An example of flow in my life

In leadership training, we talk about “Flow” as an important state for getting high-results and being motivated. Here is an example of Flow from my own life. As you read it, see if you can spot the key ingredients required to get me in this state of Flow..

 

In 2002 I was living in Brussels. I didn’t have any kids and I was “away from home”. One day, I was thinking about how I could better share my life with people in England. At the time, Facebook probably existed in the US, but it wasn’t part of our daily life like it is today. I wanted to let people know what I was up to, share stories and pictures and have more contact with them. One Saturday afternoon at 2pm, I decided to make a website.

 

Not having a clue about how to make websites, I went to Google and typed in “How to make a website”. I found the site htmlgoodies.com and discovered a set of lessons on how to code a site. I opened up lesson 1:

  • Open notepad
  • Type <html>
  • Write what you want to see on your page
  • (I wrote “Welcome to my webpage)
  • Type </html>
  • Save
  • Open internet explorer and open your “document”

 

What I saw was a blank “internet page” with “Welcome to my webpage” in the top-left corner, font times new roman, size 10. I quietly smiled to myself and moved onto lesson 2, which was about how to make a link. I made a new notepad document with the HREF code for a link and linked it to my first page with the text “Click here”. When I opened my new page, I saw a blue link in the top-left saying “Click here”. I did. It opened my first page. I was very excited.

 

I went on through the lessons: How to change background colour, adjust font, add tables, put in pictures, make frames, add a form for email contact, add buttons… Each time, I slowly learnt something new and watched my pages come to life.

 

I carried on working non-stop from 2pm to 4.30am the next day. I only stopped a couple of times to go the toilet and I had a “dinner” in less than 10 minutes at my desk. By the time I finished, I had my first working website, uploaded via FTP and shared by email with my family. It had a kind of diary in it, some pictures and I had plans to add more later with my new skillset.

 

This is a perfect example of flow for me: I got the best results I could get, I was happy and time flew by.

 

According to positive psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, this positive state of flow is what everyone wants in life. It is a state of motivation where we feel good and get the best results. If we are under stimulated, we get bored (and bad results) and if things are too much for us, its stressful (with bad results). Flow is the key.

 

To get in flow, you need:

  • A clear goal that has a sense of purpose to you
  • Feedback from the world – you need to be able to see your progress (like I did with my internet pages)
  • The possibility to concentrate fully on your work (no kids!)
  • A balance between the challenge you have and your own competences/resources (note: most people like to be stretched a little)
  • The possibility of growth

 

If you are thinking about how to motivate your people at work, there are lots of practical ideas of what you can do to create or maintain flow. My training participants have been coming up with many ideas. You can see some on this padlet wall and this other wall. Its not difficult to do and the impact on employee results and happiness is enormous.

 

So, go: Get your people in flow!

 

Thanks for reading!

@dan_steer

 

 

Published by Dan Steer

For the last 17 years, I have been helping businesses and individuals to achieve their goals through delivery of tailor-made learning and development initiatives. Most of the time, I deliver training, coach individuals, facilitate brainstorming sessions, round-table meetings and workshops. As a consultant, I help my clients to promote and profit from the infinite learning opportunities within and without their own organisation, drawing on my L+D management experience, strategic approach and creativity, As a speaker, I inspire through story, humour and pertinent little bits of theory. I believe that the world would be a better place if people were happily working on their mission with competence and alignment to personal values. As a freelance worker since 2008, I have helped more than 11000 individuals to improve their presentation, communication, commercial, leadership and negotiation skills. I confront people with their own behaviour and convictions, facilitating and giving pertinent feedback and clear ideas on where to continue good work and improve. I seek to satisfy my clients with creative and to-the-point solutions… …and I make music, but no-one pays me much for it yet :-) First single here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x0ShlY95X4E

Join the Conversation

3 Comments

  1. I had the same – flow while making my first web site!:) sine then kids are there and it’s not that difficult to get in the flow on the other subjects: depends on what brings you that “sense of purpose” 😉 Asya

Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: