I recently visited Rome for the first time. If you’ve been there you know (and if you haven’t yet I am sure you can imagine) that just about every cobblestone you land your feet on or direction you cast a glance in, there is another delicious, ancient miracle to absorb. It’s impossible to spend any time walking through this mythical city without feeling a somewhat constant, nagging state of wonder.
The residue of the raw, unfiltered genius of the Roman architects, sculptors, painters and philosophers is literally smattered on every surface. You almost feel (and hope) that you might absorb a tiny bit of it as you sit on the Spanish steps or walk the circumference of the great Colosseum.
Sure, Rome is great, but what does it have to do with my business or marketing?
Let’s talk about this idea of genius, shall we? The tagline I crafted for this website and community is ‘Marketing Genius for Petpreneurs’. Like any bit of marketing, I crafted these words carefully for meaning, feeling and readability. But the word ‘Genius’ here does not refer to the structure of the site itself, and it certainly does not refer to me! I am not claiming to be a genius or necessarily to even be able to capture or curate it (although I’m certainly going to try my best!).
The genius I am referring to here, is the mythical, invisible, indescribable genius that passes through us and sweeps us up in its magic.
The ancient Romans believed that ‘genius’ (Latin: [ˈɡɛ.nɪ.ʊs]; plural geniī) is the “individual instance of a general divine nature that is present in every individual person, place, or thing” They believed genius would follow you around, helping you out when you needed it. It was an external, supernatural spirit – not a characteristic that you could claim or be burdened by.
I love this concept of “having a genius” rather than “being a genius”.
I first heard about this concept in Elizabeth Gilbert’s wildly popular book Big Magic (an empowering tribute to the creative process – if you haven’t read it yet – do. I have highlighted like EVERY page). When I did a bit of digging I discovered that in 2009 she gave a Ted talk about this topic, called ‘the elusive creative genius’. It’s clearly a concept she’s kept with her for quite a while (in the Ted talk she also references an interview with Tom Waits who described a similar approach to his relationship with his ‘genius’) and I find it intriguing and refreshing that we can be separate from our genius. That it’s a supernatural force that flows through us at its leisure, not ours. But I think an important takeaway, as Elizabeth discusses at length, is that we show up every day and do the work.
We can’t just sit around and wait for genius to join us – we have to put the time in.
What I intended for this community, is that it can be your source of genius when you are putting in the hours and need help… a bit of inspiration, a bit of magic. My hope is that this will be a place so full of insights, ideas and ‘ah-ha’ moments – that it attracts and invites that genius spirit to stay close to us and be our muse. But that no matter what, when you call on working with dog (unlike the supernatural genius which can be very illusive) we will always be here when you need us, to support you and light you up.
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P.S. If you’re looking for a face to represent this illusive genius, an unassuming little house elf, always waiting to inspire, consider this one… the glasses make him look more qualified, don’t you think?