DISCRETION: This post will not teach you how to get into the ZONE more. Rather, it will help you to recognize where your ZONE is and what is most fulfilling to you.
I think it’s fair to say the all of us had at least one occasion where we felt so engaged in an activity that time flew by, and it’s as if we were being guided because so little forceful thinking was involved. We flowed in our endeavor and produced incredible results. For me, it seems to come around less than I’d like, but I certainly feel it the most when I have my coaching hat on.
But there are other times when I feel in the zone and I wanted to take the time to write down everything that I can possibly think of that gives me the same healthy rush of aliveness.
Note: After each ZONE activity, I will also write down the estimated frequency of each activity in an average week in parenthesis (7 day period):.
- Physical exercise, especially after cardio where the adrenaline rush comes in and is accompanied by more confidence (3x every week, 1 hour sessions, ~3 hours total).
- Engaging in my morning ritual, which centers my mind and invigorates my body after a night’s rest (5x every week, ~5 hours total)
- Facilitating a coaching session, where I hold the other party accountable and deliver the highest form of myself with the intention of inspiring and sustaining positive change (3x every week, ~5 hours total).
- Getting a coaching session, where I receive a different angle from someone skilled in connecting with people and dedicated to transforming lives. Thus far, I have always pulled something from these occasions and am thoroughly grateful for the help I’ve been blessed to receive (Inconsistent and occasional, 0-1 hour).
- Having a stimulating conversation related to personal development (confidence, charisma, potential, emotions, fulfillment, passion, connecting with others, influence, overcoming challenges, altruism, morals, inspiration, values, purpose) – (3x every week, ~6 hours total)
- The feeling after I believe to have improved my website in some shape or form, which occurs perhaps 30 minutes after digging into a particular aspect of my website – ex: blog post, aesthetics, etc. (1x every week, ~2 hours total)
- When I allow myself to feel music and use my body as a vehicle to promote enthusiasm, confidence, and a free-spirited nature (3x every week, ~2 hours total during my gym workouts and in class using my body when I teach minus the music).
- Sharing inspiring tools and information to others with the intention of benefitting their everyday lives (2x every week, ~1 hour total).
- Reading an inspiring book that offers tools and perspectives on how to increase my well-being and the well-being of others (3x every week, ~2 hours).
- Watching an inspiring video that offers tools and perspectives on how to increase my well-being and the well-being of others (5x every week, ~3 hours total).
- Listening to an inspiring piece that offers tools and perspectives on how to increase my well-bring and the well-being of others (5x every week, ~2 hours total).
- When I am journaling, covering situations that occur during the day, what the challenges were, what I am grateful for, what I can do differently, anything that is on my mind (4x every week, ~2 hours total).
- Meditating in general, which is a discipline that softens my shoulders where I hold a lot of tension and eases the flow of thoughts in my mind by paying attention to my breath and the steps of the meditation, or perhaps no steps at all depending on the technique (6 times every week, 10 minute sessions, ~1 hour total).
- Going to the Starbucks in Shioiri, which is an extremely relaxing environment located right by Yokosuka’s port so I can see the harbor from the window. I get a lot of work done here (1x every week, ~1 hour total).
- Going to the Mcdonald’s in Isezakicho and sitting right by the window to absorb natural light, another great environment to get things done from Japanese homework to reading a book to writing up content for my website (1x every week, ~1 hour total).
- Being out in nature under some shade in a peaceful/quiet area (1x every week, ~1 hour total)
- Listening to my favorite songs, which are mostly made up of R&B, Rap, and Hip Hop (Everyday, ~4 hours total).
- The fresh feeling after getting out of the shower and brushing my teeth, as if I wash my day away and start over again (2x everyday, ~1.5 hours total)
- The fresh feeling and cool sensation after shaving (2x every week, ~10 minutes total).
- The renewed and revitalizing feeling after getting a haircut (1x every 3 weeks).
- The psychological feeling of relief and contentment after my first sip of coffee (Everyday, 1-2 cups).
The activities that I listed here are generally organized from most-fulfilling zone activities to least-fulfilling zone activities at this point in my life.
It serves as a general rule of thumb as to what activities are very important to harness my zone: physical exercise, facilitating coaching, receiving coaching, my morning ritual, stimulating conversations, improving my website, absorbing inspiring content, and using my body to express myself. I also realize that these activities are fulfilling to me in that they collectively enrich me physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, socially, and professionally.
I knew that these activities are reinforcing in itself, but it’s nice to have it all written down so I can see it right in front of me in case my mind gets misled, which it does. I’m intelligent enough to know that these activities may shift over time. For instance, I may not be drinking coffee in the future and may find another activity that replaces it, but serves the same function – to give me a feeling of relief and contentment. But that would be one of my lowest-level zone activities. When I reflect on my life many years from now and say that I have walked down a fulfilling road, I’m confident that my top 13 ZONE activities will be a big part of that.
After writing this all down, I also see how much I value receiving coaching but it’s not consistently a part of my week. I could say all of the challenges that are getting in the way of that, but I am not creating a brand built on excuses. I have the resources to receive coaching on a regular basis, though likely not from the same person week-to-week and have one set up this weekend, which is great. I will discuss with Keiju if he is able to coach me more consistently (every 2 weeks, Skype or in-person), as he is an aspiring coach right now with a very specific vision, which I deeply respect.
I also see that developing my brand through my website has slipped and that a small amount of time is dedicated to improvement, ~2 hours in a given week and that is a moderately focused 2 hours. But, I do know that by identifying a specific area to focus on (ex. SEO strategies) and dedicating 30 minutes to researching that aspect, I get into the ZONE because I am learning completely new things that can be immediately used to allow my brand to reach a larger audience. I typically jump from one aspect to the next quickly, so I am absorbing only a little rather than tackling one very precise area for a 1-hour period. By having a specific selected target (Ex. studying Google Analytics) and setting a time limit (1 hour and setting a timer), I believe that is a more effective strategy.
This also reminds me of a famous quote:
“The way you do one thing is the way you do everything.”
Since coming back from my trip in mid-August, I have been doing unfocused workouts, just targeting various areas – whatever I feel in that moment. Before, I had a regimen and it’s been broken, but this is exactly what I see happening with my website improvement tendencies. It’s all hitting me now and breaking my phone has been a blessing for giving me this space to find FOCUS, even if it’s been a month since first breaking my phone.
Today, I start my regimen back up and have all of the exercises written down for me. I will target back and arms today. Specificity is put into effect NOW and it really is amazing to see what can be realized when presence is added into the picture without distractions. But it’s time to let my actions speak now, instead of having a run only to lay my feet up after a few months. It’s time to design more wantpower, designing and embodying the reasons as to why I want to achieve something in particular.
Shifting the focus NOW.
I have a challenge for my readers!
I challenge you to:
1) Write down all of the things you do to get in the ZONE, big and small.
• What generally healthy activities do you do that make you come alive?
2) Put them in a hierarchy, from most-fulfilling to least-fulfilling ZONE activities.
3) How many hours do you spend doing each ZONE activity over a 7-day period?
Note: It may be hard to figure out the amount of time for each activity and mine are very rough approximations, but give it a shot! You are only proving to yourself by doing this exercise that you are someone who is assertive in getting really specific with their life in relation to those timeless experiences in the ZONE
4) What does this tell you about your ZONE frequency, both ‘good’ and ‘bad’?
For those dedicated enough to tackle this exercise, congratulations. You have reached a deeper level of self-awareness and it shouldn’t stop here, but I am struggling myself and have more to prove to myself before guiding any further.. You’re left here to decide what to do with this knowledge.
Taking this back to my first post, we can know all the things to improve our conditions, but what good does it serve if we choose to sit back and do jack shit?
As the refined saying goes:
“Implemented knowledge is power.”
Let’s tap into our personal power.