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.

Subscribe to the Emerging Women podcast on iTunes.


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. That’s something that I would never point out at myself as something that was valuable or that was even, “Oh, I’m good at this.” It’s interesting, because now, when you use that example, I understand what you’re saying about being a fish in water, because it’s not anything I would notice.

KW: Right. One of the things I like to say [is] your nothings or your somethings. So the things that feel like nothing to you are actually something. Like, for example, I remember I was in a consulting project years back. At the end, we’d had a success, and I said, “What was it that was so important?” And they said, “Well, we had failed in this area so many times, and you really made us feel like we can accept our failure and move on. You normalized it. You helped us, in a way, deal with our guilt and shame around it.” They didn’t use those words, but, “You made us feel OK, you gave us hope.”

And I was like, “Wait, wait, wait, but what about the important stuff? Like, I showed you a new interviewing methodology and we did a needs assessment.” They were like, “Well, yes, yes, yes, all that was good, but any consultant could have done that. You helped us turn around our minds and our hope.” And I was like, “Oh.”

So it’s really over time and through reflections on people. I can’t say enough that community and our friends and the people who see the best in us and who root for us—it’s such an important part of being able to understand our Native Genius, to have it reflected back to us. Because we’re trained to think that if something is easy, it’s not going to be valuable. And it’s not like Native Genius is easy all the time, and it’s not like it brings this blissful happiness all the time. But the kind of challenges that you face when you you’re using your Native Genius are the kind of challenges that you want to face.

Like, a couple years ago I did a TEDx talk, and I was very challenged by trying to put content into a 10-minute timeframe. But I was just so excited about it and eager about it, and you could just see—probably even as I’m talking about it right now—when people are talking about their Native Genius, something in them, in a way, lights us. Their eyes get brighter, they sit up straighter, they come forward in their seat. It’s this contagious kind of thing that we want to be around.

And they’re super resilient in the face of problems because they pay attention to this problem in a certain way. They bring a kind of curiosity about it that other people aren’t going to bring because it has to do with an aspect of their Native Genius. It’s getting activated in the face of the problem or the situation.

CP: Right. So [there are] a couple of things here. What is the process for discovering Native Genius? Is there a test? I want to rely on my friends, but at the same time, I want to be able to recognize it within myself.

KW: Absolutely. Yes. So there are signals that you get in your mind and your body while you’re doing something, and you can pay attention to these. This is one of the most important things that you can do.

I teach a do-it-yourself method, and we can talk about the aspects of that method. There are also a couple of tests on the market that I can tell you about that would give you a bird’s eye view and can often be very helpful. Sometimes people, six months after the text, they say, “Oh yes, I took that. It was cool, it kind of resonated,” but they don’t really remember.

But when you start paying attention to when you’re working or you’re doing something that’s active, like you might be tending to your children or in a deep conversation in your relationship. You’re doing something active and you feel excited, you’re smiling, you feel helpful. One of the most important aspects is you feel focused without making yourself be focused. It feels like you’re bringing a kind of energy, you feel supported, and you even feel smart in the way that is kind of special to you. I often say, “Well, I’m not smart like that,” and I let go of those things. And you feel satisfied and challenged in a good way. You feel perceptive in a way that’s unique to you.

So when we use mindfulness to be aware of when we’re feeling those things—and oftentimes I can just ask people, “Tell me about a situation when you were working recently that you were doing something you like doing.” That will bring out those memories, and then they report feeling all the kinds of emotions that I just mentioned. Those are the signals that your Native Genius is online.

One of the things about Native Genius, too, [is] we feel so immersed. There was a guy out of the University of Chicago who called this experience, part of what I’m talking about, and “flow.” His name was Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. He’s still alive. And he talked about optimal experience—feeling the things that I just described. Native Genius is a combination of that and also doing what feels purposeful to you. In other words, this is a way you want to contribute to your team or your business or your world or your family.

So, for example, one of my clients said to me the other day, “I was on a hike and I really felt like [I was] in the flow. I felt really good. But I knew that it wasn’t my Native Genius. But why isn’t it my Native Genius?” And I loved the question because the way he wants to contribute to the world is not by hiking. I have another friend who leads tours, kind of [an] Outward Bound kind of thing. So when he is in nature, his Native Genius—that’s his gift to the world. But this other client, his gift is around analytics and strategy and new ventures in business. So the different is, is this the way you want to contribute?

I’ll give another example. This is somebody, a client, in a Fortune 500 tech company. We were talking about your very first job ever [and] did it relate to your Native Genius now? And he talked about a situation where he was 16 years old and he was working in a restaurant in the coat check. But the coat check wasn’t set up where it was right by the door. It was this kind of clugy situation where the coat check was super far away and there wasn’t a rack or [anything]. And this restaurant was really busy and he would have to run back and forth and people would be waiting for their coats. If he wasn’t fast, his tips weren’t good.

So he systematized this whole situation so he could make it as efficient as possible so they he could go back there, he put all the coats in a certain way, like the men’s in one place and the women’s in another place. He didn’t have a coat rack but he kind of systematized it so he could grab them as fast as possible. And this was really fun for him.

Now in his work, you could put him anywhere and he’d be systematizing a process. When he realized this, he was like, “Oh my God. I do this all the time right now. I systematize how our kids get ready for school and the process for how breakfast works and how we get them out the door.” So once he saw that one element, this micro-unit of work that he does, he sees how he actually does it in multiple places in his life.

CP: Right. Interesting. So is that a valuable practice for us to engage in right now? Was that a one-off, or is that something you recommend, that we think about the first jobs that we had?

KW: I think that the simple question of what are jobs that you liked doing, and to think about specific moments in time in those jobs. Because Native Genius is very nuanced. For example, somebody might like presenting to a group of 10, but if it gets over 10, the intimacy is lost and they don’t like it anymore. So it’s really important to think of specific moments in time when you were doing something that you really liked. And you can think about it in early work or school situations, and you can think about it in your present work.

So this kind of noticing is one of the most important things that you can do. Another client, we were working with a specific moment in time that she really liked. She was coaching somebody and we drilled into what was her favorite part. One of the questions I love is, “What was your favorite part about what you were doing? And what was your favorite part about that? And what was your favorite part about that?” until we get to the nugget of the best thing.

What she said was, “When I brought out this piece of paper and I started drawing what my client was talking about, that was my favorite part. And then I would show her the drawing and say, ‘Is this what you’re talking about?’ and she said, ‘Yes, oh my gosh, you totally captured what I’m talking about.’”

So this client said, “When I go into meetings now, I book rooms where there’s a whiteboard or I take in a pen and paper so I can actually draw.” So what I would say is once you notice what is a small favorite thing that you like to do, then just freaking use the heck out of it as many ways as you can and learn about it.

CP: What do you mean by “use it”? Give an example.

KW: So using it—for the woman who loved drawing pictures when she was coaching people or working with a group, she just started doing that as much as she could in any kind of situation that she could.

CP: Got it, OK.

KW: And she brought consciousness to the fact that she was doing it. So before she realized that this was an aspect of her Native Genius, she might have a notebook with her, she might be in a conference room that had a whiteboard. This might be something she used. But once she realized it was an aspect of her Native Genius, she could remember, “Oh yes, this is an aspect of my Native Genius,” and then she could try to use it on the fly and deliberately use it and realize, “OK, this is a special way that I contribute.”

CP: Got it, OK.

KW: So to recap, what we’re talking about is noticing a specific moment in time when you’re feeling the emotions that we talked about. I like to name those moments with a sound bite. An example of a sound bite for the drawing would be, “drawing pictures to clarify” or something like that. Just really simple, not using business-speak. Hers might have been—I forgot what it is, but something like “cartoons to clarify” or something like that. And boom, she remembers it, and then she tries to use it on the fly.

And by using it on the fly, then you get juiced by using your Native Genius. It’s sort of this afterglow effect. When we’re interacting with people later, we still have the leftover juice from that. So it’s a very motivating thing when you can find just one aspect of your Native Genius and use it.

Where I find that people go wrong is that they try to figure it out all in advance. Like, “If I could just figure this out,” I think that’s a big mistake that we make. Somehow we think if we can just figure out what our Native Genius is, then everything will be better. But that’s not actually true because we need the habits and the small practices that will let us do it more.

CP: Got it. So it’s effortless, is what I’m hearing. It’s something that can be practiced and noticed in the moment. It’s obvious enough that your community will reflect back to you. And it’s unique to each and every one of us.

KW: Exactly. And it’s multiple things. I probably wouldn’t say effortless. But what you’re getting at, I think, with that word is that it feels natural. It feels comfortable.

CP: Right. It feels like a nothing. If it feels like a nothing, it feels so natural and I’m not even noticing it.

KW: Right. And sometimes we might be using our Native Genius and things [are] still hard. So it’s not to say that you don’t want to do things that feel hard, because at times, you’ll still feel very, very challenged. But the key difference is it’s the challenge that you want to be facing because it’s interesting to you and you’re like, “Oh, yes, this is the kind of puzzle I like,” versus the kind of puzzle that drains or bores you.

CP: Right. So how is this different from Now, Discover Your Strengths and other books that are very strength-focused?

KW: So I’m very steeped in the strengths work and in the strengths world. I started working with that around 2007. The emphasis there is really on discovery, which is great. There’s two tests on the market. One is called the StrengthFinder, and you can go to and take it for $9.99, and it will give you five of your, what they call “top themes.” And then you can use these themes to start looking for where those moments might show up for you.

It’s very, very high level, and some people will say it’s not actionable enough. But it will get you started. I think that they’re super valuable and I still use them in my practice. There’s another one called the StandOut. You can go [to] Marcus Buckingham wrote that, and he was also involved in writing the first StrengthFinder.

So I think the difference between strengths and Native Genius are strengths are what you do in the world. Native Genius is also what you do in the world, but it’s the deeper core aspect of your personality. And your Native Genius give rise to your strengths. People typically think that strengths are what we’re good at. And really, Native Genius is, in a very simple way of saying it, it’s the intersection between what you love and what you’re good at and what you feel natural doing.

So one of the reasons that I really like using the words “Native Genius” is because people get—just the words themselves tell you that it’s not just what [you’re] good at. Because so many people, in doing the strengths work over the years, they say, “Well, yes, I’m good at this, but I don’t like doing it.” We can all think of things that we’re good at. And those things might drain us and bore us. They really strain our minds and bodies because we have to force ourselves to do them.

And we’re talking about the feminine. When we start using force, we get in a place where our bodies have a lot of tone and we’re using a lot of will. It can be super, super straining on our systems over time. I have a feeling that, as people are listening to this, they’re thinking, “Oh, right, I know what that straining feels like.” And there’s a difference between straining and force and hard work and liveliness and focus.

CP: Is there a place in the body, or is there a way to recognize in the body if something has more of a Native Genius feel versus a strength, “I’m good at this but I don’t love it” feel?

KW: Yes. I think that the sensations in the body will be different for everybody. For me, I feel, from my feet up, energy rising and almost moving out of the top of my head. I feel my eyes get big and I feel myself literally moving forward, almost like I could stand up out of my chair. And oftentimes when I’ll be in a group, I’ll say, “Does anybody who’s Native Genius want to do this thing that we need done?” And you can just see, people hands shoot up. They’re like, “I want to do that!” So those are some the feelings I experience.

CP: Got it. So that’s helpful with the strengths. I just seems like you can’t really take a test to figure out your Native Genius because it feels so unique. No test is going to tell you, “Your Native Genius is drawing pictures capturing people’s thoughts.”

KW: Right! Exactly. The test may give you a theme that points you in the right direction. It may say, “You like ideating.” And that can be super helpful. I remember I took a test one time. It was a StrengthFinder and it said one of mine is ideation. And I realized, “I’m not doing enough ideation. This test is right. I do love doing that.” So I could look for ways I could actually bring that to action.

But what I found is I think what we tend to do is over-focus on the discovery aspect. The discovery aspect is only one of many aspects of being able to actually use your Native Genius. What we need to have is a habit of discovery over and over and over again. Because I’m still discovering. I know many aspects of my Native Genius, but obviously that work is changing all the time; we’re in different situations and I’m constantly learning about mine because I have the habit of doing that.

So the habits that I talked about are noticing, I talked about naming, asking yourself, “What is the favorite thing of the favorite thing?” and then naming that, like “clarify with cartoons.” And then remembering that you do that and using it on the fly. Another thing that you can do is—all of those things are internal things, things that you do within yourself. But you can also change the environment.

One of my clients is a VP for a Fortune 500 tech company, and when she was 16 years old, she was waiting tables. Obviously, the whole restaurant was split up by geography, and her tables were in a certain section. And what she realizes is when people came in for lunch, she really liked working with the businessmen and waiting on them, who needed to get in and out really quickly. And one of her colleagues like waiting on the moms with kids.

So they asked their manager, “Hey, can we switch this up so that we can segment it by customer?” So she was naturally influencing the environment so that it would call on her Native Genius more. That’s another thing we can do, we can create more opportunities in our environment.

CP: Let’s go back to the community, and you mentioned a couple of times when you were working with teens. How can we leverage feedback—whether it’s [from] teams at work or whether it’s [from the] community or if we’re in some kind of a professional circle—how can we develop practices so that we’re giving each other feedback and also keeping that discovery process going?

KW: That’s a great question. One of the things, I think, is simply asking people, “What do you see me do that I kind of do naturally and I do it in multiple environments? Like small things.” You can also say, “What do you see me get excited about?” So then you’re asking for reflection.

The other thing, I think, that is super, super important is just to be asking people around you, “Hey, what was your favorite thing that you’ve worked on this week? Tell me about that. And what was your favorite thing about that favorite thing?” And then you’re getting at what their Native Genius is. When you’re thinking about, “OK, I need help with this. I need somebody else to do it,” you want to find somebody who has the natural, unprompted desire to do it.

One of the key factors is [the] unprompted desire to do something. This is a huge ingredient in Native Genius. Part of all of those emotions that I talked about, the reason that you feel so smart and satisfied and challenged in a good way is because you have unprompted desire to do this thing. Meaning, you don’t have to manufacture the desire and nobody else does either in you.

So you’re not doing it because you want a raise or because you want recognition. You’re doing it because you have unprompted desire to do it. So when you’re thinking about [work] across a team or across a community, who has unprompted desire to do something? Really be thinking about that versus just who’s good at it.

CP: Yes. So that’s within community, and I could see—we’ve kind of been doing that in our community, with Emerging Women, and it’s been super helpful. I’m noticing a lot of things that I’m trying to do more of. But the other thing that I wanted to ask you about was relationships. I’m curious to see if this comes into play in a more intimate setting.

KW: Definitely. If you imagine that you have a net of jewels—many things that you do that you can’t not do that are very small—you’re going to be doing those no matter where you are. So you’re also doing these in your relationship. One of the things that my partner talked about is how I’ll help him drop into his feelings more. Again, whatever we do in our work, we’re going to be doing in our lives as well.

I think so many people are tired because we have to put a mask on to go to work, in a way. I know that has been a big source of pain in my life, feeling like I had to be something I wasn’t or I had to somehow show up and be something somebody else wanted me to be. In order to earn money, I couldn’t just be myself. I must have to be something else.

Again, I think it’s looking for those things. And I think in your relationship, one way that you could spark this is to ask each other, “What are the things that I do for you that makes you feel really loved?” And then you can ask yourself, “OK, do those things come naturally to me? Or do I feel like I’m really stepping outside of myself?”

One of the things my partner would say is, “She helps me feel on a deeper level. And she also helps me celebrate when I do things in my life that I was afraid to do or that were big challenges.” You could pretty much put me anywhere and I would be celebrating people, and I would be helping them get in touch with their feelings. And those things don’t feel hard for me.

If he said, “Well, I really feel loved when you make me cookies,” that one I’d be like, “Oh, OK.” It’s OK when I’m making cookies, but I sort of think anybody can make cookies. But you know what? His mom, part of her Native Genius is totally making cookies. She gets so excited—I emailed her a photo of these cookies that I made according to her recipe recently, and she was like, “The way they look is perfect! How did you get them to look that way?” I was like, “I don’t know!” But she was so interested in this.

And one of the ways that you know that it’s your Native Genius is if somebody thanks you for it, you sort of gush a little bit inside. You’re like, “I love it when people thank me for that.” But when somebody thanks you for it and you’re like, “Oh, yes, you’re welcome,” [it’s] probably not your Native Genius.

CP: Got it! That’s interesting. So there’s two things about that that’s interesting. I think one, just as women, we tend to, when people compliment us, I feel inside—I think this is a common thing—that we deflect receiving thanks. But there are things that are easier, that we deflect less, so to speak. So it is possible to weed through that by noticing our Native Genius. I know that some things that I really love doing that are my Native Genius, when I am thanked for that, I feel more in my power when I receive the thanks.

KW: Totally. Yes. And with regard to the feminine and as it relates to Native Genius, one of the reasons I think that—I want to go back to this thing that we were talking about in the body. When we’re using the opposite of our Native Genius—so non-native abilities—we tend to have to use a lot of tone and a lot of force. And we think that we can do things through will, but research has shown that will is a very precious commodity. We don’t have as much of it as we think. And when we’re using will, we’re not as in touch with things that we value in the feminine world, like intuition, like receptivity.

So I know when I’m using my Native Genius, I’m so much more receptive to information that my team is giving me, that my clients are giving me. When I’m using will and I’m doing things that are non-native, I just want to freaking get through them. And there’s this key note of effect. When we’re using a lot of will, I find that I just get, in a way, wound really tightly. My nervous system gets super amped and I’m really not in touch with femininity or feminine principles. And sometimes a switch will go off in me and I’m like, “I don’t care, I’ve just to get this done!”

In fact, I was feeling that way yesterday, and then a moment of serendipity happened and I was like, “OK, oh my gosh, I can let this go. I’ve got to switch back into Native Genius mode.” It really is a practice. “I’ve got to switch back and approach this thing in a way that is going to use my Native Genius.”

CP: Right. I think that is such a big key, because with strengths—believe me, I’ve done all the tests, it seems like. And I keep the information, but it has never influenced my life in any way except for taking up space in my brain. I think that having a practice around this work is the best thing that we could do, really. And our podcast is chock full of practices, so I hope that people can sift through this and use these little tidbits that you’ve given us. It’s been fantastic.

KW: Let’s just recap. Noticing when you’re feeling the emotions of feeling satisfied, smart, challenged—but in a good way—and you’re focused without making yourself be focused. And you know that this is the kind of difference you want to make in the world. And also you ask yourself, “What’s your favorite thing? And what’s your favorite thing of that favorite thing?” You make a sound bite, you remember the sound bite, you use it on the fly, and you create more opportunities to be able to use it on the fly.

And don’t worry about figuring out everything at once. Find one aspect of your Native Genius, and then be in community with it, tell somebody about it, ask somebody about theirs, get a buddy, and really celebrate [it]. One of my clients at a big company, we worked together for a while, and I said, “What has been valuable about this process for you?” And she said, “You know what? Before, in my work, I might be working on something that I like, but I didn’t see that as a significant event. Now I look at something and I say, ‘Oh my gosh! I’m using my Native Genius!’” And you could see that she was celebrating herself.

I think another thing, as this relates to feminine principles, [is] we tend to discount feelings of pleasure and distrust them, right?

CP: Right. Yes.

KW: It’s like, how is that valuable? And so what she was doing is she was breaking it down and realizing, “Within this moment of pleasure, not only do I get to feel good in my work and feel fulfilled, but I know that I am more curious, more perceptive, I’m generating through neuroplasticity.” She wasn’t saying these things, but she just got the impact. Through neuroplasticity, we’re changing our brains to be more curious, and then we’re developing a better intelligence that’s unique to us. And also, our contributions to the team are so much greater. This has all be found in research, that when we’re using our Native Genius, our contributions are not just a little bit better, they’re exponentially better, because of the way we’re learning and the way our minds are working when we’re using it.

CP: Right. I think it’s also helpful for entrepreneurs, not just leaders in organizations. When you’re in the swamp of so many things going on, it’s good to recognize your Native Genius. And you can plan for it and start a future where you’re just working through your Native Genius and you’re hiring people whose Native Genius are the things that you are doing in the swamp that may not have been as effective.

KW: Exactly. For the longest time, because I’m a CPA, I would do my own books, because I could. I felt like I would give myself the message and I would talk to myself in this way: “Why should I, when I can do this, why should I outsource it? I’m a CPA and doing taxes are not that hard. I should just do it.” Not only is that not good for my well-being and my Native Genius, it’s also not good for my business, because once I freed myself up from the kind of constraints of my own limited thinking, I realized, “Oh my gosh, I could pay somebody else to do this, and my billing rate is more than what I would be paying them! This doesn’t even make sense for my business!”

But I was stuck in old ways of thinking because I think we think, “Well, I can do this, which means because I have the skill, and it’s not a difficult skill, I should do it.” But it’s just not true. I would late until the last minute to do my taxes. [There] was so much suffering for myself.  Now that I’ve outsourced it, it’s so much better.

CP: Well, you have quite a journey, and I’m hoping that we’ll hear more about that at the main event in October. But you worked as a CPA, and now you’re doing what your Native Genius is, [which] is helping people discover their Native Genius. And I’m curious to see, as we’re wrapping up this podcast, if you could give other women who are in that process, who are at the precipice of really claiming their Native Genius and the truth of who they are and manifesting that truth in the world, what wisdom do you have for those emerging women?

KW: I would say embrace uncertainty and go where you feel love. Because when I stepped out of the business world, when I kept thinking I wanted to get out of the business world, I did these two master’s degrees that I loved. I still get chills thinking about it. I still get chills thinking about being at this one school. It felt crazy, like, “What am I going to do with these master’s degrees? I don’t know how I’m going to bring them into action.” But I started using, in small ways, what I did in these master’s degree [programs] in my consulting practice. It was then that my consulting practice totally took off in a really surprising way.

I would say do these small practices and keep going toward these feelings. Because if you do them in small ways and you get support for doing them, they will not send you wrong. Your values will spill out of them, your passions will spill out of them.

I have found that if you go toward your passion, you can miss your Native Genius. I’m passionate about eating healthy food, but I don’t want to cook it, I don’t want to make menus about it, I don’t want to teach other people how to make it. Eating healthy food is not my Native Genius. I’m passionate about it and I go out of my way to eat it, but it’s not what I want to delve my career around because I don’t like doing things with it. So I would say embrace the uncertainty of doing the things that give you these special feelings.

CP: Right. I think that was a very important point, the passion versus Native Genius. Well, good! I feel very excited to hear more and to have you at the event in October. I think the more that people are working in their Native Genius, I can only imagine that the world and the workplace and the way that we work is just only going to get better.

KW: Totally, yes. And thank you so much for having me! It’s such a pleasure to be working with Emerging Women and all of us learning and growing so much. I’m so happy to be a part of this community. I’m so excited about October!

CP: Yay!

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Chantal Pierrat

Founder & CEO
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