– 9: Native Genius: The Intersection of Competency and Shizzle with Kristen Wheeler

This episode’s guest is Kristen Wheeler. Kristen is a business consultant and executive coach who believes that workplaces should be arenas where people thrive while creating amazing results.

For more than twenty years, she has offered expert guidance on matters of IT, strategy, and leadership for clients like Arthur Andersen, comScore, WhiteWave Foods, and eBay. She has synthesized her unique blend of experience into strategies she calls Native Genius™. Native Genius Strategies help people and their companies understand, identify and apply an innate über-intelligence to solve tough issues and get bottom-line results, while also cultivating meaning and verve.

In this episode, Kristen and I spoke about:

Native Genius and how to cultivate this intelligence in your business life
How Native Genius gives ‘rise’ to our strengths
How to gain feedback from community and relationships to aid in your Native Genius intelligence
Embracing uncertainty and going where you feel loved
The difference between what you are passionate about and your Native Genius


Tune in to listen to my conversation “Native Genius” with the insightful: Kristen Wheeler.
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Chantal Pierrat: Welcome, Kristen.

Kristen Wheeler: Thank you! I’m excited to be here.

CP: Yay! It’s great to have you. For those of you who don’t know, Kristen is also one of my really, really good friends, on top of being a strategic advisor for Emerging Women. I’ve been incorporating her work, Native Genius, into my process with Emerging Women and it’s been fantastic and I’m noticing so much. I just so appreciate it.

What I was thinking was that before we start throwing Native Genius around—because once you hear the term and you get it, you actually do start throwing it around. So why don’t you just tell us what you mean by Native Genius. Give us a nice, full context and then we can go from there.

KW: Great. So Native Genius is a unique natural intelligence that is so innate that you might not notice it. And it sometimes is a little bit like a fish being in water—it comes so naturally that the fish would be like, “OK, yes, what else do you want me to do? This is not a big deal, this thing that I’m doing.” It feels easy, and it’s also super valuable to the people around us.

I want people to know that, just like their teeth—this is a silly example—they use them to chew, Native Genius you use in your work and you contribute in your world. Everybody has it, and once you tune into it—sometimes it takes a while to get. Everybody is on a different journey with understanding their unique intelligence. But once you get it, it clicks in and people are like, “Oh!” Sometimes I’ll be working with a group or an individual for a month or so, and then it starts to click in and they say, “Wow. I’m really starting to get the power of this.”

Some examples would be [like this]: I was working with somebody the other day [who] works [for] a corporation, and it was that “getting it” kind of thing. He said, “I’m realizing this is so personal.” And it really is. It’s very personal and intimate. And Native Genius are things that you do that you can’t not do.

For example, we could put you anywhere and you’d be doing them. Like for you, Chantal, I notice that no matter where we are, you are reflecting back to people, in a way, like what your tagline says, the truth of who they are. When people start saying what they’re up to in the world with their work, you are so excited about it, especially when it comes from a place of authenticity. And we can put you anywhere. I mean, I’ve seen you in so many different situations, and you’re doing that. That’s one of many things that you would do. So Native Genius is not just one thing. It’s many things.

CP: Let me just stop you there, because it’s interesting, what you started saying about Native Genius. You were saying it’s like being a fish in water.