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May 9, 2024

These Beliefs Keep Your Enneagram Type From Staying In Your Zone of Genius

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Zone of Genius is a popular commitment (8 of 15) among our clients: “I commit to expressing my full magnificence, and to supporting and inspiring others to fully express their creativity and live in their zone of genius.” 

We are deeply grateful to Gay Hendricks for introducing this transformative concept in his book "The Big Leap." 

What is the Zone of Genius?

In your Zone of Genius, you engage in activities that you excel at and also deeply enjoy. Time seems to vanish; these tasks feel effortless because they are fulfilling, while also creating excellent results.  People often underestimate their unique abilities, asking, "Can’t everyone do this easily?"

Gay Hendricks recommends living at least 50% of your time in your Zone of Genius, aiming for 70% for even greater fulfillment. By identifying and challenging specific beliefs that hold you back, you can move the needle from excellence to genius. 

Enneagram Type-Specific Barriers to Zone of Genius

Each Enneagram type faces unique challenges that might prevent individuals from fully embracing their Zone of Genius.
(These hints come from coaches on our team, each about their own types.)

  • Type 1 - The Reformer: Believes they must correct imperfections everywhere, often insisting their way is the only right way. This can lead to micromanaging and a harsh intensity that intimidates others, even specialists. Their rigidity prevents them from focusing on their true strengths, thus limiting their effectiveness in their Zone of Genius.
  • Type 2 - The Giver: Fears that fully embracing their Zone of Genius might make them shine too brightly, potentially leading to lost connections or alienation from others who might view their success as a threat.
  • Type 3 - The Achiever: Worries that staying only in their Zone of Genius might not yield the material success or recognition they seek. They fear that giving up activities where they are merely competent (Zone of Excellence) could disappoint people important to them, risking disapproval.
  • Type 4 - The Individualist: Feels fundamentally flawed and often focuses on what’s missing, avoiding exposure to criticism or judgment. They fear being seen as deficient or inadequate, which keeps them from fully embracing their unique strengths.
  • Type 5 - The Observer: Confuses pseudo-mastery with genius due to their ability to learn and mimic anything effectively. Fears that shining too brightly might drain their energy. Being non-attached to the point of losing connection with desire can lead fives away from discovering where their true genius lies.
  • Type 6 - The Loyal Skeptic: Feels unprepared and doubts whether they have what it takes to step fully into their Zone of Genius. They fear that by doing so, they might let down people they feel a duty towards.
  • Type 7 - The Enthusiast: Reluctant to commit to just one thing as being only in their Zone of Genius sounds limiting. They struggle to say no to new opportunities, often rationalizing distractions as being integral to their Zone of Genius when they are not.
  • Type 8 - The Challenger: Takes on more than necessary because they believe they can't count on others. They think, "I do it better anyway, so I'll do it," which prevents them from delegating and diminishes their capacity to focus on what they truly excel at.
  • Type 9 - The Mediator: Believes that they do not really make a difference, which can lead to a passive approach to their development and fear of standing out.

Privilege and Access to the Zone of Genius

There’s a common objection that accessing the Zone of Genius is a privilege. While it's true that having more resources can facilitate focusing on genius, everyone has Zones of Genius that are not solely dependent on material advantages. Overcoming the beliefs that block full expression in the Zone of Genius is crucial for anyone, regardless of their privilege.

Next Steps for Living in Your Zone of Genius 

If you’re ready to commit to living more fully in your Zone of Genius, consider these actions:

  1. Run a Genius Email campaign. Follow this template to solicit feedback from peers on what they perceive as your areas of genius.
  2. Conduct a Daily Energy Audit. Use this tool to discover how much of your day you spend in your zone of genius.
  3. Do The Best Stuff exercise. Reflect on your life’s peak moments to identify patterns that point to your Zone of Genius.
  4. Read “The Big Leap” and “Your Big Leap Year” by Gay Hendricks. These books provide deeper insights into finding and sustaining your genius.
  5. Book a Half-Day Workshop. Tailor a session for your team to explore and enhance each member's Zone of Genius through structured exercises and discussions. Get info here.
  6. Get Coached to Clarify and Activate your Zone of Genius. Contact Dolores at dolores@conscious.is to learn more and schedule a call.

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