Letting Go for Genius

Founders, bosses, managers, those with little time and lots of responsibility:

We’re told to hire help. But we’re not told to let go. To really let go. Not outsource, no. Let go. It’s different.

To let go is to release responsibility for something so you are no longer responsible for optimizing the outcome.

To outsource is to direct someone else to complete a task but still retain ownership of it.

The big aha I had recently was that releasing whole sets of decision-making responsibility opens up space for what excites me... which often is also what I am best at. And following this thread of lifeforce leads me to be in my genius zone -- to spend time where I excel with ease and gain the best possible outcome, faster.

We've read the books (Big Leap, The One Thing, Outliers) and all of them discuss the power of focusing on that which you naturally have an advantage, or in another word, talent. Talent + focus is your zone of genius. And by giving yourself space to nurture your talent, focus on developing it, being IN it... you deliver to yourself and the world your own flavor of genius. This is where success lives. This is where impact thrives. This is where the elusive flow of self + task unite.

The first step to being your genius at work is to let go of everything you're owning that you're not best equipped to facilitate.

Ask yourself:

  • Where do you feel enormous responsibility and little clarity?

  • Why do you feel the need to hold onto ways of being or tasks/roles/responsibilities that you're not best equipped to manage?

  • How can you let go (handoff ownership) to create space for your talent to flourish?

Recently Collective Gain had our annual strategy meeting to talk about our plans for this upcoming year. Two days later my head of operations reached out to ask how I wanted to move forward on a few of our initiatives. My feeling led my response: “I’d like to hand ownership of how this is built and how it operates over to you. I am here to be a test user or to offer feedback if you’d like it, but I no longer believe I am the best person to be involved in the creation and decision-making process on this.” That was me letting go completely.

Initially, there was judgment on my end: That is not what a CEO and founder does. They are involved, they drive the how, they set the agenda, they lead the troops, their opinion about how something should be done is correct. I let go of all of that because I have proof that this is not true. I often don’t know the answer. I often convolute what could be simple. I see all the options and have a hard time picking one. My head of operations, in her genius zone, can do all of that better than I can. So why am I involved, other than to be a sounding board? Letting go means a transferring of responsibility and ownership. And that, when accepted by others on your team or in your life is empowering, creates motivation, and gives people the space to contribute more deeply.

And it felt so good to admit that I really wasn’t that helpful in these areas. That I no longer had to try to have the answers or struggle to make the right decision when I really wasn’t sure. Instead of spending energy on the things you aren’t good at, spend energy where you feel a flow of give and get. Where the universal rule of equal exchange can work positively for you, for your team, for your community. Where surrender isn’t passive or giving up, it’s being in complete receipt of juicy goodness, inspiration, and limitless expression.

If you don’t know what your genius zone is, ask yourself these questions:

  1. When do people go out of their way to tell you how impressed they were with something you did?

  2. What can you do at the last minute and still perform at an exceptional level?

  3. In what ways does your natural disposition lend itself to a high “get-it” factor?

Here are my answers:

  1. When I speak and present or write blog posts

  2. Speaking, moderating or leading a workshop

  3. Intuitive, high EQ, ability to read a room, optimistic, high-energy people person, storyteller, personable, able to share ideas with feeling, open.

And I realize it’s not as easy as just answering these questions. Sometimes we have clues about our genius zone and yet we have judgment against spending most of our time in it. We don’t believe that what we want will unfold if we just spend time doing the things we’re good at.

For example, I know a genius zone is speaking and writing. However, for years, even after colleagues and advisors told me to just speak and write to grow Collective Gain, I felt I needed to run it like any other startup, the way I was trained as an inter