Finding Your Zone of Genius

Anne Fischer Silva

November 14, 2019

I recently reread a book for the second time and got so much more out of it.  Have you ever had that happen?  The information just hits you differently, you take it in more fully, or it feels written just for you in the moment.

That’s how I felt when I reread The Big Leap, by Gay Hendricks.  What was so profound for me this time around was his take on finding your Zone of Genius.

Here’s how to think about this:

At the bottom of the pyramid is your zone of incompetence. In this zone are all the skills, tasks, and activities you simply aren’t good at. Many people find they spend way too much time in this zone.

For me, my zone of incompetence includes anything that requires assembly.  I immediately feel anxious as I look at all the bit and pieces, screws, etc. and begin to stress about how I’m going to figure out how they come together.  And the very LAST thing I want to do is read the instructions!  Over the years I’ve learned that it is a complete and utter waste of my time to even attempt assembly of anything that has more than 5 pieces.  It’s in my zone of incompetence.

Another activity in my zone of incompetence is anything too technical.  Ask me to figure out how to make a simply word change on my website and you’ll see the blank look in my eyes.  I have no idea. On the other hand, place me in a kitchen without a recipe book and I’ll create a masterpiece.  Or put me in front of a client and I’ll most likely crack the code of what’s driving their dysfunction.

We all have a zone of incompetence and it’s important to realize those activities you’re simply not good at and either refer them to someone who is good at them (my husband has the gift of putting anything together in under five minutes) or save yourself the stress and hire someone to do it for you.

Coming up the pyramid, next is the zone of competence. In this zone are all the  activities you’re good at – but others can do them just as well.  People in this zone will often say “I know I could delegate this but it’s just easier for me to do it myself”.  The question is, however, what might you do with your time if someone else did these tasks? What would you be doing with your free time if these activities were removed?  What’s that thing that excites you when you think about it?  That thing that, if you took the tasks in your zone of competence off your plate, would free you up to focus on what truly matter to you? Oftentimes, people who are stuck in the zone of competence just aren’t living up to their true potential and often end up with physical manifestations like fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue syndrome.  These are “diseases of unfulfillment”, according to Hendricks, and result from not fully stepping into what we came here to do.

Above competence is the zone of expert.  This is where many of us live. We’re good at something and we’ve found our groove with it.  We’re cruising through life. It’s easy to be in our zone of expert, maintain the status quo, and go with the flow. Let me just say, there’s nothing inherently wrong with being in the zone of expert, but for many of us this zone can be seductive and somewhat of a trap. It’s where we’re comfortable, it’s meeting our basic needs, and our friends and family are comfortable and want us to stay here as well.  There’s just one thing….staying in the zone of expert prevents you from exploring that deep, sacred part of you that knows there is something bigger.  The zone of expert keeps you from fully stepping into that place where you will thrive and come alive, and that’s the…..

Zone of Genius! Liberating and expressing your natural gifts is our ultimate path to success and happiness.  In the zone of genius, one discovers the strengths and skills that are uniquely suited to them.  For many, they feel a calling into this zone – a yearning or beckoning.  For me, this began happening around 2011. My practice was undeniably successful.  I had a six figure income and I was helping people achieve degrees of wellness beyond my wildest dreams. And yet, I knew there was something else out there for me. In my free time I would explain difficult concepts in my head – just as I would explain them to a student. Ideas were flowing in faster than I could keep track of them.  The calling got louder and louder until I finally took action and began writing the first Restorative Wellness Solutions class. It was only when I heeded the call that I was able to truly step into my zone of genius.

For many, this doesn’t happen until they hit their forties. Some tune it out, which can lead to depression (existential angst) or relationship conflict, or an accident.  These are reminders that we’re not listening to the calling, we’re not living our full potential, and we’re not in our zone of genius.

Ask yourself these  questions:

Is your genie still in the bottle?

What is your very own unique ability?

Where can you shift to working in your zone of genius more often?

As you ponder these questions, here are a couple of tips for transitioning from expert to genius:

1) Give yourself a juicy project to play with – it can shift everything!

2) You have to clean out before you can add anything new. What can you stop doing to make room for your genius to enter?

I encourage you to give yourself permission…the permission of MORE.  More joy, more abundance, more happiness, more GENIUS!

How good could it get?

Here’s to living in your genius,


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