(This is blog three in a series of eight, taken from Lesson 5, “Discover Your One-of-a-Kind Genius Zone and Set Your Current Top Life Goals” in Happy School, Where Women Learn the Secrets to Overcome Discouragement and Worry. You can access all 8 blogs in Lesson 5 HERE at JulieNGordon.com.)
If you wake up every day filled with dread or boredom, feel stuck or trapped, or feel you have no direction, then today’s lesson is for you. The combination of wealth, a loving family, and a strong social network may seem like the recipe for a perfect life, but until one finds, and uses, their Genius Zone—the area where their gifts, interests, and a need collide— a fulfilling dimension of life is missing.
“Discover where a deep gladness meets a need. There’s true joy in offering what you sense you were made to give,” claims the Genie in Lesson 5 in Happy School. Humans are aiming creatures. “Where there is no vision, the people perish” (Proverbs 29:18).
To help you get started in discovering your Genius Zone, as well as pinpointing your God-given calling, please open your journal and brainstorm some answers to these 8 questions and prompts.
Number #1: What makes you feel alive and energized? What puts you in the zone? What do you do that gives you joy and makes you lose track of time? What do you love to do? What did you like to do when you were a kid? When have you been your happiest?
In college, I was the rush chairman for my sorority, which meant I had to plan different parties with themes for incoming freshmen for several days. I remember sitting on my mother’s balcony porch with papers scattered all around me, writing new lyrics (about our sorority) to old songs from the classic South Pacific movie. I think I was in heaven. Even at this young age, I rejoiced in writing and creating. Search your past for these moments when your heart sang.
Number #2: What comes easy and naturally? Your Genius Zone will be somewhat of an easy and natural area for you, a downhill stream. (However, just because you’re good at something doesn’t mean you enjoy it. A friend of mine won national piano competitions as a teen. But piano was her mother’s dream, not hers. She didn’t truly enjoy playing the piano. Of course, your Genius Zone will be somewhat natural for you, but remember, it is also very important that you enjoy it!)
Number #3: When did you feel most proud of yourself? To find your Genius Zone and purpose, you’ve got to drop from your head to your heart. What is the core part of you that you want people to talk about at your funeral?
Number #4: What do others appreciate about you that makes you happy when they say it? In what areas do people compliment you that delights you? Which of the compliments “sing”? If you tell me I have a well-organized kitchen, I think, “That’s nice but ho hum.” If you tell me my books have helped you, I swing from the chandelier.
Number #5: What drives you? What pain, injustice, or unhappiness have you witnessed that is upsetting to you? Is there anything that touches you so deeply that it drives you? Often, a powerful purpose can come from powerful pain. What do you think needs to be changed about the world? Sometimes Genius Zones turn past hurts into ways to help others heal.
Number #6: What qualities do you most admire in other people? Name some people you admire. Whom you admire is revealing. List three or four people. Is there a pattern?
Number #7: In the classic, 7 Habits for Highly Effective People, Steve Covey said to “begin with the end in mind.” This is similar to having a vision. Write down what you want to have accomplished when you’re 90, and then work backwards. I remember being in Virginia and homeschooling our six kids. I could not have been busier. But I wrote out a vision, a plan that I formed in the presence of God. My plan was to conquer my problems and then write answers for others to the problems that I faced. God answered that years later with the Genie series. If you are in the middle of diapers, meals, homework, and soccer practice, you can still plan for the days when you will have more time (I promise, they’re coming). Even if you are covered up with toddlers and babies (I know this precious season well), you can start with “the end in mind” by using naptime to read and to learn more about your Genius Zone.
Number #8: Take a solo retreat. A lovely friend of mine in Virginia would check into a monastery for a weekend of silent retreat to get her head on straight. She would spend the weekend pouring over her Bible and in prayer to hear from God. If you can’t get away for a weekend, how about an afternoon in the park with a Bible and a journal? Remember, always stay close to the double sticks of dynamite, prayer and the Word. It is in these two superpowers that you will find direction (I should say supernatural powers). “Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path” (Ps. 119:105).
Now that you’ve written down answers to those questions in your Quartz Journal, start praying over them, and rereading them. Answers often rise to the surface. If what you wrote seems ridiculous later on, cross it off. Add everything you get from your time with the Lord. Prayer is your most valuable aid, as the Lord will whisper, “This is the way; walk in it.” (Is. 30:21) Many of our problems would disappear if we would simply engage in the practice of the old hymn, Sweet Hour of Prayer.
The people in your life who are supportive and positive will be able to help you too, as you share your ideas with them. (If your mother is like Darby’s in Happy School, then don’t share your ideas with her. Pick positive people who care about you.)
Harsh realities are definitely a part of life but instead of pulling the covers up over your eyes and hiding in anger and fear, use your Genius Zone to step out, get out of the stands, and into the arena. You have a work to do. Take the bread, take the fish, and feed the thousands. Accept the race you’ve been given and run it.
Blog #4 out of 8 is next and is entitled The Need is Not the Call. You can access all 8 blogs now HERE at JulieNGordon.com.
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