You might know that I host a podcast called “Genius Leadership: Overcoming Everything”. Each conversation there is intentionally designed to help our listeners discover their own zone of genius. I thought it’s time to explain what exactly is meant when we talk about the zone of Genius. Gay Hendricks, who a lot of people might be familiar with through his books like The Big Leap, defined it as the zone in which you’re focusing and capitalizing on your natural abilities instead of the learned skills. That creates the state of flow and produces unique and great results.
I define the zone of genius a bit differently. The caveat with Mr. Hendricks’ definition is that the ultimate goal is to be in your zone of genius at least 90% of your time. People can often feel like they have to do something that they love 24/7, which is impossible, so what’s the point of even trying. They feel like it is impossible for them to be in the flow because of all the responsibilities that they have to do and not particularly enjoy.
I believe that you can get in your zone of genius and in that state of flow throughout any kind of activity you’re doing, no matter whether you’re enjoying it and no matter what kind of challenges come up. To me, being in your zone means having a flow of living – not being in a state of flow with one activity at a time. In short, that can be achieved by getting crystal clear on the bigger picture of your life and using the gifts you have instead of resisting them. But how can you do it?
The first step is about identifying and defining your values. We often talk about company values and people grew skeptical of the merits of all the value-related exercises. That is often due to the lack of following through and living by the values defined. I don’t want you to brainstorm your value words and then forget them – this practice is about getting to live by them daily and bringing them into each activity and interaction of yours.
To begin the process, check out the list of values provided on pages 4 and 5 in this workbook and underline or write down everything that fits and resonates with you.Then start narrowing the list down by leaving a half of the list in each iteration. Choose the words that resonate with you the most and try to see what kind of patterns there are between the things that you picked. Do some words overlap and are synonymous? Can you use one word to describe three that you picked, as an umbrella term? What is the general area to which these words belong? The ultimate goal is to narrow it down to three words that fit you the most and describe the ultimate best version of yourself.
Once you’ve got three words, put reminders about them so that you get to check yourself in different moments of your day to see whether you are living as that best ultimate version of yourself.
The second step is to identify your gifts. It might be something that comes to you super easy and you are really enjoying it, but it could also be that you’re not aware of that. Ask yourself, why do people come to you for advice, and which skill is natural to you and you never felt like you needed to learn it. You were only progressing and exploring, and it was more like an adventure rather than learning when you were improving that skill. Think also about the things you often reflect on while watching others “How hard can this be?” This probably hints at your natural gift as well.
Once you find that you can for sure know that that’s the area where there’s a lot of potential that you should tap into. The good part about being in your zone of genius is that if you follow those things that you are good at, instead of spending your energy on resisting it, you can actually create a lot of new energy, fresh energy for yourself to spend on the other things which are most meaningful, rewarding, and enjoyable to you.
The third exercise will be discussed in the blog piece next week, so stay tuned! Then we will start creating space in your life for living in your zone as often as possible.
If you want to hear more details about the first two exercises, with examples and such, listen to the most recent episode of the Genius Leadership podcast here.
Stay tuned and be genius!