Lessons in Flow
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Are you a leader of people? A decision maker? Need to work with less and still expected to produce results? Feeling the pressure?
We are living in a reactive market place. That means most organisations and their people are performing in reaction to the tides of the current state of their environment. During times of distress, instead of focusing on their vision, energising their people with optimism and the reason why they exist they buy into the psyche of scarcity and fear. That kind of environment generally puts organisations and its people into survival mode. That often leads to poor decision making, poor people management and poor productivity. Here organisations heavily focus on internally processes … where can we cut costs, streamline for the sake of cost cutting without due consideration for maintaining quality, and redundancies. Focusing externally on their customers, the relationships with them and helping them solve their problems take second place.
If playing the reactive game is your thing, then what is to follow is not for you!
Playing the game through your best states!
If you want to be a player that plays the game strongly focused on making a difference in the world? Helping their market place solve problems, operate on optimism, wants to induce energy into its workforce and allow it to tap into their full potential and create an environment of creativity and innovation? Then following mini course in ‘Inside-Out Leadership – 5 Lessons in Flow’ may just start a journey to play the leadership game through a different dimension!
Inside-Out Leadership – 5 Lessons in Flow!
Operating and leading through your best states!
What’s keeping you from getting what you want at your work or business? What gets in the way?
- Complex issues to deal with?
- Lack of collaboration?
- Not enough time?
- Budget constraints?
- Difficult people to work with?
- Lack of confidence?
- Self sabotage?
- Being too busy & overwhelmed?
- Lack of vision & purpose?
- Lack of focus?
- Lack of commitment or conviction?
- Feeling stressed?
Did you know…?
- Did you know that these issues are a product of your thinking?
- Did you know that most of your thinking is invented by you, a figment of your imagination?
- Did you know that your actions are often driven by what you’re feeling about your thinking?
- Imagine you had the choice in the way you feel about your thinking and the actions that you can take?
- Imagine you had the understanding and technology to give you greater choice in your thinking & feeling and produce the results that you want?
- You don’t have to imagine it, we have the understanding and technology to make it happen!
A matter of flow!
Over the next few weeks we will take you through a process and give you an insight and experience into the structure of flow. The state of flow is a state of full engagement, commitment and focus towards a task or project that you are involved in. This may relate to being fully engaged in solving a complex problem, a sales conversation, writing a document or a book, creating a vision, running a meeting, leading a team, designing a training course, etc. Professional athletes refer to this state as being in the zone. It can be described as a sense of being present, feeling grounded and in the here and now. When in this flow state people tend to be more fully aligned with their inner resources. Ideas come more naturally, solutions to problems appear and interactions with others are more engaging.
Lesson 1: The Challenge
In the first lesson, the Challenge, we will identify an area in your work where you wish to perform better or overcome a challenge. We’ll then explore a state you would like to have and that would serve you better in achieving a desired result.
- What is a task or project that you need to complete, a problem that you need to solve but you are struggling to make progress?
- What are the consequences of that?
- What is happening because of this? What is not happening because of this?
- Are these the kind of consequences you want?
- What state of mind does this put you in? Is that state of mind useful? Does it serve you well? Does it make your day go better? Does it help you solve your problems?
- Have you had enough of this? If yes, read on!
- Now imagine a state that allows you to complete the task or solve the problem easily and effortlessly, what would that be like? As you go to that state now, notice what you notice, feel what you feel, hear what you hear! Notice what you pay attention to and where your focus is. What does that feel like in your body? Would that be useful? Would that serve you? Would that make your day go better? Would it help you solve your problems?
- Imagine being able to call upon this state at will!
- If you had the knowledge and skill to produce a state like this whenever you are involved in a process or task what would it be like?
Label your Flow State:
- Now give this Flow state a name, one that is personal and meaningful to you. Associating a name that is personal makes it easier for you to embody and access it at will. Making it metaphorical, lively and playful gives it energy. For example: Energy booster state, problem breaker state, people connector state, clarity of mind state, wordsmith state, quiet mind state, etc.
Lesson 2: Intentional Focus
“Energy flows where attention goes as directed by intention!” Neuro-Semantic Presupposition
By now you will have identified a challenge in your work that you have struggled with. You have also explored a FLOW state that will enhance your ability to perform and to overcome the challenge. If not, please go back and complete Lesson 1 before you continue!
One of the characteristics of a FLOW state is that the things that we focus on, and our behaviours and actions, are fully aligned with WHY we do what we do. And generally, it is a Big WHY, a strong and meaningful reason. And when that reason or intention is aligned with achieving a specific goal, is feels like an effortless process.
Your WHY is invisible, it runs in the background, out of your consciousness. Your WHY is your INTENTION, your higher level meanings.
Your ATTENTION however is generally visible. It can be observed in your behaviours and your actions. Behaviours and actions are never wrong, they are an expression and servant of your intention.
Intention is not to be confused with a goal. Those are two different things. When your goals are aligned with your intentions, your attentions, behaviours and actions will move into the direction of achieving your goals.
When people do not achieve their goals, it is often a sign that their intention is not aligned with the goal. Hence their attentions and their actions, as they are aligned with their intentions, may move them away from achieving their goal. That can often be observed in the unsuccessful achievement of losing weight. The goal is to lose weight. And on the surface, it may appear that the intention is to lose weight. However, losing weight might be associated with hard work and struggle. And if the intention behind hard work and struggle is that it needs to be avoided, that avoidance becomes the intention in the weight loss process. All our attentions and actions will be pointed towards doing things to avoid the hard work. Hence no weight loss.
Intention is about the higher level importance that you bring to your life in general or to a specific goal that you want to achieve. This lesson is about the process of how intention works and how it shows up in a FLOW state.
Ok, let’s explore how to bring intentional focus to your FLOW state!
1. Name and describe your Flow state you want to access and develop.
- What do you name your Flow state? Describe the characteristics of your Flow state? What are you paying attention to and focus on when you in this state?
2. Establishing a strong reason, an intentional focus, for having this Flow state. Your Big WHY!
- What is your purpose of having this Flow (Name) state?
- How is that important? (you question your previous answer)
- And having this state in this way, what will that give you?
- And what is an even bigger reason than that? What is having this really all about?
- What drives this at the highest level?
3. Fully step into and experience your Big WHY, your highest intention.
- Thinking and reflecting on the meanings of your Big WHY, notice the feelings that it invites? Do you like them? Notice how your Big WHY shows up in your thinking and feeling? Notice how it expresses itself in the way you speak and act?
- Now just for a moment, close your eyes and just be with your Big WHY and all the feelings that come with it? Let it fill every fibre off your body … how’s that?
4. Align your Big WHY with your Flow state.
- Let’s bring your Big WHY to your Flow (Name) state. Through your Big WHY, your highest intention, look at your flow state and notice how it aligns with what you are paying attention to and how your attentions can serve your Big WHY!
- Notice how this intentional FLOW (Name) state energises you, does it not?
- Notice how this intentional FLOW (Name) state aligns with the achievement of your goal!
5. Activate your higher level mind.
- Now imagine taking this intentional focus into the future … right into tomorrow, into the weeks and months to come … moving through life and your work … operating through this intentional focus in the way you think, feel, behave and act. How is that?
- Being in this state … notice what you can do to remind you to switch in on … a thought, a word, a gesture, a touch … ?
Lesson 3: Supporting Beliefs
In Lesson 1 you have identified a challenge in your work that you have struggled with and established a FLOW state that will enhance your ability to perform and to overcome the challenge. In Lesson 2 you have explored and experienced the nature of intentional focus as you have brought it to your FLOW state.
Another characteristic is in play when we experience flow … an underlying belief, or beliefs, that is aligned with the purpose of our undertaking and that is expressed in the behaviours and actions required to accomplish our desired result in a seemingly effortless way.
What is a belief and what makes a belief? Essentially, a belief is a thought that has been confirmed as being true. What do we mean by that? Think of your name, is your name true? Or better does it feel true? If I call you by a different name, would you respond to it? Probably not. However, if I call you by your real or given name you most likely will have a response. The reason is this. At the surface, your name is only a label. It’s just a word. However, how long have you had your name? Probably since you were born. And if you are reading this, you have most likely been around for a few years. That means you have been called by your name many thousands of times and accepted it as true and therefore part of your identity. You have confirmed and validated it as true and by doing so you have associated with it neurologically and therefore embodied it.
A belief pretty much starts out the same way, as a word, a label, a thought or a concept. A thought generally doesn’t have much potency until it reaches our neurology. The way that happens is by validating it as true. We validate by say ‘YES’ to it. Not just intellectually but neurologically. For example, let’s use the following statements “I am not good enough” or “solving complex problems is difficult”. As you say them out loud, how does it feel? Do you give them importance? or do they have no effect on you? If they have an effect on you and they are your way of operating in the world, then you most likely have given them significant importance, that you have felt in your neurology and over time reconfirmed and validate as being true. Now that thought, label or concept has been embodied, which we now call a belief. This belief now feels natural and is filtering your thinking and is running your behaviours and actions. This process happens by default. Our cognitive brain has no innate mechanism to control the quality of what we are inviting in and validate as a belief. We need to do the quality controlling and for that we need to be aware of this process.
That is a great insight
If we know how a belief works and develops, we can reverse engineer a belief that doesn’t serve us and turn it into an insignificant thought. We do that by dis-confirming it. And how do we do that? We do that by saying ‘NO’ to it. We can also choose a new thought or concept that is more useful and embody it as enhancing belief that supports us in our endeavours and is aligned with taping into our full potential.
Ok, lets test drive de-commissioning a limiting belief and commissioning a new and enhancing belief!
1. Identify the current belief(s) that are in play and that influence your way of thinking, feeling, behaving and acting in trying to move beyond your challenge.
- How would you describe the belief or beliefs about dealing with and moving past the challenge that keeps you from accomplishing your task? What belief stands in the way?
- Does this belief support your mission to accomplish the task or solve the problem ahead? Or does it hold you back or slow you down?
- In what way does it support or hold you back? Do you like it? Is it useful in the accomplishment of your desired result?
- If it holds you back, have you had enough of it? If the answer is YES, move to step 2.
2. Identify a more useful and empowering belief!
- What would be a more useful or empowering belief, one that is only a concept, that would support your mission to accomplish the task ahead in a more fluent and effortless way?
- If you had this concept as a belief, would that be realistic? Would that be useful? Would having this belief enhance the quality of the journey in the way you approach and accomplish the task ahead?\
3. De-commissioning the limiting or non-supporting belief!’
Step 1: Stepping into a state of ‘NO’!
- Think of something that every fibre in your body can say ‘NO’ to in a way that is fully aligned with you. I.e. would you eat a can of worms? Would you jump of a high rise building without a parachute or a safety net? Or something else that you would not do under any circumstances.
- As you think of that event or circumstance, say ‘NO’, out loud if you can. Say it in the way you would say it if that event was real. Say it with conviction. Say it over and over and as you do, notice how it feels, notice the sound and strength of your voice, notice how it looks. Also take notice of how your hold your posture. As you fully experience your ‘NO’ with your mind and body, anchor it with a hand gesture … feel it and hear your voice say ‘NO’!
Step 2: Using your ‘NO’ to dis-confirm the underlying value of the limiting belief!
- Thinking of your challenge through the eyes of your limiting belief ask yourself does this way of thinking serve you in the accomplishment of your goal? Is it useful? Does enhance your life? Does it empower you as a person? Do you want this limiting belief?
- Answer each question with your ‘NO’ … make it even more robust and powerful as you say ‘NO’ to the underlying value of the belief that limits you from achieving your goal. Keep saying it until the belief has lost it intensity. Until you can no longer feel it in your body! How is that?
4. Commission an enhancing and empowering belief
Step 1: Stepping into a state of ‘YES’!
- Now think of something that every fibre in your body can say ‘YES’ to without any doubt. How is that?
- As you think of that ‘YES’ and say it out loud, notice how it feels and fills up every fibre of your body. Notice the tone and strength of your voice of ‘YES’!
- Gesture your ‘YES’ with your hands and body so that it becomes stronger.
Step 2: Using your ‘YES’ to confirm the underlying value of the empowering belief!
- Imagine taking on your challenge through the eyes of your chosen empowering belief … and now ask yourself does this way of thinking serve you in the accomplishment of your goal? Is it useful? Does enhance your life? Does it empower you as a person? Do you want this limiting belief?
- Answer each question with your ‘YES’ … make it even more robust and powerful as you say ‘YES’ to the underlying value of the belief that empowers you in achieving your goal. Welcome it in, keep saying ‘YES’ until the new and enhancing belief becomes alive. Send it as a command to your nervous system until it feels fully embodied in your neurology!
- How’s that? Do you like it? Does that feel more aligned with what you are trying to achieve?
- Do you want this? Will this improve your life and your performance? Will this way of being in the world be valuable to you? Will this make a difference?
5. Aligning your Empowering Belief with your FLOW State and Intentional Focus
- With your challenge in lesson 1 in mind, reflect on the FLOW (Name) State that you are developing to tackle this challenge in a more productive, effective and efficient way?
- Reflecting on Lesson 2, for what reason do you want to develop it? What is your highest intention! Why is having this FLOW state and overcoming your challenge important to you?
- Reflecting on Lesson 3, now as you bring this new and empowering belief to your intentional focus and your state of flow, how does that settle? How does it feel when you align your empowering belief with your intentional focus and your FLOW state? As you step into this alignment fully and completely … let it fill every fibre of your being and your body … notice how it shows up in the way you see, in the way you hear and the way you feel … looking at the challenge through this state of mind, how’s that?
Look out for Lesson 4: From Mind into Muscle … coming soon!
If you want to go beyond this mini online program and become a master of flow and take your ability to lead and to influence yourself and others, then check out our upcoming intensive Inside-Out Leadership program by clicking the following button …