We all want to be in The Zone.
We all want to feel that we’re doing what we’re meant to: In our work; in our side hustles; in the way we go about our days.
It’s not that easy though, is it? In the great wave dump of life, there are so many things we’ve GOT to do. Earn money, pay the bills, do the chores, fulfil our responsibilities and take care of our people.
It’s hard to keep up — let alone find time to explore what truly lights us up.
But we’ve all had moments when everything felt effortless, sweet. When we were fully engaged and lost track of time. Chances are, in those moments, we were doing what we’re encoded to do.
What are You Encoded To Do?
Business guru Jim Collins developed the hedgehog model — where your passions, talent and potential income collide. But in a recent interview with Brené Brown I heard him expand on it, talking about finding what you’re “encoded” for. What feels instinctive to you — almost hard-wired into your system. What makes your heart thump. What you can potentially do better than anyone else (or at least most) people because it’s running through your veins.
I love this. Through the years I’ve heard so many of my clients worry they haven’t found their passion (or purpose or calling). It leads them to go on a “passion hunt” that often never ends. But the hunt stops when you start thinking about what you’re “encoded” for. Because everyone has something running through their veins. Some lucky people have several things. Your encoding is already “in you” so you don’t have to go out and hunt for it.
Here are the signs you’re on your way.
7 Signs You’ve Found What You’re Encoded To Do
In other words, what feels right, natural and easy.
“When the zone calls, you must listen. You never know how long being in the zone lasts.It is a cardinal rule — you must take advantage of every second that you are in the zone.”― John Passaro
1. You can remember your First Time.
This is not about sex, okay. Just saying for those who need me to do so.
But when you roll back the clock, you can remember the first time (or times) you did this thing and how it intrigued you. Okay, you probably didn’t know you were “hooked” at the time — but there was something that drew you in. Maybe it was drawing/painting or doing crafts, books/words, numbers, mechanics, tinkering or fixing things, sports, talking, caring for others, colour/light, the bush/sea, a landscape (or place you loved)?
Maybe it wasn’t obvious. You just knew you wanted more.
2. You lose track of time (when doing this).
You know you’re encoded to do something when you slip into the Flow state. Flow is the brainchild of psychologist Mihály Csíkszentmihályi. It means a state of full absorption. When you’re in flow, you lose all awareness of time. When you come “out”, you may be surprised how much time has passed. If you also feel a little resentful that time goes so quickly while you’re doing this, you’ve nailed it.
3. You’re working harder but you have more energy.
Doing what you’re encoded to do, doesn’t burn you out. Yes, you’ll be tired at times because it commands focus, effort and commitment, but you won’t feel that deep, grinding fatigue you get when you’re not doing things you enjoy or come naturally, you won’t feel like you’re burning up the best years (or any years) of your life. You feel a drive — a fire — to keep going;.
4. You creep back there when the lights are out.
This is a huge clue you’re on track with what you’re encoded to do. It doesn’t mean you are doing something dodgy under the cover of darkness! It just means you can’t wait to get back to your thing. Even when the pressures of life take over, it’s there, waiting for you and just thinking about it gives you a lift.
5. You don’t tell anyone how much time you spend on it.
You just don’t. Because other people (who are encoded differently) would think you were weird. But your head is full of ideas and plans. If you tracked the time you spent thinking/doing this thing honestly, you know it would shock you. Warning: Your “thing” can make you distracted — so you have to be careful it doesn’t disrupt your Real Life responsibilities and relationships.
6. When you’re fully engaged you feel calm.
When you’re doing this thing (and only this thing) all your angst goes away. You don’t worry about anything, you don’t overthink, you stay in the present and you feel almost supernaturally calm.
7. Even when you take years off it doesn’t go away.
Only older people will know this — because they’ve probably done it! Life has a way of swamping us, of keeping us from doing what we love to do, but if you’re encoded to do something, it’ll hang around. It’ll lie in wait under your bed like a pouncing cat. At some point it’ll come for you again. And when it does, embrace it.
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