Requests and feedback I get from pioneers who have just discovered their Zone Of Genius thinking style is, what do I do now? So read on and if you have not yet taken the assessment there is no better time than right now.
Life is a journey and your journey will be unique to you, in my journey I have been collecting conversations and very valuable feedback from now hundreds of people around the world. The 10 key considerations outlined below have helped me, are helping others, and I hope will accelerate your journey to spending more time in and aligned to your zone of genius.
1. Give yourself permission.
In the early stages of this EZOG – (Entrepreneurial zone of genius) – thinking style – project, two individuals, my cofounder Brain and I, embraced our differences and applied this thinking style difference. By learning to help ourselves we were excited at the additional benefit in our improved ability to help others. We knew we could not develop the assessment alone and like many entrepreneurs had very limited resources and the pressure of life to keep us distracted. By giving ourselves permission to embrace what our own research was telling us, we started to make fast progress. What we found was we both needed to find creative and different (visionary’s cultivator) ways to spend more of our time and energy exploring our respective Zone of Genius thinking styles.
This permission is essential to start your journey to genius, as without it you end up carrying all the baggage of stuff you can do, distracting you from what you should be doing. We only have finite time and energy and any consumption that is not aligned, is distracting you and slowing you down.
2. Stop doing something.
Unable to neither engineer more time in the day nor conjure more resources out of thin air, we both consciously gave ourselves permission to stop doing activities outside of or respective zones The result was it made room for more of what we were good at. If something needed doing and was not a good fit for either of us, we would try and collaborate to get it done quicker. We also got better at attracting additional resources, who were different thinking styles, to embrace these ‘other’ tasks, much better aligned to their zone of genius thinking style.
3. Focus on the obvious.
In the early days I was confronted by how similar my cofounder, Brain and I were in value terms, and how different we were in our ‘obviousness.’ What was obvious to him was not to me and visa versa. This simply led us to agreeing to focus on spending more time on the ‘obvious’ things, even though we had to swallow hard to accommodate the insistence of each other that their obvious was the more obvious! Go figure.
4. Embrace diversity.
Entrepreneurship and even life is a team sport. We all have a natural tendency to attract people like us and for growth and our journey to genius we need to learn to attract and collaborate with people we like, that think differently. In partnering for life we are typically attracted to a different thinking style, yet in our work we often attract similar ones. Brain and I armed with our new assessment tool targeted people in our Boulder startup community that responded differently to us. We then engaged and encouraged champions of these different (Architect/Builder) thinking styles, at the same time as inviting other Cultivator and Visionary thinkers to challenge us. We also consciously tried to add gender, age and other diversity variables into the mix.
The results were very impressive in the rapid progress we made in both improving the assessment and validating the four main different thinking styles.
5. Demand feedback.
Feedback fuels success – we don’t know what we don’t know and only in the mirror do we see what others observe – read more about the managing the right sort of feedback in my post. Feedback the fuel of success
6. Keep it lean.
With his book the Lean startup Eric Reis explains how a lean methodology is ideal for startups and we see our journey in life in very similar ways to building a startup. Take yourself as a MVP (minimal viable product) into the market and test it – i.e. ask for feedback. Build – Measure – Learn…its a journey take some steps, evaluate your progress and then apply what you have learned to the next steps. Don’t look at how much to expend, find ways to move forward with the resources you have at minimal expense. A cheap quick failure is always better than an expensive slow one.
7. Believe in yourself.
Not every step of the journey will be rewarded with success. You will stub your toes, trip over, bump into things and meander….and all this effort is progress. Remember the journey isn’t to find out what you can or can’t do its to refine your unique talent and learn more about how you excel. Brian meditates, I am more likely to share a glass of wine!…and we both daily celebrate our personal progress on our respective journeys to genius.
8. Believe in others.
In actioning step 4 and embracing diversity you will find yourself deliberately interacting with people who think differently, different is your friend not your enemy. You know one way, and with the help of others you will learn other ways, not necessarily better of worse, but different. Then by allowing yourself to be directed it will help you better understand the boundaries of your genius zone.
9. Find your Flow.
Sometimes time just seems to fly, your productivity is impressive and you feel energized and empowered, you are actually enjoying yourself! They say find something you love doing and you will never ‘work’ another day. We say find ways of doing things within your zone of genius, find your flow, and the work will almost do itself!
10. Give yourself more permission.
Life is a journey and we all need to value the Journey not focus on the destination. In your Journey keep giving yourself permission to be yourself and be the best you can be, remember everyone else is taken! I am amazed after 30 years of working around my zone how much more I can accomplish when I focus and work in it. I hope in time you will find the same.