Studies show that people who have control over their schedules experience a much higher sense of job satisfaction.
We are designed to do what we love. We are happiest and most productive when we are “in the zone.” (duh!, right?)
StrengthsFinder 2.0 shows us that when we work from our strengths, we not only experience more job satisfaction, we are easier to live with, and add value to those around us.
All of this boils down to one fact: People who live and work in their zone are happier and make a real difference.
The question most of us spend a lifetime trying to answer is WHERE IS MY ZONE??
You might have this problem particularly if you are good at a lot of things, or have a lot of interests. In fact, if your love language is words of affirmation you can learn to love almost anything if people will say nice things to you.
Is there a difference between not hating something and being in the zone? Yes! Your “zone” is when you LIVE and ACT as the person you were created to be. Your brain was built to add value in a certain way – with a certain focus. You might be a creator, a builder, an organizer…you have a particular makeup, and when you work within your area of focus, you thrive.
So, how do you figure out what your focus should be? Where is your zone? Here are some practical ideas I’ve heard lately – when I can I’ve indicated where I heard them.
1. Take notes. Danny at Firepole Marketing shared this today – get two little notebooks. One should be red, and the other green. For two weeks carry both notebooks around with you. When you are doing something that you hate, don’t like, feel sluggish at, write it down in the red notebook. When you find yourself engaging with energy, developing excitement, really enjoying yourself, write it down in the green notebook. At the end of two weeks, you will have a complete list in your life of what feeds your energy (your zone); and what depletes it.
2. Know your strengths. Read StrengthsFinder 2.0. You will save yourself years of trial and error if you just read the first 35 pages of this book and take the online test. This will show you where to focus your energy in order to find your niche.
3. Curate content. If you have a lot of interests, sometimes it is hard to figure out which ones you should focus on. I read a TON. When I decided to focus my blog on leadership development, I went through a process. First, I went to paper.li and created a paper out of all my favorite authors. After only a few days, I discovered that I enjoy Christian leadership development blogs more than any other. Then, I went to scoop.it and created a channel. For a month (and occasionally going forward) I scooped every article that I wanted to share with others. A quick look at my record showed me that the things I like to share most have to do with the tips and tricks of getting over ourselves to make a difference. I had a few topics that I enjoyed sharing, but after just a few shares, I wasn’t interested in that topic any more. Thus I was able to narrow my focus to leadership development in the space between expectation and reality.
4. Start moving. You don’t have to know your niche before you start making a difference. Just start moving – do what you love, and find opportunities to offload the stuff that really drains you. (You might still have to do the dishes, however.) The old saying still holds true – it is easier to steer a rolling rock than one that is sitting still. Just start trying, and you will see a difference.
5, Get a coach. Find someone who can help you ask the right questions, and will follow up to help you stay focused. We weren’t designed to do life alone, and sometimes we need someone outside our immediate sphere who can help us weed through the noise and find the gold.
You were created for a purpose. God has things for you to accomplish in this life, and chances are high that you won’t accomplish them in your easy chair. It is time to get up, start moving, find your Zone and really live.