Working in Your Zone of Genius: 5 Practical Questions

The Zone of Genius is where all four circles overlap, and it represents the set of activities that you are uniquely suited to do.

Do you dread Monday mornings? If so, you’re probably not working in your Zone of Genius. If you were, you’d be getting paid for the things that you excel at and love to do.

Can you get paid for what you love to do? Yes! Our world offers a global network of human beings with different strengths and passions. It is possible for you to identify your Zone of Genius, carve out your niche, and find what’s alive in you.

If you haven’t already, check out our introductory Zone of Genius article. After that, read below for five practical tips. They’ll help you establish a thriving career that’s centered around your Zone of Genius.

#1) How can you stay focused on your Zone of Genius?

Let’s say that you’ve identified your Zone of Genius. You’ve built your business around it.

Now, how do you keep in touch with yourself to make sure that you’re spending your days within that zone as much as possible?

This is where mindfulness comes into play. You can develop a greater awareness of your thoughts and your feelings. You can pay attention to your physiology — your posture and your breathing.

When you’re regularly in touch with these aspects of yourself, you’ll be able to pay attention to whether you’re operating at your highest and most useful. You’ll be primed to notice when you start to slip into less awake or alive states.

Then, you can make adjustments to bring yourself back into alignment with your Zone of Genius.

#2) How can you feel accomplished when working in your Zone of Genius?

When you regularly work within your Zone of Genius you may face a “problem” that’s not really a problem at all.

Zone of Genius activities tend to feel easy. They’re enjoyable and they align with your skillset, so they may not match up with the picture of work that you have in your head.

As a result, you might reach the end of the day and feel that you weren’t productive at all.

New Neural Pathways

We live in a culture that fetishizes the hustle and the grind. We elevate the idea of working ourselves to the bone.

But what are you producing when you do that? You’re producing productivity. You’re producing hard work. That’s not the same as producing value.

Imagine that you want to install a swimming pool, so you’re going to dig a hole. You can do the job with a shovel or a backhoe. The shovel would take a lot more work and a lot more time.

person digging a hole with a shovel, mound of dirt beside them and a backhoe parked nearby

Doing it that way isn’t gonna make the hole any more holey. It’s not gonna increase its value just because it took you six months to produce it rather than an afternoon. But that’s the story we tell ourselves when we fetishize the value of hard work.

The value of a day’s work isn’t in how hard you pushed or how wiped out you feel at the end of the day. It’s in the outcome, what you’ve actually produced in the world.

You can change your thought patterns on this. Remind yourself, though, that mental change takes time. It involves building new neural connections. So be patient with yourself.

Repetition is the key to forming new neural connections. You can use mantras and affirmations for this. Here’s one to try: “The value of work is not in its difficulty. It’s in the value of it.”

Value Assessments

Encourage yourself to consider the concept of value from the consumer side of things.

When you purchase something, what are you valuing about it? Is it how hard the person on the other side of the exchange is working? There’s a good chance that you value the product or the service for a reason that goes beyond the amount of work that went into it.

I’ll use my water bottle as an example. I love this bottle. It’s sturdy, and it has a handle and a lid. It’s a really useful item for me.

But I know that not a lot of human effort went into making this bottle for me. It was probably mass-produced on a machine that regularly makes hundreds or thousands of them.

It’s not valuable to me because of how much effort was put into making it but because it’s a reliable item that does all the things I want a water bottle to do.

Whether you’re on the consumer side or the producer side, effort and value aren’t synonymous.

#3) How can delegation help with the Zone of Genius?

There are a lot of components that go into running a business. You’ve got the bookkeeping and the schedule-making and the networking and the marketing and so on.

A select few aspects of your business endeavors fall within your Zone of Genius. Focusing on that area is the best use of your time.

Everything else is still important, though. A successful business depends on having all the pieces in place.

That doesn’t mean that you have to take care of each piece, though. Instead, you can delegate the things that aren’t in your wheelhouse. Ideally, you’ll delegate them to people who love those particular responsibilities.

You can invite others to play in your business or your world in the way that they most love to play for themselves as well.

In fact, “delegate” isn’t my favorite word to use. I much prefer “enroll.” That’s because you’re enrolling others into the opportunity to tap into their Zone of Genius thinking.

We live in a global economy. Just like you, there are others out there making a living by doing what they love. You can find people who want to do the work that isn’t within your Zone of Genius.

Empowering others to handle those tasks for you gets them off your plate. That frees you to do the thing that you are incredibly good at. It allows you to provide your highest value contribution to the world.

#4) How can you outsource tasks that don’t fit your Zone of Genius?

Depending on where your business is at, you might not be ready to hire a full-time accountant. Even still, you’d still like to hand some of your least favorite business tasks over to someone who can shine in that capacity.

The Gig Economy

Fortunately, you live at a great time for this. The internet has decentralized work and the world so that you can get your business needs met by people all over the world by people who have the skills you’re looking for. That’s the gig economy.

Where can you find those people? Two places to check for freelancers are Fiverr and Upwork. Through either of those platforms, you can often find affordable professionals with various specialties whom you can hire on a project-by-project basis. 

Another idea is to ask around with other business owners for recommendations.

Hiring Guidelines

I encourage you to be really clear about the outcome you’re looking for. Remember, you’re enrolling this person in your vision for your business. 

Your responsibility is the why and the what. Theirs is the how.

So be clear with your freelancers on these points:

  • Why you want the thing done
  • What the final goal is (based on objective, measurable standards)

For example, “I want a podcast recorded that will build my audience and contribute to the world. I want it to be published to these seven platforms, to have this length of show notes, and to target these keywords.” Those directions are specific and measurable.

You can give that to your contractor, who can then go about what they do best. They’ll take care of the how, which is the actual work of getting the tasks done.

#5) When do you know it’s time to build your team so that you can work more fully in your Zone of Genius?

The more you can work in your Zone of Genius, the better. There are practical considerations involved with growing a business, though. That means finding the balance between your expenses and your vision for your life.

First of all, revenue is the lifeblood of any business. You’ll want to get your business to a place where it has consistent, reliable revenue. You will want to be able to trust that even if all of your revenue right now were to end, you would be able to go create more revenue.

Another consideration is whether you’re investing so much time in all the other stuff that you can no longer do any more of the thing you’re the very best at.

If you’re saying, “I’m so capped out from doing all these other things that I can’t even find a time to fit my Zone of Genius in,” take it as a sign that it’s time to onboard someone who would love to handle those other tasks.

Give it time and intentional effort, and you can shift more and more of your business activities toward your Zone of Genius. As you do, you’ll enroll others who support your business through their own Zones of Genius.

I’d love to discuss this more with you. Take a listen as my friend Sophie Weill and I chat about the Zone of Genius on The Shift to Freedom Podcast.
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