Work from your genius, not your excellence

I had a conversation last night with a great friend who has two tracks within her business. One brings in a lot of money, and she’s really great at it. The other is her deep passion, and she’s really awesome at that, too.

As we were talking, she realized that when she’d taken a break from the first, her life had been fantastic. She’d never felt better. Business was booming, despite barely touching it.

But as soon as she’d gotten back into that business, her suffering had started. She’d gotten into lawsuits with former team members, she’d had people steal and cheat, and she’d felt miserable and lost money on all the brawls.

It was pretty clear from our conversation that her first business is her zone of excellence, and the other is her zone of genius.

Your zone of excellence brings in the big bucks, and you’re really fucking excellent at it. Your friends and family and business partners all cheer you on, because it works for them. But it’s not your true genius. It’s not why you’re here on this planet.

Your zone of genius is the thing you’d do forever without getting paid. Where a small amount of effort brings huge value. Work don’t feel like work. You get energy from it. It’s so effortless, it’s easy to dismiss the value of it. You almost feel guilty that you get to do this and get paid for it!

If you’re in your 40s and still stuck in your zone of excellence, your life is going to become increasingly miserable.

For me, programming is my zone of excellence. I’ve been staying stuck there for longer than I care to admit. For the longest time, I even tried to convince myself it really was my zone of genius. But recently it’s become abundantly clear that no, it’s not, I was just scared of really owning my own worth. I have now stepped out of it and I’m ready to start living life in my zone of genius.

What’s my zone of genius? I’m here to help humanity realize a whole new way of being. I’m here to work with the President of the United States on conscious nation building. How to bring spirituality, entrepreneurship, and engineering thinking into all areas of government and public life. I think that’s going to have a much bigger impact on the world than me coding another feature or fixing another bug on Simplero.

I’m sharing this to give you a sense of the perspective. The zone of excellence is so darn alluring. It’s so familiar, so comfortable, you get so much praise.

But you must lose your fascination with your zone of excellence, and admit to yourself what your genius is. You already know, you’re just pretending you don’t.

And then you must make the commitment to living there, from now on out.

Your life depends on it.

And we need your genius.

Love,
–Calvin

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