“Being in the zone” is a phrase describing a state of being that translates to top performance. The zone is a state of being present to the task at hand. It’s a state of focus, calm, ease, and flow. Resistance is minimal. Acceptance is high as to what is happening in the moment. In sports, it is framed as “letting the game come to you” where you see the field of play as though it is happening in slow motion. You see what to do and you make the right decisions. Having a great interview can feel like that, too.
Secrets of Successful People
Successful people experience “being in the zone” more than unsuccessful people. They aim to be in the zone and they work to create that state of being in ease and flow. You can too.
How? Start by noticing, being aware, of any resistance in you. Do you feel struggle? Is it hard? Are you frustrated? Any of these means you are resisting instead of accepting and allowing what is happening.
The most common ways to recognize that you, or anyone else, have fallen OUT of ease and flow is to notice roles are being played. Falling out of ease and flow occurs when we drift into one or more of three meta-roles or positions. Visualize a triangle and place each meta-role on one of the three points on the triangle. Once a person moves into one of the meta-roles, they usually dance from one role to the next in these predictable roles, also called “power struggles.” At any moment that you fall out of “ease and flow” into the triangle, you can be a Victim, a Villain, or a Hero. All three are interdependent and are power struggles to change what is so, deny what is so, and “fix” the problem.
Lots of energy is expended to keep the power struggle going. Let’s get clearer on the roles.
Are You Stuck in One Of These Roles?
A Victim is whining, thinking “poor me”, getting confused, spacing out, feeling “I’m not adequate”.
A Villain is blaming, persecuting, making wrong, accusing, judging, controlling, dismissing.
A Hero is rescuing, excusing, figuring it out, jumping in to help the person or situation, not delegating because they don’t want to impose.
Can you see how each of these roles is NOT in ease and flow and not being in the zone of high performance?
The Zone of High Performance
Ok, in a moment of your life, you notice you are stuck in one of these roles. Now what do you do to move back into high performance, into ease and flow, and out of the power struggle?
As soon as you realize you are not in ease and flow, let go of your meta-role or stated “position.” Let go of your claim that “the way it is” (reality of what is actually happening) should not be that way. Just allow the way things are to be that way. Only then can you begin to shift into a different state of being that allows for things to change. You can’t get to second base until you step-off (let go) of first base.
Choose high performance. Choose a state of being in ease and flow, in the zone. Let go of being “right” about your position and “how it should be.” As the great basketball coach, Phil Jackson, suggests in his book, Sacred Hoops, let go of the last bad play and move on to the one you are in at this moment. Living in the last bad play (not letting go of it) just leads to compounding the previous bad play. Let go of the past. Choose to present and choose high performance, ease and flow.
How to Get Unstuck and Back into Ease and Flow
Here’s a tip for shifting out of the power struggle and drama of the meta-roles and back into ease and flow:
- Breathe. Take deep breaths.
- Move your body. Move your hands, shoulders, head, arms, legs, back. Shift. Walk.
- Express appreciation for anything about the other person, yourself, or the situation.
- Express curiosity – say, “hmmmmm, I’m wondering…” how we can move forward, etc.
- Tell the truth about how YOU feel, what you are thinking or doing. It’s unarguable.
- Recommit to high performance. Stop wanting to be right. Stop wanting to justify why you did it or believe something. Let go and move on.
I know it’s not easy. So, make it a practice, a daily commitment to build into a habit.