I’m going to share three types of lists I’ve made over the years (six lists total) in service of figuring out my Zone of Genius. (If you’ve not read Gay Hendricks’ The Big Leap, get on that immediately.)
The first set of lists — made more than 20 years ago — was my Ponies for Everyone list and Everyone Is Dead list. Let’s say I have all the money in the world (so, everyone gets a pony) and I can do whatever I want because everyone I know is dead and there’s none of that, “You should…” about my life coming in from anyone. I was in my 20s. This list was very revealing at the time; I had structured a life surrounding others’ expectations of me and was going to wake up 40 wondering whose life this was if I didn’t make a change.
Getting clear on how I’d spend my time if it’s totally up to me and if I have all the money on the world was probably the most clarifying experience for understanding my Zone of Genius before that was even a phrase.
The next set of lists (more than a decade ago) was: Things I Love to Do in My Business and Things I Don’t Love to Do in My Business. I then found ways to rarely do the things on the second list. If I *had to* do something there, I would limit the time. I would get support. Eventually, I would hire out for so much of it that the few things I do still *have to* do from that second list feel like fun little revisitings of “the good ol’ days” when I didn’t have a choice.
Eventually, I made two more lists: Things I Can Do and Things ONLY I Can Do. I realized every moment I leave the “Things ONLY I Can Do” list for “Things I Can Do” items, I’m slowing my business down. I’m choking the empire. I’m thwarting growth. So, much of the work became TRAINING myself NOT to do things that, yes, I can do, but that someone else can do too… and I need to keep my eye on the ball, here. 😉
Just two weeks ago, we hired “my boss” and her job is to essentially lock me out of things I needn’t see anymore. Of course, I can see everything and I’m not really locked out. 😉 But the mindset behind it is that I can’t grow to our next tier if I’m looking under the hood all the time, so she’s going to make it harder for me to do that.
I see Zone of Genius as more a “True North” than anything else and it’s not about ALWAYS being in it as much as it’s about being on *mostly* the right path toward it — because detours and scenic routes are incredibly illuminating about so much of who I am and how I want to show up in the world.
These lists and a process of recalibration help me stay on purpose, filled with joy, and doing the most in the world without running myself ragged.
Ready to start your own list-making? I’d love to celebrate what you come up with! Comments are open below!