How To Fuel Your Life Purpose By Surrounding Yourself With Genius

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Catherine Hughes

Director of the 8 Women Dream Project at 8 Women Dream
Catherine’s dream is to make 8 Women Dream the premier online publication for women looking to pursue their dreams. She is a published author, a freelance writer, and a guide for those who want their dreams to come true online. Catherine would someday like to be invited to speak at TED about her observations about her 8WD project inviting women to take a chance on their dreams. Wine was required... Catherine posts on Sunday evenings and fills in dream stories as needed. If you aren't sure how to comment on this story, click here.

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How To Fuel Your Life Purpose By Surrounding Yourself With Genius

Last week I wrote about writing your own dream story in Thousands Struggle With Their Inner Genius — But Never Discover It as I continued in my post series about the book, Practical Genius: The Real Smarts You Need to Get Your Talents and Passions Working by Gina Rudan.

I wrote about how Gina wants you to explore your life so you can tell a passionate story of who you are when you meet new people and in your everyday personal conversations. Have you ever noticed how the universe has a mocking sense of humor when you are exploring new ideas?

Just when I thought that my 8 Women Dream website story can wait… (I mean how important is it really to raffle off an elevator pitch when it comes to my dream just yet) … I received the opportunity to interview THE Jackie Collins. You know, like call-her-home-and-have-her-come-to-the-phone kind of interview.

I had exactly 15 minutes and a list of questions.

But when Jackie Collins answered the phone, saying hello in her elegant, slightly British accent, I realized I needed to briefly explain who I was between trying to breathe normally. This was the moment where I needed to tell a brief, passionate story about who I am and what I am doing with 8 Women Dream.

Boom there it was. &$@#!!  Thanks Gina.

Suddenly everything Gina Rudan had been saying rushed into my temporal lobe. I managed to tell Jackie my story, but I would have liked to blown her away with my passion for what I do, because I AM passionate about 8 Women Dream. Just ask my fellow dreamers. I am fussy about every detail on this site.

I know I drive them crazy.

And Jackie Collins? She knows her dream story and delivers it like some fine Rachmaninoff concerto played by Sergei Rachmaninoff himself. I was in awe of her — just wait until I write the post about our interview.

surround yourself with genius like Jackie Collins

Okay Gina I got it.  Don’t blow an opportunity to share your passion.


Surrounding Yourself with Genius

After spending 15 minutes chatting with Jackie Collins I learned a great deal about people who live their dreams at the level she does. There is a passion in her that reaches through the phone and grabs you by the throat, demanding that you do better.

Dreamers need to know these kind of people.

Gina Rudan wants you to do an inventory of your relationships and look at what those relationships say about who you are. Do they share your values, support your passions, and encourage your growth as a human being? Do you see your own joy, curiosity, and energy in them? Have you handpicked them with care, or are they in your life by happenstance?

If the characters in your life don’t support your dream story, what do you have?

Gina challenges you to surround yourself with genius, to populate your life and time with people who are right where you you want to be, who will stimulate and inspire you, share their wisdom and enthusiasm, and seek the same from you.

This doesn’t mean that you immediately need to disconnect from family and friends, but depending on how you answered the question of how you have these people in your life — you need a plan.

Gina urges, ” Warning: if you are thinking “I don’t need any new friends” or “I have enough people in my life,” you are about to miss the personal paradigm shift of a lifetime. But you’re ready to curate your cast of characters and you’re prepared for the extraordinary rewards that will result …”

Inventory Your People

Make a thorough list of the people you are currently surrounded by — your family, colleagues, friends, even acquaintances who seem to get a regular amount of your time.

Who are these people? What do they care about? Do they add value to your life and to your story? Or do they deplete your genius resources? Put stars next to the names of people who feed you. We’ll come back to the ones that don’t.

My people –

** My son — he cares about me, his dad, his pets, his best friends, math, physics, football and laughter. He definitely adds value to my life story just by being my amazing son.

** My mom — she cares about her children, her grandchildren, her religion and dance. She adds value to my life. She feeds me with kindness and support. She loves me and she loves that I am writing again.

**KB — she cares about her daughter, drinking the right wine, art, teaching, humor, travel. She adds value to my life by always showing up when I need her. She constantly reminds me of my genius and demands that I push myself 100% to make my dream happen. She’s been known to drag me to writing workshops and shove me in front of writing mentors.

**Heather — she cares about her son, her husband, her family, her friends, her jewelry, and animals. She adds value to my life by being the web developer that helped me launch 8 Women Dream. I can call her any day at any time with an 8 Women Dream problem and she will clear mountains to help me fix it. She truly believes that I will make 8 Women Dream the #1 inspirational website on the Internet for women looking to change their lives.

**Remy — she cares about her son, helping people, photography, her family and her dogs. She adds value to my life by being the first business coach I ever had, by being willing to show up and write for 8 Women Dream for over two years and to convince Jayne that she needed to be a part of this adventure.

**Lisa, Katie, Rayne, Jayne, Shellie, and Andrea each add such value to my life for being a part of 8 Women Dream. Lisa for her editing of my work and for being 100% behind this project. Katie brings the promise of new dream possibilities as she bravely travels to find her dream. Besides, I love her humor. Rayne brought her journalism expertise, advice and loving soul to 8 Women Dream. Jayne is this amazing rock of support who nourishes my big dreams for 8 Women Dream. Shellie reminds me that there’s hope, and that big dreams do come true. Andrea is like a breath of fresh air — who I would do anything for.

“You are who you walk with,” Gina says.

practical genius by Gina Rudan

Your Genius Wish List

Next you must make a Genius Wish List of the people in your scope of learning, curiosity, and passion, whose work or expression inspires you.  Mine goes like this –

Arianna Huffington – I’d like her to mentor me on running an online publication.

Guy Kawasaki – I’d like him to mentor me on obtaining funding.

Jackie Collins – I’d just love for her to offer me advise when I am feeling down about my dream. (Just wait until you read my interview!)

Seth Godin – I’d like his advice on marketing 8 Women Dream.

Brian Clark – I’d like him to evaluate the 8 Women Dream website and make suggestions.

Darren Rowse – I’d like him to help me successfully launch a product.

Media Temple – I’d like a strategic partnership domain hosting sponsorship with them in exchange for prime advertising location.

We are suppose to sketch out a strategy for reaching out to the people on our wish list, whether by email or phone call or through an introduction from another person. We must be specific with our “ask,” which ideally should be a simple, fairly brief conversation by phone or over a cup of coffee. But when we meet them we must ask them a question about THEIR success and be interested in what they have to say — but we must not pitch them.

The idea is to begin a relationship with the genius you admire and expand your tribe.

Where’s Yoda?

The next step is to find a mentor. Didn’t I just write that I want Arianna Huffington for my mentor?

Your mentor can come from someone in your community, a church, online or someone you pay to spend time with.  Having a mentor is very important to move forward with your big dreams.

Be an Ambassador

Promote someone else’s genius out to the world. This was the idea that I based 8 Women Dream on. In exchange for writing on 8 Women Dream, dreamers will gain exposure and a following that can open up new doors in their lives and help them achieve their dreams.

Grow Your Tribe

You need more people you believe in and who believe in you. You need people who are willing to spread the word about what you are doing.

Rules of engaging your tribe –

1.  No one night stands.
Meaning when you meet with someone and they don’t follow up, you are done.

2.  Skip the 10,000 followers for 10 true believers.
You want followers who are participating in your dream and spreading the word about you.

3.  No transactional behavior allowed.
Never initiate a relationship because of what you think you will get out of it. No selling.

Dreaming and being a practical genius takes a village. Living the life of a dreamer is a social, not solitary endeavor. The fastest way I’ve seen dreamers falter is when a dreamer whose been writing for 8 Women Dream cuts herself off from engaging on the site and with her fellow dreamers. I’ve seen this more times than I care to discuss.

Disconnection kills your dream.

To further quote Gina, “We are creatures who crave inspiration, intelligence, motivation, comfort, and good humor of others who are living life at the intersection of what they love and what they do best.”

Who will help you achieve your dreams? Do you have a plan for surrounding yourself with genius?


8 Women Dream has an extra copy of this new book, Practical Genius: The Real Smarts You Need to Get Your Talents and Passions Working for You, by Gina Amaro Rudan and we want to give it to one of our treasured readers.

Here’s how to get your name in the drawing —

Leave a thoughtful comment on any of the posts in Catherine’s series on Practical Genius and this will register you for the drawing. The more you comment, the more chances you have to win. Notification of the contest winner will be sent to the email address you use to post your comments.

We will draw a lucky winner on Sunday, November 2nd.

  • John Varvi

    I really like this and it has given me a great deal to think about. I think I may have to buy this book.

  • Kai

    What a great post and definitely one I needed to hear.
    Besides the brilliant title, I love this line…
    “You are who you walk with”

  • I keep being reminded this week to add more genius in my circle! Specifically for men to start groups (like mastermind groups) to talk about goals, personal issues, global problems and how to deal with them.

    Creating rituals like a regular meeting would be helpful, and gaining members through a blog that brings together like-minded people like you’ve done here (or create a forum with a specific culture?) thank you so much for all the advice!

  • Heather Montgomery, Product Launch Dreams

    Whoohoo! I’m one of your people :)

    That genius list is very cool and I have a feeling mine would look similar! Can’t wait to get a copy of this book.

    Thanks for sharing your practical genius with us every week (and then some) – H

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  • Petey

    Adam Gopnik quotes Jamy Ian Swiss as saying, “Magic only happens in a spectator’s mind. Everything else is a distraction… Methods for their own sake are a distraction. You cannot cross over into the world of magic until you put everything else aside and behind you – including your own desires and needs – and focus on bringing an experience to the audience. This is magic. Nothing else.”