Find Your Path to Success and Happiness by Discovering your Zone of Genius


Do you sometimes feel that your soul is slowly withering away, despite the great life you have built for yourself? Has life lost some of its thrill leaving you depleted of energy? While we’re all stuck working and living in an uncertain environment, this may be a good time for self reflection.

According to Gay Hendricks, author of The Big Leap, “liberating and expressing your natural genius is your ultimate path to success and life satisfaction.” In order to reach a higher level of life satisfaction, you must spend more of your life operating in your “zone of genius.” Mr. Hendricks breaks down four different zones, but I’d wager that anyone reading this article is operating out of their zone of competence or zone of excellence. What really hit home to me was reading about how the zone of excellence is a seductive trap that keeps you away from your zone of genius.

What is your zone?

The zone of competence:

  • Is where you are efficient.
  • Others are also efficient here, so you do not distinguish yourself noticeably from others.

The zone of excellence:

  • Is where you do very well and make a good living.
  • Seduces you to staying in this zone because it is comfortable, reliable, and steady.
  • Is where your family, friends, and organizations want you to stay because you are reliable here.
  • Feed your own addiction to comfort.

According to Mr. Hendricks, although the zone of excellence may seem appealing, “a deep sacred part of you will wither and die if you stay” here in your zone of excellence and don’t strive to release your inner genius. This resonated with me. I was clearly in need of a movement into…

The zone of genius:

  • Is where your innate talents lie.
  • Is where you excel and act “in flow” with your natural gifts.
  • Energizes you.
  • Fuels your passions and creativity.

I have two kids under the age of six and I’ve often wished I had half of their energy. Do you remember being so energized by love or life that you couldn’t sleep or were counting down the minutes to something (other than just the end of the workday)? I do, but barely. Finding your passion in your professional life is infinitely better for your energy level than all the coffee at Starbucks.

So, how do you find your way to the zone of genius? It’s feasible and you can start right now, but it will be a lifelong journey to stay there as we will always be tempted by the easier, more reliable areas in the zones of competence and excellence. Liberating your natural genius is not for the faint of heart. Warning: such liberation may lead to moments of discomfort or fear.

Questions to help you find your zone of genius:

  1. Ask yourself the following questions:
    a. What do I most love to do?
    b. What work do I do that doesn’t feel like work?
    c. In my work, what produces the highest ratio of abundance and satisfaction to amount of time spent?
    d. What is my unique ability?

What in your law practice do you genuinely enjoy doing? What do you excel at? Where do those two lists overlap? The overlap is your zone of genius. When you are operating in your zone of genius, it doesn’t feel like work. You love what you are doing, and you are phenomenal at it. When you are working in your zone of genius, your energy is high, and the work is giving you energy instead of draining it. You are doing what you are innately situated to do.


Article Originally Appeared in the May/June 2020 Paraclete Magazine
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