Wow, my little blog on confidence has become a series, and it feels like we’re still just touching the surface! But we’re doing great things, and it feels like the next logical step is to start looking at how we can tune into what we’re great at (and our Zone of Genius). This also means considering what isn’t our forte, or could do with some improvement, or appreciation of what’s just not our thing. And being able to do that without judgement or recrimination – just calm, considered evaluation.

So far, in this series all about confidence and self confidence, we’ve:

  • Started challenging those deeper prejudices that confidence is a bad thing. Say hello to calm confidence, quiet power, and assurance and ease in all that we are. Read more here!

  • Looked at how to identify the more subtle clues that your confidence might be wobbly, and created 5 simple tips to start building self confidence – click here to view.

  • And now we’re going to start tuning into to all the wonderful strengths, skills, gifts, talents and traits that make you, you.

To me, this is the key to developing foundational, life-changing confidence! (oh, and fulfilment & success)

What’s your Zone of Genius?

I’m a big fan of the Zoning model proposed by Gay Hendricks in The Big Leap. I use the model loads with my clients who are ambitious entrepreneurs and go-getting employees. But we also harness it for life out of work too – and it’s super powerful.

You spend your life in difference zones – incompetence, competence, excellence and genius. And it’s great to get clear on all the different things you do, and categorise them into these zones (perhaps jot down everything you do in a week, just at work, or in your home life and pop them into these categories – though be open to moving them around as you explore more).

  1. The Zone of Incompetence: These are the things you’re inherently not good at and don’t understand. They cause you stress.
  2. The Zone of Competence: Here, you’re doing tasks you’re pretty good at – efficient and effective. But you’re not bringing anything unique and others could do it just as well. They’re repetitive, not highly skilled, but can cause stress if not done.
  3. The Zone of Excellence: Now here you’re doing things you’re great at; where you’ve practiced and cultivated skills. It’s an important part of your strengths profile but certainly not the full picture. In reality, these things don’t really light you up (though can be where you’ve had success).
  4. The Zone of Genius: So this is where the great stuff happens – the things that give you passion, joy, inspiration, challenge and dedication. It’s where you tap into innate skills and traits. This isn’t just about being great at things here (though you’ll likely have some talent here). But it’s where you harness your uniqueness and really excel.

Playing to your strengths in the Zone of Genius

So ideally you want to be operating in your Zone of Genius as much as possible. This is where you’ll love doing what you do well, and be inspired and stretched. It’s where great things happen. Your Zone of Excellence is also the home of many strengths and talents so – in terms of confidence – super useful to be clear about (though it can be come a bit mundane and uninspiring to be in this Zone too much, as a career for example).

And I love to help clients combine these Zones with all their wonderful personality traits, their “soapbox topics”, their quirks, even flaws, along with life experiences to build a picture of exactly what they bring to the party – being true to themselves, playing to their strengths and stepping forward.

And remember to revisit the Zones of Incompetence and Competence in a compassionate way. Knowing where our weaknesses are is all part of really nailing our strengths. So take a breath and ask:

  • What are you doing in these areas that you could ditch altogether?
  • What can you delegate or outsource, asking others better skilled or more keen to do instead of you?
  • What do you feel is a vital/valuable skill that you’d like to improve on (and how could you do this?)
  • What, if anything, would you like to move into the Zones of Genius or Excellence and how could you do this?

Some questions to help identify your Zone of Genius…

These are questions from Gay Hendricks’ book.

  • What do I most love to do (so much that I can do for long periods without getting bored or tired)?
  • What do I do that doesn’t seem like work or a chore?
  • What gives me the highest ratio of abundance and satisfaction to the amount of time spent?
  • What is my unique ability? What can I do that others can’t at the same level? Harness your personality, style and approach here, not just skills.