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.
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:
When do people go out of their way to tell you how impressed they were with something you did?
What can you do at the last minute and still perform at an exceptional level?
In what ways does your natural disposition lend itself to a high “get-it” factor?
Here are my answers:
When I speak and present or write blog posts
Speaking, moderating or leading a workshop
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 internet marketing executive: business development focus, product/market exploration, networking, financial modeling, landing page creation… etc. And with all this business of should, I didn’t have the time or energy to speak and write. That would be too easy… what would that get me?
Well, we’re about to find out, as I have dedicated 2021, my 40th trip around the sun, to doing just that.
Four years of focused development, peeling back veil after veil of denial, smallness, shame, fear, has made it so clear to me who I am, what I care about and how I can best contribute. And yet, it’s still a process each and every day to surrender into the flow of my genius and see beyond doing it all.
We can only begin to understand our zone of genius when we pay attention to how people react to our contributions and check in with how we felt creating those moments. Was the effort invested low and the return high? Were you surprised at how many compliments you received for something that came easily to you? Is there an area of life or work that you just see so clearly, that others look to you for guidance or insight into? These are all clues. Pay attention. Play with the idea of what you can let go of -- truly let go of responsibility and ownership of -- and what you can surrender into.
I've created a self-coaching guide to help you identify your zone of genius. The content is based on exercises that have helped Collective Gain clients identify their genius zone, I hope it is as helpful to you. Download it here.
If you need help identifying your genius zone or helping your team members step into what they do best? Get matched with a coach to get support on finding and creating space for your genius zone.
With appreciation for who you uniquely are,