“The path to our destination is not always a straight one. We go down the wrong road, we get lost, we turn back. Maybe it doesn’t matter which road we embark on. Maybe what matters is that we embark.” ―Barbara Hall
You discover your “unique genius” over time, not all at once.
A theme that I often discover when I meet young creative pros is a fear that they will never discover their “thing”. They are worried that they’ll somehow miss the contribution that they are uniquely wired to make, and will never experience the success they are capable of. They have what I call “purpose paralysis”, which is an inability to move forward because they don’t know for sure which direction is the right one. So, they feel stuck and anxious.
I do believe that everyone has a “sweet spot” of contribution, where they can have more impact for the same amount of effort than anyone around them. However, I also know that you don’t suddenly “discover” it, or figure it out by accident. It comes into focus over time, in layers. Your sweet spot is not like a digital photo, it’s more like film that must be developed in a dark room. It takes time, and process, and patience. Then, over time, you’ll begin to see a pattern forming.
It’s important to pay attention to little clues that point you in the direction of your “unique genius”. What are you able to do that others marvel at, but seems commonplace to you? Where do you seem to get more return for your effort than others do? What work brings you to life?
As you begin to note these moments in your life and work, you’ll begin to recognize where you should spend more time and energy each day.
Question: Is there any place in your work where you are experiencing “purpose paralysis”? How can you take a step forward, even in the midst of your uncertainty?