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Zone of Excellence vs Zone of Genius

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March 11, 2022
2 min read
Article Contents

A few weeks ago, we talked about thinking of the word "master" as a verb, not a noun.

Today, let's build on that concept further as we discuss the pivotal difference between your "Zone of Excellence" and the "Zone of Genius" which could also be thought of as being an expert vs genius.

What is the Zone of Excellence (and Its Conundrum)

Your Zone of Excellence can be described as something you do very well - better than most people. 

Although you might excel at this activity and are likely revered as an expert, the downside to this zone is that eventually, you no longer find what you are doing challenging - intellectually, physically, and/or emotionally. 

Staying in this zone long-term can lead to burnout or worse, a complete loss of the passion you once had for the activity.  

Introducing the Zone of Genius

Your Zone of Genius feeds you in a different way to that of the zone above. 

The Zone of Genius, like the zone of Excellence, involves an activity you excel at but differs in that when you are in your ZoG, the time spent doing the activity is in direct relation to the satisfaction you derive from it.

While in your Zone of Genius, the universe around you compresses on itself.  Hours feel like minutes, but each one brings you more excitement and joy than the last.

How to Enter (and Stay in) Your Zone of Genius

Here are a few things to consider when looking to operate in your Zone of Genius:

  • Zoom Out - how can you push what you are "excellent" at, to that of continued innovation and genius?
  • Be Courageous - nothing worth anything is easy and allowing yourself the courage to solve complex problems sparks new opportunity for growth!
  • Be Vulnerable - if only with yourself, being vulnerable allows you to handle what uncertainties await you down the road. Without vulnerability of failing there is no innovation.

"You're a Genius"

When I was young, my grandfather (a well-respected commercial fisherman) was my best friend. 

I would spend hours with him - often inventing new things out of old boat parts or farm tools.  

In every instance that I came to him with a new idea, explaining what I was trying to do and how it would work, his response was always "you're a genius" and without hesitation, we went to work.

Each of us has what we need to enter our own Zone of Genius. We simply need to recognize this fact and allow ourselves the space to proceed.  

Thank you for reading and make it a great week!

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