I remember spinning. Twirling with my arms out to my side and head wobbling around and relishing in the dizziness that made everything around me move while feeling like I was at the center of my youthful world. Like the earth turning on its axis watching all the planets and stars spinning around it. It’s a funny thing, spinning in circles round and round like the Teacups at Disneyland or around and down like a Ferris Wheel. It scrambles your brain and makes you feel out of control. In a weird way, it almost creates a sense of order and calm in a chaotic, upside-down spinning environment. For me, when I get to that sweet spot of spinning where I’m almost floating and disconnected, but also grounded by the force of gravity pulling me closer to the earth, I am free.
You know when an athlete takes the final few minutes before a performance, match, game or race to shut out the world around them. They breathe deeply, close their eyes, focus their brain solely on the task ahead and imagine the success about to unfold. The world slows down. They are literally in the zone. The high-performance laser-focused zone where the chaos, nerves, excitement, anticipations, and expectations around them fade and they see their path clearly in front of them. I liken the euphoric state of uncontrolled chaos from spinning I mentioned above to this moment for an athlete. It makes sense to me. It presents a perspective you otherwise would have missed if you were standing still with the world swirling around you.
When I look at the environments where I have thrived - Jennifer fix it, solve it, build it, envision it - I see the marbles thrown in the air and spin into a super productive focused state of being. I find clarity in the chaos and see the path forward. Is that nature or environmental influence? In my case, I think it’s both. The combination of my genetic makeup and the environment in which I have been conditioned have enhanced this state of being. I gravitate to those experiences and create them - good or bad. It’s like a moth to a flame. It’s a delicate balance, staying in that super-focused productive zone takes a lot of energy. If you dive too deep without coming up for air, you can get swallowed whole. If you stay on the Teacups too long, you will inevitably become sick.
It’s interesting to reflect on the way we are naturally versus what we have been conditioned to need. Each of us has a secret recipe of natural gifts and learned tools. We use this recipe to achieve our optimal environment and demonstrate our best innovations, solutions, and selves.
How do you identify that magic combination to create your optimal recipe? It takes artful diligence, focus, and patience without the destructive possessiveness from holding on too tight. Think Jerry Maguire’s willingness to walk away, not Gollum’s, “my precious”, obsession over the ring. I continue to hone this craft. Some days I’m right in the sweet spot and others I feel like I’m climbing Everest just to get a glimpse.
Do you know what your optimal physical and mental state and conditions are to be in your zone? What’s that special recipe to get you in that zone? Can you call it out, bake it up when you and everyone around you are craving it? That’s the sliver of the magic zone that appears in the chaos as the world spins around you. It’s delicate and needs to be treated with respect and nurtured for sustainability.
Some of us find it by accident but aren’t sure how to replicate it. Some of us never really see it. Some of us, the lucky ones, reach zone mastery.
Now . . . take a deep breath . . . close your eyes . . . can you see it?
Don’t miss my new micro-learning segment, Get In the Zone, on accessing and leveraging your zone to accomplish your goals, including a handy Zone Plan Worksheet. I have partnered with my friend, Alla Weinberg, to bring critical learnings to anyone interested in growing and evolving to be their very best.