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Back when I was a manager responsible for sales and customer retention, one part of my job drove me nuts: A weekly call with my Regional Manager. During the call, I reported on my current tasks and workloads, and the supervisor micro-managed each of those activities.

I still believe there are more effective ways to motivate Sales Reps or Managers, rather than micromanaging them. In my case, I just wanted to be left in peace to keep delivering what I was supposed to, by making and exceeding my targets.

Differing Priorities and Energy Waste

The weekly phone calls fell firmly into my Energy Waste zone. I wasn’t excited to talk with the Regional Sales Manager, as no matter what I achieved or told her, it wasn’t enough. To make it even worse, I was hopeless at getting ready for those calls. I was tracking my team’s performance and the progress they made towards their goals, not the small day-to-day tasks that got them there.

What I was really excited to talk about was the overall strategy for the month. But my Regional Manager would always request ultimately meaningless things like the exact number of the phone calls my team members made. Since I was focused on results and strategy, I could never come up with good enough day-to-day details.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not implying I was perfect, and I believe there were other people on that call that felt super pumped up when they were reporting their progress regularly. I just wasn’t that person.

Merging Passion and Proficiency

Based on this example, let’s take a closer look at how Passion (excitement, enthusiasm, eagerness) and Proficiency (being highly skilled) coexist. In my case, I wasn’t passionate about reporting calls with my regional manager (a low score on the ‘passion axis’) matched with being completely hopeless (a low score on the ‘proficiency axis’) at getting ready for them and coming up with what was requested.

As a result of me performing a task that didn’t align with my passion, I didn’t see the point in doing, and to make matters worse, I wasn’t proficient enough to execute well, I experienced a lot of frustration and tension that was taking all the fun away.

Finding the Fulfillment Zone

Have you ever got stuck in your Energy Waste zone for too long? How did it feel? Was it exhaustion, frustration, or the sense of literally having your time stollen? If so, it may be a signal that you are sabotaging your career by allocating your time to activities you not only dislike, but you genuinely suck in doing, which doesn’t set you up for success.

If you want to not only feel satisfied but to increase your productivity at work – no matter, if you are a Sales Manager, CEO, Executive Assistant, or a Graphic Designer – spend as much time as possible in your Fulfillment Zone.

This where things come to you almost effortlessly, you have a real passion for what you pursue, and you are unstoppable. Magic happens in the Fulfillment zone, where you are not only pumped and energized to keep doing what you do, but you are great at doing it. When you are living in the Fulfillment zone, you thrive and can literally change the course of the world.

At this point, you may be asking yourself ' How do I find my Fulfillment Zone??' I need to tell you that everyone has one and the key to discovering yours is consistency in paying attention to what you do every day, both at work at outside of it. Zoom in on your daily tasks and to-do lists and analyze what energizes you and quite the opposite takes your energy away. After a busy day, sit for a moment and take a closer look at what comes easily to you and what is an absolute drudgery. You will be surprised by what you discover. I can guarantee that.

Finding your Flow

The fulfillment that comes from performing activities you are both excellent at and passionate about can be compared to an experience that Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, a Hungarian-American psychologist describes as FLOW.

In his work, he combined Complexity (Challenge) associated with the task, with having the Skills (Proficiency) to pursue it. If you’ve ever heard someone describing a time when their performance excelled, the focus on the task was substantial, and they were “in the zone,” it might have been the state of FLOW.

Those who experienced it report being so submerged in the activity that they forget time exists, and as if everything was done as efficient as never before, bringing joy and satisfaction at the same time. Who wouldn’t want to get paid for staying in their Fulfillment or FLOW zones? We all have a choice of what to spend our precious energy on and how we design our professional lives. So make the right choice and don’t put yourself somewhere you don’t want to be.

Need Help Finding Your Flow?

In case you discovered you spend too much of your time out of the Fulfillment zone, don’t worry! There are strategies you can apply every day to make your life easier by managing your time and career like a pro.

I would love to hear how you cope with the tasks from the Indifference or Distraction zones – I offer a Free Strategy Session for those who share their experiences in the comments section below.

Good luck with discovering what you spend the most time on. Just remember, acknowledging where you are is the first step to discovering lasting change.

Updated: Aug 5, 2019

One of my recent customers is a psychologist who wants to advance her career and accommodate her massive appetite for new exciting endeavors with her true self. She is not a fresh graduate or someone who only wished they pursued this professional path. She is practicing and reputable clinical psychologist, who helps others get over their traumas, anxieties, and deficiencies every day. She deals with death, losses of beloved ones and severe mental disorders, to name a few – and she does it genuinely, as her calling.

It’s a very inquisitive lady who has done tremendous work in terms of dealing with her limitations, despite the baggage of experiences she collected throughout her life. She owns a unique capability of looking insight her psyche and soul and to analyze them in and out - I guess that why she is such an excellent clinician. After the first session, she concluded, though:

It’s impossible to believe that we, humans, claim to know ourselves so profoundly, but yet we don’t have a clear plan on how to realize our goals. I thought I knew myself, but after talking to you, I can see a real, possible game plan on how I can get to where I have always wanted to be!

Why am I even bringing up this story? Only to help you realize that you can be the smartest person in the room, yet remain confused about your career. You can have all the knowledge and experience, but without an actionable plan, you will not progress.

Magic happens when you are willing to be vulnerable and revisit or design a new ‘game plan’ for your life. I wish I could see more people willing to do that, as the reward might excel anyone's expectations.  Take the leap. Design a game plan for your career.

Updated: Aug 5, 2019

One of my clients approached me recently searching for advice. Not a coaching session anymore, just a piece of friendly advice. She transitioned to a brand new career (that she had designed for herself )3 months ago and she run into some difficulties with her new supervisor and mentor. When she called me, it wasn’t the same confident woman I finished the program with helping her go through a major transition in her life, though. Since I don’t give career advises, we just started talking…

She was fearful and defensive and kept complaining how difficult it was to adjust to the new employer’s pace and requirements, how different her mentor’s methods were to what she had dealt with in the past and how surprised she was that her boss was successful at all.

Although it was almost 11 pm, I sat on my bed and just continued listening to her. She kept asking for advice, as ‘so many different life challenges accumulated in her life, and she couldn’t handle it anymore.’ Her judgment was clouded, she couldn’t see what was happening to her and what a great opportunity she was facing – being able to be trained by an extremely a successful professional in her new field and being paid at the same time to become as successful as her soon.

I repeated in my own words what I understood from her monolog.

Then I proposed she tried to see the entire situation with her mentor’s eyes. She paused for some time and admitted that what her boss is saying is not entirely nonsense. She saw the case with her supervisor’s eyes.

Then I lost her again as she started complaining about how much she tries and how much she fails at accommodating her new boss’s requests. She kept whining without noticing that she perpetuated all the negative thoughts her mind was feeding her with.

I was quite tired already, so I asked one question:

'How are all of those complains supporting you in achieving what you what’?. She went silent for a moment. After a while, she replied: ‘They don’t support me at all.’

People land in your life for a reason. You chose people you are friends with, or you work for. You let them in as something attracts you towards them, something that makes you feel comfortable or exactly the opposite – challenged every time you are around them. It depends on how much risk and uncertainty you tolerate and crave for in your life.

On the other hand, people who decide to work with you or take you under their wing so you can grow with them, who invest their time and the energy in training you (or just letting you watch them and prove you are useful) – they want to be close to you for a reason as well.

When in doubt:

- Give as much as you can to those who confided in you and gave you a chance. Take advantage of the situation, bring value to whatever you are doing and, most importantly, don’t bail on your idea only because the road towards your goal got bumpy.

- Believe in your success as much as you believed in yourself when you formulated the goal and decided to change your career (and life) for better.

- Always search for the silver lining and be able to adjust your behavior to the new conditions or make some improvements to your goal if needed.

- Just stay focused, and the universe will wink at you.

- If you are playing a victim in your own life – just stop. It doesn’t take you anywhere close to your goals.

Not a long time after we finished our late call, she texted me:

‘Sorry I kept you up. I value your opinion a lot, and after our conversation, I reconsidered a lot of things. I should not and do not want to complain’.

I am happy to report she is back in her game again.😊