Ever had one of those days when you are totally on top of it? When you jump out of bed up right when the alarm goes off, get to work on time, zoom through your tasks with efficiency, manage to call your mother at lunch time, answer all your emails and hit the grocery store after work, check off all your to-do list…in short, get it all done.
That feels good, right?
Well, I gotta warn you:
IT’S A TRAP!!
This is a symptom that we are operating from our zone of excellence. This zone includes all the things we are really good at. If you are successful in your job, super organized in your life, high-achiever, it is very likely you are operating from your zone of excellence. When you are in this zone, you feel like you’ve got it down. And your family, friends, boss and colleagues love it because you are reliable and you deliver.
So what’s the problem?
There is none. Except that if you spend all your time in your zone of excellence, you will take the risk to cruise all your life on what you know how to do, and a part of you will remain unlived. That special gift that only you have, the one thing that will both challenge you like nothing else and make you feel more fulfilled than you ever imagined will never be expressed. In other words, you never step into your zone of genius.
I spent WAY too much time in my zone of excellence over the years, anxious to please people and make my parents proud. Keep doing over and over again what I know and what is in my zone of comfort. And then wondering why I felt dead inside.
If you think you are operating only from your zone of excellence and have no clue what being in your zone of genius could look like, DON’T PANIC!
Here are some simple steps you can take to start establishing yourself in your zone of genius:
1. Accept that YOU have a zone of genius. Yes, yes, I’m sure you do. How do I know? Because EVERYONE has a set of gifts, talents and abilities that is unique to the person, and that, if used, will bring tremendous value to the world. Believe me.
2. Identify your zone of genius. This one is harder than it seems as no one can help you on this, and your zone of genius is not always what you think. For some, it was always clear, for others, it will take time (I was part of the second group). For those who are not sure yet, I recommend taking some time to reflect and go deep inside. Here are some questions to help you:
What makes me joyful? What is the thing that I can do for hours and never get tired? If I didn't have to worry about money ever again, what would I want to do everyday? What is the thing that people appreciate me the most for? ...
3. Identify the core beliefs that prevent you from entering and staying in your zone of genius. Here is a short exercise from “The Big Leap” by Gay Hendricks to help you start off. Fill in the blanks:
I cannot expand into my full potential because ____________________________.
I cannot enjoy abundant love and relationship harmony because _____________________.
I cannot expand to my full wealth potential because ___________________.
Do you believe deep down that you are fundamentally flawed? That you don’t deserve it? That it might go away? Or maybe you feel like being incredibly successful would be betraying your family, where you come from, or that you would outshine someone you care about and make him/her look bad.
At this step, gentleness is key. Awareness is all that is necessary. Try not to judge yourself as that will only reinforce the undesirable thoughts. And you don’t have to try to change anything. Just explore what beliefs live inside of you and keep you from getting to the next level of fullfilment and awesomeness.
4. Notice every time you bring yourself down in your daily life. Start paying attention to each time one of the following pops up in your life:
- you worry a lot
- you get into criticism and blame
- you find yourself in arguments
- you get sick or hurt
- you tell lies or break your agreements
5. When you notice that you are getting in one of your typical ways of bringing yourself down, shift your attention to the real matter: expanding your capacity for being in your zone of genius and experiencing great passion, love and success. Consciously shift your attention to make more room within yourself for what you love and are passionate about. Open your chest, take some deep breaths, think about something that inspires you, taste the abundance and feel the love.
6. Congratulate yourself. You have gone one step further towards a life of purpose and fulfillment!
Inspired by the book "The Big Leap" by Gay Hendricks.