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How to Find Your Career Zone of Genius

Zone of genius is a term popularized by Gay Hendricks in the book, The Big Leap. Whether you know the term or not, it could change the entire way you see your career. Hendricks teaches that we are in different zones depending on what we are doing in our work and those zones affect how we feel and what we produce.

Here are the zones:

Zone of Incompetence

This zone is everything that you aren’t good at. It may be the area of study that you struggled in at school or stuff you just don’t get. (And hey, that’s ok.)

Zone of Competence

This is stuff that you do well, but it’s nothing special. We’re talking about really basic stuff that most people can do.

Zone of Excellence

Now we’re getting somewhere! This zone is where you really stand out. You’re quite good at things you do in this zone and other people love the work you do here. In fact, they’d like nothing more than for you to stick around and keeping doing this forever.

Zone of Genius

Here’s where the real magic is. Your zone of genius consists of things you are uniquely designed to do. These are your special talents and skills that are innovative and different. This area is what leads to true success.

So how do you figure out what your zone of genius is? Read on to find out.

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1.Go to the Next Level

If I had to guess, I would say you’re probably in your zone of excellence right now. I know, I’ve been stuck there. But one of the ways to get out of this level is to think about your next step.

If you were to really push the boundaries on what you do and make it truly your own, what would you do?

You might want to jumpstart a freelance career or get yourself in line for a promotion to your dream leadership position. Push back against what’s holding you down and give yourself the chance to discover your zone of genius.

Look back through the different zones and see where you are at now. Then, brainstorm what you can do to get to the next level. You got this!

2. Listen to Your Heart

Our zone of genius is often the thing that’s been calling out to us for years, but we just ignore it because it seems like a big risk and not worth the effort. Get it together and finally give your zone of genius a chance!

I once had the idea for my own project that would come once a month. I would get really excited about it and then push the idea away the next day. It was too much work. I was doing just fine with the work I had. When it came back for the third month in a row, I thought, “Ok, I can’t ignore this anymore.”

What have you been ignoring? Really open yourself up to everything you’ve been interested in and start finding your passion. Your zone of genius will likely not be easy to get to. It’s something where you probably have to put yourself out there, out of your comfort zone.

But once you do get past the fear of getting out there and step into your zone of genius, incredible things happen.

3. Listen to Others

If you have no idea what your zone of genius could be and you’re not sure you have any special talents at all, it’s time to reach out to others.

Think of 5 people you could ask, “What am I really good at? What unique talents do I have?” Probe your friends, family, and colleagues to discover your zone of genius.

Sometimes these things are hard to find yourself, but others may see them in you all the time. Although it can be awkward to ask these questions, you owe it to yourself to do it. You are going to do amazing, world-changing things in your zone of genius.

4. Experiment

Finally, you just gotta do it. Find ways to try out your ideas. You don’t even have to put everything on the line to do this. Start out small. Take a class, do a project on the side, work toward the first step in discovering your zone of genius.

This is where you’ll actually experience your genius. While it may not always be fun, it’ll probably be a good amount of hard work, it will be far more rewarding than sticking around in your zone of excellence.

Go through these steps until you have an idea of what your calling could be and then try it. You’ll do this again and again throughout your life as you grow and evolve.

 

 

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