Have you heard of the Zone of Genius?

It’s from Gay Hendrick’s book – The Big Leap. He talks about how in life and work, we have tasks and skills that fall into 4 zones. 

The key is learning to spend more time in our Zone of Genius than our Zone of Excellence as this is where life and work get to be easy, fun and exciting. 

As I go through the different zones, take the time to think about you, your life and work. Which tasks and skills do you feel fit into each zone? 

The first is the ‘Zone of Incompetence’. These are tasks that you do badly or skills that you don’t have or don’t want to have. For me, that’s managing my time or using Canva. With this zone, it’s skills that others can do well or effortlessly but are hard or not interesting for you. 

The next is the ‘Zone of Competence’. These are things you do well but you might not love doing or have any interest in getting better with it. For me, this is scheduling, writing reports, and creating resources for clients. I do it well but would I run to do it – no. What is it for you?

Then we have the ‘Zone of Excellence’. These are things that you are really good at. You enjoy doing them. You might even want to get better at doing them. For me this is planning and organising, cooking, creating resources for my mentees and running a business. 

Finally, we have the ‘Zone of Genius’ and this is where the gold is. These are the activities that you love to do. You do them effortlessly. Others may find these tasks tricky but not you. You could do these activities all day, every day and you would be so happy, even if you didn’t get paid to do them. For me that is mentoring and coaching, writing blogs, problem-solving, and implementing ideas quickly to name a few. 

What falls into your Zone of Genius?

Now that you understand the zones, we need to remember that the danger is getting stuck in the ’Zone of Excellence’. This is because it is infinitely comfortable but ‘comfortably numb’ and you can easily get stuck in a rut. 

Instead, by identifying and then working in your Zone of Genius, you not only find ease but you also grow and thrive. It’s the Zone where you get to be the best version of you. 

& the beauty of this is that your Zone of Genius will be another person’s Zone of Incompetence so once you lean into your excellence, there will also be others who need those skills. 

So start by identifying which of your skills fall into each of the zones. 

Then forgive and accept the skills that fall into the Zone of Incompetence. Find others who can do these things for you or ways to work around your lack of skills. For me, that’s outsourcing my graphics and having a million alarms on my phone to keep me on time.

Then focus on your Zone of Genius. Think about your life and work and how you can spend more of your time in this Zone. Who do you need to speak to? What changes do you need to make? Chip away at it so that slowly you are spending more and more of your time in this Zone. 

& the longer you are, the happier, more fulfilled and easier life will feel.