Living in your genius is doing what you love. Your genius has more components than just loving what you do, but if you don’t love it it’s probably not in your zone of genius.
Every single person we’ve ever worked with faces fear even as they consider doing what they love to do. You can count on fear coming up full force as you explore living and working in your zone of genius.
Facing these fears means simply letting them come up. Don’t deny them, push them down, project them on to others or run from them. Just face them. Welcome them. Breathe and let them pass through your body. Once they pass through ask yourself, “Is the belief that my fear is based on really true?”
Here are 5 core fears:
1. If I do what I love to do I won’t have enough money. Let’s get this one out right off the top because this is the one many of your parents and caregivers drilled into you. We even have labels for living this way, like “starving artist.” The premise is that the artist is doing what they love to do and we all know there are lots of artists who are starving (really?). Others say stuff like, “It’s called work because it’s work. It’s not supposed to fun and who cares if you love it. You get paid to do work, not to do what you love to do.” So if you think about doing what you love to do, you'll likely encounter the fear that you'll never make enough money doing it. Face the fear (welcome it and breathe) and then write down the beliefs it’s based on and see if they’re really true.
2. If I do what I love to do, people will think I'm strange. Are you willing to experiment with what it feels like to break away from the herd or be the odd-woman out? At the next cocktail party you're at when people are talking about how overwhelmed and stressed they are about work, and how “hard” it all (aka life) is, chime in with something like this: “Wow, I don’t experience that. I find that I choose only to do what I love to do. Though I’m sometimes tired at the end of the day, it’s a wonderful tired from having done what I loved to do.” The likely looks on the lovely faces that surround you will translate roughly to, “You’re odd and we don't believe you.” Let’s face it, for most of us (though not all) being perceived as odd is similar to being rejected, ostracized and ultimately alone.
3. If I do what I love to do others will resent me. We know this fear is present when we hear voices in our head like “Who do you think you are that you can just do what you want to do?” and “If we all did that who would do the ‘grunt’ work?” or How dare you?” It’s one thing to be odd and another to be resented.
4. If I do what I love to do, it won’t be special any more and I’ll stop loving to do it. This is a subtle and important fear. One of the beliefs we have is that we love doing something because it is special, or even rare, that we get to do it. We want to continue to love it and we believe that if we did it too much (or as much as we think we want to) it would lose its specialness and we’d stop loving it. This is just a belief and one worth testing. What you might find— and what I have found—is that those things I really, truly love doing only get better the more I do them.
5. I’m afraid to commit to doing what I love to do because I’m not really sure that I know what it is that I love to do. So many people tell me that they have never really given themselves the chance to discover what it is they truly love to do. They know things they like to do, things they wish they could do more of, things they plan to do when they retire, but not what it is that they love doing so much they could do it endlessly. The big fear is often “What if there is nothing I really love doing? Then what?”
Living in your zone of genius is committing to facing your fears, over and over again.