The Recipe for Engaged Performance

Performing in “the zone” is a team endeavor. Most people can nail just about any solo skill with focus, discipline, and repetition. The pressure is largely internal. When you add other humans to the mix, however, the ability to find the zone is more difficult. Sometimes the effort to perform becomes the failure to perform when under pressure.

Whether on a stage, in an arena, or attempting a more intimate performance, the engagement of the relationship with others is the key driver of effectiveness. It’s not about you or your gift. It’s about your teammate. There is a recipe. Consider these three ingredients:

Ingredient #1: Participate, don’t spectate.

  • Engage in the moment. Your body knows what to do.
  • When you step outside the moment to spectate, performance suffers.
  • Learn to find your zone and stay within it.

Ingredient #2: It’s all about the other person.

  • Focus on the subject of your efforts (not your efforts).
  • Take loving care of the person (people) with whom you interact.
  • Allow their needs to come ahead of yours.

Ingredient #3: Experiment, explore, and discover.

  • Be willing to abandon the agenda and see where things go.
  • Allow curiosity to unfold. There’s always a new learning moment.
  • Enjoy the ride. Navigate the twists and turns.
  • Savor the afterglow.

When performance is engaged, problem-solving empowers continuous improvement which, in turn, enables enjoyment. It doesn’t matter whether you are trying to perfect a golf shot or giving a keynote speech. When you are in the zone, subject and object become one. You and your teammates are not separate. By taking care of others, you take care of yourself.