So you want to find your flow, but how do you know when you’re there? What does it feel like to be in flow?
In the zone.
I’ve had many conversations with clients over the years about not only what it feels like when they’re in flow, but also how to find it and, more importantly, create it.
Typically, when I start to work with people, something is hard; they’re facing a challenge, are ready for a change, but don’t know how to get there on their own. Moreover, they want to find their flow. When every step feels impossible and more work than it’s worth, it’s nearly impossible to keep going.
What does flow look like in motion?
Late last year our family got a Kinect for the Xbox and the Just Dance game to go with it. This past weekend, my son was dancing to his favorite song and shouted to me to “watch this!”
He closed his eyes and kept dancing.
He knew the motions but, more importantly, felt the music with his whole being. Smiling, moving, and completely immersed, he scored his top points of the game. Eyes open and his thinking brain in charge he did okay, eyes closed, in flow, he rocked it.
Did my son get “perfect” for every move and gyration – no way! He won’t be on So You Think You Can Dance anytime soon. He tapped into joy and didn’t worry about every arm bend or dip.
When I watched him, I saw flow in motion… the ultimate letting go of the need to be perfect and truly stepping forward into boldly being.
How can one kid dancing in an online challenge help you find your flow?
Take a Risk
My son didn’t know that he could do it with his eyes closed, but he believed it was possible. Find your flow by getting out of your routine and into something that gives you some butterflies – and lift off. Take enough of a risk that brings you a feeling of energy that was missing previously and not so large of a risk that it shuts you down from even trying.
You don’t need to pump up the jam and get dancing but you may need to physically move. If every time you sit down to work on your latest challenge you’re at your desk, you can find your flow again by making a physical change. Grab your laptop and go to a coffee house, put on your headset and walk around while you take a call, face the window instead of facing the wall… Physical movement shakes lose psychological blockages too.
Work on Your Craft
My son did his dance many, many times before he could simply feel the music and move. You can’t expect that the first time you do something you’ll be masterful. Every time you do it and work on your craft you’ll be able to stretch further. When you’re constantly working in a state of conscious incompetence, you’re more focused on what you’re doing (and totally self-conscious about it!) than immersing yourself in what you’re doing. It takes time – allow yourself to take it.
Close Your Eyes
Find a quiet place, close your eyes, and envision yourself doing what you most want to be doing. Now, since this is in your imagination, turn up the volume on what you want it to be, not what you’re afraid what will happen. Picture yourself in action with ease, confidence and competence – and flow.
Have Faith and Let Go
When you hold on to ideas of perfectionism, judgment, and worry it’s impossible to find your flow. There’s no being gentle with you – until you let go, flow will elude you. Nobody ever wrote a perfect first draft or designed the ideal solution on their first pass. The key is to get started and into action instead of letting your negative and fearful thoughts keep you chained to what is instead of what can be.
Bottom line: Notice what brings you the most alive and lead (or dance) forward.
If you meet me on a Just Dance challenge and my eyes are closed, I hope you’ll join me and feel the flow.
Break the Frame Action:
When was the last time you were so immersed in what you were doing that hours passed like seconds and you were all in?
Do you remember the feeling? What was happening in your body? Your mind?
How far are you reaching back in your recent memory to find a moment you were in flow?
If it’s been too long since you felt inspired and deeply engaged, it could be time to get unstuck from your current hamster wheel and dance. Check out the eCourse Get Unstuck and Choose to Move. Give yourself the gift of five weeks to discover your next step and get into inspired action.
If you’d like a little dance break of your own to shake free your gremlins and find your flow, here’s my son’s favorite song that makes him move. Maybe it will make you want to move too…