This is the brutal truth.
You've spent the last few months uncovering your Genius - the unique combination of Values, Motivation, Strengths, and Inclination that shape your actions, interactions, wants, and best work. Once you face the fear and responsibility that come with realizing the vast power within you, it can be tempting to try to start solving every sticky situation that crosses your path.
Without further delay!
You've spent so much time - perhaps you are thinking - stifling, suppressing, or ignoring your Genius. There is a lot to make up for and not a moment to waste!
And while it is absolutely true that there is so much you could do - to help solve a problem, to begin to make a difference - it also is true that without a little bit more design a lot of your generous energy will go to completely waste.
Because not all work is your work.
First, and foremost, because not all problems are worth solving. Some are simply the easy issues that de-materialize on your way to achieving more important things. They are the momentary annoyances, the nagging nuisances, that could easily sap all of your brilliant energy - if you let them. If you give them the kind of time and attention only problems worth solving actually deserve.
And while that realization does narrow things down quite a bit, it is not enough of a filter to be sure your work is well-directed.
We live in a big and messy place. There are enough tough problems to keep you busy for multiple lifetimes. And once that part's done, there is enough damage to be corrected to keep you busier still. So it is not sufficient to know that the problem is worth solving. It must also be a situation where you are moved to make a contribution. Where you are called by a sense of duty to take apart what we have now and build something so much better in its place.
Put simply, it must be a problem you want to help solve, in the deepest sense of that word.
You don't have to pick just one thing - but it pays to remember that you cannot save the world by yourself. There is power in focus. And there are limits to even your Genius, my friend.
That's why not all work is your work.
Still, even within an entrenched status quo that you can no longer stand, even for a change that you want to help make, not all work will likely be your work.
These issues are complex and multi-faceted, longstanding and layered. They have reasons upon reasons upon reasons for why they continue to persist. Despite deliberate effort to create necessary change.
So you have to be strategic.
The whole point of taking the time to uncover your unique Genius is so that you can apply it where and when it will make the biggest difference. So that you can take what makes you powerful - formidable - and press it up against the obstacles that only you can topple. So that - instead of toiling around the edges or struggling where you are weakest - you spend your time and energy where you can make the most significant contribution to the future you want to create.
Take a look at what obstacles stand between you and achievement, all the reasons why the status quo persists. Where can your Genius make a decisive difference?
What critical obstacles are you uniquely equipped to overcome? What do you bring that the effort to solve this problem has been missing for too long? Where do you know the right answer while everyone else is still stuck admiring the question?
Make a list. We're getting closer.
Even then, with your strategically matched task list in front of you, you'll have to face the harsh reality, yet again.
Not all that work is likely your work.
At least not yet.
The bigger the problem you want to help solve - the more entrenched the status quo you can no longer stand - the truer that statement will be.
Because there will be a lot to do, especially for a Genius like you. So you will have to prioritize. You will have to decide where you want to start.
And then - and only then - it will be time to get to work.
Want to go deeper? Sign up to receive my weekly 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.
Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World by Cal Newport
Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown
The Fire Starter Sessions: A Soulful + Practical Guide to Creating Success on Your Own Terms (affiliate link) by Danielle LaPorte
Rework by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson