Stay in Your Zone!

 Stay in Your Zone!

By Dave Anderson


Effective and consistent execution requires a combination of both skill set and mindset. The five-step execution process I lay out in my book, “It’s Not Rocket Science: Four Simple Strategies for Mastering the Art of Execution” provides a framework to develop the skill set. However, until you develop the mental focus, toughness, and consistency to want to execute daily—and to hold others accountable for doing likewise—simply having another process that is implemented only occasionally won’t help much, if at all.

Following are a handful of what I call “Game Changer Mindset Builders” (affirmations, of sorts) that focus on execution. I teach these in my workshops, and they have been helpful in influencing attendees to develop an execution mentality that helps them get more of the right things done both consistently and with more excellence. Reading them as a part of your morning motivational routine, discussing them in meetings, and working them into your everyday thinking and behaviors will be a key to executing the daily disciplines necessary to reach your vision—to help you close the gap between knowing what to do and actually doing it. The reality is, until you’re thinking right you are not likely to execute right.

Just like any athlete or other performer, we all have a “zone” where we are laser-focused, energized, effective, and resilient. Out of that zone, we are spread thin, overwhelmed, and trying to play catch up. It is tough to demonstrate a killer instinct or gain momentum when you are working outside your zone.  When you are in your execution zone work is fun, time flies, and you are getting results and making a maximum impact. By getting in your zone daily—preferably before you even get to work—you will get more done in less time, and do so with less people and fewer opportunities. That’s the power of execution: you accomplish more of what matters most, with less. Despite having a great execution process, until you are mentally checked in and locked in each day, you will miss your potential by a mile. Weaving these eight points into your thinking will help put you in your execution zone and keep you there day-in and day-out.

  1. I avoid zone busters.

Zone busters take me out of my zone. They break momentum, distract me, and drain urgency and killer instinct. I avoid zone busters, and if I slip into one I get out FAST. Zone busters include things like bitterness, blame, excuses, revenge, gossip, judging, wrong associations, garbage media, immoral activities, jealousy, envy, self-promotion, selfishness, worry, self-pity, complacency, taking offense, and the like.

  1. I prove myself over again every day.

Yesterday ended last night. I will prepare my mind, and prove myself over again today. I won’t borrow credibility, nor rehearse hurts from the past. I will bring it all, fully engage, and be totally used up by day’s end. I will live with a “stay hungry” Red Belt mindset.

  1. I don’t allow external conditions to dictate outcomes.

When things out of my control conspire against me, I still take responsibility. If I blame conditions it weakens me and takes me out of my zone, and I’m admitting I don’t have control or a solution—and I always proceed as though I have control and a solution. Thus, I will take responsibility and navigate through adverse conditions by focusing on the things I can control. I won’t let external conditions dictate the outcome.

  1. I have situations not problems.

Problems are negatives, and I won’t automatically label something as a negative, because it may be a positive in disguise. Problems weaken me and can take me out of my zone, whereas situations energize me and keep me laser-focused. I only have problems if I react wrongly to situations and thereby create them.

  1. I renounce excuses.

I don’t make excuses because excuses weaken me and others, and take us out of our zones. Excuses waste my energy and distract me from executing what matters most. I can’t have a killer instinct and make excuses simultaneously. Excuses are the DNA of underachievers, and they make me less as a person. They are the language of losers. I renounce them.

  1. I am responsible.

I take responsibility because doing so empowers me and keeps me in my zone. Taking responsibility preserves my self-esteem, earns respect, and keeps me focused on moving forward. Blame makes me a victim; blame is the anti-focus and is the language of losers. I will never blame. I will always take responsibility.

  1. I own it.

When it comes to my actions, doing my job, and handling any responsibility given to me, I OWN IT. Regardless of the conditions or outcome, I take complete responsibility, even if it is not technically all mine to bear. I own it without excuse or explanation because owning it keeps me in control and in my zone. When conditions beyond my control conspire against me, I STILL OWN IT, because my mindset is to navigate through conditions and still get results. I have two options every day: performance, or excuses—and I never choose excuses because I OWN IT.

  1. I will carry the load.

Going into every day, I’m aware that at least one person on my team may take the day off mentally, and possibly physically. It will never be me. I will pick up the slack, lead by the right personal example, and carry the team on my back if I have to. I’m the leader, and that’s what leaders do.

Most leaders develop a Game Changer mindset towards the end of the month, when time is running out and their paycheck and reputation are on the line. But if you want jump from being the occasional playmaker to the consistent game changer, you have got to develop the mindset to bring the necessary toughness, focus and energy to execute incessantly every day. And every day means EVERY DAY. #EDMED.