The genius zone is your unique power. It is a physical and mental space where your interests, passions and skills converge. This is a one-of-a-kind quality that you bring to life and work.
Your genius zone allows you to do certain things better than others. Often times it’s hard to see because it comes so naturally to you. You can share the same skills, interests or styles of working with others, but your genius zone is unique.
Zone of Genius is a term that first appeared in Gay Hendricks’ book The Big Leap. Hendricks described in the book 4 zones where people spend their time: the zone of incompetence, competence, excellence and genius.
ZONE OF INCOMPETENCE, COMPETENCE, AND EXCELLENCE
The incompetence zone is where you do something you’re not very good at. Other people do these tasks better than you. This is a zone where you shouldn’t be spending too much time. The point is, don’t waste your time doing things you’re just not good at.
The second zone is the area of competence. It’s a zone where you do things where you’re good, but someone else might as well.
You spend the most time on tasks in the zone of excellence, which is where you get the most praise.
In this zone you have accumulated a lot of knowledge and a set of skills and tools that you know how to use exceptionally well. Few people can do a job as well as you.
It’s easy to get stuck in the zone of excellence because you feel comfortable there – you earn well, you gain social recognition and you are successful. However, you don’t have much influence on others and you don’t leave your comfort zone.
You keep doing something you’re good at because people want you to do more of it. So you focus on meeting the needs of others, but you don’t go beyond the already established pattern. Moving over the same familiar areas over and over again, it’s hard to get into your genius zone.
Interestingly, classes in the zone of excellence can be activities that you don’t like. Let me give you an example from my life – I’m very good at systems, programs – generally technical topics. I easily learn how to use subsequent programs, quickly figuring out their functions.
Unfortunately, clicking on successive interfaces, windows and using the “copy-paste” function is not something that gives me the greatest satisfaction in my life. Working longer in programs causes me more and more weariness. I couldn’t have a job based solely on tasks in systems in the long run, even though I can handle them very well.
Do you also have tasks where you are good at but in the long run they take away your joy and energy?
Gay Hendricks describes the genius zone as a brilliant spiral of joy. What does he mean by the spiral of joy? Certainly, you have seen more than once birds floating lightly in the air. They don’t flap their wings, yet they move across the sky. They use gusts of wind to float in the air.
It is similar to your genius zone – if you are aware and able to use your natural talents, you do so without feeling the effort. You move through successive tasks almost as smoothly as a bird soars in the sky – relaxing with another gust of favorable wind.
In this zone you are in your “flow”. You feel excited, confident and committed to your work. Time almost stops and you are fully engrossed and feel that you are using all your skills.
In the genius zone, you use your natural abilities that are innate, not learned. It is a state of constant inspiration. You do your job in a way that stands out far beyond what anyone else is doing.
GENIUS ZONE – HOW TO DISCOVER IT?
Finding a genius zone takes a bit of work and self-reflection. It is not easy to discover it, because what you are best at is something so natural to you that you do not even notice it.
One way to find your genius zone is to reflect on what you enjoy doing best, now or in the past. What is the most satisfying thing about your job?
Also, think about the games you loved when you were a kid. You did these classes of your own free will. They resulted from your curiosity, and I am sure they gave you a lot of fun.
The clue that will lead you to the genius zone will also be the lack of a sense of the passing of time. What activities make you completely “soaked in”? When was the last time you did something and you were surprised to realize that a few hours had passed and you didn’t feel it?
One sign that you are in the genius zone is not being afraid. Look for activities where your curiosity is greater than your fear of action. Look for topics that interest you so much that you are able to overcome discomfort and possible risks.
HOW TO SPEND MORE TIME IN THE GENIUS ZONE
Merely identifying where your genius zone lies will not change much in your life if it is not followed by action. You will bring more freedom, joy and fulfillment into your life if you start spending more time on activities in your genius zone.
But how to do it if you are running out of time?
First, make a commitment to yourself that you want more tasks in your life that use your natural talents. I don’t think I need to convince you to do that, because these are activities that interest you and give you a lot of fun. Start with small steps – Gay Hendrickson suggests that you spend just 10 minutes a day. I bet you spend a lot more time browsing social media?
These 10 minutes will allow you to connect with yourself – your needs, motivations and values. You will finally hear your voice and build a better relationship with yourself. By spending just 10 minutes on something that intrigues you and makes you forget about the world, you will quickly find that it is worth spending more time in your genius zone. By acting from the level of your genius zone, you give yourself a better chance of achieving your goals and greater satisfaction in life. It will definitely be difficult to devote 100% of your time to working in your genius zone. But the more time you spend in it, the happier you will be.