Find your zone of optimum velocity

May 1, 1999

Pharmaceutical Representative

What is your best pace?

Most people don't think about having personal velocity. Velocity - the rate of motion or speed - is used more often in the context of a car or a speeding bullet. However, think for a moment about having a personal velocity, a natural intensity and drive uniquely your own. Think of it as a combination of your energy patterns and your sense of purpose.

There are three different levels of velocity: high, moderate and low. People of low velocity generally don't enjoy anything that feels like work. They would gladly follow the philosophy that you should make your play your work and your work your play, meaning that they want to make a living doing what they love. People of high velocity, on the other hand, actually enjoy the work, as long as it moves them toward their goals. They sometimes get bored with play and feel the need to turn play into work. They need that intensity and purposefulness. In contrast, moderate-velocity people like a nice balance of work and play.

Find your optimum zone

What's your velocity? When you are comfortable and in your zone, you feel like you're "in the groove." You know you're working at your best, and the challenge you've bitten off is just about the size you can chew. You know you're going after something you can handle.

When you rise above your zone and push yourself too hard, the first thing you experience is stress, a feeling of tension. Now, stress can be a good thing. It is just pressure and resistance. But when you handle this pressure in unhealthy ways, stress has a negative connotation. If you continue to push harder against the pressure of stress and remain anxious, you start losing effectiveness.

You may also experience "burnout" if you keep pushing harder and beyond your zone. When this happens, you need a time of recovery to get back into your zone.

On the other hand, if you don't push yourself hard enough and you don't take on a big enough challenges, the first thing you will experience is boredom. You may say, with a long drawn-out sigh, "This just doesn't feel like enough." You're not doing enough to stay alert, awake, at your best and in your zone. You will become disinterested or bored if you continue without experiencing enough challenge to get yourself going. Boredom can become apathy and apathy can lead to depression.

In both extremes - stress and anxiety, burnout and boredom, apathy and depression - the problem is that you are outside your natural velocity. If you know your best velocity, however, you can stay in the zone almost all the time.

Velocity and you

Velocity is a combination of energy and drive, and it combines physical and mental traits. Your natural range of physical energy is enhanced or limited by your nutrition, fitness, the amount of rest you get, the way you manage stress and your attitude. You also have a natural degree of drive or self-motivation. Drive is affected by your self-esteem, the clarity of your purpose and goals, your awareness of possibilities, the appeal that your goals have to you and your ability to effectively plan and follow that plan.

In terms of energy and drive, certain characteristics help you identify yourself as a high-velocity, moderate-velocity and low-velocity person.

High velocity. If you are of high velocity, your drive is to be self-motivated. You love to work toward goals, particularly challenging goals. You have high aspirations and hold yourself and others to high standards. Competition excites you, and you have high expectations of yourself.

Your energy is allocated by always thinking about tasks, goals or work interests. You even use leisure time to advance your goals whether they're personal or professional. You find inactivity to be frustrating. You prefer long hours filled with varied activity.

Moderate velocity. If you are of moderate velocity, your drive is to be somewhat self-motivated. You set reachable goals, have moderate aspirations, don't demand absolute perfection and accept competition, although you do not require it.

You allocate your energy with a balance of work and leisure. You prefer standard work days that do not require constant overtime, with a moderate mix of activities. You use leisure time to complete chores and to socialize. You find inactivity relaxing; you can just lie on the beach and feel good about the time spent.

Low velocity. If you are of low velocity, you are driven primarily by immediate needs or by others. You find work generally demotivating. You prefer to work as a team player rather than being a solo performer or leader of the team. You prefer that someone else take the lead. You seldom set big goals. You have mild aspirations, not lofty ones. You really don't like competition, avoiding it if possible.

You use your energy to take things as they come. You are casual about your leisure time, which you use to pursue personal or social interests. You enjoy occasional inactivity and appreciate your own downtime.

Pace equals peace

Everyone has a pace and an intensity for which they're naturally suited. When you acknowledge that and attain your zone, you will be at your best. Your creativity will increase, your productivity will grow and your peace of mind will flourish. PR

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