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The 4 Laws to Live and Lead by to Access Your Brilliance

In his book Shoe Dog, Phil Knight, founder of Nike, writes about what sparked his success at selling. After being unable to sell encyclopedias because he hated it, and feeling empty inside when selling mutual funds, he started selling shoes and enjoyed it because ‘it wasn’t selling’: he believed in running, that these were the best shoes and that the ‘world would be a better place’ if people ran every day. He added, ‘People, sensing my belief, wanted some of that belief for themselves. Belief is irresistible’.

When Knight started to unlock his own brilliance and believe in himself, he was able to create more impact and influence with others.

Like Knight, in that amazing body and mind of yours exists your inner brilliance. In your teams exist the ideas and innovations you’re searching for to drive the change that’s needed. And in your business lies the brilliance that will set you apart from the competition, that will give you the edge, that will guarantee your next growth plan. You have all you need. Here are four laws to live and lead by if we too want to be our brilliant selves.

Law 1: Be You – Own your spotlight

If we don’t start leading from within, giving ourselves permission to be who we are, owning our unique values and beliefs, our strengths and our weaknesses and acknowledging the person we are on the inside, imperfections and all, we’ll never be capable of being the better person on the outside.

Steve Jobs echoed this thinking when he said, ‘Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.’

Faking it till you make; hope or hoping are not strategies for becoming more brilliant. You are the strategy.  You are the key to change. Brilliance starts with you choosing to own who you are and giving yourself permission to live and lead from this space.

Law 2: Be Ready – Harness Your Energy

How many of you would admit to regularly feeling like a champagne bottle that’s been shaken so much the cork feels like it will pop at any moment?

Too often it’s because we’re self-sabotaging by giving too much to others and not enough to ourselves. We are short of time, exhausted and operating in survival mode. We’re pushing ourselves to the limit and how can you be good to anyone else if you’re not being good to yourself?

Harnessing your energy is a self-leadership discipline. Jim Loehr, co-author of The Power of Full Engagement, says, ‘Productivity is less about managing your time and more about managing your energy’.


  • your daily practices that keep you present and centred
  • how you can attach the oxygen mask to yourself first to ensure you can function to the level that others expect.

Law 3: Be Together – Connect with Intent

Everyone needs to connect. It doesn’t matter what you do, what level you operate on, what industry you’re in, or whether you work for an organisation or are out on your own we need to connect to feed our hearts and our minds. As Keith Ferrazzi concludes in Never Eat Alone, ‘Success in life = (the people you meet) + (what you create together)’.

Building a network for personal brilliance is about:

  • connecting and collaborating with the right people
  • openly sharing knowledge and insights with individuals who understand, at a deeper level, our goals and aspirations
  • knowing that when we learn to move together we start to move faster.

Find, develop and nurture the right connections to become more brilliant today and even more brilliant tomorrow.

Law 4: Be Heard – Magnify your influence

Brilliance is more than getting the job done or hitting that milestone in the project plan. ranted the metrics matter, but more importantly is how you magnify the people around you and how you share more of yourself to enable others to shine. As Richard S Wellins, senior vice president at management consulting firm DDI, says, ‘…your number one priority is to bring out the best in others’.

It’s about:

  • how we show up and experience the work,
  • how it makes us feel about ourselves and how we make others feel about themselves,
  • continuous teaching and mutual learning experiences
  • a preparedness to push others carefully into their spotlight, encouraging them to give it a go, believing in their potential and future success,
  • leaving a longer-term impression: one that people remember, talk about and share.

Every single day you can magnify yourself and those around you. The effect that you can have through what you do and what you say is one of the most valuable currencies you have.

Brilliance does not magically appear — it requires constant work. Those who are prepared to do the work experience the amplification effects of unleashing their brilliance for themselves and for others. They experience increased confidence and belief in themselves, they are able to harness the energy to maintain momentum, they surround themselves with the right people working together to drive success and they see the results in themselves, their teams, their business, their families and their lives.

As individuals, leaders, teams and businesses all wanting to do better, be better, become better, we need to be the brilliant selves we can be.

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Janine Garner
Janine Garner is the author of Be Brilliant – how to lead a life of influence (Wiley) and is a global thought leader on powerful networking, collaboration and transformational leadership. A highly sought-after keynote speaker, educator and best-selling author, Janine works with high-profile global leaders, and helps many of Australia’s top 50 ASX companies and multinationals. Janine Garner is an opinion columnist for the CEOWORLD magazine. Follow her on Twitter or connect on LinkedIn.