BUILDING THE BRIDGE TO YOUR ZONE OF GENIUS
This month we are taking a BIG LEAP -- A BIG LEAP into:
a fuller expression of the Divine;
a greater experience of connection, aliveness, happiness, love, creativity and abundance; and
a life that is simply easier.
And for those of you listening for this first time this month - all I can say is where have you been!? We've been having the most glorious time with this topic from the book, The Big Leap: Conquer your Hidden Fears and Take Life to the Next Level by Gay Hendricks.a
If you've not been here, I can't bring you completely up to speed, but here's a brief overview. Actually, we could all use it:
Long before you came into this physical form, you made a handshake deal with the Universe to live within what Gay Hendricks calls your Zone of Genius. It is the Zone where:
You have a sense of purposeful joy;
Where work doesn't feel like work;
Where time feels different - it doesn't fly, it flows. In fact, it seems to expand to support your activities (that was actually a preview of next week, rather than a review of the last two!)
Where you are blessing the world with your unique talents; and
Where you are really happy!
But somewhere along the line, an inner thermostat was set. It is this inner thermostat that determines the amount of love, creativity, happiness, abundance, etc. that we will allow ourselves to experience. For some of us, it was set pretty low.
Hendricks calls it the Upper Limit Problem - or ULP (like GULP). When we exceed our setting, we tend to sabotage ourselves (usually unconsciously) so that we can return to the old, familiar setting where we feel comfortable and secure.
Hendricks' granddaughter described the Upper Limit Problem to a friend of hers like this:
If you don't think it's OK to feel good and you have a good time, you'll do something to mess it up.
Then she gave her friend an example:
Remember when we were playing dodge ball during recess last week and that kid Frankie broke in and kicked the ball over the fence?
"Yes," her friend said nodding, "He does that sort of thing all the time."
Hendricks' granddaughter replied:
Well, he's got an Upper Limit Problem. He doesn't know how to just have a good time all the time.
Grandfatherly pride aside, I think that's a pretty good definition of the Upper Limit Problem.
Last week, we looked at 4 hidden barriers that keep us from expanding into our Zone of Genius:
because we believe there is something fundamentally wrong with us;
Because we believe it would cause us to be disloyal to our roots and leave people from our past behind;
Because we believe if we did we would outshine _____________ and make him/her look or feel bad; and/or
because we believe we will be an even bigger burden than we are now.
If you want to get more detail about these barriers and how to dismantle them, read the book. What I will say now about them is . . .
It is your Divine Right and your Divine Destiny to dismantle them. It is your Divine Right and your Divine Destiny to live from and in your Zone of Genius. You deserve to be there and the world needs you to be there.
And even though each barrier seems absolutely true and real, not a one of them is! Each is based on beliefs that are neither true nor real.
II. MAIN POINTS
A. POINT ONE
That is where we have been - where are we going? Today, we are going to build a bridge to your Zone of Genius.
"In coaching people to discover their geniuses, I've found that it's essential to begin with a commitment to living in your Zone of Genius. Your commitment must come before you know how to make good on it."b
He describes the scene in the third Indiana Jones movie in which Indy must step out into thin air, in a gesture of commitment, before a bridge magically appeared before his feet.
I love these thoughts on the power of commitment from W. H. Murray's book The Scottish Himalayan Expedition (personalized):
"Until I am committed there is the chance to draw back; always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless of my ideas and splendid plans: the moment I definitely commit myself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help me that would not otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issue from my decision, raising in my favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance which I would never have dreamed would come my way. Whatever I can do, or dream I can, I now begin it! Boldness has genius, magic, and power in it."c
The "Entry Gate" to our Zone of Genius, according to Hendricks, is to make a commitment to live there - remember, even before you know how to do that!
Here's your commitment statement. I'm going to say it first, and I want you to repeat it softly to yourself a few times and just notice how it feels to you. Ready? Remember, repeat it silently a few times.
"I am committed to living in my Genius Zone now and forever."
Now, say it softly aloud a few times, again observing how it feels. Then, when you are ready, speak it from your heart as a formal contract between you and the Universe.
By doing that, you have passed through the entry gate, you can now build a bridge into your Zone by asking four powerful and illuminating questions.
I know that people are feeling a mounting pressure to get on track with their lives, especially during this coronavirus shutdown. I believe the sense of urgency is your internal call to live in your Zone of Genius.
Hendricks writes that he has seen this pressure disappear with miraculous speed when people open up to wondering about what their true genius is. If you are feeling any kind of that pressure, you're in the right place!
I don't expect you to be able to answer these questions this morning. They will take some reflection, but I want to start the process here.
Here are they. We'll look briefly at the first three and then spend more time with the fourth one.
B. WHAT DO I MOST LOVE TO DO
What do I most love to do? Said another way, what do I enjoy so much that I can do it for long stretches of time without getting tired or bored.
Your Genius is connected to what you most love to do!
Now let's take the question "what do I most love to do?" and direct it to something more specific.
C. WHAT WORK DO I DO THAT DOESN'T SEEM LIKE WORK?
What work do I do that doesn't seem like work? I can do it all day long without ever feeling tired or bored.
When you are doing this certain thing (and not burdened with the pressure and irritations of business), you are at your very happiest. When you're doing it, you think "This is why I do the work I do."
D. WHAT PRODUCES THE HIGHEST RATIO OF ABUNDANCE AND SATISFACTION TO AMOUNT OF TIME SPENT?
In my work, what produces the highest ratio of abundance and satisfaction to amount of time spent? (Even if I only do ten seconds or a few minutes of it, an idea or deeper connection may spring forth that leads to huge value.)
There is some essential aspect of the work you do that produces the greatest payoff. Perhaps it's connecting with your staff or customers in a certain kind of way. Or it's picking up the phone and having a certain kind of conversation with a key person. Whatever it is, find it and put the highest priority on doing some of it every day. In fact, if it something that has the highest priority, perhaps it means to do it first.
It takes a certain kind of ruthlessness to set a priority and stick to it.
Now take a deep breath because the 4th genius question asks you to think of who you are in most unusual terms. It asks you to identify a unique and priceless gift you carry within yourself. Your exploration of this aspect of yourself is not about self-flattery or ego. It's a clear-eyed look at a deep, innermost quality, with the intention of applying that quality to make your own life and the lives of others more valuable. Here's the question:
E. WHAT IS MY UNIQUE ABILITY?
What is my unique ability? There is a special skill I'm gifted with. This unique ability, fully realized and put to work can provide enormous benefits to me and anyone I serve.
If you only knew the capacities, talents, gifts, etc. that are waiting to emerge through you and as you, your mouth would drop open in admiration and amazement.
We are in search of the deepest essentials here; if you look into the essence of who you really are at the deepest level, you'll find a unique gift you've been blessed with. That gift is your greatest contribution to the people around you. It's the pinnacle skill in your life - work and non-work. The ability is not unique in the whole world. There may be millions of people who have it. However, no one does it exactly like you!
Do you know what your unique ability is? You may have discovered it already, but if you haven't, here's a way to find it.
Have you seen a set of Russian nesting dolls? When you open the big doll, there's a smaller one inside and hidden within the smaller doll is an even smaller one.
Using that image, think of your unique ability as a skill within a skill within a skill. Your unique ability is usually camouflaged inside a larger skill you possess. You may not even realize that your unique ability is what is driving your success in applying the larger skill.
Focus then on the first doll. This is the larger skill within which is hidden your unique gift.
F. I'M AT MY BEST WHEN I'M . . .
I'm at my best when I'm . . .
Let that statement resonate in your mind a few times; then speak it out loud. Discover what comes up for you. Just get a good general statement of what you're doing when you feel you're at your best.
Once you've got that statement, go a little deeper. Use a statement like:
G. WHEN I'M AT MY BEST, THE EXACT THING I'M DOING IS . . .
When I'm at my best, the exact thing I'm doing is . . .
Go for a more detailed description.
Then go ever deeper with a sentence like this one:
H. WHEN I'M DOING THAT, THE THING I LOVE MOST ABOUT IT IS . . .
When I'm doing that, the thing I love most about it is . . .
You'll be able to know you're getting closer to your unique ability when you feel an inner glow of wonder and excitement.
Discovering your Zone of Genius is your life's Big Leap. Hendricks writes that everything up to now has been about hops, not leaps. Hopping, though it seems safe, is actually hazardous to your health. If you confine yourself to hops, you run the risk of rusting from the inside out.
You are here to unleash your genius, your gifts, your talents, your visions. You are here to make a contribution. Remember, you are here to let God be God in you! The world is ready to be blessed by your presence.
This morning, we've begun the steps to build the bridge to your Zone of Genius:
First, by committing to living in it and allowing Providence to move in your favor!
Then, by asking four questions and being ready to make discoveries that are absolutely amazing!
Now is the time to do this. Don't wait another minute. Your dreams are waiting for YOU to come true. The world is waiting for you to live in your Zone of Genius!
So since this is Father's Day I would now like to pay tribute to the men we know. I have the names of men that I would like to acknowledge. And for me this candle that I light is in memory of my father Robert Caldwell.
And for Wayne and Louise Leavitt I light a candle in memory of their fathers Harold Leavitt and Gustave Raby and Louise's brothers Bill, John, and Bob Raby and her nephews Robert, Michael, and Will Stone. And to honor Wayne for helping to raise his 5 and 7 year old stepsons Bobby and Jimmy.
For Robert Trent I light a candle in memory of Floyd, Joe, Michael, Jack, and Owen. And to honor Doug, Charles, Michael, David, Rafael, Josh, Jason, Jamie, Scott, Gary, Donald, Jon, Johnny and Enrique
For Joel Sokolsky and Michelle Gerson I light a candle in memory of Jacob Gerson and in honor of Richard Sokolsky.
For Hank Rivera I light a candle in memory of Enrique Rivera, Antonio Alcalde, and Malcolm Sowers.
As you look at this garden of candles, think of the men in your life who have influenced you, inspired you, strengthened you, and loved you. Men who have planted ideas in your mind and watched you grow. Men we loved and hated. Men we blame for all our faults and weaknesses, and thank for all our strengths and talents. Men who weren't perfect but did the best they knew how to do. And so we grew, blossomed and produced fruit. And so we thank them.
I think our fathers tried to do all the things a good gardener does. They prepared good soil and had the courage to do what was right and loving for their children. They knew they could not plant everything in their lives. Time is so short, so we choose the seeds of faith in God and national identity. We plant them as often as we can. Enough seed, and surely something will grow. God provides the watering and fertilizing and weeding. We plant with our eyes on the harvest and our children surprise us with their magnificence.
aThe Big Leap: Conquer your Hidden Fears and Take Life to the Next Level Gay Hendricks.
bThe Big Leap: Conquer your Hidden Fears and Take Life to the Next Level Gay Hendricks. p. 121
cW. H. Murray's book The Scottish Himalayan Expedition