The other day, I read Gina Amaro Rudan's book, "Practical Genius: The Real Smarts You Need to Get Your Talents and Passions Working for You." I found this book to be a very down-to-earth approach to unlocking your creative juices, through a well-ordered method. In other words, it made sense, was prescriptive enough that you can apply it immediately, and it feels like an approach that will actually work for most people.
In "Practical Genius," the author takes us though a 5-step plan for figuring out what your best skills are, and coming up with a plan to leverage those skills. The steps are:
- Identify Your Genius,
- Express Your Genius,
- Surround Yourself With Genius,
- Sustain Your Genius, and
- Market Your Genius
Throughout the book, the author shares her perspective, techniques, and a lot of personal stories that bring things down to a tangible level. The stories helped make it real for me.
What struck me as most powerful in this book were the two sections on "Surrounding Yourself With Genius," and "Sustaining Your Genius." What I liked about these sections is that they help you change your circumstances in a way that reinforces and amplifies your strengths, rather than draining or sabotaging them. I have seen very creative people who gave up on their gifts because they didn't think they were good enough, or were hanging around with people who didn't support or appreciate their gifts. In this book, you'll learn some techniques and new habits that will help you find people who add energy to your gifts, instead of taking it away.
You'll also find sensible guidance on when to seek the help of others -- I like the section on finding a "Yoda for hire," enlisting the help of "ambassadors," and building your "tribe."
I got a lot out of the section on "Sustaining..." because I found some techniques to help me re-start some of the fun and creative things I've drifted away from, due to some parts of my life getting a bit too busy. Throughout the book, the author shares little tips labelled as "Playboooks," and I found the "Sustaining" playbooks to be the most useful for me.
If you feel like you're stuck, have writer's block, or your creative juices just aren't flowing the way they used to be, I think "Practical Genius" can help.
Then, once you've gotten things unstuck, take advantage of the ideas in "Marketing Your Genius," to increase your value. You can apply the marketing tips for "getting famous" kinds of things, or just to increase your impact in your job and community - it's up to you.