Mr. Rogers was right. You are special. You are a genius at something. Don’t argue! It’s true. We all have heard this before, and can easily write it off as something that sounds nice but doesn’t really mean much. We talk ourselves out of it every time we feel that little spark of genius. “I am good at baking.” Eh, somebody in France is better. “Hey, I can take really nice photographs!” But, well, what about those National Geographic or other famous photographers? They are better. Enough of that. Let’s take a look at what we’re really talking about here, and find a way to quiet that critical voice in our heads.

“Genius” doesn’t necessarily mean you have a super-high IQ or can create masterpieces of classical music by age 7. Genius is defined as “a natural ability or capacity,” and also quite interestingly, “either of two mutually opposed spirits, one good and the other evil, that attend a person throughout life.”

So, our inner spirit and intuition tells us that we are AMAZING at XYZ, and then our opposing fear-based inner critic says, “yeah, not so much.” How can we possibly live our intrepid and audacious lives when that inner critic keeps shutting us down? By quieting that voice we can let our genius, our art, our natural talents lead the way. It is possible, don’t worry! But first we need to figure out how to identify our genius.

Here’s a question: what do you do so naturally that you write it off as easy? That you think of as something anyone can do? I promise you that NOT everybody can do it, and that this is exactly where your genius lies.

Try this exercise:
1. Without thinking too hard, write down 10 things you feel you do well. Anything – making coffee, hugging my dog, mowing the lawn, scrapbooking.
2. Now pick three things that you do so well you don’t even register that you do them well, and write out “I am great at XYZ and it is so easy for me that everyone is amazed.” These are your genius statements.
3. Read each of your genius statements out loud and quickly write down how it makes you feel when you do that. Do you feel calm or nervous? Is your critical voice jumping in the way or are you able to relax knowing that you are right?
4. Now read each one out loud again one at a time. When you hear that critical voice pause for a moment, and just listen to it. Don’t fight against it, but rather say out loud, “thank you so much, but I’m quite happy with my genius and you may be quiet now.”

Sometimes the critical voice is very loud and persistent. Doing the quick exercise above may not fully and permanently quiet it, but it will be a start. It takes practice to manage that fearful and critical part of ourselves, and you might need to have several conversations with it! It might help to think of your critical voice as a roommate who also lives in your head, but isn’t you. This gives you the separation to help you remember that your true and genius self isn’t the same as your critical self.

So, what are you waiting for?!

I’ll close with another song from Mr. Rogers, that gentle genius of reassurance. This is just the day!

If you’ve got an hour,
Now’s the time to share it.
If you’ve got a flower,
Wear it.
This is just the day.
If you’ve got a plan,
Now’s the time to try it.
If you’ve got an airplane,
Fly it.
This is just the day.
It’s the day for seeing all there is to see.
It’s the day for being just you, just me.
If you’ve got a smile,
Now’s the time to show it.
If you’ve got a horn,
Then blow it.
It’s the minute to begin it.
This is just the day.