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Zone of Genius

Updated: Jun 13, 2021

I had the privilege of watching someone in their Zone of Genius yesterday. I co-led a workshop with the amazing Anya Romanova, and it was like watching a rock star. I have known Anya for some time, and I already knew she was great, but this was different. She transcended reality, she was larger than life. You could hear a pin drop in that room when she spoke. When you witness someone in their Zone of Genius, it is really something to behold.

What is the zone of genius? Gay Hendricks coined the term ‘Zone of Genius’ in his book The Big Leap, refer to the times when you are working from your innate abilities.

Have you ever had a talk with someone, and when they talk about something they are passionate about, their whole demeanor changes? It’s compelling.

It can be hard to see our own genius. I spoke to a stranger once, and as she said she was a teacher, but when she spoke of creating physical models to teach science, she absolutely lit up. I commented on this, and it was like a light bulb went off for her. She put up with teaching, but she really loved making these models. She couldn’t see her own genius, but me, a total stranger, picked it up immediately.

“But my genius isn’t marketable!” I asked a client why they valued me so highly. I really wanted to know! She said I was a good listener and I care about what’s important to them. My initial reaction (in my head) was “well geez thanks, but I can’t put that on my resume!” Then I realized, first of all, it’s not the ‘80s, we don’t need to monetize everything. But also, your genius runs alongside everything you do, it doesn’t have to be its own thing. A good listener can be a therapist (not me), a bartender, a mom, a consultant and much more. The listening genius adds that special sauce, it doesn’t have to be the meal. Pair your genius with the work you are doing now.

Brain Twist. As you go about your day today, notice someone in their zone of genius and tell them. Note that genius can be in small places. I had an Uber driver the other day with a crystal clear Zone of Genius of bringing spirituality to young, urbanites, and I told him so. He said he was very grateful for the insight, and I hope it gave him the confidence to take it forward.

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