Once you know start to spend more time working your genius zone you’ll never look back! And it’s achievable, with a little work and a lot of being very mindful about how you control your days.
The first step is to identify what that zone is for you. Then you can look at what needs to change to get you there.
The results of more time working in your genius zone are:
What is a genius zone?
A zone of genius is something described by psychologist Gay Hendricks in his book The Big Leap.
Here, Hendricks talks about four “zones of function”:
- The incompetence zone: This is where you aren’t good at your work because you lack the right skills and understanding.
- The competence zone: This is where you’re efficient at your work, but you don’t stand out or offer anything unique compared to other people performing the same tasks. You simply get the job done to a satisfactory level.
- The excellence zone: This is where you are super skilled in your work and have likely cultivated, established, and practised this over time. In comparison to others, you are exceptionally good.
- The genius zone: This is where your greatest passion meets your natural talents, and you can capitalise on your innate abilities.
Your zone of genius is the only state in which you can get into ‘flow’, a concept described by psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. In this flow you’re drawing on talents that come to you effortlessly, so when you work you are completely immersed and don’t notice time passing.
Your genius zone is unique to you and your personality traits. Think of it as uniting what you’re most confident in with your calling or life’s purpose. It might even be something you don’t love to begin with. The key to your genius zone is to take your natural talent and channel it into your passion so that you genuinely enjoy your work.
How to find your genius zone
The trick to figuring out your genius zone is to understand your talents and passions. A lot of this comes down to thinking about how you approach what you do, rather than the work itself. As you already have lots of skills, it can take time and be difficult to distinguish what comes naturally.
There are several questions you can ask to narrow down the possibilities:
- What work would you do even without any incentives (pay or praise)?
- What about this work makes you love it?
- What work doesn’t feel like work when you do it?
- What generates the highest ratio of abundance and satisfaction to the amount of time spent?
- What is your unique ability?
- What work produces exciting and energising ideas without effort?
Next, try jotting down some of your interest areas, as you could find your genius zone from combining several different things. It can come from a mix of your traits and experiences (e.g. the languages you speak, your hometown, your hobbies) as well as your skills (e.g. your degree/education, your work experience).
You also want to do some hardcore reflecting to figure out your genius zone. By now, you might have a strong suspicion of what your genius zone is, but some introspection can help you be certain.
- Think of some recent times when you felt like you were in “flow”, working with such focus that you lost track of everything around you.
- Try writing down what you were thinking of during these times in as much detail as you can, pinpointing how you felt and why.
- If you can’t vividly recall these thoughts, the next few times you find yourself in this zone, take time to write about who you felt and why so you can look for patterns in your thought process.
Finally, to figure out your purpose, reflect on the personal experiences and challenges that have shaped you into who you are today. Write down the major transitions and struggles in your life, note what was difficult and what you learned from them.
To go a step further, find your Why by working through the exercise in the video below. Warning, this will impact your personal and professional life in the best way ever!
Finding your genius zone is time well spent. Take the time to ensure your genius zone is right, you don’t want to settle for what you think it probably is. It’s something that should resonate within you, something you feel instinctually in your gut. This might scare you because it’s easier to ignore your purpose rather than take the risk of following your intuition. It doesn’t help when society teaches us that work and the things we love should be kept separate.
While it’s true that work involves doing things we don’t enjoy sometimes and once you find your genius zone you can’t be in it 100% of the time, it doesn’t mean that your work and passions can’t cross over.
The pros of working in your genius zone
Once you’ve identified your genius zone, find the time to practice and work on it consistently so that you can benefit from its impact.
Track your performance to ensure you are dedicating time to building the habit of cultivating your genius.
Keep note of how much time you spend working in this zone, how much happiness you felt and your level of confidence.
Once you get into this routine, look for ways to integrate your genius zone into your working process.
Reprioritise what you work on to redistribute more energy to your genius zone, which you can achieve by delegating tasks that fall into the other 3 ‘zones of function’ to people in your team who excel in those areas. By doing this, you are not only allocating more time for yourself to improve your genius, but you can find ways to increase this impact on others by encouraging your team to take on more leadership and management roles.
By working in your zone of genius, you want to a ripple effect throughout your business that brings positive changes.
- With you enjoying your work, you are more fulfilled with more time for big picture thinking. This should boost the efficiency of your team as you encourage them to do the same, finding their genius zone so they are happy and making a difference in your business. You want work to be fun, exhilarating and rewarding, not just for you, but for all of your workers.
- Implement how you operate in your genius zone into the structure of your business to improve its overall health.
- Work should feel like more of an extension of yourself, not just what pays the bills or something that you wake up every day dreading.
- By performing at this level consistently, you will inspire and elevate your team, who will pick up on your energy and ideally aspire to find their own genius zone.
Creating a culture of genius zones is not always easy, there are times where you will be uncomfortable and have your boundaries pushed in order to help you grow. But, if done correctly, your business should become more resilient, while clients will connect with your level of authenticity that stands out in the market against competitors.