When we hear someone was, “in the zone”, we often think of Michael Jordan in the 1992 NBA Finals when he gives "The Shrug" to Magic Johnson on the sidelines after hit hits another three pointer on his way to 35 points in the first half or Tiger Woods winning his first Masters in 1997 by shooting 18-under par and beating the best golfers in the world on the biggest stage by an unheard of 12 strokes.
These two were on fire and definitely “in the zone” on that given day. They were at the peak of their abilities. They had that perfect moment. They have made a career of being “in the zone”. They didn’t get there by accident. They outworked everyone. They were fueled by learning everyday about their own personal skill set and the need of others to get there. Not many people get those perfect moments but they keep striving for them and getting really close. For some people, reaching that level of “in the zone” keeps them going every day. They want it so bad they can taste it. They will do anything they can to reach their goal. Others, well… if they can’t reach it, they get defeated. They begin to settle. It’s good enough for me, they think. They believe that their results are good. They stop looking for solutions to keep getting better. They accept the fact in their mind they can’t get better because they are already pretty good. They keep doing the things they are doing and getting the same results. They have given in to the status quo and a mindset that has given up on growing and learning. Their internal motivation to be their best and be “in the zone” has been put up on the shelf to collect dust. They have fallen victim to being in another zone, their “comfort zone”.
The comfort zone often is a place where we feel safe with our mind and body. It’s a place where, in our profession, we can get a few small wins and the risk percentage for a loss is pretty low. For many, this is the place to be and the place where they feel they do their best work. But, if we truly want to make a greater difference on a wider spectrum of people, we have to take our size twelve feet and step out of the box to confront our own comfort zone. This is for the greater good of the people we should be influencing. We have to keep learning about our strengths and weaknesses from others. Let them tell us what they see or don't see in us. We have to pull out the old feather duster to clean off that relentless desire to challenge our minds and be willing to find the most minuscule area within our practice to be better than we were the day before. If we do this, we still have the opportunity to have that “in the zone” moment, day, month, year, or better yet career. Can we sustain being "in the zone"?
For me, I want to have opportunities to feel like I can be “in the zone” within my education profession. I have come to realize though, its not easy to be there and be their at all times. There are days where I am sure we feel close. This desire has never been stronger than right now for me. Learning with others has rejuvenated me to have the confidence and expectations of myself to try to new things. I have realized that the mindset of, “this is way I have always done it”, isn’t always best for me or for the people I am charged to lead and empower. The best way we can find out which zone we are in is if the people we should be influencing can feel the same feeling right along side with us as it’s happening day in and day out. Each and everyone one us still have this opportunity if we don’t settle in our in the comfort zone for too long. Be “in the zone” today and everyday!
When do you feel like you are in the zone? I would be interested in your thoughts.