The Genius Dip – Richard Tyler
The journey to true Creativity
Working with CEOs and senior leadership teams, my approach is a combination of tough love, deep care and compassion with challenge and provocation and being a coach is a life’s work that’s constantly evolving for me.
Many of the great creatives and entrepreneurs of our time – Van Gogh, Richard Branson, Amy Winehouse – accessed their own ‘genius’ in times of trauma, scarcity and adversity.
Feeling the agonies of life, being heartbroken and feeling lost can inspire the most beautiful lyrics and create the most incredible music.
These creatives have often been emotionally, financially, spiritually challenged and this ‘back against the wall’ state is what they have (sometimes unwittingly) accessed to create some of their best work. This resonates with the world, since behind the masks many of us wear, is the same pain and it’s this pain that often needs to be accessed in order to break free from our comfort zones and step into our own creativity.
Leaning into emotion
Often, clients walk the fine line of needing a coaching and therapeutic approach to move forward.
‘Therapists & coaches can be well-intentioned in ‘fixing’ people, catching them before they hit rock bottom and softening the blow. However, in my opinion, playing a facilitative role with clients to really embrace their pain is a more powerful and effective way to move forward.
Research shows that ‘leaning in’ to experiencing and fully living our emotions around these bleak situations, rather than avoiding them, is where deep learning, development & transformational change occurs.
The Genius Dip
I have recognised and developed the element of the ‘Genius Dip’ as a powerful part of my coaching method.
Creatives and entrepreneurs often suffer this ‘dip’ – a rollercoaster of emotions that comes from being in the spotlight and fully accessible to their audience and which often means immense pressure, responsibility, the sense of having a permanent ‘on’ switch and, often, a feast or famine lifestyle with work and income.
It is vital to watch for this ‘genius dip’ and not fight it, but accept its shadow, embrace it and search for the ultimate genius that can ensue as a result.
This dip often comes after what can often be experienced as suffering pain, blocks, self-doubt, self-berating and creative constipation. Many will stay here and become stuck; fighting it, resisting it and fearing it will only get worse.
Perfectionism and burnout
As a former West End performer playing lead roles in shows such as The Phantom of the Opera and Les Miserables, the pressure to deliver a performance worthy of a standing ovation was immense.
I coped for a long time but, ultimately, I was unable to navigate eight shows a week and remain sane. I burnt out, got entangled in my thoughts of perfectionism and lost the connection of feeling and experiencing my performance. The struggle to get through my own genius dip was too much.
This was less about falling out of love with the business (my belief at the time) and more about my own struggle to stay aligned with my values and mentally well in such a demanding environment.
I made a bold step and ended my Phantom contract. I said yes to all new opportunities and, although unclear on my direction, a CEO at one consultancy saw an opportunity for me to combine the world of performance with the world of leadership.
The first session I delivered was like coming home for me. My values aligned and I unlocked my purpose.
Over the last 15 years, I’ve successfully used performance tools in my coaching to enable people to ‘feel’ again and reconnect with their hearts.
Businesses are starting to recognise that using cognitive thinking and rationale alone won’t solve the complexities they face. People are tired, burnt out and some of their most basic needs are compromised. The answer lies in doing business in way that better serves you, your people, your customers and the world.
Blending performing Arts and Leadership
In a safe space, entrepreneurs and business owners can remove the masks they wear and project to the outside world that they are OK. They can start to feel seen for who they really are and the pressure of forcing a smile while carrying so much the responsibility begins to lift. When they can acknowledge how they are really feeling and the challenges they are truly face, the deep work and change can begin.
A new lens
Theatre enables people to look through a new lens, get fresh perspectives, drop rational and predetermined thinking and get out of their own way. We often bring in a jazz band into a corporate setting or use actors and improvisation skills to bring everyday scenarios & topics like ‘Change Management’ to life through illustrating what it’s like to be a Possibility Architect!
It’s amazing how people engage so quickly, let go of devices, let go of old stories and start to relax, enjoy and explore. They learn how to ‘feel’ into their outcomes and intentions and can then create new organisational behaviours and activities as a result.
Space to embrace
This coaching approach helps people become comfortable with their discomfort in order to embrace and navigate their own genius dip and find the curve back up and out again.
As coaches, we often meet clients at this painful stage and it’s important not to rescue, save or fix but rather to effectively coach, encourage and support them to stop living on autopilot and start living ON purpose. We can provide the safe space for them to remove their mask and be vulnerable, lean in and accept the feelings, rather than avoid or ‘catch’ them.
The way to navigate the Genius Dip is through building resilience; developing emotional intelligence, removing the masks and being disciplined about daily rituals. I class this as good ‘Mind Hygiene’ – small, consistent daily habits that have a big impact on our mental and physical health.
Richard Tyler is an ANLP and Professional Guild accredited trainer and coach and has studied Cognitive Hypnotherapy, EI, ACT, is a Barrett Values practitioner and currently training in Psychosynthesis Psychotherapy.
A bestselling Wiley author with Jolt!, international speaker and ‘Possibility Architect’ he blends conscious leadership with The Arts. He works with senior teams to help unlock healthy and sustainable cultures and with business leaders as a coach and therapist, focusing on emotional and psychological resilience & wellness.