Getting into Flow requires we become very nimble at switching back and forth between our strategic intellect and our wild, playful self.
“We approach timelessness in the moments when we feel most at home with ourselves. When we are being true to ourselves and existing in authenticity, we are not measuring ourselves against time or anything else. We are simply being, and this opens a doorway to flow.” ~ Marney Makridakis, Creating Time: Using Creativity to Reinvent the Clock and Reclaim Your Life
In order for me to do my best work, I have to be willing each day to climb out onto the skinny branches of vulnerability and uncertainty. The more I tap into what I do not dare bring to the surface for scrutiny (by myself or anyone else), the further out I edge onto the thin, bark-covered ledges.
I do not dare look down.
If I stop and question if my plan seems reasonable, or whether or not I should keep going, or if I think I can actually grasp inside my fingers what it is I am reaching for, I can count on enough second guessing to issue a shove against my tentative pursuit.
From there, it is only a moment or two before I wobble left, then right. If I then indulge in a more elaborate story of self-questioning, off my perch I go…falling through the strata of hard-fought progress all the way to the ground.
Back to zero and starting over.
I think this is why I tend to work as if someone were chasing me with a whip.
Seeking Perfection Keeps You out of Flow
This relentless pushing forward is an effective strategy to swat away the naysaying blurts emanating from the scared, small parts of me. If I continue to stay in motion and turn the volume up on full-out work/pursuit mode, I can muffle the blurts to the point where they barely rise into my awareness.
But this ongoing striving, striving and never arriving comes with a hefty price: discomfort in the center of my gut that judges lack of not only progress, but lack of Perfect Progress.
I know I am not alone.
The vast majority of my entrepreneur clients are wired the same way. We love our work ethic, our strategic minds, and our enviable ability to get more done in 3 hours than most can get done in 3 days.
How can we keep all the aspects of ourselves we appreciate and depend upon for our business success while accessing the creative fruit at the end of those skinny branches? How can we amplify our creative, loose, wild, free selves and bring those parts of us into a symbiotic dance with our striving, strategic selves?
That is, how can we embark upon what I call a Creative Rebel’s Voyage™ (CRV)…the coaching methodology I developed for my clients…and access the life-giving, nutrient-rich sediment that has settled onto the ocean floor of us and bring new energy, clarity, and courage to our businesses and lives?
The Creative Rebel’s Voyage™
We first must recognize that the two states of being (strategic/careful/calculating/intellect driven versus divergent-thinking/free/loose/carefree/wild/soul-driven) cannot exist simultaneously. We can, though, swing very effectively between the two states, tagging one for certain tasks and desired outcomes, and then switching mindsets and tagging the other for different sensibilities and results.
Liberation in our work (and in our hearts) results from developing both mindsets and getting very nimble at switching back and forth.
Here is where it becomes even more potent: if we throw our strategic/careful/intellect-driven self a cracker by planning out the rough edges of how we are going to approach a task or creating something new, and then tag the other side of us and indulge in dropping fully into a playful approach of creating, we edge right over the Flow threshold without stirring our Perfect Progress self.
That is, we can start with a bit of structure and then jettison some, most, or all of it once we get going. During that window of giddy, uncontrolled creating, we stop worrying and stressing over perfection and become profoundly present. And when we become present, time slides from our shoulders and falls to the floor.
When We Are in a Flow State
Here in this Flow state, we do not force. We simply allow the best of us to come forward and connect and create.
When we are in Flow, we are …
Possessing an open focus
Connected to ourselves, to others, and to the meaning of what we are doing
Our internal batteries recharge when we can feel and hear ourselves during Flow states. We lean more into our intuition as our confidence reserves fill. When we remember we can address mistakes, improve, learn, iterate, and course-correct, we make the bold moves our best innovations require.
While over time we better develop the felt sense of when it is we need to switch from one mode to the other, know now that we all already have this skill. We are simply supremely skilled in overriding it and ignoring it.
When we tune inward, we can feel the need to have a break from one state of being. We can honor that by stopping ourselves, getting up, and having a break away from the work. When we return, we can consciously switch to a different mode of creating. Back and forth, never tiring either set of muscles or draining acuity.
As we bring both sides of ourselves to the vulnerable work we know is our charge, we leave the realm of forced, limited influence and burst into the full capacity of what we can offer, reaching our ideal clients with inspiring impact.