By Ann Ronan, Ph.D.
Now please notice I didn't ask, how intelligent are you? That's an entirely different question. Our culture puts a great deal of weight on assessments given to you when you're in school...I.Q. tests, S.A.T.s, A.C.T.s...alphabet soup. This is unfortunate. These tests only measure a portion of the different types of intelligences including linguistic and logical-mathematical intelligences.
Years ago, I was delighted to find Howard Gardner's work on multiple intelligences in the K-12 school systems. He identified 8 different types of intelligences. They include linguistic (good with words), logical-mathematical (good with numbers and reasoning), spatial (picture smart), bodily kinesthetic (body smart), musical (music smart), interpersonal (people smart), intrapersonal (self smart) and naturalistic (nature smart).
Another author, Daniel Goleman, says we can also have emotional intelligence and that this kind of intelligence is an even stronger indicator of success than I.Q. Emotional intelligence can be learned, it's not fixed at birth. The different emotional intelligences include self-awareness, altruism, personal motivation, empathy, and the ability to love and be loved.
Ok. So what does all this have to do with you being happily self employed, working from home doing work you love and making plenty of money? I find that many of my clients doubt that they are "smart" enough to succeed in their own business. They often don't recognize the gift of their own unique intelligence and how that gift can solve problems for others.
For example, I've met many interior designers who downplay their talent and under charge for their services. Now being someone who has had to return just about every piece of furniture I've ever bought on my own, I recognize clearly the gift of spatial intelligence in these designers. And that's one intelligence I sure wasn't blessed with! I save my self (and the sales clerks) lots of time and frustration by hiring designers.
Another example, I never knew that I had a natural ability for writing until I got to college. I assumed it was not difficult for anyone to write. Wrong! A college professor had us take an exam to determine if we needed to take a basic writing class. Of the 15 people who gave a writing sample that was judged by 3 teachers, mine was the only one that "passed" so I didn't have to take that writing course. That's when I had an aha moment of "oh, so this isn't easy for everyone." Prior to that, I just had no awareness of this gift. And now I am able to serve others with and charge well for my services.
So how are you intelligent? Don't downplay your interpersonal and/or intrapersonal skills. Those are often even more important than some of the others. They allow you to build rapport and relationships, to empathize with others and to be a good listener. These are some of the strongest skills you need in business and sales.