I was having a conversation with close friend of mine at work recently. He, like myself, was a former student-athlete who played football and enjoy quite of bit of success. He was an All-American and came closer than a lot of people to finding a spot on an NFL roster. During the discussion, I brought up the aspect of being ‘in the zone’ on the field. There were moments on the field, in a game, where I was just locked in to what my purpose was. I knew my assignment, where I was supposed to be, and to finish my assignment to make the play succeed. My friend just responded “Lol. I can’t truly say I was like that for games…one time I messed with my chick right before a game and got 2 INTs, but I get what you’re saying”
Some of you understand what I may be talking about, not just in athletics, but in life in general. There are moments, when maybe you have a paper due, a presentation you must do well on, or critical interview for a job, and you are just in tuned with the material and you knock it at of the park. Moments like that interests me because, I have always wondered how do I constantly have that switch flipped to “on” 24/7?
I recently was studying for an important certification for my job. This certification was important because I’m required to get it within the first two years of being in this position, and it vital to promotions going forward in that department. The company paid for the study materials and cost of the test; however, if I were to fail, I was going to have to pay out of my own pocket going forward.
I was in a situation in my life where money was extremely tight, and I wasn’t in a position to keep having to pay $500+ dollars in test fees, and materials. So, I cut out all distractions, to focus on the bigger picture. I killed the social life for three months, I stopped watching TV, playing video games, even listening to music in the car or at work, upon doing so, something miraculous happened: I seemed to have more clarity and focus in not just studying, but in every aspect of life.
My concern wasn’t stopping my work flow to find the next YouTube subscriber to listen to, or disrupting my rhythm on the elliptical to find the perfect song on my IPod. The motivation did not come from the right distraction, the motivation came from within.
It was shortly after I found out I passed the certification, that I could put it all together, the feeling of being “in the zone” or “locked in”. An important game, a paper, a presentation, critical interview, my certification exam: They were all dire moments. Moments that required me to eliminate anything that would hinder me from reaching my goal.
So, after I found out I pass the certification test, I decided I would continue those habits. Everyday should feel dire because until you reach your objective, it should be. I encourage each and every one of you to take the time to do the same. I know everyone has different methods of focusing, but I do believe that everyone should take some time out to dial out some of the distractions. I guarantee you, that you are going to be more focused, and your creative flow will surface more easily.
I have always wondered what the common link was behind certain success stories. People who were down and out on their luck, who wrote books, plays and movie scripts out of their car, or on napkin paper. The very successful football coaches who, despite previous success, continue to demand excellence and elevate themselves. It’s because the situation is dire. If you are down on your luck, homeless, and your very livelihood depends on accomplishing something, then every fiber of your being is directed towards that goal. If you have attained some level of success already, so what? Treat each day like the situation is dire. Complacency equals death.
Weather Your Storm, Maintain Inner Reign – E