Do You Know Your Zone of Genius?

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Do You Know Your Zone of Genius?

Episode 60

Do you know your Zone of Genius? Are you spending at least 10 minutes in your Zone of Genius everyday?

If not, that might be the exact reason you’re feeling bored, dissatisfied, or unfulfilled. 

Today, I’m sharing what your Zone of Genius is and how to spend more time in it. Why? So you can show up in your life the way you were meant to.


“I hate my job.”

“The work I do is so far from who I really am.”

“I just want to feel like I’m fulfilling my passions.”

If you’re like me, or any of the people I’ve worked with, you’ve probably said one of those phrases a few times. I spent years trying to figure out what my purpose was, what my passions were, and trying to force my way onto a perfect, planned career path that I knew I was meant for.

That approach did not work.

But that does not mean there’s no hope for a professional life that feels fulfilling. That feels like you.

The way I see it, the solution to the problem of not enjoying your work is so simple.

The solution: spend more time in your zone of genius.

Gay Hendricks, the inventor of zone of genius, defines your zone of genius as capitalizing on your innate abilities, being in a state of flow, while working. Essentially, your zone of genius is what you love to do and what you’re good at doing. Your zone of genius is distinctive, because there is synergy between the quality of attention you bring to it and the quality of enthusiasm you feel while doing it.

In order to understand what your zone of genius is, I have to share three other zones.

  • Zone of incompetence: The things you do not do well at all. Mine: spatial reasoning!

  • Zone of competence: The things you do fine, but not well.

  • Zone of excellence: The things you do well, but do not light you up.

And then, your zone of genius: The thing you do well and you really enjoy doing.

The first step to creating a professional life, a career that you truly enjoy, is knowing what belongs in each zone. When you know what you love to do and enjoy doing, you can consciously bring those abilities to more and more of your working life. When you know what you do well, but do not enjoy doing, you can make a conscious decision to do less of those things. Knowledge is quite powerful.

But here’s an important distinction about what belongs in your zone of genius. Your zone of genius is not about what you are doing but is about how you are doing it.

I’ll use myself as an example.

One of my favorite parts of running Chantiluke is writing these podcasts. Is podcasting in my zone of genius? No!

My zone of genius is creating ideas, finding connections, feeling deeply, observing, reading, and bringing all of that together to communicate these new ideas and perspectives with you all.

That’s what I love about podcasting. I love that about podcasting because that is how I approach it. I am bringing my innate abilities to a form, called podcasting.

Your zone of genius works the same exact way. It isn’t the specific activity that you love (e.g. writing, photography, skateboarding, underwater basketweaving). It’s the way you approach that activity. All of those wonderful, powerful, creative energies you experience while doing the activity comes from the way that you approach it.

So how do you know what belongs in your zone of genius? It is really quite simple. Here are a few questions to get you started:

  1. What do you just love doing? (Sleeping and watching TV do not count)

    Example: Writing,

  2. What are the specific activities involved that you love?

    Example: Coming up with ideas, outlining my thoughts, writing, editing

  3. Why do you enjoy those specific tasks so much?

    Example: I have to pay attention to what’s sparked my interest; I find unique connections that surprise and fascinate me; I then have to find the right words and imagery to communicate the things that are so fascinating and moving to me so other people can experience those same feelings.

Repeat for as much activities that you love.

When you understand what actually belongs in your zone of genius, you can decide how much time you want to spend there. Which begs the question, why wouldn’t you want to spend as much of your professional time in a state of flow, doing what you love to do?

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Danielle Callendar