“These scenarios and many more have an uncanny knack of throwing us out of our flow…”
Hands up who’s been to a networking event or social gathering and the conversation has been clunky or awkward. People talk over each other, they ask boring questions like ‘what do you do?’ then don’t listen to the answer because they are looking over your shoulder for someone more useful to them. There might be a sense of competition between those vying for attention. Others just don’t ask any questions at all but ramble on about themselves.
How about working in teams where there is a whole range of different dysfunctions: lack of purpose, conflicting agendas, demotivated members, disgruntled members, friction around role specifications and functions. These are examples of situations that can put you off your stride, out of your flow.
What does flow mean?
When we are in the flow, everything seems to fit together. Productivity is high, conversations click, inspiration is abundant.
What takes us out of the flow?
The biggest reason we step out of the flow is this: When our experience at any one time does not match what we want. Or in other words, someone does something that we either didn’t expect, or we didn’t like, or we anticipate that they will do something unexpected or that we won’t like.
Networking – worry that people won’t want to spend time with you, or being ‘cornered’ by someone who you have nothing in common with
At work – anxious about your upcoming review, or feeling undervalued by Head Office
At home – anticipating a lack of support from your partner, or dealing with confrontation from your child
All these scenarios and many more have an uncanny knack of throwing us out of our flow.
When we are out of the flow, we notice that we are physically and emotionally uncomfortable and that fires up all sorts of feelings and triggers all sorts of reactions.
How can you get back into the flow?
Most people when they notice they are out of the flow, seek to justify why they feel like they do. We’ve all been there at times – at least, I know I have. For instance, you might think, ‘If my colleague had done what they were supposed to, I wouldn’t be here now picking up the pieces.’
If you believe, as I do, that it is more important to get back in the flow and feeling good, than to pick over why you are out of it, then the following might help.
- Accept the situation – Things aren’t as you want them to be in this moment
- Embrace it – It’s OK! Life throws us many curve balls, here’s the latest one. Decide not to analyse it, or worry about it. Instead just notice how you feel without judgement of yourself or others
- Say to yourself “I choose to feel _____________”. Whatever it might be. With choice, comes a sense of control and empowerment. What might change, for instance, if you choose to feel confident, compassionate or capable in this moment?
Getting you back in the flow.
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