writing whether they do, in fact, have some desire to attend law school, or are just using it as a predictable last resort. “We want to separate those who actually see themselves becoming attorneys from those who just want to put off joining the adult world for another three years,” Fordham Law School director Bruce Green said Thursday, showing reporters an application that asks students to check boxes marked “Really?” and “Seriously? You’re really that into this?” “We want prospective students to know that they will actually have to study the U.S. legal system. As in, the whole thing.” Word of the new requirement has already reportedly caused a 450 percent spike nationwide in applications to graphic design schools.
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If you do not own the web address for your own name, or variations thereof, go to Go Daddy right now and reserve it. This is a great babystep to get started. Reserve yourname.com, yourspousesname.com, yournameconsulting.com, theyournamegroup.com, and on and on. Even if you don’t use it right away, it’ll serve as a placeholder. For $10 a year.
Whether you like it or not, you are a start up. You are a company, a practice, a web site, in alpha phase. You are in development phase.
Today, you’d expect any viable company to have a web page. Do the same.
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Many, if not all of us, have to-do lists. Some keep them online, some in written notebooks, some on scraps of paper, some in their heads.
And many of us have a lot to do. We have client meetings and contracts to review and court hearings and briefs to write. We have to drum up business. We have to attend partner meetings.
We have to pick our kids up from school and go to their doctor appointments and parent teacher conferences.
We also need to relax and spend time with our family and enjoy ourselves and have fun and be lazy and rest.
And, for some of us, we also need to leave the law.
So how can we possibly leave the law, or even begin some of the tasks to leave the law, if we have so much on our current to-do lists?
Write down everything you need to do, today, next week, next month. Get it all on paper. And then make a smaller list, of all you need to do RIGHT NOW. Just that which is achievable this hour, today. You won’t get overwhelmed. You’ll take it in bite sized portions.
Your unique genius is a skill, a talent, something that you do so well, that
comes so naturally to you, that you may not even view it as a gift, as an
ability . . . or as a marketable opportunity.
Your unique genius is something you do, or have done, for so long, maybe so
effortlessly, perhaps so artlessly, that you consider it to just be part of
It is also something that you enjoy immensely.
In short, your unique genius is something you are damn good at and have a
fun time doing.
Some of our great talents are more easily identifiable than others. Some
people sing beautifully, some people write eloquently, some paint or draw
effortlessly, some tell hilarious jokes on a moment’s notice, others hit
tennis balls 100 miles an hour, some have a knack for languages, others seem
to always match their outfits just right, some just get the party started.
But other talents might be less tangible, harder to identify. Encouraging
others to be courageous. Consistently and attentively listening to others.
Leaving the law is absurd. You may call it ridiculous. Some may think it’s unreasonable. It’s just not rational.
I mean, c’mon, this is your job. This is how you pay your bills. This is what you went to school for. This is what people have expected of you.
And you make good money. And you can buy what you want. And you like the title. Leaving all of this is just absurd.
Which is great. This is just how it should be.
Because if it wasn’t absurd, it might not be worth talking about. It might not be worth even thinking about. It might not be worth attempting. Because, as Einstein observed, “If at first, the idea is not absurd, then there is no hope for it.”
So there is hope, for you, and for that idea you have . . . to set up that website, to open that store, to live off savings and travel the world for a while, to begin that small legal practice, to found that consulting business.
The very absurdity of leaving law is such a compelling reason to consider it.
Got a great response from the last blog post, a lot of you out there shared some great “new rules”.
Here are some more:
- You can always make money from your passions . . . it just takes some time.
- Freedom, and time, can be more important than money.
- I need to be able to take a jog on a Wednesday at noon.
- Invest money and time in yourself.
- People will pay me for my time and expertise.
- I can get customers and clients on my own.
- My favorite – leap and the net will appear (my mother bought me a refrigerator magnet with this saying).
- And my second favorite, about life, from the E.L. Doctorow quote – “It’s like driving a car at night. You never see further than your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.”
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Some of the “rules” you follow and adhere to day-to-day might be outdated or holding you back, such as:
- Job security should be a major requirement.
- A steady, W2 paycheck is good.
- Take the safe route.
- Being a lawyer is everything to me.
By what other rules do you find yourself living? I’m sure there are more you can add.
What might be a new “rule”?
- Plan to have no plan.
- Be committed to being uncommitted.
- Start thinking and working on an alternative life while you still hold down your day job.
- You don’t have to be fearless to make dramatic changes in your life.
- Being a lawyer is not everything to me.
- I want to wear jeans to work.
- I want to be able to sleep late in the mornings and work regularly from 3pm to midnight.
- I want to see my kids more.
Of course, the adoption of any new rules is not meant to be an excuse for sitting home all day and re-watching Dazed and Confused.
When you envision your life as a movie, with you the hero or heroine and main star and an audience of ticket payers watching your every step and listening to your every line, you allow yourself the freedom to enjoy every minute of your life, and find the courage to perform feats most people wouldn’t.
Stuck in traffic? The audience is watching you look cool with your elbow hanging out the window listening to tunes.
In the middle of a stressful settlement meeting? The audience is rooting for you and on the edge of its seat to see how you will perform.
Hesitant to make a dramatic life choice? You’d better make that courageous move (in love, work or otherwise) . . . or they might just get bored and walk out.
Imagine yourself as the main star of the movie that is your life and use the pressure, anxiety and confidence that comes with it to accomplish amazing things.
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