Small Business Tips for the Would-Be Genius

by Deborah Baudoin

You’ve got your FaceBook, your Twitter account, your LinkedIn profile, and an entire file cabinet full of small business tips from all of the best business magazines. You are armed and ready to meet the challenges of modern business.

So, why don’t you feel like Rambo, all pumped up and ready to go? Why are you hesitant, worried, and pumping more caffeine than iron during the work week?

Einstein, not a business blogging genius

The fact is, business confidence is not something you can sign up for. It’s not a club you can join, or a magazine you can read. When it comes right down to it, all these profiles and courses in the world are no substitute for good, old-fashioned…genius.

Think Bill Gates. Think Steve Jobs. Think Oprah Winfrey.

All of these folks are generally accepted as business geniuses, folks to be emulated, studied, profiled. And they all have one important thing in common, a trait that each person on Earth has the potential to exploit in their own ventures.

This elusive, mysterious trait can be boiled down to one word: authenticity. Nobody thinks of Bill Gates as “The Next” anybody. Bill Gates is Bill Gates, Steve Jobs is Steve Jobs, and Oprah is Oprah. (No need for that last name. We all know who she is.)

Perhaps the greatest business challenge of the next few years is going to be to restore authenticity to it’s full glory. In a world of cheaply-made copies and half-rate ripoffs, authenticity is the new gold standard. Everyone has a product to sell, most of them pretty good. Everybody knows they have to focus on customer service.

But Everybody is not you. Only you can be you, and that is your key to success…if you can find a way to leverage your unique authenticity in a positive and purposeful way.

The focus, of course, to a successful push toward genius is learning. A recent article by Keven Daum in Inc.com offers entrepreneurs tips for harnassing the inner genius that creates an Oprah out of an Everybody.

  1. Silence the Inner Critic. Sure, you know everything. We all do. And that little couch-surfing critic in your head never misses an opportunity to let the world know how absolutely omniscient you are. But if you want to get a little further than same-old, same-old, perhaps it would be best to give that critic a cup of coffee, a bagel, and a copy of The New York Times and send them on their way. Once you silence that critical voice inside, you open yourself up for crazy wisdom, radical creativity, and all manner of unexpected insight.
  2. Join the Debate Club. Okay, so you can’t actually silence the Inner Critic. No problem. Set up a couple of podiums and stage a debate with him or her. Go to town, rip each other to shreds, have an epic showdown on the Important Topics of the Day. This will not only allow you to expose weaknesses in logic and facts, but also improve your mental flexibilty and ability to see all sides of the problem.
  3. Discover Curiosity. I have a theory: it’s impossible to be depressed, disappointed, or defeated when you’re curious. Curiosity is nature’s Prozac, the safest and easiest anti-depressant/anti-anxiety on Earth. It’s not always easy to be curious, especially when discussing dry topics. But it’s worth the effort. Curiosity can be developed, by asking questions, by making connections, by playing games. In some ways, business is a game, the coolest game ever devised. And approaching business with the curiosity of a child learning the ropes of a cool new game can energize and invigorate your passion for the job!
  4. Become a Truth Detective. Even the craziest scheme has a kernel of truth at the base of it. One of the greatest gifts you can give your burgeoning genius is to teach them how to discern the basic truth of an argument. The ability to cut away the chaff quickly and efficiently is a transferable skill that can benefity you in every single area of your life. Not only will it keep you from falling for every low-life snake oil salesmen promising you instant riches (for a low-low price), but it will allow you to take that same snake oil salesman and figure out the one useful thing they actually have to offer!
  5. Open Your Mind (Even if You Have to Close Your Eyes). It’s so easy to discard information when it comes from someone you dislike. Whether it’s the leader of the opposing political party, that creepy guy who fixes your copiers, or your retired father-in-law, anyone has the potential to be a teacher. And if you turn off the lesson just because the teacher turns you off, you’re shooting yourself in the foot. Focus on the message, they say, not the messenger. This way, you never cheat yourself out of the opportunity to learn, grow, and develop to your highest potential.

Being a genius isn’t all that difficult. In fact, we’re all born pretty near perfect. It takes a lot of effort to train the genius out of us, so it makes sense that it will take some effort to get it back online. But if you are your greatest business asset, that effort will yield amazing results. If you want to learn more on how to present your best business self to the world, contact us.

Please, just give us fair warning. Your future’s so bright, we’re gonna need shades.

This is just a great post. I really enjoy getting posts delivered to me by the BlogMutt writers, and this is yet another great example. Thanks, Deborah! (For an explanation of this series of BlogMutt example posts, see this post.) — Scott

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