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I'd be happy to chat about The Activated Genius Method, my research, our individual and organizational coaching programs designed to maximize your performance, or Tailored Output in general.

No question it too silly, or too profound. This is my life's work. Let's chat!

- julie


Arlington, VA
United States

Tailored Output is a professional development coaching company with an emphasis on goal-setting, career-planning, and team-building within the context of creating whole and fulfilling lives. 



Individuals working with Tailored Output will uncover their unique genius to identify career opportunities that will contribute to a whole and fulfilled life.

Organizations working with Tailored Output will learn how to assemble multi-disciplinary teams--staffed with engaged and motivated members--to accomplish seemingly impossible tasks in alignment with the corporate mission and values.

 

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Stop Waiting to be Picked

Julie Slanker

It starts in elementary school. In gym class. At recess. Everyone standing along the wall, ready to join, waiting to hear their name.

It continues through middle and high school. Play auditions. Gifted programs. Team tryouts. The cool-kid clique. Everyone showing up, best foot forward, waiting to be picked.

College applications.

Job interviews.

Promotion panels. 

With few exceptions, every step on our path to advancement involves us waiting and worrying and wondering and working to get ourselves picked. To be let in.

[Photo: Soldiers in period costume guarding a fort tower.]

[Photo: Soldiers in period costume guarding a fort tower.]

It is cultural training meant to keep society organized and orderly. It is a an ancient system that preserves the current hierarchy. 

The bosses pick the bosses of the bosses who pick you.

The gate-keepers guard the entry-ways to keep us riffraff from getting through.

The cool-kids turned into the cool-(mostly) men. The captains of the dodge ball team are now the captains of industry. 

And you - ever polite and raised right - will stand along the wall, waiting to see if you make the team. Just like always. At least that's what they're hoping...

Because that waiting? that patience? that standing in line? It doesn't change anything.

It keeps us small. It keeps us quiet. It keeps them in charge. It keeps the status quo - you truly want to change - firmly in its place.

That's the opposite of what we're doing here...

And it's a criminal waste of your Genius.

Stop waiting to be picked.

Stop waiting for permission.

Stop waiting for someone to say that you are allowed to care -  because you already do.

Stop waiting for someone to give you your chance to lead - because you already can.

Stop waiting for someone to request the pleasure of your presence or your voice or your work. Stop waiting to be nominated. Or discovered. Or asked to join. Or invited in. 

That permission slip you're looking for, simply isn't coming.

[Quote: "You don't have to ask permission to take responsibility." - Ed Catmull, Creativity, Inc.

[Quote: "You don't have to ask permission to take responsibility." - Ed Catmull, Creativity, Inc.

You can lament that fact. You can rage. Please do! Get pissed! Let that fire fuel your determination to do something that ignites a change. 

You can roll your eyes and shake your head. You can shrug your shoulders. Just please don't quit!

Accept that this idea - that you must wait for somebody else to give you permission - is a lie designed to hold you back.

You already have the necessary authority.

Because you are the necessary authority.

This is your life. Take responsibility.

You already have permission. 

 
To dig even deeper, sign up to receive the Rise & Shine! Monday morning email. Over the next two weeks, we'll work to turn this piece of The Activated Genius Method into practical, actionable steps to access and engage your Genius so that you can improve your life, your work, and our world.
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Who Do You Think You Are?

Julie Slanker

Seriously.

Who said you could be so grand?

Who said you could tackle such a big problem? Who told you this was your problem to solve? Who gave you the super-human ability to create a thing that no one has successfully crated before?

Who do you think you are?

[Quote: "The critic hates most that which he would have done himself if he had had the guts." - Steven Pressfield, The War of Art]

[Quote: "The critic hates most that which he would have done himself if he had had the guts." - Steven Pressfield, The War of Art]

Somebody already tried to do what you are trying to do.

And she failed.

Somebody gave it their fullest and best effort. And was just as intelligent and well-trained as you.

And she failed.

Everyone you know says you would be stupid to try.

Because they think you will fail.

What makes you different from everybody else? What makes you so smart? What makes you think you can take on such a big and important thing?

 

Who do you think you are?

Seriously.

What do you see that no one else can yet see? What experience - what lifetime lived - do you bring? What mad mix of Genius is only yours to claim? What pulls your passion? What ignites your ire? What challenges your values? What motivates your movement?

What sparks like lightening in your imagination?

What calls your commitment to the future you are creating?

[Photo: Bear statue "attacking" a woman much too mature for this level of silliness.]

[Photo: Bear statue "attacking" a woman much too mature for this level of silliness.]

What cutting words do you have for the critics that nip at your feet?

What reminders do you call to mind when you hear again the same old things that everyone says?

What do you do to stun those who would silence you?

What stamina and strength do you demonstrate?

What fight do you fight when they come to knock you off your feet?

 

Whose voice do you hear when you think maybe you should not?

Is it theirs?

Is it yours?

What do you tell them?

What do you tell yourself about who you think you are?

Seriously.

What do you roar back at that little voice who would convince you to shut it all down?

About your Genius. About your will. About what makes you uniquely you and capable of tackling this momentous thing.

Because you can.

Because you will.

Because there is no other way.

 

This post is part of a yearlong series stepping through The Activated Genius Method to access and engage your unique Genius, incubate your Leadership, and develop necessary skills so that you can accomplish more than you ever thought possible
To dig even deeper, sign up to receive a Rise & Shine! Monday morning email. Each week, we'll work to turn the blog themes into practical, actionable steps to improve your life and work.
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But, Why?

Julie Slanker

Why? is a tricky question.

Depending on how you wield it, Why? can sound super accusatory or condescending. And it's not even about the tone of voice you use. Why? carries its own unhelpful subtext. It is the Why? itself that causes all the problems. 

Why did that happen? (Subtext: What did you do to cause this?)

Why do you want to do that? (Subtext: You shouldn't....)

Why is that important? (Subtext: It isn't....)

In coaching training, we are taught to avoid the word Why? for that exact reason: It's tricky and unhelpful. It puts people on the defensive. It makes you sound like a jerk. And nobody wants to be coached by an unhelpful jerk... 

At the same time.

If we are going to do our part to solve a problem - to disrupt the status quo we can no longer stand. If we are going to make a major change. If we are going to step into the full measure of our Genius to build a better world for ourselves and our communities, we need to get to the bottom of Why?

[Quote: "Before spending all your time and resources, it's incredibly important to re-define the problem." - Steven Levitt & Stephen Dubner, Think Like a Freak

[Quote: "Before spending all your time and resources, it's incredibly important to re-define the problem." - Steven Levitt & Stephen Dubner, Think Like a Freak

Why does the problem persist?

Why is this change so difficult?

Why have previous attempts failed - or succeeded?

Why?

This is not a call to judgement or self-criticism. This is not an accusation. This is not even - necessarily - an invitation to introspection. This is a research project. 

Because I am willing to bet that if you - if we - truly understood the root of the big problems we face, we'd be a further down the road to solving them. 

We're smart.

We're capable.

We're motivated to make a change.

Let's focus all that effort and energy on the real root of the issue. Let's dig in to what's really holding us back. Let's uncover the obstacles that are really getting in our way. 

You'll notice my use of the word real. That's the key. And that's why this is a research assignment. Because too often what we think is the problem, at first glance, is actually one of the symptoms.

Often what we think is simple and straightforward is actually complex and interconnected. Often what looks like a personal problem is actually an issue with the environment or the system or the bigger structures we work within. 

Sometimes what we think is a management issue, a leadership issue, a cultural or societal issue, also has its roots buried deep within us.

So you've got to understand Why? 

Why does the problem persist? 

Why is change so difficult?

Why have previous attempts failed - or succeeded?

[Photo: The Helix, Bangkok, Thailand]

[Photo: The Helix, Bangkok, Thailand]

I'll give you a hint: Your first answer will be wrong. Maybe not all the way wrong. But definitely incomplete. Dig deeper. Look inward. Ask around. Keep unwinding. Do more research. What is below that first answer to your inquiry? Why does that situation exist? 

Don't stop there.

Keep going. Keep asking. Explore the many levels that contribute to the status quo you can no longer stand. Document the reasons Why? so that we can spend the rest of the year focusing your Genius on what will make a real difference in achieving your goal.

 
This post is part of a yearlong series stepping through The Activated Genius Method to access and engage your unique Genius, incubate your Leadership, and develop necessary skills so that you can accomplish more than you ever thought possible. To follow-along from the beginning, start here.
Then join me every week with your Rise & Shine! Monday morning email as I dive a little deeper into the art and science of human performance and guide you through the practical application of this blog's theme.
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