Live in the State of Genius

Live in the state of genius Zilvold Coaching & Training
11 min read

This article is a book review of one of the best books I have read thus far this year. It is called “The Big Leap”, written by Gay Hendricks. It’s a ‘self-help’ book to help you take the next step to the so called state of Genius. The article includes my learnings and why I think you should read it.

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The year is not over yet and this is already the best book I have read in 2019. Wow! It completely changed my view on fear, habits, fear and time.

If you’re going through a rough time at the office or with your (intimate) relationships and if are ready for a breakthrough, I really recommend you to read this guide.

The different zones

Gay Hendricks describes 4 zones in which we operate in our life, These are the zone of incompetence, the zone of competence, the zone of excellence and the zone of genius.

Being in the zone of incompetence is everything what you’re not good at. It would not be a good idea to ask me to make a forecast or risk assessment based on a data files. You see, I am not a data analyst. I would not even know how to open the file and how to read it. The best you can do when in the zone of incompetence is to ask someone else to do it (or pay them for it). Others are way better than me in accounting or carpentry. It takes me too much time and energy and is not all in line with my purpose or my WHY.

You can stay in the zone of incompetence if you enjoy it or have the intent to become good at something.

The zone of competence is reached when you have the skills do something. I am a trainer, coach and blogger. Also, I am competent in creating content for my social media and using different tools to plan it. This requires at least one day per month and I find that a lot of time. Although I am competent at this, it does not fulfill me like coaching or training.

You are in your zone of excellence when you do something you’re very good at. You’re the specialist, expert and the “to-go guy or gal” in that specific field. It’s where you’re successful and earn the most money and recognition. At this point that would be team building sessions for me. We like to stay in this zone of excellence, since it gives us stability, it’s comfortable, it’s perhaps good for our ego and mostly the environment around us (company, clients, family & friends) want us to stay there. It gives them stability as well.

Upper Limit problem

This brings us to the upper limit problem. You are reaching the upper limit problem when you are:

  • stressed
  • worrying
  • starting an argument
  • anxious
  • feeling unworthy
  • (feeling) sick

Gay Hendricks calls this upper limiting. His granddaughter has a great definition for this:

“It’s when you don’t know how to just have a good time all the time”.

An example of upper limiting is that you’re getting sick on the first day of your well-deserved vacation. Perhaps this is far fetched but it is actually is a fuse that blows when you’re very successful in what you do. Often you create personal dramas which are holding you back to fully enjoy the moments success, abundance or happiness. It can be an assumption, a habit or a belief (I am unworthy, I cannot exceed the success of my father,…) or some other negative thought.

I sometimes have this after a successful training or coaching session where people are uplifted and know what to do in their life’s. Then I would think about the things I should have said as well (or should have refrained from saying). Instead of enjoying the moment, I am beating myself up. Do you catch yourself doing that as well?

The 3 P’s

What also prevents you from living in the zone of Genius is squabbling, criticizing/blaming others or yourself, deflecting (compliments), and getting sick or getting into accidents. Gay Hendricks defines the 3 P’s behind illnesses or accidents:


It is strange how our unconscious mind works. It tends to punish us when we enter the upper areas of our zone of genius. It is truly great there with lots of joy and success. The problem is when we overdo this. You can’t peak all the time. Life warns you with a headache, backpain or perhaps a flat tire. Life is telling you to slow down otherwise you’ll suffer the consequences…

Prevention & Protection

They surface when you don’t actually want to do something. Unconsciously your mind is doing you a favor by becoming ill or getting into an accident to protect / prevent you from doing something you don’t want to feel or do.
Looking back to a recent accident or illness: was there something you didn’t want to feel or do?

Al the 3 P’s are signs that there’s an integrity breach. You’re not being honest to yourself or others. Promises are broken or something of truth is held back. Again you’re upper limiting. You’re withholding yourself from something greater and positive.


Often we fear this truth and being honest to ourselves and others. We fear to lose what we have when we admit that we’re in the wrong job or relationship. Fear is holding us back. Gay Hendricks explains that fear and excitement have the same mechanism. Fear is actually the absence of breath. You hold your breath when something scary is about to happen (when seeing an accident just in front of you). But you can never hold your breath for ever to deny or get rid of fear.

Fear can be transformed into excitement by adding breath. For me, the best advice of this book is to feel the fear instead of suppress it. Celebrate it as if you would blow out the candles of your birthday cake. So, breathe and your fear transforms into excitement. Breathe more and excitement turns into exhilaration. I have practiced this in moments of fear lately and it really works! I then start to see possibilities, find creative solutions and feel more happy and confident when I breathe deeply and slowly.

Einstein Time

And of course there is (the shortage of) time to blame for all our stress, our bad decisions and troubles with others. Do you experience as well that a weekend abroad with your loved ones just goes by in a flash? And the time in the waiting room of the dentist for a root canal creeps away slowly? Do you tell your kid that you don’t have time to play ball because you have to work?

Gay Hendricks invites you to Einstein time where you can be more productive and creative and enjoy it. It’s a new kind of time-management where you get more done in less time and you feel good inside. The key is that you realize that you are the source of time. You have to take ownership of time, you’re not a victim of it. To expand time you can ask yourself: “Where in my life am I not taking full ownership?” or “What am I trying to disown?”. So stop saying the following: ”I don’t have time for that”.

The zone of genius

The fourth zone is the zone of genius. That’s the zone where you do the things which are unique to you. They are your strengths, your character strengths or your superpowers which are helpful to the people around you. The zone of genius is where and when you live in abundance, love, success & creativity. It is more than a change in mindset or habits. It’s a state of being the best you are at any given moment. You can expand your zone of genius every day and every moment. How to live in the zone of genius? When you seriously commit to consciously live in the zone of genius where you are alive and don’t have to lie, blame (others) or worry and take full ownership.

Why you should read this book

So, is your life going well? Are you good in what you do? Are you afraid that your success can be a burden? Or are there inexplainable accidents or headaches in your life? Chances are that you’re upper limiting.

This actionable book gives you easy strategies to go beyond upper limiting and make that big leap into the zone of Genius. It will make you more optimistic, help you to conquer fear and it’s a great guide for achieving your true potential. The book is a quick-read (actually you don’t want to stop reading) with good stories, well-explained theories to give you new insights. You can directly apply what you’ve read (and benefit from it). Read this book if you want to know more about the 3 P’s, Einstein Time and how to take life to the next level, even if you don’t think you need to.

What is keeping you from living the state of genius? Are you criticizing yourself or others? Are you deflecting compliments? Do you worry a lot? Let me know in the comment field below. I and the other readers of this article are looking forward to reading from you! The first comment answering the question above, will get a free copy of the book from me!

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Have you seen an error in this article? Let me know! I am grateful!

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