Imagine a beach. A vast beach where you are happy. And imagine that this beach represents all the knowledge possible in your area of passion. For me, that beach is writing. For you, it could be anything at all. Notice how much sand is on that beach. The more we know, the more we know we don’t know. Think of this beach metaphor or analogy in that same point of focus - the more sand we can pick up, the bigger the beach seems to grow. It doesn't actually grow, only our perception of it does - and that is in important distinction!
The More we Know, the More we Know we Don't Know
School teaches us to think we know a subject completely and potentially, to compete. Well, it did when I was at school. Getting a good grade didn’t rely on feeling or on passion or even on creative thinking. A good grade, the pinnacle of a successful school career, was based on knowing everything you were told you should know and potentially, knowing more than other children.
Consider the beach metaphor. Many of us learned in school to know all of the visible beach before we were permitted to see more of it. No wonder this set us up to feel like we don’t know much about the things we love. We can see the beach for miles and we know how much we don’t know. Isn’t it interesting that how much you know you don’t know is the best measure of what you DO know?
Let’s look at the beach metaphor from the perspective of something you are not passionate about or that doesn’t interest you. You may feel like you already know everything on the beach, or more accurately, that you don’t want to explore the beach and so, for you, you know everything you plan to know. You know you don’t know everything, but you also can’t see how big the beach is because you will never want for or miss the expansion of THAT beach.
Stop Comparing Your Grains of Sand
We all have different grains of sand, even when we stand on the same beach. The grains we have chosen to accumulate are based on our values, our beliefs, our experiences, our filters, and our meanings and perception. They depend on every moment of our own unique existence to that point. It is not possible to hold the exact same grains of sand on any subject as another person.
So often, we compare our grains of sand - our successes, our failures, our actions, our outcomes, our attraction, etc., to another's. I trust you now see why this is a pointless endeavour. Even conjoined twins perceive differently. Also, remember that you only see the grains that others choose to show you - what about all of the other misshaped grains that they have collected on the journey that are hidden beneath the smooth, shiny surface?
You may be wondering how this plays out for those that have found their genius zone beach and are build sand castles. It’s exactly the same. Remember that the more we know, the more we know we don’t know, so when you are on your genius zone beach, it is infinite. Yes, you have more sand - a handful, or a bucket, perhaps even a whole truckload, but it’s still only a small portion. And so no two entrepreneurs in the same space will ever have the same sand. This is crucial to know when selecting a mentor.
Find YOUR Genius Zone Beach
Our genius zone is so naturally embedded that we sponge up knowledge without realising it, so our genius zone beach is always massive. In the absence of recognising this as your genius zone beach, you may make the same mistake I did in thinking you don’t know enough to create a career from it or to help others.
We often fall into the trap of thinking everyone else knows the same as us about any given topic. It is often only when we are able to disassociate and see what others see in us and when we are able to recognise that we have an area of expertise that others do not have, that we are able to embrace and step into our genius zone (McTackett, 2018).
Here are three steps to start searching for your genius zone beach:
Follow your passion
Find where you 'think' you don't know much
Notice the grains of sands other people comparing on your beach
Your genius zone beach is where you feel happy. It’s a very big beach with lots of sand and you know a handful of it - you really do feel like you don’t know much at all. Other people are comparing their sand and you already have sand grains similar to most of the things they are talking about. Listen. Start paying attention to the questions you are asked. If you are on a small beach and you feel like you know everything, you don’t really know much about that subject at all. And that’s okay because you probably don’t want to.
Instead of comparing yourself to anyone, be inspired or enjoy the contrast of knowing what you don’t want so that you can have clarity on what you do want. Compare only your own growth to your allowance of growth. There is nothing else to compare and there is no need to compete. Be the best on your beach with your handful of sand - you already are. Know it, embrace it, and allow it. Find your genius zone beach and build YOUR sand castle. Allow others to play with it knowing that you see so much more of the beach then they realise is available and there is so much for you to learn. How exciting!
McTackett K, 2018. Say No and Be Okay With It. i.am Publications.