38 – What is your Zone of Genius?

Hey everyone, I hope you have had an amazing couple of weeks! You may have noticed that there was not a blog post last Friday and that is because I took some much-deserved time off to PLAY (see blog post 37). Rob had arranged to take me away for the weekend which was lovely. We went back to one of the hotels we stayed out when we completed the Coast to Coast which was wonderful. This time we could relax and enjoy the beautiful surroundings. It was a very special trip.

Last week was also exciting for another reason. I was invited to speak at a local conference on the topic of Finding your Zone of Genius and unlocking your potential. It was an absolute honour to speak at this event and will definitely be a highlight of my year. I started the session by giving each of the attendees 1 drop of Lemon Essential Oil in their hands. It is the Oil of Focus so not only was everyone in the room alert and raring to go, the room smelt great too. It worked a treat!

The session got an amazing response so I wanted to share some of the key principles of this talk with you. So, let’s get down to it and talk about what makes you a genius!

What is a Zone of Genius?

I became really interested in this topic when I read the book The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks back in 2017. If you have not read this book, I highly recommend it! The book looks at two aspects:

  • How to find your Zone of Genius
  • How to overcome your Upper Limit Problem (we will cover this next week)

Hendricks identifies that there are four zones that we operate in…

 

Zone 1 – The Zone of Incompetence includes the things that you really are not good at and that you should not spend your time trying to do. I am going to be blunt, you have no talent in this Zone! It is very likely that other people can do these activities more effectively, more quickly and more accurately than you can. They will absolutely enjoy it more than you do!

Something that sits firmly in my Zone of Incompetence is anything to do with finances. Having run several businesses now, I make sure that anything to do with bookkeeping or accounting is left in the hands of the professionals. I have no interest in improving my financial accounting skills because it has no interest to me at all.

What I think is interesting about things that sit in this Zone are that we are forced in life to think about areas of weakness either when we are having development discussions at work or even in interviews for jobs! We then spend, energy, effort and money thinking about ways we can improve the things in this area. What is the point? If you take my example, I could easily buy an accounting package or attend a course to get a better understanding of accounting but I won’t enjoy it and I will never excel at it. I would much rather leave this to the people who have this as their Zone of Genius and move on.

What types of activities fall in to the Zone of Incompetence for you?

What could you outsource to others to free up time for you?

You don’t have to be great at everything; it is ok to admit that some things just don’t float your boat. There is plenty of scope for you to be Genius elsewhere.

Zone 2 – The Zone of Competence includes those skills that you are ok at however there are lots of people around who are ok at this skill too. In a lot of cases there will be people who are more gifted in this area than you but you can just about hold your own.

Computer skills sit in my Zone of Competence. I can make my way around a PC or a laptop. I can pull together a basic spreadsheet or PowerPoint presentation but if you ask me to do anything with a pivot table or a fancy animation, then you find me asking other people for support (usually my long-suffering, technical wizard husband!). I am ok with that. I can get by but I also know my limitations. I spend some time focusing on how I can develop my skills further and I enjoy learning new tools but I would never spend hours absorbed on my development in this area.

When you consider your Zone of Competence, which skills come to mind?

What are you prepared to learn more about here?

Zone 3 – The Zone of Excellence includes those things that you know you are good at. These are the skills that people come to you for support with! These are the things that come naturally to you and that you enjoy. When people discover their Zone of Excellence they often don’t seek anything further because it feels good and it feels rewarding. You will enjoy being here and people will enjoy you being here. It will feel safe and it will feel comfortable.

My Zone of Excellence is Leadership Development and Coaching. I am great at these things and I have built a very successful career at these things. It would be very easy for me to stay doing these things until I retire and I will look back and feel satisfied that I achieved some personal success.

When you consider your Zone of Excellence, what comes to mind?

If you were operating all the time in your Zone of Excellence what score (between 1 and 10) would you give yourself for levels of satisfaction?

The Zone of Excellence is a seductive place to stay because it is easy, it is comfortable and it is rewarding. Why would you choose to push for anything more? Well, because there is something called the Zone of Genius and this is all about living your purpose, achieving fulfilment and leaving a legacy.

Zone 4 – The Zone of Genius is the ultimate reward. It is the Zone that leads to life satisfaction. As you move through life you get that nagging thought that there is more to life. That is your Zone of Genius calling to you. Your Zone of Genius is achieved through harnessing those skills, gifts and talents that you are uniquely suited to.

You will most likely know my personal story by now but I am living proof that the call to step in to the Zone of Genius exists. I felt a really strong pull towards finding my unique purpose about 5 years ago and at the time I just could not find it. I felt very disillusioned and concluded that I should stay in my Zone of Excellence and ‘make do’. The problem was that the feeling that I was destined to do more would simply not go away.

If you fast forward a few years, I believe I am moving more in to my Zone of Genius every single day. I spent a long time thinking deeply about the things that I do better than others until the answer became clear about how I could be of value and service to others and live my purpose. One thing I have learned is that you must give yourself permission to admit what your unique gifts are. This is not a time for being modest. If you want to move into the Genius Zone you are going to have to get very comfortable with declaring “I am Genius at this!”.

I am proud to share that my Zone of Genius is helping other women recognise the gifts and talents they have, to help them break free from limitations and to support them as they transform their lives from Ordinary to Extraordinary.

Here is my challenge to you. I know exactly how hard it is to find your Zone of Genius; I’ve been there. I am living proof that it can be done and I can promise you that the effort is so worthwhile. I live each day with a clear purpose and value and make a difference to the lives of others. This has all been made possible because I invested the time to really think about the skills and gifts I possess, the things that light me and bring me the most joy and satisfaction and I found a way to combine them.

So, as I wrap this blog post up I will leave you with some simple questions for you to ponder…

Which Zone are you operating in most of the time right now and how satisfied are you about that?

Do you feel drawn to find your Zone of Genius?

If you are, what skills and talents do you already possess that make you feel alive when you use them?

What hobbies do you have that bring you joy? These often leave clues about what your Zone of Genius might be!

What are you prepared to do to develop your Zone of Genius?

What 1 action could you take today to move you one step closer?

Next week I will be sharing more information about the Upper Limit Problem and how this holds us back from achieving the levels of happiness and success we desire.

Until next time

Be Extraordinary

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