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May 28, 2021

The Curse of Capability- How To Keep Your Talents From Ruining You

When I was a little girl, I was told that God gives us talents and we are not to squander them. I took that super seriously. Really seriously!

I believed that if I wasted my talents, I would wake up one day like Sampson and I would have lost all my power. I am grateful for that super black/white thinking because it caused me to work extremely hard. I think I had a keen understanding that I had some pretty special talents in a couple of areas- one of them was athletics.

And in many ways, my work ethic has created the life that I have now, which I treasure.

But the flip side of any superpower is its kryptonite that can render you powerless.

For me and maybe for you too, that kryptonite is being too competent.

First, let’s see where you are on the scale of capability.

Here’s a little quiz :

1. Do people often rely on you to get things done?

2. Do you have the ability to pull things off, even if you’ve procrastinated until the last moment?

3. Do you seem to get things done just a little easier and a little faster than most people?

4. Do you often have to put systems in place to make sure things don’t fall through the cracks?

5. Is it hard for you to rest because there is always something to do?

6. Is someone often offering you an opportunity and it’s difficult to say no to it?

If many of these resonate with you- then you,  my dear have the blessing and curse of capability.

I was recently offered a proposal by a book company. I know that is the dream of every author, but the offer wasn’t that great and the topic was loosely related to my brand. I could have written the book easily. I took this dilemma to my mastermind group and Rhonda, a wise woman said to me that this seems to be in my zone of competence, but not my zone of genius and I should stick to my zone of genius.

She was right.  I was able to turn down the shiny offer because I know there is something better out there for me that more closely aligns with my brand and my message.

We can get tripped up by capability because it allows us to stay in a zone of competence- sometimes for decades. We can perform well in that zone, but it doesn’t always allow us to step out into our zone of genius because stepping out is scary and unknown.


The ironic thing is that discomfort is the biggest motivator. I have seen this in my life and the life of many capable clients. It’s easy to jump ship when you aren’t good at something.

It’s a lot harder to jump ship when you are performing well and receiving applause and maybe even moving up the ladder, even if what you are doing, doesn’t fill your soul. Capability keeps us comfortable.

The fear of walking in your genius is that if you decide to make changes in your life, people around you are going to say, what’s wrong with you? Why would you quit when what you are doing is working so well?

When I started my podcast and began writing and speaking – many of my friends said, What are you doing, Zoe? I was a busy mom, homeschooling my kids and I had a successful working psychotherapy practice. But honestly, I wasn’t fulfilled- not because my life wasn’t full. It was very full, but something was pushing me – I believe God was speaking to me saying there is more for you to do.

Is anybody recognizing this in yourself today? Is there more for you to do?

Or maybe YOUR kryptonite is that your capabilities don’t allow others to see you as needing any help. You are applauded for how well you handle everything. People end up viewing you as so capable that you end up feeling very neglected in relationships.

My first aha moment about this happened when I had a friend that had an injury and multiple friends came together to help her. I remember mentioning to my friend about a similar injury I had experienced months earlier and joking (not joking) about how no one helped me. She laughed and said, “Well, she just has a low threshold for anything difficult in her life. You handle everything so well. I guess everyone thinks you don’t need any help.” This hit me hard because I didn’t feel like I had it all together, although I guess I was certainly portraying that.

Newsflash.

Your people aren’t necessarily neglectful and uncaring people. You, my dear may have taught them that you don’t need them through your ultra capable behavior.

Guess what? When you cease to show up as ultra capable, help will rise to meet you.

The Curse of Capability- How To Keep Your Talents From Ruining You
So, how can you remain the wonderfully capable woman that you are, yet recover from a life of being ultra capable?

Remember that whole zone of genius thing? Ultra capable women tend to say yes to more things because they can actually hold a bigger load. But you aren’t walking in your zone of genius in that dynamic.

So, before you rush off to another yes, or even as you evaluate what you need to cull from your life today, ask yourself:

(1) Does this come easy to me?

(2) Am I passionate about it?

(3) Is it something that needs my special skills — or could anyone do it? 

If two out of three responses are “yes,” then it’s likely to be in your zone of genius. If the answer is no. If you’re not really passionate about it or if someone less skilled or knowledgeable could do it, or it just doesn’t come easy to you, then leave it to them and pass or delegate it to someone in your circle.

Getting over being ultra capable also means that you stop saving everyone. They come to you because it’s easier for them. You make it look easy, but it keeps them from developing their own muscles.

The Curse of Capability- How To Keep Your Talents From Ruining You

The people in your life- your husband, your kids, your friends, and your employees are much more capable than you give them credit for. They just don’t have to do it because you are there. It’s okay to stop- No, it’s necessary to stop. By saving them all the time, you aren’t doing yourself or anyone else any favors.

In fact, you’re damaging relationships because when you’re doing it all, you are sending messages to the people you are carrying that you don’t trust them. You are also developing resentment that seeps through in many of your interactions. Over capability is not a victimless crime.

Last, surprise everyone and ask for help. This is crucial. When you never ask for help you know what happens— they decide you are more than capable. Which you are- that’s the problem.

You can probably actually do it all yourself! But at what cost to you and your circle? Just because you can doesn’t mean you should. So go ahead and ask for help- especially if it’s in someone else’s zone of genius. And look out for the zones of genius around you. Imagine a world where everyone is operating in their zone of genius. How beautiful and efficient would that be?

So, dear friend. I applaud you for your capability- but not in a:  “You go girl! “, “You’re so strong, keep it up!” kind of way, but in a: “I see you, I honor your talents because they are good”, but God made you for something even better kind of way.

Today, I encourage you to ponder:

What is your zone of genius?

Are you walking in that space?

How can you show up more and operate on auto pilot less?

How can you maximize what you do well and ignore the lanes beside you?

How can you not allow the very thing that is your biggest asset to be your biggest downfall?

Today, I honor you, capable woman, and I give you permission that you don’t need from me to let it go and let God work in the spaces.

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