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CMG Reads: Natalie McNamara + The Big Leap, Gay Hendricks

Written by Natalie McNamara

Years ago, my friend Chris Jones, owner of Authentic Leader, suggested I read this book, The Big Leap by author Gay Hendricks. At the time, I wasn't even quite sure why he told me to read it, but I always trust Chris immensely, so I did. 

When I initially read it years ago (I've read it several times), I realized I had a lot of issues to work through. Yes, I admit it. While I'm not afraid to say it, I only got through a few chapters when I decided to not continue through the book until I addressed my 'Upper Limit Problem'. 

The Upper Limit Problem consists of 'hidden barriers' that we face in life, primarily due to our past experiences both personally and professionally. They are: (1) Feeling Fundamentally Flawed; (2) Disloyalty and Abandonment; (3) Believing That More Success Brings a Bigger Burden; and (4) The Crime of Outshining.

On a daily basis and with much intention, I went to work to overcome my hidden barriers, then I revisited this book again. With much joy, I felt I had done some hard work and made progress towards evolving beyond these barriers. Therefore, I started the book from the beginning and continued to read past chapter two.

The premise of the book in my words is this: we all have 'hidden barriers' that keep us from being our best. Beyond that, there is a level of pure happiness in both our professional and personal lives that we can only dream of reaching - this is called the 'Zone of Genius'. There is a 'Zone of Excellence' and while that sounds good enough, it's not good enough for me. The book details how many of us can reach the Zone of Excellence, but it's never the euphoric state of Zone of Genius. Furthermore, if you're actually able to reach Zone of Genius (which takes a lot of work), most people can't stay there. They self-sabotage and return to their previous Zone. In fact, only a VERY small percentage of people actually REACH and STAY in the Zone of Genius. What I knew in reading this book is that I want to attempt to reach the Zone of Genius and I know when I get there, it'll take a lot of work to stay there, but if I'm able to do it, I hope it means that when I'm old and grey, that I did the right things to live my life to the fullest. The most important message I have to offer about this book is that it is not about work - this is about happiness and fulfillment in all aspects of your life. I hope my message has inspired you to find the same.


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