How many times have you or someone else said: “I am really in the zone right now.” At that point, you really mean that you don’t want to be disturbed because you are fully switched on and enjoying what you are engaged in. Sadly, this isn’t the case for most of us as we rarely live our lives doing what makes our hearts sing. A famous runner said, “I feel most alive when I run.” I can totally relate to that thought because I feel that way when I am singing, studying the word, teaching our kids, consulting, training, coaching, and acing a crazy work out/dance routine. Now if you asked me which one I felt most alive doing it would be making music.
However, I couldn’t always readily identify what makes my heart sing. Realizing what makes me tick has taken years to uncover. As a coach dealing with clients, it is sad when people say that they don’t know what makes their heart sing or come alive. It takes a lot of uncovering for some people to find this because they have spent their lives doing what needs to be done rather than what they love doing. It gets to a point where people can’t tell the difference between both anymore.
Steps to Find Your Zone
How do you uncover what makes you unique and fuels your soul?
- Practice being truthful to yourself. Most people don’t know what they are feeling, thinking and what sets them off. Self-awareness, especially for an evangelical Christian, is a very foreign concept. However, we need to know what is in our hearts and emotional triggers as well as pacifiers if we are to guard our heart with ALL diligence. A helpful way to make this happen is to practice journaling, being still, meditating, and pouring out your heart to God in worship.
- Think about your childhood and what your interests were and what you enjoyed and what you couldn’t be stopped from doing even with the threat of discipline. Did your parents ask you based on that love if you would like to do more of it when you grow up?
- Still, on the subject of childhood, think about what you dreamt of doing or being. For some of us, life has taken us so far off course that we think we cannot ever find career/life fulfillment. However, the principle can be used. A love for the medical sciences can be translated into a love for people for example and helping them function optimally.
- Examine your interests. You will find that even though you feel like you don’t know what makes your heart sing. Taking a career interest assessment will help you identify your top ten and bottom ten interests. It will become clear to you what you do not like.
- Consider getting a coach. A life coach will help you in the discovery process. They will help you walk through the last 3 steps mentioned effectively and help you on that journey.
- Declutter your life. We are wired to be busy. However, being too busy is counterproductive because we lose the opportunity to enjoy the lives that God has given us and live the whole God-centred life that we are called to live. I also find that trying to discover who we are and what makes our hearts sing in order to live in that zone is difficult when we are sprinting through life. We need to slow things down a bit. An easy way is to say no to things that drain us. Saying no is very difficult but we need to learn to be discerning and say no to the things that don’t bring us joy and yes to those things that do – even if it is with trepidation sometimes.
- Give yourself time. For me, having a coach got me started in that direction of uncovering my life’s purpose, as I was getting used to doing just what needed doing. However, yielding to that purpose and walking in it is taking time, lots of it. I have learned that I cannot outrun God or his process in me. However, I can choose to cooperate. As the scriptures say, “Humble yourself therefore under the mighty hand of God and in due course, He will lift you up.” (1 Peter 5:6)
To be clear, living in the zone doesn’t mean living in your comfort zone and not pushing boundaries. It means that you actually push yourself and strain for the things that matter to you and bring you joy and make you feel alive. As alluded to earlier, an athlete will spend an average of 8 hours of training daily when preparing for an athletics season. This is much more time than most of us are willing to commit to anything. But they can do it because they are doing what they were shaped for and what brings them joy.
And you? Are you living in your sweet spot? How can you do more of what you were framed for?