To gear up for the upcoming Malibu Retreat, we're reading Gay Hendricks' The Big Leap this week. What I love about The Big Leap is that it can apply to anyone at any point in their life. It's meets you where you are. The main premise is that as we progress, learn, and excel, we will encounter "upper limit" problems that we'll need to clear in order to expand ourselves and tap into our truest potential. As we seek to understand and identify what our upper limiting beliefs are, it will allow us to transcend the thoughts and beliefs that (usually unknowingly) are holding us back from where we truly want to be. We will discuss upper limit problems in more depth at a later time, so for now, let's discuss the four zones from which we operate:
1. Zone of Incompetence (activities that others can do much better) - avoid
Getting out of the Zone of Incompetence clears time-wasting activities from your daily routine. These are the activities that simply aren't your strong suit, and frankly, others can do them much better. Through allowing others to execute these activities, you create space for more creative energy. Think about what activities you do regularly that fall into the Zone of Incompetence. Entertain the thought of letting someone else do these things for you. Find someone who specializes in, and even enjoys doing them. Take a moment to be honest with yourself: "What are your time-wasters?" Where can you save time, money, energy, and resources by cutting out the things you're simply not good at? Incompetencies are only detrimental if you don't acknowledge what they are. Once you identify them, it will free you up to do more of what you love.
2. Zone of Competence (activities others can do just as well) - delegate
If an activity is in your Zone of Competence, it means you can do it, but others can do it just as well. Scheduling meetings with clients is a good example. It may be something you can do easily, but someone else can do that for you just as well. For tasks that can be passed off and successfully completed by someone else, delegate them.
3. Zone of Excellence (things you do extremely well) - embrace
This is where you have an edge; it's where you're reliable, consistent, and operating with expertise. An example that comes to mind for me here, is public speaking. For some, it is their Zone of Excellence, and for others, they would definitely list it in their Zone of Incompetence. Embrace the things that you excel at -- those skills and experiences are the launch pad from which you transition into your Zone of Genius.
4. Zone of Genius (things that are "uniquely suited" to you) - focus
This is it. This is the space where you're self-actualizing, and thriving with a deep sense of fulfillment. These are the things that only you can do. It's because of who you are and how you are that you do these things so well. This is the space you're in when you're focusing on that which you do best. Think of the people who inspire you...those you admire and gravitate towards. Many of the greats (Einstein, Newton, Edison, Aristotle, Socrates, Shakespeare, da Vinci, Michelangelo, etc.) we recognize because of the contributions they made as they operated from their Zone of Genius.
“It takes far more energy to improve from incompetence to mediocrity than it takes to improve from first-rate performance to excellence.”
Take a few moments to fold a paper into quadrants, and label each part with a specific zone. List the activities that come to mind for you in each area. Then, take a highlighter, write "avoid" over the Zone of Incompetence, write "delegate" over the Zone of Competence, write "embrace" over the Zone of Excellence, and lastly, highlight every item in your Zone of Genius. This is now a road map for making decisions, and creating your big picture vision.