People want fuller lives and more meaningful work, so they search for tactics and strategies to give them an edge. From goal setting planners to online courses and morning rituals, we’re hungry for purpose and power.
While strategies and tactics are helpful in the doing of our day to day, it’s our being that gives life to our doing. When we live from a certainty in being, we activate an energy not found in strategies and tactics alone. This is called your Power Zone.
Your Power Zone is that place where work doesn’t feel like work and results seem to come effortlessly. Peak performers in business, sports and life understand the X factor of their Power Zone and spend tons of time and money to develop it.
If you know where to look, you can quickly find your Power Zone too and unleash the X factor in your life as well. See below:
Passion is the first clue to finding your Power Zone. Passion is a word that is used a lot, and for good reason. Passion lights up your life, it brings with it vision and courage. With passion you will take risks you otherwise would have avoided.
Passion is more than happiness. The energy of passion is stronger and deeper than happiness. It makes us come alive and when we come alive, work doesn’t feel like work and the energy we exude is infectious, attracting all kinds of opportunities to us.
Each of us have passions in our lives, but in the busyness of life we often forget about them. They sit dormant for a future day when we have time to pursue them. To activate your passions, simply take time to journal or meditate in the presence of what inspires you. Write down the things that make your heart sing. They’re already inside you. All you need to do is remember them and feel them rise up in you.
As you head out into your day, look for how to bring your passions into your work, your goals and relationships. This is the beginning of cultivating your Power Zone.
“I have to face life with a newly found passion. I must rediscover the irresistible will to learn, to live and to love.” – Andrea Bocelli
Feedback is the next place to look for clues from your Power Zone. We often miss important pieces to our Power Zone simply because we can’t see them. But you have a lifetime of feedback from friends, family and the world around you. Others often see what you’re good at and where you shine. So look back on your life for the feedback you’ve received.
What awards did you get? What compliments do people always give you? Look at your performance reviews. Even go back to highschool and remember the good things your teachers and friends said about you.
Write these clues down in your journal. Look for similarities from your passions. Feel the good feelings that come with the feedback you’ve received and know that where you’ve received positive feedback in your life is part of your X factor.
Move forward in your day looking for what the world reflects back to you about your Power Zone. Look for when you make people smile. Notice what you’re doing when people compliment you. These are all clues to your Power Zone and suggest you should be incorporating more of that in your life.
Your complaints are the third clue to your Power Zone. This is not a pass for whining or being a victim, but it is an access point to what you value. Complaints and values are two sides of the same coin. The only reason we complain about something is because we value something.
Values are harder to access. When we journal about values it comes out like an impersonal mission statement. However, when we think of the things that frustrate us, we have immediate and powerful emotional access to our values.
When you access the convictions that come with your complaints, you tap into an energy that propels you further than when you work from your head. This too is an X factor in living a fuller life.
In your journal, write out your complaints, but don’t edit and judge what comes to mind. Just write them down and look for clues. We’re turning over puzzle pieces and the more pieces we turn over, the clearer the picture becomes about what our Power Zone is.
“There is no passion to be found playing small—in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.” – Nelson Mandela
Marcus Buckingham said that “a strength is something you do, that when you do it, you feel strong.” There may be a lot of things in life you’re good at, but most of them don’t make you feel strong. There are only a handful of things you do, that when you do them, you feel strong.
Write these down in your journal. Don’t edit or judge what comes up. Just write it down. Imagine your life where everyday a majority of your time is spent inside of things you feel strong doing.
Begin to cut back on activities and responsibilities that aren’t your strengths. Invest your time and energy into the things that make you feel strong. In this place, you step into your power and the world gets to know you this way.
Living from what makes you feel strong, opens up opportunities you couldn’t have predicted. Life is full of joy in this place and you will experience yourself as the powerful person you’ve always known you are.
Finding your Power Zone is a process, just like a puzzle. As you turn over more pieces inside these four areas, you will see a picture of who you are, emerge. This is how you quickly step into your fullest sense of being.
It is from that full sense of being you can now do the strategies and tactics you collected along the way and use them effectively. Your Power Zone is the X factor you’ve been looking for and it is the key to unlocking your fullest life.
Which one of these 4 clues can help you most in unlocking your power zone? Let us know below!
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Why Do We Have An Unconscious Bias and How Can We Manage It?
When I hear someone using my name once in a while throughout the conversation we are having, I cannot stop myself thinking “this person must have read Dale Carnegie’s books or must have been influenced by someone who read them…” Have you just recalled a similar moment and it felt nice?
As Dale Carnegie famously said, “Remember that a person’s name is, to that person, the sweetest and the most important sound in any language”. Why did Dale Carnegie highlight the importance of an individual’s name to that person in his “How to Win Friends and Influence People” book published in 1936?
Each and every one of us wants to feel special and unique. I guess he recommends using the person’s name in the conversation because that is one of the easiest ways to grab that person’s attention so that we can enhance the chances of getting our point across. However, I am more interested in this from the other side; hearing our names directly addresses our individuality, our need or desire to feel special and unique.
Let’s park this one for now and we will come back.
Categorization is essential to our survival
There is countless scientific research telling us about how our brains recognize similarities and put things into categories, which has been crucial to our survival in evolution and still helps us with a lot of things from learning new things to coping with the continuous influx of massive amounts of information through our senses.
The continuous influx of information is mostly handled by our subconscious mind rather than conscious. It is estimated that our brains receive about 11 million bits of information every second through our senses, of which only 40-50 bits can be processed by our conscious mind. We process more information than we are aware of. The magic here is the subconscious mind.
An example is when you are at a very loud party where you hear a lot of words flying around without you recognizing each one of them, then suddenly, you immediately catch it when you hear your name. Your subconscious had been processing all of those words, without your awareness, but informed your conscious mind when your name was out there because it was relevant to you.
In order to most effectively process this much information and inform the conscious mind with only the relevant ones, our subconscious employs categorization as one of its strategies.
When our ancestors encountered some deadly predators in the African savanna, their subconscious prompted their conscious mind to immediately fight or flight by categorizing the information gathered through their senses into “predator / life threat / take action”. Most probably we are not descendants of the ones that were frozen rather than fighting or flighting!
Although it is a completely different situation, the same strategy applied in remembering lists. Let’s look at the below two lists.
- lion, eagle, shark, leopard, hawk, whale, panther, falcon and dolphin
- lion, leopard, panther, eagle, hawk, falcon, shark, whale and dolphin
The second list is easy to remember because it is reordered into relevant groups even though the content of the both lists are identical.
Subconsciousness is the magic and categorization is one of its key strategies. It is essential to our survival, learning new skills and processing information as well as bringing back the information we had processed and stored.
This amazing skill has its drawbacks
As a result of our brains’ categorization strategy, we also categorize people, especially if we don’t know them as well as our closest ones.
Imagine I am sitting at the table next to yours while you are having your favorite coffee and working on your computer or reading your novel at your neighborhood coffee shop. I stand up, very calmly grab your bag, and start walking away. Your reaction might be quite different depending on my outfit. It could be much more vocal and harsh if I have a dirty T-Shirt and a pair of torn jeans on. However, if I have some navy colored, 3-piece suit and well-pressed white button up shirt on, you might even say something like “Excuse me, you might have picked up my bag by mistake”. (There is an experiment done by social psychologists which reported similar results)
Similarly, I would not be surprised to hear that my co-worker’s spouse is very skilled and knowledgeable in English grammar and literature because he is an English teacher. However, I would not expect it from my co-worker herself because she is an outstanding chemical engineer.
This is defined as unconscious bias or stereotyping, as a result of our subconscious brain’s categorization strategy. The outfit I have at the coffee shop impacts your response to my action, because it puts me into a different category in your mind depending on my outfit. My co-worker’s and her spouse’s backgrounds make me put them into different categories, which might mislead me sometimes.
Just like we categorize things, it is very natural that we categorize people.
The key question here for me is; how do we truly treat people as individuals so that they feel unique, just like as they would want, while we know that our brains categorize people?
We can overcome unconscious bias
Leonard Mlodinow, in his enlightening book “Subliminal”, suggests that “if we are aware of our bias and motivated to overcome it, we can.” That doesn’t mean that we need to fight our brain’s categorization strategy. We just need to employ our conscious mind more when we are working or dealing with individuals.
Our unconscious bias might tell us scientists are bunch of technical nerds who cannot understand abstract concepts that marketers are talking about or it might say that marketers are some daydreamers who need to be grounded by scientists to the real world all the time. I am an engineer and I love thinking in abstract terms and I worked with quite a lot of marketers who thought primarily in factual and concrete terms.
Spending some effort to learn more about individuals will help overcome unconscious bias. Gathering more information and qualities about them will make it easier for us to treat them as individuals rather than a member of the category we put them in our minds.
The moral of the story here is to recognize the fact that our brains do categorize, and it is essential; but also, to recognize that every individual wants to feel unique. When we appreciate these two and keep reminding them to ourselves, we are one step closer to figuring out our own way to overcome unconscious bias and treat people more like individuals.
What was the most interesting part of this article for you? Share your thoughts below!
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