Living in the Green Zone
There is a small group of people, from all over the world, who work together on delivering the Awakening Coaching training: both online and at live events. Over the last months we have developed a code language that we share between us, which has greatly improved our flow of communication, reduced stress levels to close to zero, increased the amount of fun we have together, and made everything work more smoothly. These little “code words” have proved to be so helpful to us that I thought you might also enjoy them, and perhaps even use them when you are working with people too.
We talk together about: “red zone,” “yellow zone,” and “green zone.” Let me explain what they mean.
When you are in the green zone:
- there is a feeling of “the wind in your sails:” a lot gets done with very little effort.
- communication with other people is easy, open, and complete: you understand each other well and nothing is held back.
- people laugh a lot, have fun, and feel like what they are doing has more of a sense of play than work.
- at the end of the day, or work period, you feel more energized than drained.
- creativity is freely flowing, as you get the sense of something wanting to give itself through you rather from you.
Everybody knows the green zone from time to time in their life. It is where you live when you are on vacation, or when you go out in the evening, or when you are being creative or involved in something that you do really well. Unfortunately many people equate the green zone with recreational activities more than with their work.
The yellow zone has a slightly addictive quality to it. It is where we go when we set intentions, have goals and create visions. The confusing thing about the yellow zone is that is feels really good. In fact, it often feels more attractive that the green zone. Among the group of friends who work together on the Awakening Coaching Training we like to remind each other when we have entered the yellow zone. Not that is a terrible place to be, but it is a place to be attentive.
Some of the statements that are symtomatic of yellow zone living are:
- Let me jump in the car, dash back home, and I’ll zip it off to you.
- Ok, let me log in reeeeal quick here
- Let’s just jam on it and get it done, no matter how late we have to stay up.
- I have a great idea, let’s rebuild the whole website, it can’t take that long.
When we are in the yellow zone we have completely lost awareness of time and space. We think we can accomplish anything we dream up, and get it done in no time at all. It is actually quite difficult to spot when you are in the yellow zone, it is easier to notice it in other people.
You know you or someone else has entered the yellow zone when:
- The breathing has become more shallow.
- There is less awareness for the needs of the body, particularly for water, food and rest.
- Getting the job done has become more important than listening to other peoples’ point of view, or feeling into their comfort area.
- You feel impatient or frustrated with how long things are taking.
- There is much more attention going to what can or will be accomplished in the future, than appreciating what is already here right now.
Just like with traffic lights the red zone is what follows the yellow. It is the zone of stress, burnout, missed deadlines, people annoyed with you, you annoyed with people. Finally, you want to crawl under a rock and make the world go away. When we have got to the red zone our debts are greater than our income, projects are left unfinished, and even though we are burned out we just can’t get to sleep. Most people today know what the red zone feels like, but relatively few people realize that the break-through-the-limits, take-it-to-the-max, yellow zone mentality is actually what creates red zone experience.
You know when you are in the red zone when:
- people around you appear incompetent and even like saboteurs.
- you are faced with an impossible to-do list that seems you will never get completed.
- you develop symptoms of stress: like insomnia, anxiety and hypertension.
- people make polite excuses to avoid you and don’t want to work with you any more.
- you feel “out of sync” with life around you
Our commitment among the small group of people who work together is to come back to the green zone as often and as quickly as possible. We recognize together that the end never justifies the means. In other words, it is literally never worth missing a meal, missing sleep, or going without daily disciplines like yoga or meditation, just to meet a deadline. If the deadline can’t be met in a relaxed way, it is the deadline that needs to change not the sense of well being.
Our commitment is to not only create green zone experience for ourselves but for each other as well. Let me give you a good example. We had a meeting of the staff at one of our trainings. One member of the team was tired and needed a nap. So her room-mate said, “Dont worry, you sleep, and well take care of everything without you.” But she did not take the nap, because she knew that there were key pieces of information that only she had, and that were needed at the next meeting. She knew that if she napped she might get nicely snuggled into deep Green Zone, but the rest of the team would go into yellow or red trying to figure everything out without her. Here commitment was to a Green Zone experience for everyone on the team, not just for herself. She went to bed right after dinner that day, and got a really good sleep.
This system of codes has worked out remarkably well for us. We have found out that we need to remind each other a lot. I mean A LOT. Our entire culture pushes us towards yellow zone experience: weekend seminars with motivational speakers where everyone is breaking through limits, pushing for six figure incomes, and trying to up their game, are temples to yellow zone living. It is no problem to go there from time to time, so long as you also know how to get back to green. If you stay in the yellow zone too long, you will end up either in the red zone yourself, or driving other people to the red zone, or both.
Here is the wonderful thing about all this: many times we think we have to live in the yellow zone, so that we can get more done and be more productive. But since we have instituted this agreement between us, to create green zones experiences for everyone and to keep our excursions into the yellow zone to a minimum, we actually get more done with much less effort. And what is more important is that what we get done has more quality, serves people in a deeper way and leaves everyone involved feeling good about themselves and wanting to play together again. Soon.
I would love to share more about this little knack we have discovered and to talk with you about all this in person.
Please join me for a tele-seminar on Thursday August 9 at 10 AM PST. I will be on the call together with as many people as I can rustle up, who were working together in one of our recent trainings. You will be able to hear from them, as well as from me, about the rewards of green zone living.
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