The Power of Y.O.U. – Your Special Kind of Intelligence Redefined
“Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning.” Albert Einstein
Einstein was a true genius with an estimated IQ score somewhere between 205 and 225. Yet, the one key trait that enabled Einstein to fulfill his powerful brilliance was his endless curiosity. He was discovery-driven and continually disrupted his thinking after each failed experiment he created. It took him 15 years to perfect his Theory of Relativity.
Most of us don’t have an IQ even close to that of Einstein. What we do have is our form of unique intelligence. This article will reveal how my discovery-driven nature provided a breakthrough and expanded definition of my intelligence beyond the standardized IQ test. This knowledge transformed the trajectory of my own learning experiences and career direction and the tools I use to coach my clients in changing theirs.
What about you? Will you disrupt yourself or be disrupted? That is the question.
Did you know a new tally finds that more than 1,600 four-year colleges and universities will not require students to submit ACT or SAT scores to be considered for fall 2022 enrollment? That is more than two-thirds of the 2,330 bachelor-degree institutions in the United States!
In my first article on the Imposter Syndrome, I shared my own imposter story revealing how heavily I relied upon my grades and SAT scores as the sole measure of my intelligence. As a result, I decided to disrupt myself and my educational path as a college sophomore. In my junior year, I shifted my major from business administration to psychology, my true passion, and transferred to George Washington University. One of my psychology professors and mentors led me to groundbreaking research by Howard Gardner, a highly regarded professor at the Harvard School of Education. In a nutshell, Gardner postulated that one’s intelligence goes beyond the restrictive focus and definition of general intelligence (also known as the G factor) or general cognitive ability. He pioneered the theory of “Multiple Intelligences”. This theory states that there are eight types of intelligence. You can find a definition on each of the eight, along with a few sample careers per category here.
After viewing Gardner’s list, my “aha” moment hit. I believed I struck gold. With my strong belief in the eight types of intelligence, my confidence soared. Armed with this new framework, I began leveraging and combining my innate gifts and a special type of intelligence, including verbal-linguistic, interpersonal, intrapersonal and logical-mathematical. Owning my purpose and passion for serving as a leader for positively impacting others’ growth and development for the better, especially during challenging times, was the key to destroying my imposter. At this crossroads, I made a conscious decision to shift my interpretation of my story about my particular kind of intelligence to a “river story from a rut story.” Immediately following college graduation, I pursued and completed my graduate degree by 22 years of age in industrial/organizational psychology from Columbia University. I boldly forged my career in Human Resource Management, and the rest is history.
In my leadership and career coaching work with clients at a crossroads, we examine and debunk their limiting beliefs about future career options or perceived lack thereof. I urge them to stay open to all possibilities as we uncover and rediscover their innate gifts, mainly through exploring their own life story. It is inspiring to see a client become mentally free to pursue a new career and/or life direction once they fully own the power of their unique gifts.
Here’s a list of Gardener’s types of intelligence and a sampling of my clients’ successes and the career directions they moved into:
- Logical-Mathematical: a millennial client saw the future trends in the very early stages of the cryptocurrency business and leveraged his passion and training in blockchain development to launch his consulting firm serving high net worth individuals and family offices. A Gen X client left a career in financial services in investment management to earn his computer science degree and enjoy his career as a software engineer.
- Musical: a millennial client and a recent college graduate decided to pursue a Ph.D. in musicology, given his love of music and diverse cultural influences. A boomer client made a successful transition combining her musical strengths as an opera singer and voice teacher to become a consulting expert and trainer for executives to hone their presentation skills and create a more powerful voice and presence.
- Verbal-Linguistic: a millennial client completed a master’s degree and became a speech pathologist in a hospital and finds great satisfaction in her work. A boomer client with a passion for humor created a side hustle as a comedy writer and performer while remaining a successful Real Estate Developer.
- Bodily-Kinesthetic: a Gen X client transferred from a career in public relations in the pharmaceutical industry to pursue a passion for healing others by gaining a master’s in mental health counseling with a specialization in Core Energetics. Another Gen X client left a corporate career due to burnout to become a Fitness and Wellness Consultant and Trainer, gaining certifications as a cycling and treadmill running instructor and producing events related to wellness and fitness.
- Interpersonal-Intrapersonal: a boomer client who was a senior technology executive transitioned to becoming a successful certified Executive Coach for his second act late in life and has never been happier. A millennial client left a corporate career in management in the beverage industry and is now completing her graduate degree for her master’s in social work to create positive social change.
Be like Einstein. Never stop questioning new areas for learning and determine which of your gifts can catapult you in a new direction. A final word to the wise. DO NOT underestimate your unique type of intelligence because it comes naturally to you. These gifts are your source of personal power and provide the platform for being a force of good in the world.
30 Day Power Challenge
In the next 30 days, after learning more about the eight areas of multiple intelligence I exposed you to, dedicate some quiet time to explore which types you may possess beyond your general cognitive abilities.
Ask yourself these questions:
- What areas of unique intelligence do I possess that I have stifled, been unaware of, or not nurtured?
- What time commitment will I make to myself to research this question?
- What action step can I take, including using the power tools Nancy has suggested, including books to read and quizzes to take?
- Quiz for measuring multiple intelligence
- Now Discover your Strengths by Marcus Buckingham and Don Clifton
- Assessment testing
Are you ready to take action and be accountable for your desired results?
Do you want challenge yourself to grow professionally and personally? If your answer is YES to both for creating sustainable change, then contact Nancy to learn more about the steps for getting there.
Nancy Friedberg, M.A.
Master Coach and President, Career Leverage, Inc.
Marshall Goldsmith Certified Stakeholder Centered Coach
Certified Now What? Facilitator