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How to Live in your Zone of Genius

Season 1, Episode 8

caneel executive coach

I'm a social scientist who helps people break out of the invisible traps and make whole-life changes easily and naturally.

What is your Zone of Genius?

Introduction to Zone of Genius

It’s 2005 and I’m going to dance parties all night long in San Francisco. I’m in my PhD program for Organizational Behavior at Berkeley business school.

The program seems like it was suited for people who like to sit down, doing a bunch of solitary, analytical, hard-ass work.

I had the thought I wasn’t a good fit for this program.

I was studying 14, 15, 16 hours a day and to balance it out decided to start running.

I began developing aches and pains. Not long after beginning my training, I couldn’t feel my right leg. Then I could no longer walk. I was in a lot of pain and was devastated.

I couldn’t go to class. I had to cancel presenting one of my papers at a conference in Hawaii.

I had to pause and renegotiate my life. I went to doctors, went to physical therapy, tried acupuncture and a chiropractor, got massages, got an MRI, got cortisone shots, took vitamins and supplements. I tried everything.

It wasn’t until I read “Heal Your Back” by Dr. John Sarno that I began to understand my back pain may not just be physical in nature.

Life-Changing Moment

The book explained that in order to heal your back you also need to heal yourself not only physically but emotionally, socially and spiritually.

As I began to work through these layers I began to get better.

This began a 10-year process of learning more about listening to my body and living in my Zone of Genius. Learning when to say No, and learning when my body was telling me I was out of integrity.

Learning the concept of Zone of Genius has been powerful, enjoyable, self-affirming and freeing.

What is your Zone of Genius?

Here’s the amazing thing: everyone has one. Zone of Genius is one of four zones of being.

You may be thinking you don’t have a Zone of Genius or that you’re not a “genius” at anything.

It’s simply not true. You have a Zone of Genius to claim.

You may have decided it wasn’t valuable a long time ago, or were even teased or punished for having this Zone of Genius. Determining your Zone of Genius involves self-awareness and reflection.

But when you figure it out? Mm-mm-MM! That’s where the fun begins.

The Zone of Genius is a place of flow, creativity, energy and fulfillment. You lose your sense of time when you are doing activities in your genius. You love it that much!

You would pay money to be able to do this all the time.

Your success comes naturally when you do activities from your zone of genius. It feels effortless for you to do this. These activities give you energy, restore you, and fulfill you. You feel very present and are intrinsically motivated.

Zone of Incompetence

The Zone of Incompetence encompasses the duties you do not like doing. You have a lot of resistance to doing these things. Not only do you not want to do them but you aren’t very good at them.

You have to focus and try really hard to get these things done. These are life and energy-draining activities you find boring, irritating and you are likely to make errors.

You should consider delegating these activities to someone else.

Zone of Competence

The Zone of Competence includes things you are good at and things you are not good at. The key is these are not things you enjoy. You are capable of these things but you aren’t excellent at them. They are not fulfilling to you and don’t provide you energy.

These are things you would like to not have on your plate but it doesn’t upset you to do them. You should consider delegating them to someone else.

Zone of Excellence

The Zone of Excellence are things you are really excellent at. You worked long and hard to excel at them. You may receive success and rewards from these activities. They require your hard work and effort but you enjoy it. Since they are draining they leave you feeling like something is missing. They lack creativity and you feel burnt out at times.

Living in Your Zone of Genius is Possible

When you live in the zones outside of your genius it takes energy to perform and is life draining. Success is not easy or fun and it leads to burnout.

Conscious leaders spend 70% of their time in their Zone of Genius.

Yes, the goal is to live primarily in your Zone of Genius.

Why? Because it not only feels INCREDIBLE, but you naturally succeed where you shine.

You can commit to living and advocating for your Genius in a variety of ways.

  • Consider renegotiating your role at work
  • Explore your Genius in a side hustle
  • Learn how to live in your genius even when doing activities in other zones
  • Find ways to bring your genius into your daily life

The goal is awareness and then commitment. Once you’re aware of what your Zone of Genius is, the next step is a commitment to moving your life in that direction.

You don’t need to suffer to succeed. By living in your Zone of Genius you can create a life that feels both successful and full of ease.

I have a free workshop to help you dig into and Discover your Zone of Genius. You can download it here.

Also, check out all my Zone of Genius resources here.


About this episode:

In this episode, you receive practical tips for moving your life into one where you are living primarily in your Zone of Genius: that place where you find effortless flow and you create value by using the natural gifts you love to use.

You are allowed to bring a ton of value into your life, your company, your community, and your family in a way that comes easily to you. You are allowed to love what you do.

Tune in and learn all about…

  • [08:13] So before we jump into the Zone of Genius exercise, I want to just share with you a story of a dear friend of mine.
  • [17:21] Let’s dig in and see how can you move into making your life when where you’re living primarily in your Zone of Genius. Here is step one. First step is know your genius. 
  • [22:04] The next exercise is a daily energy audit and this is an exercise that I got from the conscious leadership group. I love giving this as homework to my coaching clients because it’s just adding a little layer of awareness on top of activities that they are already doing so it doesn’t feel as much like homework. 
  • [32:21] So the idea here is we are responsible. We are the only leaders of our own lives. We are the only ones with the power to genuinely transform our lives and our experience of living.
  • [42:14] Now, as you might imagine, as you expand the amount of time that you’re spending in your Zone of Genius, other things may need to drop off the list. Because things that don’t give you life, take your life and we don’t want that. So big piece of this is getting willing to say no.
  • [46:59] Overview: I definitely encourage you to download our worksheets for this workshop. If you do that, we’re going to make sure that you are the first to get invited to our Zone of Genius course, which is going to be the pilot version of the course where I’ll be spending extra time with you extra one on one attention. (Get access to the free downloadable worksheets in the Tools and Resources section at the top of the page) 

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