How often do you lose track of time at work? Using your Strengths

The joy of being in THE ZONE.

Last night we went to dinner at a yummy restaurant in Montreal, called Le Bon Vivant. If you don’t know, Montreal is a super hot-spot for restaurants. Chain restaurants don’t survive here, yet we have the largest number of restaurants per capita in North America. The competition for creating a trendy, delicious experience is fierce.

Which is what we had last night.

Mmmmmm…enter some fried chicken with watermelon-feta salad and some deep-dish thin-crust pizza. I’m not a foodie (yet!), but holy wow!!!

But forget the food. I want to tell you about the experience! We sat at the bar, and in this particular set-up, you can watch the chef cook right before your eyes. I’m smiling as I write this, remembering how enjoyable it was to watch someone be in THE ZONE. Chris Grand was his name, and he was in the zone. His zone. Living out his strengths so seamlessly that it was like I was watching a well-choreographed dance.

He’d swiftly pull the chicken out of the fridge, drop it in the deep-fryer, turn around to the front counter, grab the veggies for a salad, pour in different ingredients for a sauce (without measuring!), toss it with height and perfection in seconds (Look at those cucumbers fly! And he didn’t drop one!), flip back around to the stove with finesse, review his chit quickly, half-throw a pan on the burner for the next order, butter it, interact with his sous-chef, encourage her, pat her on the back, maybe even flirt a bit, turn to us and make a joke while grabbing the chicken out of the deep fryer to put in the oven, grab the pizza dough, wink at us, let us know this thin-crust deep-dish pizza was his invention…and on and on…

It was so delightful!

You see, I’ve been fascinated with human uniqueness ever since I was an angsty athlete-artist who didn’t know how to express her uniqueness. Do I quit art to do sport? Do I quit sport to do art? How do I fit the box?

And after watching the uniqueness of Chris Grand last night, I’m reminded no one needs to fit any sort of box.

Break the box.

Choreograph your own dance! And delight those around you who have the honour to watch.

It’s possible for all of us to combine our natural talents with skills and knowledge to get into the zone. I really believe it. If I’m talking in StrengthsFinder language, perhaps Chris had Woo and Strategic combined with the skill of swiftly tossing a salad and the knowledge of how long to keep the chicken in the fryer (for example!).

The question I’m wondering is do we believe it’s possible for ourselves? Do we believe we can love what we’re doing so much to the point we lose track of time? To the point that others watch us with amazement.

I love how Ken Robinson, New York Times Bestselling author of The Element says it,

“Never underestimate the vital importance of finding early in life the work that for you is play. This turns possible underachievers into happy warriors.”

I want to be a warrior. Do you?

Have you ever had a day where work for you was play? Think of what that day was like? What were you doing? What was different from other days? How can you repeat it?


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