Find Your Flow, Love What You Do
By: Melanie Shires, PCC
Losing yourself in your work or what you do for a living is an age-old secret to happiness and overall well-being that is gaining new traction in our ever-changing, fast-paced, digital age. This has always been true for entrepreneurs who many times harbor a burning passion for the work that they do and look at their work as a higher personal calling.
However, there is one catch…you have to patient.
I couldn’t tell you every single meeting I attended, interview I gave, person I came in contact with when I was the director of a national financial literacy program. That was over twelve years ago. But what I do recall were all those moments when I spoke to an eager group of bankers, community nonprofits, financial literacy advocates, educators and local politicians about bringing this program to their market. My objective was simple…get these decision makers from diverse industries to work in collaboration and provide a much needed service for positive impact. Many times as I stood before the room it would go like this…I would began my presentation with my voice cracking, my tempo rapid as my hands flew around in front of me like a traffic cop on steroids and as time went on, I slowed down and began to speak with grace and fluidity that seemed surreal. Nervousness fell away, time froze and everything clicked…no longer was I performing a task; I was the task.
It was transcendent. Joyous. Powerful. It was, in short, Flow.
I’ve read that flow is the state of being totally and blissfully immersed in a task, to the exclusion of just about everything else, including one’s self. In other words, flow is focus that happens on a sublime level where existence is temporarily suspended. As I do research on the correlation of happiness and what one does for a living, I have come across people who emphasize enjoyment as the main reason for pursuing an occupation or career describe their own moments of immersive joy as spontaneous flow. Flow for these people equal happiness. And, if you can find your flow in the work you do you will achieve occupational well-being.
Flow is about taking on a task that will test your skill level, but not so much so that you’ll feel overwhelmed or overanxious. It’s the balance of challenge and skill when both are above average levels. Achieving this balance is essential. When there is a mismatch of challenge versus skill it can result in anxiety, boredom or indifference. Finding your flow is finding that sweet spot between high challenge and high skill.
Flow is quite abstract, so don’t expect to find it easily and often. Think of it this way, flow is a lot like love – you can’t just wake up one day and decide you’ll find it. All you can do is try to create the proper conditions that will allow it to happen. Find something that you enjoy intrinsically, something that will challenge you but not too much. Try not to dwell on past mistakes or worry over future ones. Invest in yourself and your personal development – hire a coach, seek out a mentor. Then dive in…and be patient.
In conclusion, don’t go looking for flow. Do what you love, and it will find you.
Integrating mindfulness in the work you do is extremely important to achieve occupational wellness and overall well-being. I am passionate about and committed to helping entrepreneurs live their best life through the integration of states of physical, mental, and spiritual well-being, The Eight Dimensions of Wellness. Follow me @bizcoachmel to get empowered with inspiration, tools, resources, tips, encouragement and support in every step of your wellness journey.