Jun 232012

A couple of friends and I were talking about operating within your so-called sweet spot yesterday, and this came to mind.

So what’s this sweet spot? It’s a little hard to describe it, but you know it when you’re in it. It’s that special feeling you get in your hands when you hit a golf ball right on the screws. When you lay down that bowling ball so silently and smoothly, just by the sound you know you’ve thrown down something special.

It’s not just being in the zone. This is even more special than that.

A few years ago I wrote a piece on Duke Ellington, and as I wrote it, I had his Live At Newport album playing. And I was listening to tenor sax player Paul Gonsalves’ incredible solo in one of the oldest songs in Duke’s book, “Diminuendo And Crescendo In Blue.”

“It’s one of those moments that every human being should experience. It’s crunch time, and you’re called to perform at something — a job, dealing with family, facing the outside world. And you’re performing at a level that you didn’t know you had and you don’t remember how you did it. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar described one of those moments during the closing seconds of a playoff game when he was at the baseline, in the corner, those seconds ticking away. Abdul-Jabbar said time just slowed down for him, kind of like you’re watching the world in slow motion. A teammate got him the ball, Kareem put up the hook shot, it went right in, and immediately the world went back to real time. I’m sure it was that kind of moment for Duke Ellington and his band.”

There’s no doubt Gonsalves was in his sweet spot then, and so was the Duke.

And you know what? Reading over that paragraph, I think perhaps I was operating in mine when I wrote it.

For the curious (and those who dig the Duke), here’s a link to the original piece.

For more on the sweet spot, check out Max Lucado’s Cure For The Common Life.