Every once in a while a book seems to travel through the entrepreneurial ecosystem and become the ONE book everyone recommends. In my experience, those are the books that make the most profound impact on me, and this book is no different.
I picked up The Big Leap after a number of fellow masterminders recommended it to me because I was going through some important decision making in my own business and brand. They said the book would help me understand what’s coming next.
And yes, it definitely has.
The moment I started reading the book, I knew it was going to be super useful because it describes a problem that a lot of people don’t even know they have, something that holds us all back from our true potential: The Upper Limit Problem.
The crazy thing is that the more successful you get, the more and more troublesome this becomes. Although I’m always pushing myself pretty hard to try new things, the idea that I could still leave all this potential untapped is sort of scary. Deep down, I know it’s true though—I think we all know we can do more—but to have a specific framework and formula to lose those limits and clear a path toward our true potential is exciting.
I found a few important things in this book really helpful. First, we need to understand why we limit ourselves. In the book, Gay shares this idea that we limit our happiness because we don’t actually think we deserve it all. We’ve all been there, I’m sure.
The big challenge is this: can we be happy all of the time? And to those who immediately say, “no way, that’s impossible”—the question is: “is it really?”
The second thing, and what I like most about The Big Leap—the part that made it crystal clear for me—is learning that there are four zones that we can be working in:
- Zone of Incompetence. You suck at the task. Many people can do it better than you.
- Zone of Competence. You’re all right, but lots of others cope better.
- Zone of Excellence. You’re highly skilled and few can hold a candle to you.
- Zone of Genius. You’re literally the best in the world at it.
In the Zone of Incompetence, you’re working in a space where you’re terrible at that work, and many people are better than you. And then you have the Zone of Competence, where you’re decent at the work you do, but a lot of others do the work better.
The third zone, the Zone of Excellence, is where you are highly skilled at something and you become one of the go-to people for that thing. This, my friends, is where the danger lies. Many of us are complacent here because we are good at what we do, and we are recognized for it. So, we must have made it, right?
Wrong. This is where the Upper Limit lives, and it’s what stops most of us from progressing even further. It’s the fourth zone, the Zone of Genius, where everything great unlocks.
The hard part is saying no to Zone 3 items so we can get to Zone 4, because we have limits in the time and energy we can give to our work. But when you think about it, it’s always those who take big leaps and believe in themselves who get to that fourth zone, the Zone of Genius, where things really start to take off.
As someone who hopes to make big changes in the world of entrepreneurship and education (specifically, injecting entrepreneurship into the education system; something that I truly believe should happen), it’s going to require getting out of the Zone of Excellence and pushing forward into my Zone of Genius.
There are also some strong parts of The Big Leap about finding your unique ability. I talk about this quite a bit in my book Will It Fly? so it was nice to have this reiterated in a different way, with exercises to support it, because it’s SO important. If you don’t know what you’re unique gifts are, and what your superpowers are, there is NO way that you can end up in the Zone of Genius where you can really begin to both thrive, and be truly happy.
I think this book is a mandatory read for everybody, and after reading it myself it’s no wonder why this is the new book that is getting shared around the entrepreneurial community. I hope you enjoy it, too!