Peak Performance Resources for Leaders by Leaders

Financial Crisis and the Speed of the Zone

For many people, the financial crisis has caused a paralyzing amount of fear. A question on many people’s minds is how to cope with this gripping emotional state at a time when action is necessary. Perhaps this is the most relevant conversation as our emotional state is what determines the speed at which we are able to take action.   Also, it is our emotional state that determines the accuracy of our perception and the mind’s ability to solve complex problems.  At this very moment, the pace of communication and information is accelerating at incomprehensible multiples.

The emotional state of fear will have us wanting to slow down, or even stop.  In the financial world, this translates to “wait and see,” “panic and sell,” “follow the crowd,” “run and hide,” “shame and be shamed,” “blame and justify,” “judge and be judged.”  The mass fear is palpable and unbearable to be around, and the results are showing up in the markets, the media and everywhere.

The solution to this is to get in a different state, where we can move faster, make better decisions, and keep ourselves from being sucked into the vacuum of fear, like particles in space into a massive black hole.  In order to do this, we have to step back and observe, speed up and change, and take the actions without hesitation.  Buy great opportunities and resist selling those that will recover. History will prove that even though the market hibernates like a bear, it does make room for the bull sooner or later.  This is the time to be bold and resilient and the internal state of fear is our enemy.

Below is an article I wrote in 2004 about the speed of the zone, for a group of leaders that I was working with.

The zone in sports is that magical moment when an athlete is totally connected to winning, physiologically and psychologically, and releasing chemicals that enhance the state.  This emotional state takes us into a different reality beyond fear and into bliss.  Everything is optimized and enhanced.  I feel understanding this zone is a key to moving past the fear and into action again.

The Speed Of The Zone (copy of original article written in 2004)

Thank you for your courage and commitment to this journey that we share together, which can be very personal and alone sometimes. I have written about “the speed of the Zone” to support you in your understanding of what you have available to you.

The Zone is a very magical space; even though it can seem graceful and slow from the outside, it is actually moving very fast. What does this mean?

As we move up the zones the speed increases exponentially. What this means is that the feeling of each zone is dramatically different. As you move in your own personal journey up the zones you will hit invisible walls. This can feel uncomfortable and will have you plotting against yourself to move back into a lower zone that is more comfortable. We call this your havingness, or upper-limit. I will discuss more about this later but for now let me explain the speed of the Zone.

The important thing is that you will adjust and adapt and then it does get more comfortable again. However, in the middle of the adjustment it can feel confusing. Let‘s begin by understanding the context of the personal journey you are on as a Leader.

The Personal Journey

The voice of your Spiritual-Self compels you to let go of your comfort zone and embark on a personal journey that seems to have no limits, no restrictions and no end. In a life driven by goals, achievements and deadlines, this voice is seldom convenient, comfortable or timely. And yet when it’s time, the spirit moves quickly and ruthlessly like a storm from which you cannot protect yourself and there is no place to hide. The only solution is to stop the struggle and surrender to your spirit. Your spirit is much faster than your ego.

In a world of accelerating acceleration, where change is unpredictable, and complexity is growing at levels that are becoming evermore challenging, your ability to adapt must transcend previous limits in order to survive. You are on a personal journey, a quest for meaning, an evolution that takes you from your social act to your authentic self, from specialist to generalist, from dominance to partnership, from competitive to cooperative, from fragmented to integrated, from an ego-centered person to a comprehensive, whole, spiritual being.

You are for the first time making room in your life for spirit and ego to walk in partnership, side by side, each making peace with the needs of the other.

From Surviving To Thriving

Human beings are complex and evolving beings, who thrive on problem solving, adding value and contributing to others; once survival is handled you are fulfilled only by things that move your heart and challenge your mind.

“It is not the strongest nor most intelligent of species that survives; it is the one most adaptable to change.

– Charles Darwin

Change is something that requires action and is, by its very nature, not a passive energy, but rather an energy that has force. This force is required to take action from a lower zone because there has to be a dramatic increase in energy. Not only is more energy required as you move up the zones but also more velocity or speed. Things happen faster, and more powerfully. At first this can feel draining and tiring, but as you adapt you begin to have more energy and power available to you. This is the same as someone learning to run their first marathon. It takes persistence, determination and commitment. The body has to adapt physically and they have to increase the distance in incremental steps, not run the whole distance the first day.

Let me explain through an analogy from a story.

A Clue From The Red Queen

For Alice, in Lewis Carroll’s “Through the Looking Glass,” advice from The Red Queen is that “in this place it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place.”

“Through the Looking Glass,” is the imaginary life of a young girl who, while playing the game of chess, walks through a mirror into another reality where the pieces of the chess game become giant and real, and The Red Queen is showing Alice the way. This statement inspired Evolutionary Biologist L. Van Valen to come up with a principle called the “The Red Queen Principle” which states that “for an evolutionary system, continuing development is needed just in order to maintain its fitness relative to the systems it is co-evolving with.” The evolution here is in our consciousness, our collective knowledge and how we individually operate within this.

The zones are the equivalent to our own personal evolution as human beings. Only the whole thing is happening in one life and not over millions of years.

Understanding The Landscape

Like Alice in “Through the Looking Glass,” understanding what it takes to thrive in the Zone begins with looking into the mirror, and stepping into a future reality that is at present a possibility only as surreal as the room inside Alice’s mirror. Where things are operating differently than you know, the rules are different, the players are different, and everything is unpredictable, outside your current concept of time and space.

Let’s imagine the world inside the mirror, which on the surface looks similar, and yet everything is on different sides. Things that were on your right are now on the left, the sizes and proportions are constantly changing as you walk in. To see further into the mirror, you have to literally step past your current limitations. In the story, Alice is a self-centered girl who is insensitive to her cats and to her sister has an opportunity to learn some valuable lessons. Her journey begins after she steps out of the room in the mirror (her previous limits), and steps into the landscape outside and is joined by the Red Queen (who has transformed from a few inches tall on Alice’s chessboard to a full size woman, taller than Alice. She looks over the hills and sees that everything is divided into squares, like her chessboard and realizes she is in the game. The queen is showing her the way and, they have been moving very fast and take a break when:

Alice looked round her in great surprise. “Why, I do believe we’ve been under this tree the whole time! Everything’s just as it was!”

“Of course it is,’ said the Queen, `what would you have it?”

“Well, in our country,” said Alice, still panting a little, “you’d generally get to somewhere else — if you ran very fast for a long time, as we’ve been doing.”

“A slow sort of country!” said the Queen. “Now, here, you see, it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that!”

A New Reality

This dialogue is a great analogy of the world you are stepping into, fast and unpredictable and where the rules feel as different as a reality without gravity. This is the context of the “The Red Queen Principle” where running is an analogy for adaptation to the environment. Using the characteristics that you developed to achieve success in the past, the ACT will only manage to keep you at the same place even if you are playing at full speed. So what will it take to achieve success in the future? The single word answer is CHANGE.

This is your individual ability to change and re-invent yourself, to adapt to the new rules of the game. Literally going from mono-dimensional thinking to multi-dimensional thinking. Imagine that the two-dimensional chess board now surrounds you, you are in it and the pieces have come to life, and you can move in ways you do not understand from your current perspective.

The challenge presented to Alice is “If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that!” On a purely physical level, the fastest runners in the world are not twice as fast as their peers, only milliseconds faster. The change that is required is in the way that you perceive, think, and respond, not a physical adaptation that would take many life spans to accomplish.

You have been thinking and responding to a slow world and the Zone is like another reality and nothing in your past can prepare you for this. The Zone requires all of you to be present in the NOW!!

Remember the Zone is an ideal that we are always reaching for and there is no limit, no end. However by reaching for Goldzone we will surely live above the line in Greenzone and Bluezone and sometimes Goldzone.

To Your Goldzone!

Anjou MacPherson
Goldzone Education


It Is Unwise To Pay Too Little – Huh?


Leave Your Comfort Zone


  1. The fear is so real now. It is definitely accurate that when in fear, we tend to paralyze and can’t take action from that emotion. This is my personal experience as well as with people I talk to.

    Yes, stepping back and observe and knowing that history shows that there’s room for bull market to come back and bear market is just a period of hibernation. Being bold and resilient and keep on moving is the way to go. Thank you for this wonderful article! It comes just in time.

  2. Ric

    I can totally relate to the first part of the article, I experience people got cripple by fear and go into ” wait and see”, “panic and sell”, “follow the crowd”.

    Fear is the worst enemy, the mass fear feel like a black hole sucking everyone, and costing them to miss seeing the great opportunities available.

    Thank you for reminding to get into a different state, and take action and be bold and resilient toward this worst enemy.

  3. Lee Siang

    I really find this article so relevant to the world now.
    The “wait and see”, the “blame and justify” attitudes etc are so real. I can really relate and I would say it does feel that you had posted the right article at the right time, right place to the right people. Thank you so much Anjou…..

  4. I agree with Wayne – Wow! What struck me was although written in 2004 how relevant it is to our current circumstances in the economic crisis.

    In the first part you mention the vacuum of fear that is so easy to be sucked into and I can relate to how much energy and action it takes to keep from being sucked into this hole.

    I can relate to times I have felt in my life like I was running but the scenery stayed the same everyday. The times I have not continued my development I have ‘aged’ faster, and then the more development I have done the more I have moved forward by changing which has changed my results and feeling younger.

  5. Water Tay

    Thanks Anjou ! Your article comes as a timely reminder for myself as I go through some of my feelings and behaviour 🙂 It is so incredibly accurate 😮

  6. Wow… this article on the financial crisis is so relevant to what everyone is experiencing now… I could relate to the gripping fear that so many people are in… in the emotional state of fear as describe in this artcie. Very cool!

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