How Are You Smart?

When I was young(er), I went to the same school where my mom was a teacher. (Yes, that means I was her student at one point. No, I didn’t get special treatment.) At the end of each day, I went to her classroom so we could ride home together. (She drove, of course.) And on one of those many days, probably between 3rd and 5th grades, I noticed that she had an interesting question waiting to be erased on the chalkboard: 

How are you smart?

When I asked what it meant, she explained that it’s the sort of question we should be asking when we’re getting to know others and how they teach and learn. The default question that we’re more accustomed to answering (especially in school) is “how smart are you?”

Unfortunate because that’s how kids get misdiagnosed and adults, misunderstood. If we simply inquire in more of a way that is intrigued rather than quizzing, we would probably have better answers to our questions.

The key to running a business, marketing, being productive, and living life efficiently in general, is to know how you are smart. Understand it. Expand on it. Pursue the hell out of it.

Not to get all Kindergarten on ya, but each of us is special and different. So embrace what you have to offer because it’s half the battle of how you’re going to succeed. The other half? To be continued…

How are you smart?


  1. When it comes to me being smart, I can definitely put video blogging and production in that list. I also have a strong background and understanding in the social media and digital space… how to use it properly for not only marketing, but personal use as well. And within both of those, I know how to present a personality that will help people connect with me but also maintain a professional image for credibility’s sake.

    1. zohaibkhan

       @schmittastic Now a days I am finding my self that what I have to do with my life and my career, so at this phase this article helps me so much. Thanks a lot Amy.

  2. redslice

    Hey Columbus gal…just joined your tribe. I’m in the Bay Area but went to high school at Worthington. Folks still live there! Love your style…
    Love this question. It’s also another way to get at your strengths – what do you bring to the party? For me and my branding clients, I’m smart at connecting seemingly random dots, seeing a holistic story and how to bring it to life, and cutting through the extraneous messages and crap that people often get their heads wrapped around. This only serves to confuse your audience rather than make your brand and message irresistible.

    1.  @redslice Ya Worthington! I went there too! (Now I forget… did I mention that somewhere or is that a total coincidence?) I’m planning a trip to SF later in June. arriving on the 19th. Would love to grab coffee!
      What a great strength! Some many people I know (including myself) could use someone really good a getting creative and thinking outside the box. Great answer. Thanks for the comment and join us over here. Look forward to seeing you around more often!

  3. MoxieWomen

    Good stuff Amy. It’s a great question to ask amid self-doubt. We are so quick to discuss how we AREN’T making the grade we forget to find, forge and enhance our strengths. Good thoughts for ending out the week, thanks!

    1.  @MoxieWomen Thanks lady! I appreciate it. Yeah it is a nice way to round out the week… remembering what you’re good at and where your focus should be.

  4. AnthonyRyan

    Slam dunk post!! Recently I tried to do things “out of my element”. It backfired and I failed! After that I took a few weeks “off” to evaluate “how AM I smart”! Thank you for re-enforcing what I have re-discovered. 🙂 

    1.  @AnthonyRyan Yay! So glad you’ve already been through the thought process! It’s a great testimonial for those who have some thinking to do to get back on track. Appreciate your time and comment! Hope to see you around more often.

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