Moving Past 5 Big Fears That Block You From Your Zone of Genius

Uncategorized Jan 12, 2022

One of the most insidious ways that systems of inequity perpetuate themselves is by getting inside our heads in the form of fears and limiting beliefs that hold us back as change agents. 

But here's the good news--no matter how entrenched those larger systems are, you still have agency to shift your own thoughts and beliefs towards something better. Unlocking the fullest measure of your own joy and impact is one of the most positive forces that you have to counter all that is going wrong in the world.  

This post is all about how you break into your "zone of genius" as a change agent, and overcome 5 specific fears that get in the way of so many of us who are committed to doing the best we can to make a better world.

Joyful Impact = Operating in Your "Zone of Genius"

In his book The Big Leap, Gay Hendricks challenges us to find our zone of genius, where work doesn't feel like work, and where you generate dramatically outsize impact in relatively little time.  But very often we end up spending most of our time working in our "zone of excellence" because that is what other people tend to recognize as our highest and best contribution--it is where we are most reliable contributors to a team.  


We tend to limit ourselves from reaching our full potential for joyful impact as change agents

"The Upper Limit Problem is our universal human tendency to sabotage ourselves when we have exceeded the artificial upper limit we have placed on ourselves. The Upper Limit Problem is caused by a too-low thermostat setting on our ability to achieve and enjoy our ultimate success. The thermostat gets set low early in our lives, at a time when we could not think for ourselves.”

  --Gay Hendricks


What's Behind the Upper Limit Problem? 5 Key Fears

  1. I won’t be good enough
  2. I’ll be abandoning my roots and losing proximity to the people and communities I care about
  3. More impact = less joy
  4. I have no right to be joyful while so many others are still suffering
  5. The more I succeed the more I become part of the same systems of inequality I’m trying to change


4 Tools for Moving Past Your Fears

The Book of Joy by the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu is a beautiful resource for accessing joy and a playful spirit, even in the face of deep challenge and injustice.  Robert Kegan and Lisa Lahey's book Immunity to Change is another great resource--their method of "Immunity Mapping" helps you identify your fears and find ways to safely and playfully test the assumptions that lie underneath those fears.  Lots more on that in this post in the 7 Pillars of Personal Development for Change Agents series as well.

Check out this post for more on how to harness directive affirmations to move past your fears and into your joy and impact

Check out this post for more on how to engage your thoughts and shift them in ways that serve you better.

For more on re-making your relationship with time, check out this post on creative flow, and these posts on setting priorities and productivity


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These are the same materials we use with the social entrepreneurs in our accelerator program and the funders we coach one on one.  The world has never been more in need of a new, greatest generation of change agents and that's why we're opening up free access to these materials to anyone who's ready to make use of them!