Are you in your Zone of Genius?

Are you in your Zone of Genius?

You've more than likely heard of your Genius Zone, or your Zone of Genius.

You may not know where the term comes from. And that it is part of an entire framework for how to think about your day-to-day activities.

This concept was first discussed in "The Big Leap” by Gay Hendricks. 

Here's how it goes...

Our daily activities occur in four main zones…

  • The Zone of Incompetence
  • The Zone of Competence
  • The Zone of Excellence
  • The Zone of Genius

The Zone of Incompetence

This zone is full of all the activities you’re not good at. Many people waste a ton of time in this zone.

Mr. Hendricks gave the example of a business consultant who charges $1000 an hour. One Saturday this consultant spent 13 hours trying to set up his printer. The operative word is... trying.

He ended up hiring a kid down the street who took 1 hour to complete the job.

Basically, this man wasted $13,000 dollars on an activity that was obviously in his Zone of Incompetence.

The Zone of Competence

This zone is full of activities you’re okay at, but others can do them just as well or better. You may be good at these activities, but they don’t fulfill you. They’re boring, or they just don’t inspire you.

An example from my own life is anything to do with detail work. One hour in and I'm ready to poke my eyes out. When I was in the corporate world, I would spend an hour setting up a macro in Excel just to save an hour of having to copy and paste data into the spreadsheet.

The Zone of Excellence

This zone is all about the activities you do well. This may even be how you make your living. Many people do make a living in this zone. Very good ones. According to Mr. Hendricks, this one is a bit of a danger zone.

Let's say that you are an incredibly good project manager. Your supervisor loves you. The people on your team love you. And you all get things done on time and under budget. And you make a pretty darn good living doing it.

The problem comes when it doesn’t inspire you. And what you secretly want to do is coach people to have incredible lives. You've got this little voice inside of you that whispering that this project management stuff isn't where you want to stay. There's something more.

That’s where the next zone comes in.

The Zone of Genius

This zone is all about the activities that are uniquely suited to you. It’s about liberating and expressing your natural genius.

This zone is about your calling. What you’re meant to do. The unique talents and gifts you’re meant to share with the world.

If you’re not in this zone, you’ll feel it. You’ll feel a bit uncomfortable.

And get this...

According to Mr. Hendricks, as you get older and you’re still not in this zone, you’ll get alarms that can show up as...

  • depression
  • illness
  • injuries
  • relationship conflict

Yikes! Not good.

In my experience, the Zone of Genius can be a unique and seemingly random combination of aptitudes, interests, and experiences.

To give you an example, I have a love and aptitude for psychology, graphic design, technology, systems, productivity, and seeing the shortest path to any goal.

Before becoming a business coach, these didn't seem to fit together at all. They seemed like random bits.

And I felt like whatever career path I chose, I'd have to give something up.

If I chose to become a psychologist like my peers, I'd have to focus only on psychology and give up the rest.

But from the lens of business coaching, these random bits become my Zone of Genius. They are what makes me unique. And I've been able to build a meaningful and successful business from this combination.

How about you?

Do you have seemingly random bits of interests and aptitudes that don't seem to fit together?

What if you took some time to think about how they might actually fit together into your perfect style of coaching?

What would that do for your coaching practice?

And the people you want to impact?

Let me know in the comments below.

With love & joy,


P.S. Is there someone in your life who could benefit from reading this post? Why not share this with them?

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