In the Disney movie Moana, my favourite, the storyline in case you didn’t know is based on Moana, the young daughter of a Polynesian village chief, confined to island life and the duties to her people. Moana is constantly called by external voices to move beyond the small island world in which she lives, journey across the oceans like her wayfinding ancestors and explore the possibilities that lie beyond the island reef.

Throughout her journey of discovery Moana comes up against every conceivable challenge and setback all of which continually thwart her efforts until she end ups lost and defeated on her boat out at sea. That is until the spirit of her grandmother returns and Moana tells her I tried Grandma but I couldn’t do it.  Her Grandmother tells Moana if you’re re ready to go home I will be with you. When Moana hesitates, Grandma asks her, why do you hesitate? Moana replies I don’t know then Grandma sings to her:

Photo Credit: Disney Pixar

I know a girl from an island, she stands apart from the crowd.

She loves the sea and her people, she makes her whole family proud.

Sometimes the world seems against you, the journey may leave a scar.

But scars can heal and reveal just where you are.

The people you love will change you. The things you have learned will guide you and nothing on earth can silence, the quiet voice still inside you.

And when that voice starts to whisper Moana, you’ve come so far, Moana, listen, Do you know who you are?

Who am I? Replies Moana and then she responds with,

I am a girl who loves my island,

I’m the girl who loves the sea,

It calls me.

I am the daughter of the village chief,

We are descended from voyagers

Who found their way across the world, they call me.

I’ve delivered us to where we are,

I have journeyed farther.

I am everything I’ve learned and more

Still it calls me.

 But in the next line of the song Moana has an epiphany when she realises and sings the call isn’t out there at all, it’s inside me…… of course by now I’m fist pumping the air, I’ve got goose bumps and the tears are tripping me up. I mean I knew from a few minutes into the film, this is where the story was going but to see it unfold and to travel with Moana on her journey reminds me that as women we’ve been doing this our whole lives, as will our daughters and granddaughters and while our journeys don’t include Polynesian chiefs and mythical Demigods voiced by Dwayne the rock Johnson, we all have an inner Moana so in the end, when in answer to her Grandmothers question, do you know who you are? and having now made the leap from not knowing to knowing, she triumphantly belts out I AM MOANA….

This is of course the exact same moment my Granddaughter and me stand up tall, turn to face each other and at the top of our voices, with arms outstretched and heads raised in fearless defiance also belt out I AM MOANA.

Incidentally this is also the moment when my granddaughter hugs me with all of her might then cups my face in her hands and says ” Grandma when you have to leave me….. promise you’ll come back like Moanas grandma and take care of me (Oh my heart)…………………….

That moment when Moana discovers it’s inside me, is something we all carry. It’s true, it already exists in your heart and in your mind. It’s what you’re known for. It’s what lights you up. It’s what others can see in you. It’s what they admire about you, in fact the author of The Big Leap Gay Hendricks, calls it your zone of genius and writes: that when you dare to make that leap from your comfortable zone of excellence into the unknown realm of genius, the universe conspires to help you. That’s because what the world most wants and needs from you is that which is uniquely yours to give. Something that literally no one else on the planet can deliver.

Your zone of genius is where the magic happens, where you become so excited by your mission you can’t wait to get out of bed. It’s when you create a career or business that is uniquely expressing your true gifts.
People who live from their zone of genius live longer, healthier, happier lives because they have more passion for what they do. They’re creative, energized and more magnetic. Put simply you arrive at your zone of genius when you combine your top talent with your purpose.


This new chapter in your life is about working from your own zone of genius, but first you have to identify what that is and you can start by taking a look at your unique combination. Listen to what others say about you, what is it they admire about you, what are you known for? What is it you know about you that would serve others or serve you better? What is it that lights you up? It’s important you write this down, because this is the beginning of your forward path.

To arrive at and work from my zone of genius, I combined my top talent empathy with my purpose: to inspire mid life women to go beyond their known capabilities.

So what’s your unique combination? Please post your response in the comments box below.

Thank you for taking the time today!