Set Your Inner Genius Free

July 20, 2010

On the surface, this is just a gimmick, and a fairly predictable one. It might even be cliché. Singer, songwriter, artist, pop star Jewel goes in costume to a karaoke bar. What will happen when she finally gets on stage and sings?

Undercover Karaoke with Jewel from Jewel

But when I watched the video, I didn’t just see the surface. I don’t know if the originators of the gimmick intended any deeper meaning, but I saw one. It probably came from me – from my own experiences, values, worldview, and way of being. I work with people to uncover their natural gifts and talents and develop them so they can live and work authentically. I help people free themselves from the boxes and cubicles other people try to stuff them in and overcome their own limiting beliefs. I help them reconnect with the core of who they are, their individual combination of abilities and perspectives and beliefs and values. I help them find their inner genius and set it free – thank you Barbara Sher for defining genius for all of us as what we were born to do and can do especially well.

So when I saw Jewel dressed as “Karen” in a business suit and a fake nose, I saw a symbol of people who force themselves to fit into corporate guidelines and corporate dress codes, uncomfortable with some aspect of who they are (the fake nose) because it doesn’t match other people’s standards for how they should be. She became the shy, self-doubting, repressed woman uncomfortable with her own inner genius – maybe even a little afraid of her own inner genius.

This really cool thing happens when the crowd senses Karen’s insecure vibe. They become a chorus of encouragement, chanting, “Ka-ren! Ka-ren!” as her friends try to get her onstage. They want her to try. They want her to succeed. They are on her side. That’s the way it is when people find out someone wants to stretch her wings but is a little unsure. Close friends and family might tend to dash her hopes – in her “best interest” – but people who don’t know her so well believe she can do it, and definitely believe she has the right to try.

When Jewel starts singing in her Karen costume, you see the magic. It looks like she reaches way down to her toenails when she sings. I believe she reaches way in when she sings, too, to her core self, where her innate gifts and well-developed talent and comfortable self-acceptance all reside in alignment. She’s not “performing” in a showy way, and she’s no longer holding back being Karen. She’s being Jewel.

It’s definitely hokey to say, “Inside every Karen there’s a Jewel waiting to shine.” That’s an oversimplified exaggeration. But I think inside every person there is a core self, with natural gifts and talents, that can shine when that person learns comfortable self-acceptance, lets go of the restraints, and starts developing and expressing the core.

Want to set your inner genius free?


4 Responses to “Set Your Inner Genius Free”

  1. Darcy on July 21st, 2010 6:35 am

    I loved that video. The big thing I noticed was how, even before there was a famous singer there, everyone was having a great time, singing, making their own entertainment and art, enjoying each other just as much as the incredibly talented Karen.

    I bet it was great for Jewel, too, to get to go back to being a Karen, someone who can just sit in a karaoke bar with her friends (okay, they were fakes, but) and be anonymous, not be swarmed with fans, not have a bunch of camera phones pointed at her, just to get to sing and have the audience enjoy her talent and not just her fame.

  2. Steve Coxsey on July 21st, 2010 11:02 am

    I agree, Darcy. Jewel must have had a blast. She looks like she’s completely in the moment when she’s singing, and since it’s not a paid performance and she’s incognito she’s got to be singing for the pure love of it.

    I also like the fact that this is a group of people who can get away from the external expectations and just do what they enjoy, whether they’re okay at it, struggling, or pretty good. And their enthusiasm for “Karen” is because she’s their champion of the moment, overcoming self-doubt.

  3. Dee Relyea on July 21st, 2010 2:18 pm

    Steve, I wanted to comment on your excellent post. I too am a coach deeply committed to helping people recognize their gifts and talents and bring them out into the world.
    Your title; “Set Your Inner Genius Free” is a compelling reminder that we all have inner wisdom and abilities. And, unfortunately, we don’t always share our gifts. Jewell has reminded us not to die with our music inside.
    Thanks for sharing this!

  4. Steve Coxsey on July 21st, 2010 6:16 pm

    Hello, Dee. I know we both share a lot of enthusiasm for helping people connect with their individual uniqueness and share who they are with the world. Glad you enjoyed the video. It had me cheering.

Got something to say?