Recently I read the book The Genius Zone by Gay Hendricks (he’s also the author of another book I love called The Big Leap).
It’s all about figuring out how to spend the most time in your life doing only the thing that is your true creative genius. If that sounds like a lofty goal, you should check out the book, because it’s not as complicated as it sounds—or at least it doesn’t have to be.
One of the main concepts of living in your genius zone is to recommit. And, in fact, recommitting is almost more powerful than the initial commitment iself.
The concept is that if you commit to doing something, it’s hard to keep that initial commitment because it is a one-time arrangement that can be hard to carry forward after days or weeks or years—it’s like a marriage, you make the commitment on the day of your wedding, exchanging vows with your new spouse, but that’s not the end. You don’t end up with a 50-year marriage based on that one-day commitment. No, you recommit every day of your life, and over time that is how you end up with a 50-year marriage.
A better example that Hendricks uses in the book is that of an airplane flying across the country. He writes that airline pilots do not take off and fly the plane directly to the final destination. In fact, each flight is off-course for the majority of the flight, and the auotopilot’s job along the way is to continually make micro-adjustments, recommitting to the flight path. Imagine that: an entire trip of course-correcting, until you finally land at your intended destination.
I read this and thought, how exhausting!
And then immediately thought, how exhilarating!
I mean, how could it not be exhilarating to have to be that engaged with your journey to continually course-correct to ensure you land where you want to land. Otherwise, what would be the point of the trip? You’d just be carried along, without any of your own active participation.
After I thought, how exhilarating, I also thought: what a relief!
What a relief to think about this concept of course-correcting along the way, because it means there are endless possibilities to make change, to improve, to alter the destination. All I have to do is recommit. Each day. Maybe even multiple times a day. Every moment, every second, is an opportunity to recommit and put myself in a position to succeed.
This is such good news!
How often do you find yourself faltering on a commitment? Say, your writing practice? You missed today, so you tell yourself you’ll just skip the rest of the week and get back at it on Monday. Because giving in is easier than recommitting.
But what if, instead, you saw the opportunity to recommit the same day?
So you missed your writing session this morning.
Recommit. Can you write at lunch instead? Or before bed? Or twice as long tomorrow?
And how much better will you feel if you recommit, get some progress, instead of letting yourself off the hook and losing an entire week of time that you probably will spend berating yourself (which only makes it harder to get started again).
Here’s what Hendricks has to say about recommitting:
“When you learn how to recommit, you open up the possibility of enjoying the pleasure of the journey. If you know you’re likely to get off track occasionally and have developed the skill of recommitting, you simply focus again on what you really want and take a concrete action, even a small one, that takes you toward the goal. Before I figured that out, I would often get so focused on arriving at the goal that I forgot to savor the journey along the way.
“Beating up on yourself—with shame, blame, and criticism for getting off track—is one of the common traps. Blaming yourself for wandering off the path just slows you down. All that’s required is a simple moment of awareness: ‘Oops, slipped off my chosen path. Time to recommit.’ Awareness is important; criticism is absolutely unnecessary.”
Tell me: what are you recommitting to today?