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  • Jill Brocklehurst

Zone of Genius

"The only reason one is limited, is that they have not allowed the Divine within them to more completely express” ~ Ernest Holmes, The Science of Mind

I am 59. This is my last year before I hit my 60’s. I think, out of all the birthdays, this is the biggest milestone for me yet. I have felt 17 and immature for so long, but now, when I look at the way my skin seems to be falling off my arms, I wonder who kidnapped me and put me in a different body suit 😝.


For the last 5 years, we have been dialling into questions about our work at the Centre, and what it means to us as individuals. Great questions to consider are those from Seth Godin’s blog, like these:

  • Who’s it for?

  • What’s it for?

  • What change do you seek to make?

  • What’s the hard part?

  • If you could learn one skill that would help your project, what would it be?

  • How can you tell if it’s working?

  • Would it be easier if you had help?

  • Would it be easier to make an impact if you were willing to give up credit or control?

  • Does this project matter?

  • Is the journey worth it?

  • What are you afraid of?

  • Would they miss you if you stopped?

We’ve also looked at our personality styles (in particular, using the Striving Styles Personality System), our belief systems, culture, and unexamined patterns. We developed “Why” Statements for ourselves (see Simon Sinek’s work for more info on that). We’ve reviewed our values (à la Brené Brown’s, Dare to Lead) and we’ve done the same for the Centre. We have asked if we are living in alignment with our true natures, or “Zone of Genius”, as coined by Gay Hendricks in The Big Leap. We took all these ideas, held up by our foundation of Science of Mind Principles, and put them under the microscope of the work outlined in The 15 Commitments of Conscious Leadership. It has been deep, meaningful, challenging and rewarding work… and here I am, almost 60, and still working on the details of who I want to be when I grow up. The truth is, I will always be working on self-awareness. My life focus is fluid. I used to be a kid, then I became a mother, a student, a wife, a divorcée, a friend, a minister, a truth seeker… all these things offer different lenses through which I experience life. And so I lean in and ask the questions…. What do I love, and what makes me happy?

Zone of Genius work isn’t easy. Often, we may have to ask friends what they think because our tendency is to discredit the skills we have that are fun and effortless. We can make assumptions that, “if it feels this easy, it must be easy for everybody”. Often, we can fall into the trap of believing that offerings of ‘value’ must take hard work and suffering. This can’t be farther from the truth.


My youngest son was born with the gift of a deep, rich, beautiful singing voice. Listening to him engage with a celtic tune or some classical piece sends tingles through me. The resonance and vibrations of perfect, clear pitch… wow!


… AND… he gives it no value. Instead, he works in construction, which is far from his zone of genius, in so many ways. I let go, and let him figure his life out, but I don’t want to live far away from my own zone of genius, and I don’t want you to either. Some of my happiest moments arise from being together with friends and family. I initiated a project at The Centre of decorating a float for The Big Truck Parade in Campbell River, because I want to hang out and play with my friends. I coordinated a chalet up at a local mountain for a friends and family ski trip. I plan retreats and classes and other group outings because when I am together with others for a single purpose, I light up and it is easy and fun for me.


So, as I wrap up my 50’s and step into this next era, I am going to pay even closer attention to what makes my heart soar, and then continue to bring that joy to others. I am going to assist people in finding their heart’s song, and encourage them to live their truth. I have been teaching for as long as I can remember, and I will do so for as long as someone will sit and listen. My call to teach and lead will never leave me. It is who I am. I feel awake and alive to this course of action in my life, and I am so excited to see the adventures in my next chapter.

For this week, I invite you to try the “Best Stuff” Exercise from The 15 Commitments of Conscious Leadership. It is a rewarding place to start. Here is an excerpt from the book that explains the process:


“Kaley, along with our friend and colleague Jim Warner, created the ‘Best Stuff’ exercise, where you identify Genius Moments. It involves writing down and telling someone, who is skilled at listening for genius, eight stories from your life when you were ‘in the zone’—when you loved what you were doing and you did it well. ”For this exercise, you can’t include something you enjoyed but did badly. So the karaoke nights when you had a blast singing, but blasted everyone’s ears don’t qualify. Similarly, if you excelled at something but didn’t enjoy it, leave it out. The award you won for teaching the course you hated is off limits.


“You can draw from your entire life for these stories. As Stuart Brown describes in his book (Play), childhood is often a great place to look. It could be building a birdhouse with your father, training for a race, creating skits with friends, taking pictures, or coaching a team.


“Use the Best Stuff sheets provided as a download on our websites to write down your stories. [Here is a link] Then look for common themes. This exercise will not tell you to be or do something, but rather, it offers accurate descriptions of where and how you thrive: possible areas of genius.


“For instance, when doing the Best Stuff exercise, one client told story after story of being on stage, performing dramas, sharing stories, and connecting with people. The exercise did not tell her to drop everything and go to Hollywood to be an actress. Instead, she realized that she could bring her love of the stage and drama into her work. She subsequently started a culture initiative in her organization to teach key leadership skills by telling stories and doing dramas”.


Dethmer, Jim; Chapman, Diana; Klemp, Kaley. The 15 Commitments of Conscious Leadership: A New Paradigm for Sustainable Success (pp. 198-199).


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