Which Zone Are You In?

 Photo credit: Denys Nevozhai

Photo credit: Denys Nevozhai

Are you learning or performing?

You’ve gotta love serendipity, the Universe, coincidence - whatever you like to call it.

My client yesterday was troubled about the fact that she felt she was not being decisive and confident as a budding entrepreneur, and to some degree, as an experienced corporate professional. She felt a weakness in her armour - that as a budding entrepreneur in a field of which she has little direct experience (but a fantastic concept), she feels off-centre because her knowledge is not as in-depth as she'd like, nor as she is accustomed.

We thrashed it out together, coming to the realisation that she loves to learn; growth is everything to her. Instead of experiencing a scary ‘not-knowing’ stirred up by apparent gaps in her skills set, she agreed that these were opportunities for growth and learning. She felt more comfortable with the journey of not knowing framed in this way. After all, that is one of the reasons she desires to transition out of corporate to entrepreneurship - to challenge herself and learn more.

We also discussed that in meetings, instead of being hesitant about asking the 'dumb question', it is often the person who knows the least that challenges those who know and assume the most. Those who know less and ask possibly basic questions, ask from a place of purity, untainted by years of experience and knowledge. That’s when innovation occurs and we challenge the status quo.

So where is the serendipity?

Not 30 minutes after my client’s session had ended, I went over to the TED Talks’ site to see what was going on and found this brilliant little talk by Eduardo Briceño, a learner, leader, speaker and writer devoted to enabling a more learning-oriented world. (Love this idea!)

It describes the two zones we operate in - the Learning Zone and the Performance Zone. Mr Briceño says that the problem we have is society at large operates or is expected to operate almost entirely in the Performance Zone. The advantage is knowing when to operate in which one.

I’ll leave you to watch it, but the best line from it in my view - “Staying in the Performance Zone hinders our growth.” I love this idea, and I couldn't agree more!

It’s what coaching is all about - working with you through the Learning Zone so you can operate freely in the Performance Zone.


So, go out and make mistakes while you’re in the Learning Zone - they’re expected. With coaching, we can create “low-stakes islands” so you can island-hop towards your Performance Zone.

Learn more about how coaching can help you through the Learning Zone to Performance Zone