The Zone In Sports

We’ve all heard about “The Zone” right?  No, I’m not talking about a special diet or a municipal district.  I’m talking about that elusive state of being that you can create within yourself so that you can achieve your potential in performing anything.

30273015_lThe Zone has been described as an ecstatic experience when everything works for you, fits, and is just right.  It’s effortless and the perfect actions just happen. It’s like being possessed by your best self.

You usually have an intense focus on what you’re doing and everything else fades away.  Many sports movies depict such scenes where the spectators blur out and the athlete has a feeling of detachment and can do anything with the body. Sound pretty good to you?  Been there before?

I’m here to tell you that this is not just for athletes.
Business people can hit their stride in this way and increase their productivity, creativity, and connectivity. Think that might be useful in this ultra-competitive economy? Everyone can increase their confidence from better performances even if we’re just talking about a simple conversation with an important person in your life. It’s the complete opposite of being stressed and worried.  I often refer to this state for non-athletes as “Flow.”

So how do you get there?

It all starts with this formula that I teach everywhere:

Performance = Potential – Interference

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What is your interference? For athletes and business people it can be mental programs or beliefs you have that you don’t deserve to win/succeed. Somewhere, somehow, you got the message implanted in your mind that you are mediocre, average, or an also-ran and that thought just keeps coming up at the worst times.  It stops you, paralyzes you, or creates anxiety. You might recognize it as a feeling of fear or a little voice that says something like: “Do I really know my topic?”, “I’m not as good as the competition” or “What if I choke?” or the ever famous “I’m good in practice but not when it counts.”

You might also recognize it as procrastination, getting distracted or just downright laziness. This must be eliminated.

Right now, it’s time to take back control and talk back to that little voice…strongly and with the loving authority of an angry parent.  Dispute your negative thoughts with positive facts of your past achievements.

Red-notebook-on-table1520Create a ceremony, make a loud declaration, and write down exactly how in 2015, things are going to be much different for you!  I actually went on a hike recently and climbed a small hill to be able to scream this out loud to the world (and myself) for the New Year’s changes I’m making.

Humans have been doing ceremonies forever and they are very powerful for making mental changes. Next, you’ve got to get serious on being specific about what you want and WHY you want it. This is your motivation and you need to constantly remind yourself of that so that when the discipline wanes, you have something to refuel your energy and keep you moving.

Stagnation is your enemy; always keep moving even if at times it seems you are unorganized. Know that it’s normal for many of the top performers in business to operate in a sort of “controlled chaos” with many things going on at once.

This fall, I was watching some squirrels outside. I thought: I don’t think those little guys scurry around looking for nuts and seeds thinking to themselves: “I wonder if I’m good enough to get enough food to survive the winter?”  Sounds pretty silly doesn’t it and yet we talk this way to ourselves regularly.  Be like the squirrel and just do it. You can think later after you win.

Adopt the idea right now that getting in The Zone and getting what you want is easy.  If you were to go river rafting, would you want the boat to be put in the water only a hundred yards upstream of the takeout? Clear your mental baggage and then open your awareness to the magic and excitement of the journey itself… and let The Zone find you!

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