If you’ve ever heard anyone talk about ‘zone of genius’ and wondered what they are talking about, well, you are in the right place. Because I’ll explain what your zone of genius is, why you want to pursue it and how to live in your zone of genius every day. Because being in that space is where the magic is, both in terms of leadership and personal fulfilment, so keep reading!

What is a Zone of Genius?

The ‘zone of genius’ comes from Gay Hendrick’s work in The Big Leap. In short, it’s considered the final stage of personal evolution, and it’s when we do activities that are uniquely suited to us.

In essence, it’s your superpower, the point where your unique talents, strengths, and skills meet. This is where a person reaches self-actualisation (in Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs) and feels fulfilled, purposeful and intentional with their work.

Reaching this point builds on the stages of competence theory and Hendricks outlines the 4 stages or zones as follows:

  1. Incompetence – this is where we struggle to complete the task and others can do it much better than we can
  2. Competence – we can complete the activities to a reasonable standard, but we are not exceptional, nor do we derive any satisfaction or pleasure from the work
  3. Excellence – this is where we are highly skilled, proficient and effective. We are one of the best in the our field and can be relied on to deliver consistent results; and finally
  4. Genius – where we draw upon our unique skills, strengths and talents

Hendricks refers to the step into your zone of genius as ‘the big leap’.

It is here that Hendricks argues, where people can embrace their mission with a deep sense of accomplishment and can be truly happy and fulfilled.

And while in theory, everyone would like to operate in their zone of genius, few people ever reach this point. And those that do, are the genuinely inspiring leaders in their field.

Why living in your Zone of Genius matters? 

When we live in our zone of genius we are fully committed to following our own unique path.

This puts us in control of our own happiness and success. And it is from this space that we can feel truly fulfilled and have the greatest impact in the world.

It is in this space that we are unparalleled and feel energised and in alignment. Here we are able to educate, collaborate and connect with people at a much deeper level.

It is here where true leaders operate from and their magnetism and flow inspire and supports others to work in their zone of genius as well.

Challenges to living in your zone of genius

If it were easy, everyone would be operating in this space. But as Hendricks points out there are two key obstacles to living in your zone of genius and these are:

  • Your zone of excellence – when we operate in this space it’s easy to get comfortable and never push beyond it, into our zone of genius. This is compounded because people around us like us to stay in our zone of excellence. Because they know that we’ll deliver results. We are reliable and excellent at what we do. So stepping beyond this requires us to be intentional. It requires a conscious decision to step out of our comfort zone and away from other people’s expectations, in pursuit of something greater.
  • Upper limit problems – Hendrick’s explains this as our own inability to feel good. It’s the unspoken resistance or hidden barriers that we impose on ourselves that ultimately self-sabotage our own success and happiness. And these upper limit problems are the result of limiting beliefs that we have subconsciously developed, often in childhood. And once we hit an upper limit problem, we then trigger behaviours that reinforce or support our internal messaging. This can be anything from getting sick, worrying, deflecting or breaking trust, all of which sabotage our happiness.

How to live in your Zone of Genius?

We need to embrace the ‘big leap’ by increasing our self-awareness and challenging our fears and limiting beliefs around who we are and what we are capable of.

This allows us to take complete ownership of our life, our relationships, and our time. We can do this by embracing a new story for ourselves that deliberately living into that story with authenticity and integrity.

And perhaps, most challenging of all is that we need to choose to be happy. To abandon behaviours that keep us feeling stuck.

Doing this requires us to consciously choose to expand and grow every day and to support others to do the same.

Hendricks summaries this in his central guiding intention, citing the ultimate success mantra as:

“I expand in abundance, success and love every day, as I inspire those around me to do the same.”

From this place, we are able to make decisions with clarity, alignment, and integrity.

Living in your zone of genius requires you to challenge your limiting belief. This means letting go of ego and maintaining your conviction for the work you are called to do.

But the results are worth it.

This is the key to great leadership and it’s essential to happiness and personal fulfilment.

Ready to make the ‘big leap’?

Stepping into your zone of genius can be daunting, but it will also change who you are as a person and as a leader. So, if you’re ready to step into your zone of genius and want help to get started, book a free discovery call to find out how.