Playing in the Zone

Zen is a term for reality as it is, not as we think of it. What it is, is an endless flow of the energy of creation roiling into material form and arising intelligence that compounds, morphs and transforms as life unfolds, including we human beings with the capacity to be present with it all, if we but will. Zen Mind is an unconditioned presence that enables a state of flow and opens a performer to direct intuitive insight about people and living situations. When a leader has a purpose and can stay present in the fray of change, it has a name.

It’s a Zen Thing.

Playing a sport in Zen variously known as “getting a rhythm”, “locked-in”, “in the flow”, “in the moment” and especially, “playing in the zone”. In my too-brief career I was a major-league prospect who could pitch in the zone. But late one summer evening I pitched a game at the National Baseball Congress tournament[1] on three days of rest. Throwing with a tired arm I tried to “will” myself to win, lost rhythm, fell out of the zone and tore my shoulder’s rotator cuff. So rather than playing professional baseball that Summer I accepted a job in my backup career as an engineer in a big enterprise. Yet from my deep dive into competitive performance I’d learned life’s greatest leadership lesson.

Leaders in sports, the arts, politics and business have earned knowledge and practiced their skills yet they just lay the foundation. Leaders develop the capacity to stay present and find a flow state where action and awareness re one. In my subsequent business career I often wondered if big enterprise leaders knew that like elite performance in sports, leading change in a big enterprise is a Zen thing. But now I see that most don’t.

That’s why I wrote this book.

[1] The National Baseball Congress is an organization of 15 amateur and semi-professional baseball leagues in the US and Canada. It’s World Series has been held annually in Wichita, Kansas since 1935.

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