Discovering Your Zone of Genius and Creating a Business and Podcast Around Your True Passion with Dr. Robyn Jackson


“When people listen to your podcast, they become transformed by what you are saying.” -Dr. Robyn Jackson Click To Tweet

Today’s Episode:

Have you or has someone you know been in a job that you or they are really good at, but it just doesn’t feel like you or they are making the biggest possible impact? Most people will answer yes to this question. The difference between a career of passion and impact and a career of being good at something comes down to taking the time to discover what that passion or zone of genius really is. 

Today’s guest took the time to discover what she really wanted to do and what she felt passionate about. Dr. Robin Jackson felt called to teach and started out as a high school teacher, she then became a middle school administrator, and then put in her resignation instead of accepting a promotion as principal. Even though, it would be a great promotion, she knew she was called to do something else. 

Dr. Robin Jackson is the founder of Mindsteps Inc. an educational consulting firm that helps educators turn their schools into success stories using the resources they already have. She is also the author of 10 books including the best-selling Never Work Harder Than Your Students and Other Principles of Great Teaching and Never Underestimate Your Teachers: Instructional Leadership for Excellence in Every Classroom

She has been sending out a newsletter since 2006, but she wanted to have more intimacy with her audience. She started her School Leadership Reimagined Podcast in 2018, and discovered she not only had that intimacy and better connection with her audience, but the podcast helped her explain complex topics better and helped better prepare clients for her Builder’s Lab workshop. Robyn is so smart. Her podcast not only offers methods and tips to create better school leaders but better leaders overall. I found this conversation insightful, motivating, and inspiring, and I think you will too.

“I am a teacher at heart. I was a good school leader, but my passion was really with teaching.” -Dr. Robyn Jackson Click To Tweet

Show Notes:

  • [03:42] Robyn started out as a high school English teacher. She then became a middle school administrator.
  • [04:08] She began to feel that she was called to do something else. She was about to be promoted as principal when she realized she wanted to quit her job and write a book.
  • [05:15] She didn’t know how everything would work, but she started a newsletter, Mindsteps Inc. and consulting. She had everything set up by the time she quit her job. 
  • [06:07] Robyn had learned a lot working in schools about what to do and what not to do. 
  • [06:20] Her work has crystallized with the idea that you can transform your school with the resources and people that you have.
  • [06:37] She created a model for organizational transformation focused on schools. You can transform your teachers. The underlying principles were based on business principles.
  • [08:51] If a school is struggling, it usually starts at the leadership or principal level. Mindsteps needed to help leadership, so that they could truly transform their schools. 
  • [09:28] They worked their way backwards from the results they wanted to see with the kids.
  • [10:57] In high school, Robyn realized it was her calling to be a teacher. That’s what she was meant to be.
  • [11:31] Different teachers come into your life at different times when you need them.
  • [11:53] In college, an English teacher gave Robyn a copy of Toni Morrison’s Beloved, and it was the first time Robyn had read a book by an African American Author. 
  • [12:29] She has been blessed to have teachers who show up throughout her academic career and business. 
  • [13:35] Robyn has been doing a newsletter since 2006. She felt intimacy was missing. 
  • [14:38] She began podcasting to provide intimacy and a deeper experience.
  • [15:41] Podcasting also allowed Robyn to fill a void that she saw in the education space. She wanted her podcast to be educational and transformational.
  • [16:10] The podcast has helped Robyn to develop a deeper relationship with her clients. She can connect more with her audience, because they’ve been having a conversation every week. It also allows people to understand the work that she is doing in a way that enables them to buy in.
  • [17:10] Listening to the podcast creates primed and ready to work clients.
  • [17:33] The podcast also enables Robyn to reach a wider audience and people who may not necessarily read things like newsletters.
  • [18:28] Robyn shares a story of a Builder’s Lab member who came from the podcast and had a huge breakthrough because of the podcast. 
  • [20:10] When people listen to your podcast, they become transformed by what you are saying. 
  • [21:13] She started thinking about a podcast in 2017, but she didn’t have the team. She decided to commit for a year. She then found the PPS team to help kick things off and help with production.
  • [23:29] Robyn defines success on impact and the difference the show makes in people’s lives not download numbers. Her focus is to help schools turn into success stories. 
  • [25:12] She travels a lot, so needs to take breaks or have seasons. It also helps her focus on a small amount of episodes at a time and then take a break and travel. Educators also have seasons. 
  • [26:19] They do a fall season and spring season which corresponds with the educators seasons. 
  • [29:06] Your zone of genius is what serves others and truly serves you. Robyn took time to think about what she wanted to do, and she started doing the morning pages. She discovered her dream and was brave enough to follow it.
  • [32:58] She is safer and happier in her zone of genius. 
  • [33:48] Mindset is a family business, and their big goal is to have a wider impact and not have everything revolve around Robyn. 
  • [36:06] Darrell’s takeaways: Get The Big Leap. Listen to your calling and pay attention. Find your zone of genius. Podcast about what brings you joy. Pause and evaluate what you are doing. Journal and think about your zone of genius. Podcasting provides a level of intimacy and professional development that was missing from the written word. It also helps create better prepared clients.
“I started podcasting to provide intimacy and professional development that would allow me to go deeper into the topics that I was teaching and give people a deeper experience with me.” -Dr. Robyn Jackson Click To Tweet

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