Are You in the Zone?


When was the last time you were “in the zone”? This is mostly a term used in sports, but it describes the moments when you are at peak performance. Another way of naming it is, “feeling the flow”. Two things are indicative of being in this state. One, you are performing at an extremely high-level. Two, your work feels effortless. You are not even conscience to the effort you are putting forth, rather you are totally immersed in your task in an almost serene way. Think of when you or someone you know was last clearly “in the zone” and what that looked and felt like.

It has been concluded that to reach this state, one cannot be either performing a task that is too easy nor too difficult. If too easy, an individual will simply get bored or stale with the task and fall out of peak performance. Conversely, if the task is too difficult, the individual will likely get too discouraged and give up. There is an important lesson in this for ourselves and our teams. We must create an environment in our organizations that promotes that goldilocks situation where we fall “into the flow”. For example, if the tasks or goals are difficult, create bite-size goals along the way to lessen the difficulty. Small moments of accomplishment will be the motivating fuel to forge ahead. On the other hand, if the tasks are mundane, it’s incumbent on us to push ourselves with stretch goals or tasks in order to prevent boredom and lack of motivation setting in. Offering individuals new roles, special projects, and responsibilities or opportunities for creative expression can help prevent these ruts as well.

Think of your team and your own situation and look to see where a little tinkering from either side could more likely create the ingredients for being in the zone.

Josh Hafetz
Art of Business

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