How to Get Into the Zone for 2012: Interview with Tim Goodenough

Are you a small business owner who finds it difficult to get into the zone and start producing your desired results? If so, you’ll definitely want to check out today’s guest blog post by Tim Goodenough, Certified Meta-Coach, Author and Director at Coaching Unity International. In his guest post, Tim shares tips on how to get into the zone in both your business and personal life, and how to generate the results you desire.

And as part of our 2011 Holiday Giveaway series and as a thank you to all of our blog readers, we are presenting you with a special holiday gift at the bottom of this blog post, so don’t forget to check it out!

See below for Tim’s guest article on How to Get Into the Zone for 2012: Interview with Tim Goodenough

Getting into the zone is a relatively straight forward process. It can take around 15 – 20 minutes to teach someone the skill at a beginner level and custom design what kind of flow state they need to be in. Why is it so simple? It is because we get into the zone all the time. That conversation in the kitchen that surprisingly lasted hours when it felt like minutes, that intriguing book that whilst you were reading it you looked up and suddenly time has flown, that movie that finishes so quickly, it felt like you had just started.

So if getting into the zone is so common, simple, and natural, then how come it’s such a big deal? Well the reason why is that getting into the zone on purpose, or when it counts, isn’t so straight forward. Staying in the Zone for as long as your need to train or perform, is even less straight forward then that.

And why do you want to get into the zone?

Well, the reason is twofold; firstly you enjoy the experience of whatever you are doing much more, and secondly, when you are in the zone you can access more of your trained abilities and instincts to perform at a higher level. In short, you feel better and kick more butt.

Most sports people I have worked with found that they got into the zone accidentally. They found that if they prepared well enough, and everything went just “so,” then they would be able to zone, sometimes.  In our book In the Zone with South Africa’s Sports Heroes (Zebra: 2007), that I co-authored with Mike Cooper, we interviewed 20 world-class athletes to uncover what mindsets and mental skills allowed these athletes to get into the zone frequently. What we found was that all of these athletes had 13 mental skills and attributes in common. We found three different generations, male and female, and nine different sporting codes within these individuals and they all had the same foundation.

What that foundation allowed them to do was to accidentally zone more often, and stay in the zone for longer periods. By understanding what those skills and attributes are, and being able to measure them (even though they are intangibles) with a cutting edge process called Neuro-Semantic Benchmarking, we were allowed to fast track the development of those skills in high performing business people and sports people through coaching.

Fast forward a few years and our understanding of how to get in the zone and stay there has gone up a few notches. Simply put, getting into the zone is about two things: firstly, creating as strong a zoning state (mood) as possible that will be strong enough and customized to not let lesser interruptions or disruptions or problems break the state. And secondly, to reduce the risk of interferences or things that will break state by reducing and / or removing the negativity or intensity of those interferences or break state events by shifting their meanings. If, for example, a bad referee call or umpire call gets to you in a stressful game and therefore breaks you out of your zone, you can then shift the meaning of the umpire’s bad call from, “That cheating biased idiot!” to, “Even umpires are human beings and have off days.”

As you can imagine having the former meaning would create a lot of negativity and the latter, not so much.

How to let go of useless meanings and shifting them to positives to remove the interruptions that break the zoning state is a slightly longer conversation then there is space for in this blog post; however, I would like to share a powerful strategy to create a zoning state that you can start using right now.

How to create your zone:

  1. Vividly create a movie in your mind of you performing at your best, ensure that this performance is something that you believe you can do, and create a short 30-second movie on what that experience will be like. Add as much sensory based information as possible; what does it sound like, look like, feel like, smell like, taste like (although smell and taste are sometimes a bit tricky, see if you find something—e.g. the smell of Summer). Who is in the movie and what are their (positive) responses to you? Add as much detail as you can. Only include positives.
  2. Ensure you are watching that movie as if from your own eyes.
  3. Once you have vividly created that movie and you are watching it from your own eyes, focus on the best part of the best part and answer the following question five times.  “So what does that mean to me?” By doing this you add positive meaning to the experience, which creates a stronger zoning state. Some people struggle to answer more than three questions of this type, stick with it and see what comes up. Try again in a week and you will probably find you have more answers. Once you get the hang of this, don’t stop at five questions. See how many you can answer.

Example: I can feel my suit hanging perfectly off my confident upright body whilst I breathe deeply and evenly and finish my dynamic and inspiring presentation to the board. I can see in the eyes of the board members they are impressed. In fact, it looked like the CEO wanted to clap his hands and had to restrain himself. I smell the leathery smell of the chairs in the room and I taste the hint of ice cold water I have just finished drinking. I can feel the last rumble of my deep voice as I finish my pitch, my voice is rich and warm, entrancing! I can feel my eyes are shiny and bright, and that shiny brightness is being reflected back at me by everyone in the room. They are impressed and excited! The CEO looks at me and speaks, hardly bothering to contain his excitement, “Very impressive, I don’t think we need to see any other pitches today. You have got the contract!”

So what does that mean to me? It means that all the hard work and preparation has paid off, after chasing this deal for a long time I finally nailed it!

So what does that mean to me? It means that I can land big deals, I can go after what I want and have free choice about what kind of work I want to do!

So what does that mean to me? It means that I can begin to think about saying “No” to work I don’t enjoy with clients I don’t appreciate as I now know that I am on the path to doing more of what I am most passionate about.

So what does that mean to me? That success is a process, and if I keep working on the process I will continue to become more successful.

So what does that mean to me? I can live my passion through my business! I can help others, add value and get paid well!

Tips: If you are looking to create a sporting performance, or performance of any kind, make sure the movie you make is of you performing. Not before or after the game or presentation, for example. Once you have created your movie and added your meaning, notice what happens when you play your movie again. Nine times out of 10 it will put your body into your ideal performance mood or state and will put you into the zone!

As our special holiday gift to you, we are presenting you with a free MP3 of my interview with Tim Goodenough, discussing “What Entrepreneurs Can Learn From Top Level Sport: How To Become Intentional and Supercharge Your Dream.” Click here to listen to this exclusive interview.

For more information on Tim and his coaching, visit his websites at and


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