Not only did I enjoy reading Finding the Zone, I found it to be very helpful in my own professional and personal development. The author, Gordon Lawrence, addresses a predicament many people face: a lack of enthusiasm and motivation to do the job they were hired to do. Lawrence suggests that the issue isn’t so much that these people are lazy, but that they aren’t doing the work that they enjoy or find compelling. Finding the Zone is about finding a niche for yourself or someone else that leads to enjoyment and passion for the task.
Lawrence begins by explaining just what it is to be in the zone: “. . . when in the zone we are working at the fresh edge of our gifts and skills, and we are getting better. We are focused and not distracted. And we are absorbed in the process, not ourselves. We are challenged and energized as we proactively pursue our goal.”
Lawrence states that it is too difficult for many people to get to state of total absorption. In fact, he contends that some people may never experience the joy that comes with being in the zone. He explains that the zone is linked to investigative thinking and that our current environment and its conditions eliminate curiosity through “pat-answer teaching.” Pat-answer teaching simply means that children are too-often taught that there are only two ways to solving a problem, the right one or the wrong one. Lawrence believes that this style teaching stifles creative thinking in many people. He reaffirms the fact that everyone looks at a problem through his/her own lens; his or her traits, strengths, and/or personality.
He suggests that rather than asking employees to follow set processes, managers should allow their employees to investigate solutions that allow them to accomplish tasks using processes that come to them most naturally. This technique will promote the “zone” experience for them.
This book is easy to read and will leaders to gain better insight into their employees and their unique needs. But even more importantly, the book inspires the reader to consider his or her own situation and ask, “Is my job (hobby, etc.) taking me to the zone and if not, why? What will it take to find my zone?”