CTLF’s Van Rensburg says ‘You Can’t Escape’ Genius


nRhythm’s resident storyteller Lon Vining recently caught up with Sara Van Rensburg, CEO of Colorado Thought Leaders Forum to talk about the great things happening at CTLF. 

When you think of a genius, images of such iconic figures as Einstein, Hawking, Curie, and DaVinci invariably pop into your head. But if Sara Van Rensburg has her way, someday when the word “genius,” is spoken, you will think of yourself!  That’s because Van Rensburg, the CEO and President of Colorado Thought Leaders Forum (CTLF), believes every person has a particular genius inside themselves, that, when properly cultivated, has the potential to make a beautifully powerful contribution to the world.


“Your genius is that part of you, that lens, that something you bring to every single thing you do. It’s what and how you’re always going to do things, how you see things a certain way. You’re always going to bring this gift forward because it’s your strength. Whether you’re at work, or volunteering at your kids’ school, or at your family reunion—you are still going to be that person, you’re going to bring that genius, because it is you, and you can’t escape it.”


Sara said it was important to differentiate one’s genius from one’s role, one’s skills or one’s experiences because they may or may not have anything to do with what one’s genius is.


“Your genius is not your role. It’s that part of you that if I gave you the same resources as anyone in the world, you’d always win.”


She said one of her biggest surprises has been how rarely people can pinpoint their genius.


“That’s the thing that’s really surprised me is how hard that question [what is your genius?] is for most people. People don’t actually know what their genius is. They actually do not know what makes them flourish, what flows out of them naturally, and powerfully.  I think it is because they’re so used to their identity and value being what they do. Or their experience. Or their role. But they are so much more!”


She said leaders are not immune from the problem, and are, in fact, some of the most likely to associate their worth and identity with their role, rather than the unique genius they bring to the table.


“You could take 100 CEO’s and every one of them is going to be a different kind of CEO because they have a different genius. If I put all my value on my role as a CEO, I’m going to get lost oftentimes, because what about that role am I great at? If I don’t know the answer to that question, then I can get lost in a million things that are not my gifts, and I can get stuck pretty quickly.  So pointing to your role to find your identity is basically asking the wrong question. We should be asking ‘what is my genius?’”

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Lon's creative bent, artistic skills and humanitarian heart belie a diverse background as entrepreneur, artist, journalist, missionary and marketing/communications director. His award-winning writings have been published in numerous local, national and international publications. Lon considers himself a crusader at heart, instigating the healthy disruption of extractive institutional or societal structures of any kind to create fertile conditions for people, organizations, communities, and the planet to experience thriving, abundant life.

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