People often ask me how I get so much done, envious of my productivity. To others, I sometimes look like (and sometimes am) an over-achieving, over-working, woman who does not know when to turn it off. Although that happens, many times what is really happening is I have gotten into what neuro-scientists now call flow.
Flow has been called many things. You may know it as:
- being in the zone,
- being connected to something greater than our individual intellect, or
- peak performance.
We mainly think of flow in top athletes, extreme sports mavericks, musicians, writers, and other artists. However, most entrepreneurs also experience these magic moments when work is effortless, ideas come that catapult our results, and we get done in one sitting what might otherwise take 5 days. When I am in flow, I don’t want to stop. Time has become irrelevant and I am enjoying my work and excited about my results. I feel on top of my game and I am usually getting both internal and external signals of success or reward.
Who doesn’t love that?
At a thought provoking conference I attended this past weekend, Voice & Exit, I listened to experts describing flow — what it is and how to get more of it. And from their talks I recognize better my own flow moments and now have more tangible ideas about how to actually create it, rather than hope for it.
I’ll give you the tools I learned in just a minute. First, I need to point out the obvious and often overlooked fact that the ONLY athletes, artists, and entrepreneurs who achieve flow regularly are those who are pursuing something they are extremely passionate about. Period.
All the tools in the world will not enhance your ability to experience peak performance doing something you perceive as dreary or mundane.
If you haven’t found your passion, or refined it to something you can pursue, then that is the place to start. This is an important element in my Be A Female Millionaire Wealth Development Program, because it is so important to success as well as flow.
Ironically, the tools to attain flow are similar to those professed by the mystics and sages for thousands of years. We just now have the technology to name it, calculate it, dissect it, and even jump start the process — without 30 years of a meditation and spiritual practice.
As many of you know, I meditate daily as part of my morning routine and have for almost 25 years. I recommend it to anyone willing to try because with a little guidance, meditation can set you up for a much happier life–one in flow. I look forward to trying some of the newer technologies that are intended to increase our ability to reach flow and if I find something that can dramatically improve your flow, I will let you know.
At the conference I was reminded that even without any investment in technology or gadgets, you can get started improving your access to more peak performance moments.
Here is how top athletes and military personnel do it, and how you can, too:
- Take time every day to consciously breath for at least 2 minutes. Yep, it is that simple. Five minutes is better, but starting someplace is key. Breath in slowly and deeply for 5 seconds and then exhale slowly and deeply for 5 seconds. You can add in holding for 5 seconds at the top and the bottom of each breath if you like. I learned this years ago when I was first practicing meditation and I laugh at how simple it is, yet I have neglected it as part of my daily routine! This easy act will give your heart beat more coherence, decrease Cortisol, improve mental clarity, and increase your feeling of wellness. This is so simple and fast that I plan to start my day with it, do it again at lunch, and end my day with it. I also recommend you do it any time you notice your anxiety increasing.
- Make sure you feed your body and brain high octane food that is void of chemicals — the fresher the better. This includes having snacks around that keep your blood sugar balanced throughout the day and are a source of stable energy. These could be almonds, fruit, or a quality energy bar. Our food industry is dumbing us down with the low nutrient-value, chemically-laden foods making it harder to achieve our best. If you are not feeding yourself quality food, you cannot expect your body to produce quality results.
- Move your body. This can be as simple as taking a walk, climbing the stairs rather than using the elevator, or doing a few downward dogs in your office during the day. Even 15 minutes can make a difference. Taking a walk in nature is one of the fastest ways I use to feel better fast when I have gotten down or anxious for any reason.
- Create and listen to a playlist of feel good music (at least 15 minutes worth) that you can play to get you fired up and ready to take on whatever challenge you face. Play it in the car on the way to work, or as do your chosen exercise routine in number three. We all know music alters our mood. This is why music and chanting was such a large part of most spiritual traditions. There are songs that bring back memories of our youth, others that make us smile, and still others that can make us cry within a few bars of the song starting. This playlist is you actively using music for your own advantage.
These tools are so simple, yet, you have to do them to get results. I am starting a 30-day challenge to do each of these four things daily and observe my results. Want to join me?