The Zone is the place or state of being that anyone strives for in athletic, business or personal endeavors. It’s that perfect place where you perform at your best. It seems effortless and easy and something you could sustain forever. For me, I know when I am in the Zone when I am able to push the pace on a run with ease or when miles pass by and I have no recollection of the time or distance covered.
Similar to auto pilot, the Zone is achievable by all and only requires some mental acuity and focus to achieve. In his book Finding Your Zone, Dr. Lardon provides ten lessons to help anyone achieve the Zone in sports, work or any walk of life. Here lessons five through ten.
Manage Your Emotions and Thoughts. We are always more than what we think and what we feel and yet we often don’t experience ourselves that way. Powerful thoughts and intense emotions can make us believe that we are that thought or feeling. It takes knowledge to realize that you have a choice to simply be aware and not react to your emotions or thoughts. This is called Emotional Intelligence. Program your mind with how you want to feel and make it a reality.
Keep Your Motivation Pure. The best type of motivation is the motivation that comes from the heart that place deep within us. This is called intrinsic motivation and is what you should strive for. Extrinsic motivation is when our drive comes from outside our selves such as criticism, material gain or fame. While these can be useful, make sure any external motivation is fueling your main internal drive. You have to want to do it for yourselves.
Acceptance and Faith Conquer Fear. Fear is the first natural enemy of a great competitor. Conquering fear and boosting faith boosts our ability to get into and stay in the Zone. Some tips for conquering fear include: The phenomena of behavioral desensitization by getting used to doing what you fear, framing your fear up for what it really is or seeing the forest from the trees, spiritual faith and know-mind awareness.
Build Confidence and Win. Confidence is the cornerstone of all success in any realm and developing it is much like nurturing a garden. Work hard to develop a strong sense of self-confidence. Family, friends, coaches and mentors are great ways to build confidence. Add in practice of all elements of your game, especially those elements that you fear. I have found that journaling about strategies on how to address my strengths and my fears and then the associated successes has been a great tool in building confidence.
Perform Under Pressure. Being able to not only find the Zone but to achieve success requires you to perform under pressure. As your goals become loftier, the pressure increases and you will have to hone all these strategies to make sure you can compete at the level you desire.
The best piece of advice I can give is to have a strong plan, stick to that plan and make adjustments as needed. While finding the Zone is purely a mental game and requires great practice and concentration, don’t get into your own head and over think your plan, especially during competition.
HERE’S TO BEING FIT FOR LIFE! Chris is a Certified Personal Trainer, USA Triathlon Level 1 Coach, Group Exercise Instructor, exercise and endurance enthusiast. He competes yearly in numerous running races, marathons, ultra-marathons, triathlons and other endurance events. He is a member of the 2015 QT2 Systems Advanced Team.