You know that feeling when it seems like only 10 minutes have passed, and yet 5 hours have gone by and you didn’t even notice? Or, if you’re a runner, when you have jogged 10 kilometres and you feel like it’s only been 2 kms (does that ever happen?). Or on the flip side, when you’ve run for 10 minutes and it feels like 5 hours (more likely).
This could well be because you’re in a state of ‘flow’ – or not. Now that may sound a bit strange. But actually, finding your flow is a really powerful tool that may help you with any challenge that life throws your way – either professionally or personally.
Psychologist and author Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi describes ‘flow’ as pleasure, delight and creativity, or the process of being completely immersed in life. It can help increase productivity, living in the present and feeling in control. Crucially, it does require an understanding of purpose – your own personal purpose or that of your business. Being more purposeful allows us to feel more able to deal with life’s issues and improve our coping mechanisms.
But how do you know whether you’ve found this state? If you’re totally engrossed in the task at hand, chances are you’ve found your inner flow. Imagine if you could experience that every day. If you’re a leader you could inspire your team to feel that too. Or if you’re wanting to better yourself professionally – such as going for that next promotion or pay rise – a state of flow could help you along the way.
Being resilient is also hugely powerful in allowing flow. Although, in my opinion, resilience was possibly the most overused buzzword of 2018. Yes, it’s important to build emotional armour, but I think the meaning of resilience has been misunderstood.
Most organisations will have some sort of course aimed at resilience. Maybe you have even attended one? You might have even heard someone say, ‘they really need to build resilience’. Even our schools are now teaching children as young as five about resilience and the importance of it.
Many of us interpret it as our inner strength – how ably and quickly we bounce back from a set-back, a rejection and/or failure. It is also regarded as a measure of how strong someone is, how persistent they are at overcoming obstacles and carrying on, no matter what. It is also described as how well we deal with stress. The more resilient, the more able we are to deal with stress – and over long periods of time.
But what if, instead, we thought about resilience as a mindset and as our ability to get into the flow and truly focus on our purpose; concentrating only on what we can control and letting go of what we cannot?
Research has shown – and it’s my experience too – that embracing this mindset shift and get into a state of flow increases our resilience. Having a purpose and knowing what your end goals are, is an important first step. At the very least, to many, having a purpose increases our determination and desire to achieve it.
Getting into your flow is more than just a catchphrase; it is really powerful in boosting your own productivity and effectiveness. It goes beyond resilience. Above all, it’s about having the inner strength to establish your purpose, so it becomes second nature to you.
If you want to improve your resilience, uncover your purpose find your flow, let’s have a conversation: firstname.lastname@example.org.