"Practical Genius" is one of those rare books that can change you. Make you think differently. Alter your course in life.
It can help you bring to life a simple, powerful idea:
"When you are a fully realized person - authentic and entirely visible to the world - you are capable of exceptional accomplishments in your work, in your community, and among your friends and family."
What if you brought your whole self to work? What if your firm enabled its workforce to be “fully realized”?
You can. And they should.
While a great book may have a few good ideas, this one has fifty. Specific techniques for identifying your goal and your assets. For building a network and marketing yourself. For creating an environment to sustain your genius.
Seth Godin, who’s encouraged millions of people to aim higher and “make a dent in the universe," wrote the blurb on the cover:
“Positive, insightful, and generous, this book will go a long way to helping you realize that genius is a choice.”
I love that phrase. “Genius is a choice.” Gina Rudan, the author, does more than write about it. She lives it.
I first met Gina two years ago in a class taught by Keith Ferrazzi. After the course, we exchanged contact information but that was it. I vaguely remembered she said was coaching people. She didn’t strike me as a coach (whatever that means - too pretty? too nice? too outgoing?), but I didn’t think much about it.
And, most recently, she launched her book, replete with videos, books signings, promotional events. (“This lady is unstoppable.” I thought. "I can learn so much from her.")
Now I see why Seth Godin would write a blurb for someone he didn’t know and hadn’t heard of. Because after reading her book, he saw that Gina is doing exactly what he talks about. Trying to make her own dent in the universe. Successfully battling the lizard brain. And shipping. And shipping. And shipping.
You and your firm
In realizing your practical genius, you may create a new career like Gina did.
But you may not have to. Many firms, particularly large, global enterprises, already have an amazing array of people and opportunities. It’s just been too difficult to connect the two. And that’s where firms can do more.
As I wrote in my first post:
“...the essence of good management – of leadership – is to make jobs fulfilling. That this is the best way, by far, to increase productivity.
...Gallup was right in asserting that increased engagement at work boosts productivity. They said disengagement costs $300 billion in the US. I think they’re off by a factor of at least 3.”
And so it’s in companies best interests to help people realize their practical genius. To teach people the skills they’ll need to build relationships across the firm, shape their reputation, and gain access to opportunities that allow them to bring their whole self to work.
You’ll need to take the first step. To want to make a difference. To accept that before you can change the work or change the world, you may need to change yourself.
While genius is indeed a choice, it's one that requires the courage to try and sometimes fail. The hunger to learn while sharing what you know. The willingness to help others while being humble enough to accept help.
It’s not easy but it’s worth it. For you - and for your firm.