Curios title for a blog post, I know. It reads exactly as it is written actually. I learned today, at 12Stone, that there are 3 zones we pass through while maneuvering anything and everything in life. They are the A, B, and C Zones. Pretty cool way to remember it huh...using your ABC's.
A Zone: The promise. This is when you set your goals with hope, enthusiasm and the vision of a happy ending. For an expecting mother, the promise of a healthy new born. For newly weds, the promise of happily ever after. This is the comfort zone.
B Zone: The problems. You start to notice that staying committed in the "promise" is not as easy as you'd envisioned. You have challenges, set backs. Your faith is tested. You're plagued with anxiety and uncertainty. You become overwhelmed and find yourself spiraling down into the "quiting zone". At this point, you either give up on the "Promise" or you push even harder for the win. Remember the story of Moses leading the Israelites to the Promise land? The years it took, the drama, the conflict, the challenges, the sacrifice? Nothing worth having ever comes easily.
C Zone: Pastor Kevin Myers called this the "Payoff" but I'm gonna call it the "hallelujah!"...lol! Because that's how I feel when I push through the adversity and challenges to make it to the win. That's how I feel when I see the "Promise" come back to focus bearing gifts. It's all worth it if you keep believing in the "Promise" right to the very end. The end by the way, is the win. Remember how many publishers rejected JK Rowlings Harry Potter series ? 12. What if she'd quit at the 12th rejection? I'll say less...
So, can you guess what zone is the hardest to maneuver?
Well, A zone is the beginning and the C zone is at the end. So it can't be either of those two.
It has to be the zone smack in the middle. You know, when you're almost "there" but can't tell. When you need just a little more endurance but choose to relax. When you need just a little more faith, hope, resilience; but instead you choose to walk away.
That my friends is the oh so trying and problematic B zone - The Quitting zone.
You see it's at the B zone that you are tested. You feel yourself being pushed out of your comfort zone. There are only two options left - Conform or Transform?
Let's look at it this way - I'm a big fan of Marvel and DC comics. I would read them as a pre-teen and teenager. As an adult, I've been blown away by the big screen productions over the years. Have you noticed what happens when any of the super heroes are pushed and tested beyond what seems normal or acceptable? They Transform! They don't quit. No. They push even harder than before. They defy the odds. They get out of their comfort zone. They endure. They persevere. In the end, they win.
There was a scene in the most recent Marvel production - The Black Panther - were the King is literally fighting an opponent challenging his throne. He's losing and getting weak, you can see his limbs start to fall limp. He doesn't seem to be fighting back. Then all of a sudden his mom, the Queen, yells in the background - "Show him who you are!" - or something to that effect. Boom! Transformation for the win.
The bottom line is she may as well have just said "Don't Quit Now!" For some of us that's all we need. Just a few simple yet powerful words to keep us going towards fulfilling our promise.
Unfortunately, I can relate profoundly to the "Problem zone". The B zone. The Quitting zone.
I remember about 17 years ago, I had just had my first child. A baby girl. I was a newly wed and a mother within the span of 6 months. She had just turned three months old and I was offered a new position as an Account Manager at a furniture store in Raleigh, NC. My role would have me supporting not just the Raleigh branch, but Cary, Durham, Charlotte, and I believe Greensboro.
I was turning 24 years old on my first day at work. But that was not the only first. I was in the middle of a lot of firsts.
It was my first time as a mother
It was my first time as an account manager
It was my first time as a working mother
I was smack in the middle zone; the B zone. All I could see were problems and challenges and anxiety. I could no longer see the promise or the pay off. I was mentally overwhelmed with my new responsibilities. I did not believe I had it in me to transform and rise to the challenge. Everyone but me saw the promise in me. My first day became my last day on the job. I called in and quit the next day. I took a job that was in my comfort zone at IBM. It held no real career pay off in the end. I've always regretted that decision. The decision to quit when things got uncomfortable. Today, I'm an Account Manager. But I can't help but wonder how much farther my career would've gone if I had risen to the challenge 17 years ago.
I almost repeated that same move recently. Last week, I posted on Instagram that I would be taking a break on social media for about a month. I didn't feel I was being productive. I didn't feel my voice was needed. I was feeling overwhelmed with my aspirations and purpose.
Two days after that post, a friend reached out to me and sent me a message via text. She basically said this is not the time to take a break Cheli. You inspire and your voice will be missed. This is the time to keep building.
It's like she could sense I was spiraling down the B zone and she was like "not today chica!". You got work to do. It resonated.
So what I'm saying is the B zone, though hard and uncomfortable, is necessary. When things get uncomfortable that's when you know it's time for transformation. That's when change is on the horizon. The old ways will not do and the comfort zone is no longer an option if you want to rise up and conquer the B zone.
The C zone. The payoff. That's the goal. Transform under pressure. Endure and persevere for the win. I pray that at your most challenging times, you hear God's voice through the words of friends and strangers telling you -
Keep going. Keep building. Don't Quit. Transform.
I will end with a little wisdom I gleamed from a book called "212 the extra degree" by Sam Parker and Mac Anderson.
At 211 degrees, water is hot
At 212 degrees, it boils
And with boiling water, comes steam
And steam can power a locomotive.
So, riddle me this - if you knew you had to only give 1 more degree of push to transform to the C zone, would you quit?
I think we all know the answer to that.....