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Fighting Resistance and Finding the Zone of Genius

This morning on my walk I listened to Oprah's interview with Steven Pressfield, author of The War of Art - an interview that's so good, this was the second time I listened to it.

The main focus of this interview? Resistance.

There were so many good points and quotes that were discussed, but one that kept coming up was his quote, "Put your ass where your heart wants to be."

In other words...SHOW UP.

We have such a bad habit of getting in our own way. I know I do it sometimes. I'll have an idea for a book or a blog and it's just eating away at me, but when I sit down to actually produce it, I feel paralyzed.

I know it happens to many of you as well, especially when it comes to creating content. It's scary and you don't even know where to start. I get it. I go through the same thing.

But don't you find that once you make the first move, you're IN IT? You find yourself in the zone of educating your ideal client or solving a problem they might be having or just expressing something about yourself or your business that, in the end, allows you be present?

Steven Pressfield believes that if you can show up and start, work on whatever it is - writing, a painting, maybe even doing your taxes - and work on it for 5-7 minutes, then you're IN IT. You've shown up.

Your ass is where it needs to be.

Maybe the way you feel you truly show up has nothing to do with content. I get that, too. After all, I don't get "in the zone" when I'm doing my taxes the way a CPA might if they're working through a client's issues. But YOU KNOW what it feels like, don't you? That zone where you lose all track of time and space - almost like a meditation.

My best days are when I'm so wrapped up in a project that I lose all track of time. I'll start feeling lightheaded and realize I forgot to eat or I'll suddenly "come to" because the kids are walking in the door, home from school.

Those are usually the times when I produce my best work. I'll look back on pages I've written or graphics I've created and think, "Did I do that?"

The Zone of Genius

I was recently working with the brilliant photographer Willy Wilson on a branding photo shoot. We don't mean to, but we always seem to run over. We're having fun with the client, brainstorming about where and how certain pictures will be's really a magical time.

During this session (as we were running over on time), Willy brought up the concept of the "Zone of Genius" where you're working at your highest potential because you've tapped into your natural abilities.

I don't know how many of us actually work within that zone - I wish it could be everyone. I know that I'm fortunate enough to not only work in a space that compliments my idea-a-minute brain, but finds it an asset. I feel for people who struggle 8 hours a day because time seems to move so slowly while they work when, ideally, you'd want to be doing something that made you feel like you don't have enough time to get everything done that you WANT to (not have to) do.

Fighting Resistance

The other piece of the Steven Pressfield interview that really struck me was that often when we most feel's because it's something we truly need to or are called to do. That resistance is fear because we know what we are about to produce is important.

What if we get it wrong?

What if we fail?

But what if you couldn't fail? What if that was taken out of the equation?

Then where would your ass be?

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