3 Characteristics of a Genie (At Christmas)


My blog requires that you allow me a little indulgence in a Christmas reflection today!

It has been famously said that you should be the best “You” you can be because everyone else is taken! And that is the first and most important characteristic of Genius.  Genius is not some unattainable level of superior thinking but, an essence found, accepted, released and celebrated.  Genius is the absolute uniqueness that is you!  No one else has it in spades as you do and guess what….. it is the most natural thing in the world for you to be!

The word “genius”, I am known for writing about, has a little used relation “genie”, meaning a peculiar, distinctive or identifying character or spirit. Both words originate from the Latin word gignere (to beget) or to bring forth.  This bringing forth, or disentangling is something I love to do as I have natural inclinations as a “tutelary spirit”.

The word genie always conjures up for me the image of Aladdin summoning his mysterious helper.  This genie faithfully reminds Aladdin each time the lamp is rubbed in expectation “Your wish is my command”.

So what three things can we demonstrate intentionally and exercise at Christmas, in particular?

Be liberal

Bring it forth! Get all the help you need to define and describe and interpret what genius means to you and to those who will benefit from you!” There’s no limit to who you are, no end to what you add to the party as long as you are at the party! I spent a lot of time being liberal with the wrong stuff.  It left me bankrupt yet ignorant of the rich seam of blessing I was meant to bring and steward in this world.  Sometimes we need help to extract it and I make it my business now to help others disentangle and extract their “genius”

Be relevant

Do you notice that the genie always says to Aladdin “Your wish is my command”? In business the world over, leaders are understanding that it is vital first to meet clients’ needs rather than impart random solutions. First find out what is required, then assist! I want to encourage the same approach in our dealings with friends and family too.  So often we fail to apply these vital principles at home where more than anywhere we should give and receive the complete freedom to be ourselves.

Go on, allow yourself to be rubbed up the right way, the way that is needed!

Let someone else be your genie!

This has been a lesson I have caught only in recent years. I cannot always be the liberal or relevant response.  Sometimes I have no reserve of a certain genius which someone else possesses.  Either for others or even for myself. Yes, I must ask for what they have and act upon my desire for it with expectation and without guilt.  And if I don’t receive, still ask again!

My local church recently defined its values as simply this; No Masks, No Gasps, Only Jesus!

I love that. We are free to be ourselves and to accept one another.  Simply because Jesus came forth when needed and gave us courage to live this life generously and authentically.


If you enjoy my philosophical and spiritual reflections and care to exercise more purposeful self-discovery and fulfilment do subscribe to receive notifications of my posts. And enjoy this invitation to a conversation with me at the end of the year.


Dare to disclose!


Daring is a word that has meant a lot to me for years.  Suddenly everyone’s talking about it!

A mentor put me onto the book “Do The Work” by Steven Pressfield last week.  This word keeps appearing there too!

Again and again this year I have  cherished daring to be a vital commodity.  Now if I was a piece of rock and you cut me through I know you would find the words Hope and Dare running right through me!

It’s one of the attributes Brene Brown is famous for celebrating in “Daring Greatly”.  It also gobbled about a third of the wordage of my new book Disentangling Genius. I talk about the fact that daring is like a bright red bold thread in the weave of our lives.  Often, sadly that red becomes the red of shame, embarrassment and retreat.

dare2live was the radical name for a church I once pastored.  You can imagine the fun this wordsmith had with all the variations of that theme for various expressions of ministry, from dare2care to dare2look!  (When I saw that the British drugstore Superdrug was using the branding “Dare2bare” I was a little bit miffed to say the least!).

One day my friend Jonathan awkwardly asked “Hadn’t we done that idea to death?” I finally admitted I was probably just a little bit too much in love with my own infinitely applicable idea.

Whether expressed in the “textspeak” of the late 1990’s  or today’s sophisticated and popular vintage style noticeboard wall art, everyone seems to be arriving at this point.  Courage should be celebrated!

Courage is for life, not just for Christmas soldiers!

(Excuse me that was probably a Freudian slip as I have not yet even started Christmas shopping, cards or decorations)

We admire this commodity called courage but its just that bit more edgy to say DARING! In fact daring isn’t fearlessness at all!  It’s momentum in the face of fear.  Often painful millimetre by millimetre!

Though once upon a time, to “dare” was tinged with the prospect of disdain wafting from the responsible adults in my childhood world.  We played the game of Dare -DoubleDares at primary school. Playing out a dare meant being in some way unruly, reckless or deceptive! Fellow pupils would dare me to go up to the school staff room window at “playtime”.  (I was especially gullible).

I would reach up on tip toes or even jump a little higher.  At an exact moment I would stick out my tongue until gravity mercifully pulled me out of sight and recognition. Then, creeping around the corner of the red brick wall, I would dash out of any danger of being identified.

As well as being exciting, every dare had one of two prospects. Either the prospect of disapproval and punishment from the unwitting target or that of being found wanting or inadequate to the task.  This short-falling is the spectre we all face when we weigh up whether we really want to risk connecting with others in a truly significant way.

Authenticity is a corner in the marketplace where there is still rather a lot of room to stand.  How about we take it?

Being authentic, sharing one’s humanity and resistance, daring to disclose and resonate with those who would like to is a very visible place!  I’d like to aspire to this, invite you up, to share a platform, together reduce any sense of exposure and start to realise how our powerful stories are mutually liberating and affirming.