4 Zones of Effectiveness

Do you spend you time working on what you are good at, or doing the things you were created for? Is your best energy each week going towards things anyone could do, or does it go towards the things that only you can do?

Early on in life we discover that we have certain strengths and various weaknesses. In middle school I realized that I wasn’t going to be 6 feet tall. As much as I loved basketball I had to embrace that it was not going to be a strength for me. At the same time I learned that not everyone had as much skill and ease working with numbers.

When I first started volunteering I went through a similar experience. I started serving as a production volunteer running sound faders, and then moved into leading a small group of middle school students. I had never really served anywhere so I just jumped in somewhere and began to discover what I was good at and what I was…well…awful at.

For many of us that is how we start (we just jump in), but that cannot be where we stay. You discover what you are good at by jumping in and trying stuff out – but you fall short of whom God created you to be if you stay there. Our goal in life should be to experience effectiveness, not simply activity. A busy life does not equal a full life, but if you can find and live in your sweet spot you are likely to have a full life. (Click to tweet)

Discovering what you were created for means traveling through a series of zones. In fact there are 4 zones of effectiveness:

  1. Zone of Incompetence – This is the stuff you are not good at. You know what activities are encompassed in this zone. If by some chance you do not, I am sure those closest to you can tell you.
  2. Zone of Competence – You can tread water in this zone and stay afloat. If something is in your zone of competence you can do it successfully, but it requires a great deal of effort and energy. Here you can do things well, but others can do them just as well as you.
  3. Zone of Excellence – You stand out above your peers when it comes to activities in your zone of excellence. You can actually make a pretty decent life for yourself built in the zone of excellence. You can actually do things really well in the zone of excellence, and the temptation is to stay here.
  4. Zone of Genius – There are certain activities that you were uniquely created to do. When you tend to things in your zone of genius it feels like momentum is always your friend and the wind is always at your back.

What are the activities and responsibilities that exist in your zone of genius? Are you living out your full potential, or simply staying busy doing things anyone could do? Are there major areas of your life where you are competent at best? Ask yourself “am I building my calendar around things I am good at, excellent at or those few things I was created for.”


*These thoughts were inspired from my latest read – The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks.

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