By Damian Goldvarg Ph.D., MCC

Do you remember when you were a kid and people asked you what would you like to be when you grow up?

I would like to share with you my learning from the book Born Genius from Peter Barr, who is an Executive Coach, lives in Australia, and is a Board member for the International Coach Federation. I will also invite you to consider some key elements for personal success that you can apply to your life.

When I was 10 years old, I remember being in a car with my classmate from Elementary School and his parents were in the front. His mother turned towards me and asked me: Damian, what would you like to do when you grow up? I thought and answered that I would like to be a writer. She opened her eyes, showed surprised in her face and looked at her husband as if I was from another planet. Maybe I was… I got the message that something might be wrong about being a writer or that I was not supposed to have answered that.

Can you think of any experiences in your life that made you give up some of your dreams and passions?

In his book “Born Genius”, Peter Barr explains that we are all born geniuses with great potential that is sometimes developed and sometimes not. It may be a result of our life circumstances, our family, school, and life experiences that may have hindered us from developing to our fullest potential. Society may oppress the genius we have within us. Nevertheless, it is no too late to find the genius inside us and develop it.

What does “genius” really mean? Webster defines genius as: “ a natural inclination and intellectual power manifested in creative activity”. When you hear the word genius, in what famous people do you think of?

Peter Barr studied the genius of the story and identified some of them: Leonardo Da Vinci, Edison, Einstein. Do you know what they all have in common? Persistence. Einstein said that he thought he was clever but he spent more time solving problems than most other people. Edison, the inventor or the light bulb, had 10,000 experiments before the light bulb worked out.

How persistent are you in your life? Do you give up easily? Barr argues that, when you align your genius consciously and consistently, you open a portal to a universal intelligence (call it God, Higher Power,) that can achieve real success in the world. You can define success based on whatever it means to you. It may be very different for each one of us.

How do we identify the genius in each one of us in order to align it with the universal intelligence? Peter Barr suggests that there are 6 key elements to develop the genius in all of us and they all begin with the letter “P”: potential, passion, purpose. paradigms, plan, and persistence.

1) Potential includes all of our natural abilities, which is easy for us to do. For example, for some people it is easy to build things with their hands. My eight-year-old nephew can build complex toys in no time. For some people it is easier to learn other languages. What are your natural talents?

2) Passion is what excites us, what makes us tick, and what we love to do. It may or may not be related to our skills. For example, we may excel at math, but that’s not necessarily what we may like to do. Many times we do not take advantage of all the capacity we have to do things that we like. For example, I have a friend who is an excellent artist and has an innate ability for art but des not take time for his creative work because he is so busy with other responsibilities.

3) Purpose is what gives us satisfaction and meaning to life. In my case, coaching and public speaking align my potential to express my ideas, my passion to inspire and influence people and my purpose to make a difference in this world. But don’t think I have been a good speaker for a long time. When I was in graduate school, my oral presentations were the worst ones from the class, in part because English is my second language.

4) Paradigms are all beliefs about how the world works and what is possible. If you do not believe in your ability to achieve your goals, if you do not believe that it is possible to get the support you need, you may not succeed. If we don´t believe it is possible to achieve what we want, these ideas are going to be an obstacle, creating a self-fulfilling prophecy.

5) The plan includes objectives and steps to achieve them.

6) Finally, persistence involves maintaining the vision of what we want and do not forget it, despite the obstacles and circumstances. I invite you to reflect on these six elements in your life and see how you can align them to achieve your goals in 2013.