WHAT DO WE ALL HAVE IN COMMON?
What do an American president, an English executive, a Chinese doctor, an Irish psychologist, a Swedish hair stylist, and an African school teacher have in common?
The number of hours in a day.
It doesn’t matter who you are, what you do, or where you’re from – the one constant is that we all have just 24 hours available each day. Often people complain about not having enough time, but guess what? You can’t have more time because that’s not an option. Actually, the more important question is: “What do you do with the time you have?”
Whether or not you realize it, we all consciously choose where and how we spend our time. And our choices have a dramatic impact on the quality of life we experience. This is because how we spend our time drives what we do or fail to do, which in turn determines the results we get and how we feel. Over time, one could argue that our cumulative decisions about how we spend our time determine our destiny.
YOUR PERSONAL GREATNESS ZONE
All of us have what I term as our very own Personal Greatness Zone, or PGZ for short. As illustrated below, your PGZ comprises activities that you love doing and that you are great at. Coaching, for example, is one of the activities in my PGZ. It’s something that I’m passionate about and also very skilled at. So it’s not surprising that when I’m coaching, I feel like I’m on a roll. I experience tremendous joy. I am completely present. I feel totally fulfilled.
I would go as far as to say that, whenever you’re in your PGZ, you emanate the very best part of you. You shine your light brightly.
SPENDING TIME IN YOUR PERSONAL GREATNESS ZONE
To maximize your personal and professional fulfillment, you should aim to spend at least 80% of your waking time in your Personal Greatness Zone (PGZ). However, most people don’t spend enough time in their PGZ. Why? It’s mainly because most people:
1. Don’t clearly know what activities are in their PGZ.
2. Are fearful and/or don’t believe that they can make a comfortable living doing activities in their PGZ.
3. Spend more time than is necessary on activities that they don’t enjoy and that they’re not very good at either (i.e., activities in Quadrant 2).
What about you? What proportion of your waking time is spent in your PGZ? What, if anything, is preventing you from spending more time in your PGZ?
No matter what your reasons are, be aware that there are practical consequences to not doing what you love. In their book Success Built to Last, authors Jerry Porras, Stewart Emery, and Mark Thompson articulate the dangers: “The harsh truth is that if you don’t love what you’re doing, you’ll lose to someone who does! For every person who is half-hearted about their work or relationships, there is someone who loves what they’re half-hearted about. This person will work harder and longer. They will outrun you. Although it might feel safer to hang on to an old role, you’ll find your energy is depleted and, miraculously, you’ll be the first in line for the layoffs when they come.”
To increase the time you spend in your PGZ, I recommend the following approach:
1. Believe in yourself. Believe that you can make an abundant living doing what you enjoy doing and what you’re good at. Belief is essential because if you don’t believe it’s even possible, then you won’t even take the first steps. In the words of Malcolm Forbes, publisher of Forbes magazine, “Success follows when you do what you want to do. There is no other way to be successful. The biggest mistake people make in life is not trying to make a living at doing what they most enjoy.”
2. Identify activities in your PGZ. Think about the activities that you really enjoy. The ones you enjoy so much that time disappears and you’re totally present in the moment. You feel energized. You feel fulfilled and on purpose. Of the activities that you do enjoy, which ones are you good at? You’ll feel exceptionally strong when doing these. What are some activities that others think you do really well?
3. Develop a plan. Once you know the activities in your PGZ, you need to develop a plan that will allow you to spend more time there. In developing your plan, ask yourself:
- Who can help me in my transition?
- How can I create more demand for activities in my PGZ?
- How can I get paid well for activities in my PGZ?
To create more time for activities in your PGZ, review the following diagram for recommendations on what to do with activities that aren’t.
4. Execute your plan. Words are cheap and action is everything. Do something every day that will allow you to move forward. Monitor your progress and reward yourself for advances.
Don’t settle for a good life when you can have a great one! Celebrate your strengths by spending 80% of your time, or more, in your Personal Greatness Zone.