New Look, Same Great Show (formerly Systems Made Simple)
Jan. 24, 2023

4 Invisible Barriers Keeping You from Ultimate Success with Gay Hendricks

4 Invisible Barriers Keeping You from Ultimate Success with Gay Hendricks

As an online business owner, how would you describe yourself?

Whatever your answer was, I’m guessing the word “genius” wasn’t a part of it — but if you want to grow a business in a fulfilling way, it’s time to admit that’s what you are!

And today’s guest, Gay Hendricks, is here to help you identify your unique zone of genius AND how you can move past the fears that keep you from embracing it.


  • What the “Upper Limit problem” is and how it’s keeping you from living the full expression of your zone of genius
  • The three other zones we tend to get trapped in, particularly as online business owners, when we deny our genius and settle for ‘good enough’
  • Practical steps you can take to identify your unique genius that will help you grow a business today

If this episode inspires you, leave a review and share your biggest takeaway with me.

And while you've got your phone out, make sure to follow me on Instagram @thecourtneyelmer for more quick tips on how to streamline your business systems and spend more time in your zone of genius.

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Courtney Elmer  0:00  

Hey, welcome back, you're listening to the System's Made Simple™ Podcast. This is episode 158. And today, I am joined by a world renowned guest, who just so happens to be the author of over 50 books, including the best sellers that you're probably familiar with, like the big leap, and the genius zone. Now Gay Hendricks is his name. And he is here today to share with you how you can begin to identify your unique zone of genius, as well as why this is so critical for us as entrepreneurs, to know and to embrace because it's going to be the thing that allows you not only to feel fulfilled, in the work that you do, it's going to help your work, not feel like work. And it's going to earn you more money, in fact, the most money over the long run over the lifetime to grow a business because it is the unique thing that you and you alone were created to offer the world. Plus Gay is also going to show you the specific and very subtle fears that keep you out of your zone of genius that keep you from fully embracing and expressing your genius at all times. And we're going to talk about how that affects your health, how it affects your wealth, how this affects your relationships with the people around you who are important to you in your life. And ultimately, how this will make or break your ability to feel fulfilled, happy and satisfied, deeply satisfied. On any given day. That's all coming up next. So stay tuned. 

Courtney Elmer

Globally ranked among the top shows grow a business show and education, we're known for one thing, helping overworked entrepreneurs like you learn how to run your business like a true visionary leader, because when you get the right systems support, and structure in place, you can spend more time in your zone of genius. So if you're tired of listening to today's business influencers teach this same old worn out marketing strategies that aren't making you any money, it's time to take a look under the hood of your business and fix the engine itself. Because the truth is, you don't have to work as hard as you are right now to scale beyond six figures and create the greater influence income and impact that you deserve. The secret to scaling starts on the back end of your business. This is the System's Made Simple™ Podcast

Courtney Elmer

Alright, my friend, get ready because today's episode is so special. You know, on the show, we're always talking about growing a business and systems, right? Because I am all about streamlining growing a business and helping you not work so hard. Honestly, that is the truth. That is why we put systems in place to while growing a  business, so that we're not running around like frantic entrepreneurs wearing all of the hats burning ourselves out feeling exhausted all the time. But so that we can have simple systems in place that allow us to scale that allow us to experience that freedom in our life. And in growing a business. The reason we got growing a business for in the first place, right, probably at least on some level, if you're anything like me. Now, one of the things though, that I have noticed, both in my own life and in the lives of the clients who we've had the privilege of working with, through the years, that freedom often feels elusive. And, and more importantly, that even if and when you reach a point in growing a business, or you are experiencing freedom on your calendar, perhaps you're not feeling the same kind of freedom, within the same kind of fulfillment, the same kind of deep satisfaction that can only come from a deepest inner knowing that you are doing exactly what you were put here on this earth to do. 

Courtney Elmer

And so this is why I asked Gay to come on the show today because he is the master at helping you unlock your genius. Or if I were to say that differently, helping you unlock your inner genius is his genius. And he's going to show you how to do that today because even though it is helpful to have systems in place in growing a business, it is more important, so much more important that you have systems in place within your life within your day to day life, the humdrum the mundane the stuff that maybe nobody sees. It's not sexy. It's not the stuff you're posting on social media, but it is the system or systems which you have put in place for managing you for growing you for becoming the person who you are truly meant to be. And I have to say As Gay Hendricks is literally the most delightful human being you will ever meet. And aside from being a widely known psychologist who has been a leader in the fields of relationship transformation, and body mind therapies for more than 45 years, he's also a Blues harmonica enthusiast, which is so cool. 

Courtney Elmer

And He is a loving and devoted husband to his wife, Katie have over 35 years. Now, you might have heard about the seminars that the Hendricks offer worldwide, or you might have seen them in one or more of their over 500 radio and TV appearances that they've done, including Oprah. And in our conversation today, Gary and I are talking about how you can identify and overcome the hidden barriers to your ultimate happiness, success, abundance, and fulfillment. I know those terms can kind of feel wishy washy. Sometimes, even though we desire success and abundance and fulfillment, we don't necessarily know how to make that tangible. Gay is here to help you make that tangible. And he's going to do that by helping you come to understand what the upper limit problem is, this is a term that he's coined for a very real problem that's keeping you from living the full expression of your genius right now. Plus, he's going to show you the three other zones that we tend to get trapped in particularly as entrepreneurs, when we deny our zone of genius when we say no, to living in our zone of genius, and settle for good enough. And he's gonna give you some practical steps that you can take to identify what your true genius is today. 

Courtney Elmer

Because that's what we ultimately all ant. Right? To know that we are living out our purpose, and to use our gifts and talents in an impactful way in a meaningful way. Yet too often we shortchange ourselves, don't we, I do it, you do it, we settle. Why? Because it's easier to settle. It's safer to settle. And I put safer in air quotes, because you and I both know, we are both fully aware that it is not actually safer to settle. But this is how your unconscious mind thinks that it's protecting you. It thinks that it's helping you and to grow to take massive leaps in life. Just like the leap that Gay is here to describe today that is waiting for you. It's waiting for you to take. We have to learn how to work with our unconscious mind, and unlearn the things that it thinks it knows in order to truly unlock our potential. So if you've been feeling like you're stuck in life, or you've just been moving really fast, but you don't feel like you're going anywhere, and you're working really hard, but you feel like you don't have a lot to show for it yet. That I invite you to sit back. And really listen today. Because I guarantee you that Gay has a message here, just for you. It's up to you to open your ears to hear it.

Courtney Elmer  8:28  

Gay Welcome to the System's Made Simple™ Podcast. I have been looking forward to our conversation for months now. It's truly an honor to have you here. Thanks for making the time today.

Gay Hendricks  8:40  

Thanks, Courtney Elmer. It's my pleasure. I always love to talk about this particular subject, and I'm really looking forward to our conversation.

Courtney Elmer  8:47  

Well, you know, I'm going to cut right to the chase, because one of the things that you are known for, is for helping people navigate an obstacle that plagues us all. Fear, right, and helping them achieve their true potential by overcoming what keeps us from fulfilment, what keeps us from happiness, which I believe, you know, aside from wealth, aside from status, that's the thing we ultimately want. So what I'm curious to know is how did you come to realize that this was the topic or the niche, if you will, that you specifically needed to teach on?

Gay Hendricks  9:23  

Well, Courtney Elmer,  I there's an old Turkish proverb that says if a bald man should discover a cure, he'll surely first use it on himself. And so I began to try out all these ideas first on myself, I noticed, well, two big ideas, especially the ones in the big leap and the zone of genius. The first one is the upper limit problem. And the second one is the zone of genius. how to get into the zone of genius and establish yourself there. The first one I started noticing it on myself way back in the 1970s I noticed that I would have a breakthrough and I would feel good And, or like where I particularly first noticed it, I was overweight at the time, and I started a diet. And I got through the first three days of the diet just great. And I think I lost five pounds in that first three days. And then just unconsciously, I went out and blew it, you know, I just kind of went unconscious, and ate a couple of hot dogs and a pint of ice cream next day, I gained all my weight back at it. And it just freaked me out. And I said, Why would I do that to myself. And I started realizing, then that we all have these things I call the upper limit problem, which is a tendency to sabotage yourself. But where does that come from Courtney Elmer? And that's what led me into figuring out those specific fears that cause us to trip up. And I just started working on them and myself first. 

Gay Hendricks

And as they, you know, the weight thing was a great example. Because once I spotted the upper limit how it worked, I just I would see it start to happen. And then I would kind of navigate around it rather than going unconscious and going with it. And so that's where I first started learning about it was by exploring my own fears, the hardest part at first, was just admitting that I had these fears. You know, because I was a big macho man, you know, and just acknowledging that there was this whole emotional part of myself that was scared or angry or sad. That was a big breakthrough in itself, I didn't really kind of get my shell cracked open to my emotions until I was into my 20s Probably boys get a lot different programming today. But when I was growing up, it was all about Big Boys Don't Cry. And you know, John Wayne was the hero of the strong silent type. And so it was quite a burden to overcome it to learn in my close relationships that that strong silent thing just didn't work, you know, you had to learn to communicate in order to have a living relationship. And fortunately, for the past 43 years, I've been married to the most amazing woman I could ever imagine. So we've been able to learn a lot of these things in a way that helped our relationship thrive more and more and more. Because relationships are often the place where your upper limit problem shows up, you know, you'll have a big breakthrough at work, then go home and have a colossal argument that night, as a way to bring yourself back down.

Courtney Elmer  12:30  

This is so interesting. And I'm particularly glad that you brought that point up about just our upbringing, and how I feel that so often now we're starting to see the tides turn a little bit, which I'm so grateful for. But we're not usually taught about our emotions, about our inner state about how to think about what we're thinking. And I myself have struggled with this as well. And it's funny, I have almost five year old little boy, and determined to break that generational cycle, right? And so I'm gonna do things differently with him, I'm going to teach him differently. And over here, my husband is struggling with his own family of origin issues and saying no, no, no, like, stop crying or not, don't do this, do this. And I'm like, it's okay to have feelings, you know. And so we're, we're navigating that right now in real life with him. And it is so so important. And a question I have for you, which I'm sure you have answered this so many times. But for the sake of our listeners here today, who might just be meeting you for the first time, maybe they haven't read your books. Can you talk about what the four zone of genius are that you talk about, we're going to get into the upper limit stuff, I definitely want to dive in there with you as well. But just to give some context around these four zone of genius, because I use the phrase zone of genius. This is something I think we've heard often. But you've actually defined four zone of genius where we might find ourselves spending our time. And some of those zone of genius can actually keep us stuck, they can hinder us from really thriving where we're meant to thrive. So can you provide some context for us around that?

Gay Hendricks  13:56  

Sure Courtney Elmer. If you look into how you spend your daily life, you'll usually find that you're operating in one of four zone of genius at any given moment. One zone of genius is what I call the zone of incompetence, where you're doing something that you're not very good at that somebody else could do better, and you don't like to do it. And unfortunately, sometimes even very successful people find themselves in their incompetence zone. An example I given. The big leap is a buddy of mine who charges $1,000 an hour for his consulting, spent 13 hours one weekend trying to get his new printer to work, including four hours on the phone with customer service back at the factory. And finally he called an eighth grader down the block who put it together in an hour for him, but he'd already wasted $13,000 of his precious time trying to do something that he hated and he wasn't any good at. So be very mindful of stuff that you don't like to do. Because that's really eating up time that you could be spending in three other zone of genius. Now, the second zone of genius is what I call the zone of competence, where you're doing something, you're pretty good at you do it, okay. 

Gay Hendricks

But somebody else could do it just as well. So that's a zone, you want to get yourself out as quickly as possible because somebody else could be plugged in and could just easily replace you. Where a lot of the people are, that I ended up working with, is they've made a transition into what I call their zone of genius of excellence, where they're doing something they're good at, they get good feedback, they get promoted, they get more money when they do it. And oftentimes, their family likes it. You know, like, a guy consulted me one time, after he had been completely wiped out, he was one of the largest real estate developers in an island, down south until Hurricane Hugo basically flattened the island in his projects, and he just couldn't revive them. And he said, The hardest part was dealing with his family, because they were all used to doing things like flying first class and staying at five star destination resorts and things like that. And suddenly, to have to be in a different relationship, it was a difficult transition. Now most pilots don't have that kind of a huge situation happened. But in your zone of genius of excellence, what can happen is you can get so successful at doing something, that's not exactly your genius. And even though you may be successful at it, it eats up time and energy that you could be doing, what your genius is, which I define your genius, a little bit differently.

Gay Hendricks

You know, a lot of people when they think of a genius, think of some person with wild hair, you know Courtney Elmer, like Einstein or somebody that's hard to relate to. But your genius is what you most love to do, and what makes your biggest contribution to the world around you. That's genius, to me, is when you can be doing something that lights up your own heart and lights up your own mind, and also makes a contribution to lighting up other people's hearts and minds. That's when you get to go to sleep at night with a big ah, and you wake up in the morning, wow, I get to do this all over again. I tried back in my 30s I went out of my way to invent a job I would never want to retire from and I succeeded magnificently. You know, I haven't actually had to work for money in 30 years, thanks to Oprah. But ever since then I've been able to do what I most love to do. And as a result, I get up in the morning feeling like, wow, I get to spend another day on this planet earth doing what I love to do, and what makes my biggest contribution to other people. So in a way, you know, I, I wake up early, I'm an early riser. So I popped off this morning at 430 did a couple of hours of writing, and then did a session and now I'm doing this but all of them are, you know, like a gemstone has different facets, they're different facets of what I most love to do. And that, to me, that brings the greatest satisfaction if I can go to bed at night knowing I've opened up to more territory of genius in my own life and shared that with other people. That's good living in my boat Courtney Elmer.

Courtney Elmer  18:34  

So well said and you know, I think many of us, we experienced the gap between living in our zone of genius of excellence and our zone of genius, where we might be doing well, like you said, most people who are in theirzone of genius of excellence are very successful. It's not that they're not successful, there's not that they're not doing well there. But we recognize within ourselves that there's more or that there's something untapped or there's some sense that we have that there's a gap between where we are and where we truly want to be. And you know, in your books, you talk a lot about some of the things that keep us from living in our zone of genius, and we're gonna get to the upper limit stuff in a moment. But there's one thing in particular, you know, when I read your book, The Big Leap, this resonated with me so much and you talk about worrying. I'm like, oh, yeah, worry, like, I am very familiar with worry. And you walk people through a very practical process that I literally took myself through this morning in preparation for our interview here today. 

Courtney Elmer 

Because I found myself worrying about this interview, like Oh, my goodness, am I going to be able to ask insightful enough questions, you know, and we only have 30 minutes how we're going to get to cover all these things, right? Just my mind was just going in all directions. And so in the book, he talks about how you just need to recognize that first and foremost, and then willingly let it go and just wonder, like, what's the positive thing that's trying to come through here and tune in and notice where you feel that and focus on feeling that for as long as you can And then just notice throughout your day and later, the idea will usually come through. And I share this story because it's a very practical example of me putting what you teach into action and how it literally brought about the next question that I'm going to ask you. 

Courtney Elmer 

Because I was at my workout this morning worrying about this interview, and I recognize it and let it go. And then later, I thought, You know what, I have a client right now, who has a huge, huge vision for the impact that he wants to make here in our local community here over the next 10 years. And in our conversations, I suspect that right now he is running into what you call the upper limit problem. And it's keeping him from taking action on that dream. He wants to bring this to life. He sees this for himself. He sees this vision so clearly. But he struggles to bring that down to just the practical application. What step do I take first, what do I do next? I don't even know what I'm doing. How do I even begin to figure this out? So can you talk more about what is the upper limit problem? And more specifically, what I'm curious to hear you share is what causes it? How do we develop this problem that keeps us stuck?

Gay Hendricks  21:12  

Yes, well, the big word you're looking for there is fear. And the fear of something happening, trips us up and causes us to shrink back from going through the upper limit problem Courtney Elmer. So the upper limit problem is always based on a very small number of fears. And you'll have to check these out in yourself to see if you resonate with each one because most people don't have all three, or four or five, but almost all of them have, all of us have one or two, the biggest fear I encounter. And I've encountered this with movie stars, as well as people you know, that are doing regular jobs is the underlying fear that they have some kind of flaw. And sometimes they feel the flaw is maybe I'm the wrong age, or I'm the wrong body type or I'm the wrong skin color. I'm the wrong whatever it is, I'm not smart enough for I'm you know, and these have the strangest origins, I was just working with a woman who was breaking through to her zone of genius as an entrepreneur. And she realized that she still carried resentment and fear. 

Gay Hendricks

Because she was told at one time, she was getting too tall to be a ballet dancer. She was in ballet, I guess in junior high, and she was shooting up towards six feet tall. You know, which is a as a 50 year old entrepreneur, woman is not a bad thing to me. But if you're if your ballet teacher is saying, Oh, honey, you're you're too tall. And you know, too, you know too much muscle for this particular thing. It made a real impact on her. And we've all got something like that we all kind of get down in there and think there's some reason why we need to keep ourselves our light hidden. So that's one big fear. The second big fear Courtney is the fear of outshining other people, and so many people have the fear. And it's oftentimes happens in families where maybe there's a golden boy or a golden girl and you're not it, you know that there's somebody else in the family, or maybe a special child that sort of gets a lot of the attention. And so you internalize the idea that my job is not to shine, my job is to let other people shine. And you know, that's a good thing in a way, that's a very compassionate thing. But if you're in competition with yourself, it's not such a good thing because you want to let your light shine as much as you possibly can. And you can't keep turning it down to make other people feel better. And so, you know Courtney Elmer, it's like, a lot of my time I spent in my sessions, with executives, even working with them on that fundamental flaw that they think they have. And a lot of my time working with them on that fear of outshining of really letting themselves be the star of your own life. 

Gay Hendricks

And you know, like one of my old time mentors, Abraham Maslow used to say, it doesn't matter. If you're making a genius soup, or composing a genius symphony. It's all the same because it's drawing on that deeper part of yourself. It's, it's, I always say that your genius has the capacity to surprise you. You know my wife Katie. She's the author of about a dozen books. And at the same time, she's an absolute master chef, she loves to make food. And so like specially she loves to cook Indian food And she grew up in California, but she loves Indian food. And so I'll watch her doing that. And it never turns out the same, you know, I love to just sit in the kitchen and watch her put the meal together. Because, first of all, I'm a beneficiary of it. I'm an enthusiastic consumer. But also just to watch the mindfulness with which she might try out something new each time. So I say genius has the capacity to surprise you. You know, now I'm, I'm about I'm, by the way, I'm working on a new book about the big leap. It's a 365 days of leaps. And so that'll be out, I think, in 2024. But I'm right in the middle of working on that right now Courtney Elmer.

Gay Hendricks

And one of the points I'm making is that you need something in your life, that's your propelling force, you know, what is your big why in life. For me, I put it in the big leap as what I call my ultimate success mantra that I expand in love, abundance and creativity, as I inspire others to do the same. That's my fundamental purpose, when I get up in the morning, and I think each of us needs to keep searching for that. And one place I suggest you look, is the expression of your genius. What is it that you most love to do? What is it that really lights you up that, especially when you do it, you lose track of time, that's one good sign that you're in your genius zone of genius. It's like when you were a kid, you know, I don't know if you ever had something you played with where, you know, your mom or dad would say, Okay, come in, it's time for dinner. And you'd say, Hmm, what, you know, you'd forgotten that you're hungry inside. But you know, you were overlooking that. So that's genius.

Courtney Elmer  26:48  

That is so interesting to think about. And as you're saying all of this, I'm thinking about my own life and just looking at, you know, my work that I do looking at things that I do my family looking at things that I do for fun that I really enjoy, and really just asking myself that question like, where is it that I feel that complete loss of time, and that just complete flow and just integration where it's just so natural? And I have found in my experience, at least maybe you found the same? Is that often what comes so naturally to me? I discredit, because surely if it's so if I'm so good at it, I mean, that that's something everybody can do, right? Whereas other people might look and say, Oh, my goodness, like you do that, like no one else. I know, how do you do that? Right. But to me, it feels so natural that I often discredit that. So what would you say to that? You know, because I think you know, this is speaking generally here, of course, but I, the people that I've worked with, we all seem to have a tendency to discredit our genius. And so sometimes, and this is the question in my mind, right now, how do I know for sure, if that is my genius, because often, it feels so natural that I'm not even seeing it as something that truly is my genius.

Gay Hendricks  28:01  

That is really a very good summary in a way of what genius is Courtney Elmer, because it's your way of going about things. And just like if you asked a fish, you know, what's it really like to swim, you know, they wouldn't be able to tell you that because it's so organic to their way of being or a human being, what's it like to really breathe air? I think the main place to look Courtney Elmer is again, if you start looking at your fears, your worries, your anxiety, you'll notice that they almost all clustered around one or more of those central fears. And so the way we say it in our seminars is befriend your fears. Don't try to avoid them, befriend them, bring them up, speak to them, find out what they're trying to tell you. And here we also say fear is excitement without the breath. In other words, if you forget to breathe, you get scared. But if you participate with it, the very same machinery that makes you scared makes you also excited. So if you know who you are, and you know where you're going, you can use the energy of fear to move through those upper limits. But if you if you shrink back in the presence of fear, which is sort of a human tendency to shrink back in the presence of fear, but in this case, what do you really have to fear Courtney Elmer? 

Gay Hendricks

You know, what you're fearing is the full emergence of your genius, and if your full genius should emerge, what's scary about that? You know, so once you have in mind what the goal is, it makes your relationship with it completely different. You know, like a story of Stephen Covey told me one time which is or maybe it's in his books, I don't know, but it has to do with a traveler in the Middle Ages comes to a place where he sees a bunch of workers carrying stones up a hill and he can't see where they're going. But he notices that one group of them has a smile on their face. And they're carrying the stones up the hill, like they're dancing almost. And this other people are kind of, They're going along, complaining as they go. And so he asked one of them, what are you doing? And the guy says, Can't you see I'm lugging a rock up a hill. And then he asked one of the people with a smile on their face, what are you doing? And they say, Well, you can't see it. But we're building a cathedral at the top of the hill, you know, they had a reason for going up there, they had a purpose, they had a light that was beckoning them. And in my view, the light that beckons us all is that call to genius to bringing forth operating systems that allow us to do what we most love to do in a way that makes the biggest positive impact on people. And if you do that, you'll never work a day in your life Courtney Elmer.

Courtney Elmer  30:58  

Well, talking with you guys, just I am inspired, because you are the living breathing example of this truly, I mean, as the author of over 40 books, I mean, I feel like most of us have a dream to bring one into the world, right? I have a few on my mind that I've been writing for five years starting and stopping and all of this, right, realizing I'm Upper Limiting myself. But it's like most people just go about their life as if that's all there is to it. And that this is just the way it is. And that this is just how it has to be. And that, you know, I can't risk the security of my family or you know, you share that example earlier of the family who was like, Wait, we're used to flying first class, we're used to doing all these things, right. And oftentimes, the people closest to us can kind of come in and you know, they can vocalize the voices in our head sometimes and keep us limited. Keep us where we are. And you know, just in our conversation today, seeing you live this, it's not just something that you teach, it's something that you live. And so back to the book thing. I'm just curious to know, for my own sake, how did you write 40 books? I mean, you mentioned that this morning, like, it seems like it's part of your life, you woke up and you started writing. But I'm just curious to know, where did these ideas come from? What does that process look like for you?

Gay Hendricks  32:15  

You know Courtney Elmer, I think it's just paying attention to what really interests me, I've always, you know, I wrote my first book. I was I, where I got the idea was, I used to go by and volunteer in my daughter's kindergarten and first grade classroom. And I'd be doing stuff in there. And I noticed how much time it took the teacher just to get people organized, and what I call centered and ready for whatever the next thing was. And so I wrote a little book, I called it the centering book. And it was just based on observations I made on what could the teacher have done here. Like, if they did a little relaxation exercise, it would have saved them 10 minutes. Or if they did a little movement exercise, it could have saved them a whole bunch of times. So I put those all together into a book. And that's what got me started as a writer, because it sold really well. And suddenly, I realized, hmm, I like going to my mailbox and finding a check in there. You know, that was a really, for a starving grad student, which I was when I wrote that little book. That was a big motivator at the time. And so I, my mother tells me, I've always been when she was alive. She said, I've always been writing and scribbling on little things, and sticking me in drawers and stuff like that. As soon as I could learn to write Courtney Elmer, I was always putting little things away notes to myself and stuff like that. 

Gay Hendricks

And I wish I'd collect. I wish I kept those. I'd like to know what I was writing when I was in the first grade. But so I think it's just been part of my life part of my genius to sit down and spend a couple of hours every day in that field of creativity. And yeah, I'm about to publish my 50th book, there have been eight or 10 of them that are mystery novels, too. I, I often get over into writing mystery novels, as well as writing nonfiction books on psychology and entrepreneurship and that kind of thing. But it really doesn't matter in a way I say to people. Once you get your creativity online, you'll never know where it's going to pop up. Because when I was 65 years old, 12 years ago, I suddenly got the idea I wanted to write a mystery novel. It had been sitting in the back burner for 50 years since I first loved Sherlock Holmes when I was in the seventh grade. But suddenly, wow, I think I'd like to write a mystery. So I did, you know, it was a modest little hit. So I wrote another one. And here I am now 10 mystery novels later. I'm about to publish number 11 and 12 I think over the next couple of years, so I just think find something you love to do that you would do even if you weren't getting paid for it. And pretty soon you'll start getting paid for it Courtney Elmer.

Courtney Elmer  34:55  

You know, the very first thing that you said is you started sharing your whole story here. was pay attention to what really interests you. And you said that in your own context, right? I just started paying attention to what really interested me. And there's something else you said about bringing your creativity online. And my brain just kind of linked those together where it's like, that's how we do it, right? Just pay attention, to bring your creativity online, pay attention to what interests you, what excites you. And I know I am so guilty of this, where I just get caught up in the humdrum of life, right. And right now, I feel like this post pandemic, stage in history that we are all living in has been so different for so many of us. And we're still figuring out how to navigate things are coming at us left and right, we can barely take a breath before the next thing is hitting us. And we can easily lose sight of the things that we enjoy. Because we're just going through the motions, we're just trying to hold our head above water, I we're not breathing, we're living in that fear. And I feel that for those listening today, if anything that Gay has said, you know, has inspired you and you haven't yet read one of his own 50 books, I mean, my goodness, go find one, go pick one up, just read it, like let the word sink in, let it speak to you. I've been reading back through the big leap again, in preparation for today. 

Courtney Elmer 

And just really just sometimes seeing things how I read it one way the initially and now I'm reading it differently, right. And, and so just really leaning into that I think often the fear keeps us from leaning into the things like you said that our natural gift. And so what are other signs? This is the last question I have for you today, you know, you mentioned some of the signs that we can look for, when we're living in our zone of genius, like losing track of time, right? Just being interested in something and, and not even wanting to get paid for it. Right? Like you could just if you could do that the rest of your life and, and live, you know, comfortably it wouldn't matter. What else can we look for, right? Because I know at this stage, you know, all of our listeners are asking, Okay, I want this, how do I get it? And that's where we kind of need to bring it to the ground? And like what are some of the practical things that as we go about our life the rest of the day today, into tomorrow? What should we specifically be attuning our awareness to in our world around us?

Gay Hendricks  37:18  

One thing I'd like to call attention to very practically speaking, is the amount of time you invest in something like we start people here that come to our we do a thing for executives, where a corporation may send their CEO to us for a day. And it's the only person we work with in the course of the day. And the first thing we start with, we have them go in a room by themselves for 10 minutes, and simply ask themselves what we call a wonder question was, in my work, what do I most love to do? And then we asked them to take three easy breaths, and then ask that question again. Don't even try to answer it just live in the question. See, because if you live in the question, the answer will appear in your life, your life will change to the extent that you really celebrate that question. So celebrate that question of what do I most love to do? And what makes my biggest contribution? And just live in that question. And then that that question, seeds, things start happening differently in your life Courtney Elmer. 

Gay Hendricks

So that's the most practical thing I can tell you to do Courtney Elmer. And it only takes 10 minutes. And the corporations paid $25,000 for this. So it's a free $25,000 gift you can use for yourself today. And a second thing you can do is you mentioned worry. Notice what you worry about. And when you worry, because worry is like a little balloon that's attached to your creativity. Because if you can let go of the worry balloon, a creative breakthrough is trying to happen. So take your attention off the worry and be open to the breakthrough. Because that's the thing the worry is about because you don't know down in there. If you can trust that breakthrough, if you can really handle it if you can really open to it. But go ahead because you're worrying about it anyway. Go ahead and open to the breakthrough. There's nothing scary about it. The only scary thing if you hold it inside and don't open up to it.

Courtney Elmer  39:42  

So so well said and you know the thing that just popped into my mind is something another author Emily Freeman speaks about often in her book The next right thing where she speaks about often we want the answer right we want the answer right away and here you are saying no, we have to get good about living with the question and embrace racing that and just exploring it and being okay with question marks in our life. And one of the things that she says is Don't look for the answer, stop looking for the answer. Just look for the next right thing. The arrow for the right not the answer. And I just I find that echoed so much and what you're saying here today, you know, and because when we take the action to simply live in the question, some of those questions that you've given us here today, we're going to get answers, but our natural tendency is going to be like, no, what do I do with that answer, right? But instead, what's it's just, it's a sign, it's an arrow, it's pointing you in a direction look at it as an arrow. And don't always be looking for the answers, like, look for what's the next question? What's the next question, I need to get the next arrow to continue pointing me in my way, right, we're not gonna have the whole path mapped out and laid out as much as that would be nice. But also, I think that'd be kind of boring, right? If we knew exactly what was gonna happen, when and where. But living in that space, to me almost feels exciting. In and of itself.

Gay Hendricks  41:09  

It's a different feeling Courtney Elmer. Because most of the time we live in the zone of genius of the unknown, you know, what we know and what we don't know, etc. But this takes you out of the zone of genius of the known into a place of freedom, and creative happening. And to me, that's the best place to live.

Courtney Elmer  41:26  

Couldn't have said it better gate. Thank you so much for your time here today. This has been a truly insightful conversation, I just want to say thank you for the work that you're doing in the world. And most especially for sharing your wisdom here with us today and for taking the time.

Gay Hendricks  41:40  

Thank you. My pleasure, Courtney Elmer, thanks, anytime.

Courtney Elmer  41:43  

Didn't I say that Gay was one of the most delightful humans that you will ever meet, I wish you could have been in the room with us. For this conversation, the energy was just electric. And it was such an enjoyable conversation, particularly I think, because Gay lives what he teaches, he is the walking, living, breathing example of what's possible for you, when you can tap into and embrace and live in your zone of genius. And I want that for you. I know Gay wants that for you. So if you'd like to find out more about Gay to look up his books, to find out about working with him to find out about where their next seminar is going to be where in the world that is, and to see if it's possible for you to maybe attend one of those, go to their website, check out, you can get all the information there.

Courtney Elmer 

And while you're at it, do me a favor if this episode inspired you. What I want you to do is go down inside of your Apple app right now, to where it says write a review. And I want you to tap that little button and write your biggest takeaway from this episode. It could be really simple, you can say something like Oh my gosh, I just finished episode 158 With Gay Hendricks. And wow, this really has me thinking differently, right and share what your biggest takeaway was short, sweet, it'll take you less than a minute. What that will do is it will allow us to be able to get these message out in front of more listeners who need to hear it. Now coming up next week on the show we are talking about. Hmm, I'm so excited for this. I know I say that every week because I literally do get excited this podcast, y'all. It's one of the most favorite things that I do while growing a business, if not my very favorite. I love being here with you every week. 

Courtney Elmer 

And particularly next week, because we're going to be talking about the Psychology of Persuasion. Whoo. It's such a fancy name, right? It's a fancy name, but it's a fancy name for a very profound, very important topic that I really love with an expert that I happen to love even more. And this particular expert who was joining me next week, is going to give you literally hand you specific language patterns that you can use in your content to grow your following faster and increase engagement for any post or any podcast episode or an email that you put out there. But more importantly, to help you build influence as a respected thought leader inside of your niche. Alright, so I will see you back here next Tuesday. And until then you know what to do. Go live your EffortLESS Life®.

Gay HendricksProfile Photo

Gay Hendricks

Author, President, The Hendricks Institute

Gay Hendricks Biography
Gay Hendricks has been a leader in the fields of relationship transformation and bodymind transformation for more than 45 years. After earning his Ph.D. from Stanford in 1974, Gay served as Professor of Counseling Psychology at the University of Colorado for 21 years. He has written more than 40 books, including bestsellers such as Five Wishes, The Big Leap, Conscious Loving and Conscious Loving Ever After, (the last two co-authored with his co-author and mate for more than 35 years, Dr. Kathlyn Hendricks). He is also a mystery novelist, with a series of five books featuring the Tibetan-Buddhist private detective, Tenzing Norbu, as well as a new mystery series featuring a Victorian-era London detective, Sir Errol Hyde. His book Conscious Luck reveals eight ways to change your fortunes
through the power of intention. Gay has appeared on more than 500 radio and television shows, including Oprah, CNN, CNBC, 48 HOURS and others. His latest book is The Genius Zone.