How being ‘in the zone’ boosts your performance and your resilience By Sharon Spence & Suzie Marsden
Can you describe the feeling of being ‘in the zone’?
For most people they have a sense that time disappears. Things just click, feel right and easy. They describe feeling deeply focussed and completely in the moment. They lose any sense of self-consciousness. They talk about feeling energised, even a bit joyful. Sounds good doesn’t it?!
Psychologists call this ‘flow state’.
It’s not something we typically think about, but we should. There is a well documented correlation between flow state and high performance. We all want to run successful businesses. We should know what has us in the zone.
It’s also great for our mental and physical wellbeing to be doing flow state activities. When we’re doing work that has us ‘in the zone’ we’re more likely to be happier and more resilient.
Equally, when we’re not in the zone, it can lead to us feeling bored and unmotivated and if we do these activities too often it can lead us into a depressive and depleted state.
I doubt there are many, if any, jobs that would have us 100% in the zone but if we understand when we’re ‘in the zone’ a bit better, we can use that to make choices about the type of work we dial up.
Likewise when we recognise when we are definitely NOT in the zone, we can try to minimise the amount of time we are doing these activities or even outsource them (a referral to another Venus member perhaps?!)
How can I identify when I’m In or Out of the Zone?
According to positive psychologists Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi and Jeanne Nakamura who popularised the idea, flow happens when we are challenged by the activity (the sweet spot where it is not too easy nor too difficult) and we’re using skills we enjoy using.
Everyone’s flow state will be different so we suggest keeping an ‘in the zone’ and ‘out of the zone’ diary for a while. It could simply be making notes on your phone over a period of time, e.g. three or four weeks, about each activity and teasing out what you liked about the activity (or didn’t).
Your friends for this mission are what, where, when, who and how. Let us explain;
Note down any time you catch yourself feeling in the zone or conversely when you’re doing something that makes sticking pins in your eyes a somewhat attractive alternative.
This is the ‘what’. Don’t stop there though, you want to dig deeper and take note of;
Where are you? – is it a quiet place or is it buzzing; inside; outside; what are the conditions? Is it light filled, is it cosy etc?
When did you have this feeling? – time of day, day of the week or any other time consideration
Who, if anyone, are you with? Describe your relationship to them – close friends, team members etc. What role are you playing? What role are they playing?
How are you doing this activity? E.g are you using your hands? Does it require specific skills? Notice the details.
We’ve found that giving this topic a decent amount of focus will help you identify, not only the times you’re in flow state but you may also notice some common themes emerging or conditions that have you in the zone – e.g. it may be you need quiet, solo time to be most productive or when you’ve got a complex problem to solve, or you love to brainstorm with a small group of others to get your creative juices flowing.
Knowing this will help you find or set up activities that will have you more often in flow state and we believe that will lead to a more productive and happier you.
Sharon and Suzie run amp’d. They help people with career coaching and career planning programmes so they can find their way to work they can love. This activity is one of the activities they use to help people understand themselves better before thinking about job choices.
You can find out more about them at their website: https://www.ampdcareers.com/
Next Meeting Topic
Intellectual Property and Your Business By Lucy Hudson
Whether you are setting up a new business or have an existing business, your intellectual property is a key asset of your business. It’s therefore important to consider what your intellectual property is and how to protect it.
What is intellectual property?
In contrast to the tangible assets of your business such as your computer equipment, offices, machinery and merchandise, your intellectual property (IP) is made up of the intangible assets that are created in your business using intellectual skill and effort. The main types of intellectual property are as follows:
- Trade marks
Your trade marks include the name of your business and any names of your individual products or services. A trade mark can be a word or words, a Logo, a slogan, the ‘get-up’ or ‘look’ of your packaging or branding and in some cases even a sound or a smell!
- Original written and visual works
Another type of intellectual property is any original written and visual content you create for your website, manuals, brochures and other written and visual materials. It can also include dramatic, musical and other works.
- Trade Secrets
A trade secret is something that is secret to your business. For example, it can include a formulation, a business method, client database or a production method.
In terms of something that can be protected, a design is the original appearance or shape of a new product.
In terms of something that can be protected, an invention is something new and inventive such as a new and inventive piece of equipment or pharmaceutical formulation.
Why is my intellectual property important to my business?
When people talk about the assets of their business they often think about their physical or tangible assets. However, the intangible assets of a business are just as important and often make up a significant amount of the value of a business.
A trade mark is a particularly valuable asset because it is what distinguishes your business from those of other traders with the same type of business. It is what enables customers and other members of the public to recognise and seek out your business. It’s also the vehicle by which you promote your business and build a reputation and customer loyalty.
Your original written and visual content is important to your business as these are assets that have been created using skill, effort, time and expense and they are what attracts, educates and informs customers about your products and services.
Your trade secrets are important as they protect something that is key to your business, e.g. a secret formulation or production process that makes your product or service unique.
Any designs or inventions that you have are important as these usually involve new products that are an improvement on earlier products in the same category and therefore often attract high demand.
How do I protect my IP?
Given the importance and value of the IP assets of your business, it’s important to take steps to protect these assets. This is important in case you need to enforce your rights but also in case you want to sell or franchise your business as potential buyers often look at whether the intangible assets of a business have been protected.
How you protect your intellectual property will depend on the type of IP involved because some IP can be protected through a registration process and for other types of IP there are other means of protection.
When it comes to your trade mark, it is possible to register it and the reason it’s so important to do so is that it gives you a nationwide monopoly in your trade mark for your particular products and services. Your registration will last for 10 years at which stage you can decide whether or not to renew it for another 10 years. It is also possible to use a New Zealand trade mark registration as the basis for registering your mark overseas. You can use a ™ to indicate your trade mark and an ® if your trade mark is registered.
You can also register a design or patent an invention but in order to do this, the invention or new design must be new and must be kept confidential until your design application or patent is filed.
For some other types of intellectual property, where registration isn’t possible, there are other ways to protect the IP.
For example, as the name suggests, a trade secret must be kept a secret within a business. So, there must be strict procedures and protocols in place within the business to ensure that the relevant information or documents are kept secret.
When it comes to original written and visual works (in websites, manuals, brochures etc), these are protected by copyright. In New Zealand, you can’t register copyright, it is something that automatically subsists in an original written or literary work (as well as some other types of works such as artistic, dramatic and musical works). However, you can indicate that you own the copyright by including a statement with the year it was created and the owner of the copyright e.g. © 2022 ABC Limited. This can act as a deterrent to others looking to copy. It is also important to keep dated copies of your original works so you can prove when you created the work in case anyone copies you.
In addition to the above forms of protection, it’s important to protect your intellectual property in your dealings with others by way of the relevant written agreements. For example, it’s important to have confidentiality or non-disclosure agreements in place if you are collaborating with or sharing your IP with another business. Licence agreements are also important if you are allowing others to use your IP.
If you have any questions about your intellectual property, please feel free to contact the author* for a free chat.
*By Lucy Hudson, Director, Woodhouse IP. Lucy is a New Zealand IP lawyer, Australian Trade Marks Attorney and Trans-Tasman Patent attorney.
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