In The Zone

I grew up a basketball fanatic. I played most of my pre-adult life on various teams until around the time I finished high school.

One of the things you’ve probably heard before is the phrase that someone is “in the zone!

After Michael Jordan hit his third or fourth three pointer, the announcers would often exclaim, “he’s in the zone!”

I remember the zone. It was an odd feeling that happened only every so often. I’m sure for pro athletes and superstars, it happens far more often.

This is what the zone feels like (if I can explain it…even though I’m sure you’ve all been there at least once in your life)

You launch a three pointer, and just as the ball leaves your hands, you know it’s in basket. There was no way it was going to miss. I remember the feeling clearly.

Many times after the ball left your hands, you’d start to turn around and make your way back to play defense.

Yesterday, we saw Phil Mickleson in the zone. He knew as soon as he hit certain shots or tapped certain putts, they were going in. There was no question about it.

Tiger couldn’t find the zone yesterday. And if he could have found it, he might have won.

I’ve started to notice, after playing basketball for close to 18 years, that the zone isn’t just a sports’ thing.

Often, we’ll find ourselves in the zone in our personal lives, or our careers, or with whatever we’re doing.

The key to the zone is knowing when you’re there and capitalizing on the moment. It’s at times like these you need to take more shots and more risks.

It’s the job interview you knew you nailed – you knew you had the job before you shook hands to leave.

It’s the business call you knew was a success before hanging up the phone.

It’s those moments when you don’t just feel like everything is going your way, you know it is.

Of course, the zone can also trick us.

Back during basketball games, I remember the times when we wanted to force the zone. We would take bad shots while in a false sense of the zone. We can easily fool ourselves into believing we’re in the zone, or, we attempt to rush it and try to force ourselves into that special place.

The zone can’t be faked.

It’s a natural phenomenon that happens by itself. You need to recognize the moments you’re TRULY there and it’s at those moments you pounce! The zone doesn’t last forever. It’s short and sweet and powerful.

You can’t force the zone. The only way to get there is by taking a risk to begin with.

Jordan would often find the zone by first missing a handful of shots and then nailing the next six. Suddenly he was there. Nobody could stop Jordan when he found the zone.

Notice Jordan never gave up after missing the first bunch. He kept going and then the magic happened.

The same goes for you. Find the zone and you’ll be unstoppable.