Coaching Corner: Life in the "Zone"
- 2004 13 Aug
It seems like we're all striving to live "in the Zone" these days. We want to be in the Zone at work, in the Zone at sports, in the Zone in our relationships. There's even a "Zone" diet to keep us in the Zone physically. But just what is this elusive "Zone" we're all chasing after, anyway?
I recently heard "being in the Zone" defined as: "a state of concentration so focused that it amounts to absolute absorption in an activity." So what might you typically experience when you're "Zoned in" like that? Absolute clarity, effortless control, a lack of self-consciousness, peak performance, and focused delight.
The Zone comes that moment after years of practice and effort when we play a round of golf with such automatic grace that we forget the worries of past and future and live totally in the NOW. It's the moment the sculptor loses herself in the form and movement of her work so completely that she "wakes up" hours later amazed to see what she's just created. It has this sense of getting lost in something, being fully alive in it right now, with no awareness of the past or future or anything other than the gift God is bringing you in this moment.
People tend to associate life in the Zone with some kind of exertion. You have to be doing something to get into the Zone, right? I don't think so. I mean, have you ever lost yourself in watching the surf on the beach at sunset, or in observing children at play? That's a form of being in the Zone too, isn't it?
I think being in the Zone is really all about living in the moment. Being fully present. Experiencing the fullness of all that God’s gift of life--right now--has to offer us, consciously letting go of the distraction of past worries or future concerns. It can happen while you're out for a jog, working on that mammoth project that energizes you, or just sitting on the front porch sipping a glass of tea. When you look at it that way, being in the Zone has a lot more to do with where you're choosing to look than it does with what you're doing.
For singles, life in the Zone means making the courageous choice to shift our focus off of what we don’t have and setting it firmly on the blessings right in front of us. It means saying no to the “what if” game (What if I never fall in love again? What if I never get married? What if I end up alone?), and choosing to say yes to going after a rich, full life in the here and now. That doesn’t mean you stop wanting to be married, or wanting to fall in love. It just means you stop letting that one desire stop you from reveling in the life you have right now.
What treasure, what gift, is here in this moment for you right now? Notice it. Name it. Let it come to you unguarded and free. When you think about it, the only life God gives any of us is the "here and now." The past is gone, and the future is just an idea. That's the essence of being in the Zone. It's consciously following the resonance of "life in every breath." It’s your life, after all. Why not choose to be here while it's happening?
Michael D. Warden is a Professional Co-Active Coach, nationally trained through the Coaches Training Institute in San Rafael, CA, and a member of the International Coach Federation. Michael’s clients’ one common trait is their passion to live their best life—to discover what they're here for, and boldly go after that vision in a way that brings positive change to the world. Find more on his life and work at www.michaelwarden.com.