Episode 015 - Why can’t I get into the flow?
What is flow, what breaks it and how to get back into it? Dr Ro & Harms answer these questions to help you fight off the unlimited distractions in today’s world.
In this free flowing (see what we did there) episode your hosts answer questions to help you understand how to remain in your natural flow at a deeper level. This is not about how to be as productive as possible, there are unlimited books on that, this is instead helping you to get to this place:
Flow is when you are doing something and time just flies by, it feels effortless, you have no resistance… you feel most connected with yourself, with those around you and with what you are doing. You are aligned. You can feel at peace and at the same time you can feel enlightened or energised. Flow can happen in different areas of your life. The key is to tune into it and understand WHY you are in FLOW at that point and then emulate that in other areas. – Dr Ro
So come and listen to the following segments in this episode:
- What does flow mean to you?
- What areas in life does the feeling of flow occur?
- What are some examples of when your flow can be broken?
- What is like juggling business, creative work, events whilst having young kids?
- How to get back into the flow?
If you have listened to the episode, here is a quick reference to the core actions you can do immediately to realise and get back into your flow?
Dr Ro’s 3 step approach:
1) Stop & notice, become a silent witness to when you are in flow. What are you doing? How are you feeling? Note this down in order to recapture that activity in the future.
2) Finding it difficult to be a silent witness? Then think back and visualise last time you were in flow, what were you doing? How did you feel? Start to journal and recapture this experience.
3) Whether you are a silent witness or looking back, try to notice what you felt, heard and saw.
Harm’s 5 completely random steps, pick and choose as you wish:
1) Understanding yourself and personality, my (Harms) personality is a creator, so I am most in flow when creating something eg. writing, filming, editing. Take a test, study yourself, what activity best allows you to experience flow?
2) Know yourself, are you introverted or extroverted, not in terms of confidence, but instead where do you get your energy from? Working alone or working collaboratively? Being alone with your thoughts or with people?
3) Assign deep work blocks with NO DISTRACTIONS, people are starting to make money on the fact that you have no discipline. Phone covers, apps that block your usage of phone. Its easier to be disciplined than pay for distraction free time. You can take it a step further and replicate deep work blocks that people like JK Rowling and Matt Mullenweg (founder of WordPress) did. Rowling booked herself into a hotel room to write and Matt sat on the roof with just a chair a pile of books when learning to set up his first business.
4) This is a current personal favourite of mine (Harms) where I will create a daily log of activities and at the end of the day, I will score the day out of 10. 1 being the worst day ever. 10 being, wow I wish every day was like this. This allows you to look back on the week, month, quarter and year and work out what were the best days, but more importantly what were you doing on that day that made it great.
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Hi, it’s Harms here and you are listening to another episode of the Seekardo podcast. Before we get into it here is a special message from Dr Ro himself.
Awesome, so this episode we are talking about the question and discussing around the topic of flow. Why can’t I get into the flow? I’m not talking about when you go to a GP appointment and they ask you the question, how is your flow?
This is a completely different conversation and I’ve got Ro with me once again and we are going to be talking about the question, why can’t I get into the flow? I thought Ro the best way to approach this is just to start with what does flow mean to you? Because for some people it’s going to the GP and having them ask that question, for some people it’s something completely different. That’s what we will be exploring as part of this episode.
Thanks Harms and Hi to everybody listening. Good subject actually not one that I’ve heard brought into the public space for a long time. There’s an old tape set and I’m using the word tape set here, from memory, was a Russian chap. I was probably given it 10 years, 15 years ago and it was really going into the concept of flow back in those days and you don’t really hear it much do you these days? Every now and then you’ll hear people say, “I’ve got to get back into my flow.” But there’s more modern terminology now, mojo, I don’t know if there is anything else millennials use?
High productivity and I think that’s what’s causing a bit of a concern, it’s all linked to productivity and growth. So I think we have to tackle that as well.
It’s definitely something from my era people used to talk about flow, “how do I get back into my flow again?” So I think you picked a great subject and it came off I think off the back of a conversation you and I were having and I have been a little bit in and out of my flow. Maybe we can tackle that subject, you can pick my brains on that just in a few minutes.
For those of you listening it will be interesting to see if you’re driving, going for a run whatever, as I’m talking and Harminder is talking start to tune into what your body is telling you. Because if I give you an indication of what this is, okay this is a Dr Ro definition of what I think flow is but everyone has a slightly different meaning to it. For me flow is when you’re doing something and whilst you’re doing that thing like for example, recording one of these podcasts time just flies by.
The word I used to use a lot is effortless when I was working with people, if I was coaching them and they wanted to get back into their flow, they wanted to get things moving in business and personal life. I’d talk to them about when do the things feel effortless and then say what do you mean? And I’d say when you’re in your flow and they go I know what you mean actually.
It’s when what you are doing has no resistance whatsoever. You’re just doing it. It’s flowing and I know it sounds like as a cliché but that’s exactly what it is doing, you’re flowing, you feel most connected with yourself as a person. You get the sense of there’s nothing misaligned every cog if you think of it as a mechanical machine, every cog in your body is just synchronistic moving, they’re well lubricated.
The world around you is just in harmony with you don’t feel any resistance, you’re not in any arguments, you are not in disharmony with anybody not just with the people around you but with what you’re doing in that moment. In other words, what you’re doing in that moment with the universe is in such synchronicity that there’s no resistance or push back from the universe.
You know what the funny thing is, when you’re in flow you can feel completely at peace, but at the same time, you can feel totally energised and vibrant. You can feel enlightened, you can feel all of those things at exactly the same time.
The odd thing with flow is it can happen in any area of your life at different times and I think the key is to tune in and understand and this is where consciousness comes in now Harms, is why am I actually in flow?
What am I doing right now to create that flow?
But the challenge is when you do that you become conscious that’s when you can go out of flow, we can maybe explore that concept as well.
It’s a bit of a long-winded way of explaining what flow is, by for me, it’s a real very vivid picture. It’s an experience that I’ve had many times, but also been conscious when I’ve been out of it.
Does that description make sense to you?
That does make sense and it’s fascinating listening to somebody of your generation describe flow, because one of the challenges I’ve had is flow to me was very simple. It was if I was working on something and the working part is the key element here if you’re listening at home, when I was working on something and time flew by.
That’s the only way I felt I was in flow or the only way I should have, or I thought I’d be describing myself to actually be in flow. I didn’t realise that actually you can be in flow in other parts of your life, and I wasn’t being conscious about being in flow in other areas of my life just like you’ve described Ro, I was solely focused on and I’d get frustrated if I wasn’t in flow when I was working. I’d dismiss the other areas.
You know the relationship part the sports exercise part all those other dimensions that make up our beautiful harmonious worlds I dismissed it. I said as long as I’m in flow when I’m working, that’s exactly what I should be doing. That was the challenge.
This is an interesting point you’re raising and the question is, why can’t I get back into my flow?
Actually then it begs the question well hold on a minute which area of your life are you in flow and which area of life are you out of flow?
Because the truth is that and you’ve just put your finger on it, we actually aren’t conscious of it sometimes we are just in it and we are out of it. It’s only when something pushes back it’s like pushing against the door and it suddenly swings back and slams in your face, you go “shit I just feel really out of my flow.”
If I was coaching someone I’d go let’s backup for a minute, let’s talk about the last couple of weeks. Let’s talk about the flow of your life and then people start to expand and describe, “I did this, I was out with my kids and this happened, I was with my girlfriend I did this. I was out running the other day and this happened.” If you listen to them you can actually hear from the conversation piece when they’re in an and out of flow.
It’s not their whole life is out of flow it’s usually that a certain area is out of flow and I bet if I asked you the question in the past, when did you feel most out of flow? You’d probably say at work, that’s when I got most frustrated, most blocked. Without realising you may have been out of flow in other areas as well.
For sure, and that raises the question Ro is in context of what?
In context of what part of your life are we applying flow? You’ve already said that flow can occur anywhere, what are some examples typically if somebody was like me in my generation only consciously and I think this is the biggest challenge that I want to bring to people’s awareness is that the flow is just not associated with your work.
So what other areas can we apply this to so people can start becoming mindful of actually was I in flow in that part? Or am I not in flow there, which is actually affecting my workflow and all of these because like you said the word harmonious, I think that’s the best way to describe it.
I’ve sometimes heard it described as balance; you live a balanced life. You know that’s tricky.
Even the term balances is a controversial conversation and anyone listening to this if you belong to our Seekardo community and you’ve gone into the vault for example, there is a whole video series in there on life balance, but I open by saying that I don’t necessarily believe that we actually have life balance.
I think it’s about life harmony because the minute you talk about balance that means you’re getting everything in exactly the same balance, but nothing in your life is ever static to create that balance.
Whereas harmony is about making things move together and flowing together so you just pressed the button on a really big conversation, is there really such a thing as life balance? Or is that just us trying to create some sort image in our mind that everything is in exactly the right spot and I don’t want it to go out of synchronicity. Which is just impossible because the world is a moving mechanism, it’s energy, it’s a flow.
I think the balance comes from that feeling of everything has to be perfect. Perfect picture, perfect life, healthy body and perfect relationship.
Yeah right and I’m getting get pissed off because I haven’t got it. We deliberately didn’t structure this particular podcast in any specific way. Some of the podcasts we get an outline and we say right let’s cover these key points and then you have your question which you fire at me and then we just go for it.
Just go with the flow.
Yeah, whereas today I want to go with what you’re saying as well, so I can bounce off there’s a 20, 30, year difference between us, just over 20 years. It’s nice to get a sense of your language patterns which are reflective in your era and age group versus mine.
I think while I’m there I want to bring some philosophical and maybe because I’ve done so much work in this field over the years is,here’s one thing that’s really important to realise. You fricking flow where you feel most comfortable and least resistance.
Your life tends to flow best like a river, if you think about coming down a mountain and there’s the stream and it starts to get fasters. It picks up speed and then it kind of forks and to the left you’ve got a whole bunch of rocks and it slightly built up, almost like a dam form, but on the right-hand side there is virtually no blocked passage. You’ve got right passive straight to the right-hand side.
So as the water comes down, it can split either way, but as soon as it hits that barrier that that rocky barrier it will backup and then find its natural path down the other side and it will have its greatest flow.
Life is exactly the same.
So when somebody tells me I’m really in my flow at work that usually tells and let’s say they’re married, got kids, whatever see if you get the analogy here.You can tell where I’m going with this can’t you?
So what that tells me is that when they go home and they split down the river, that fork in the river something at home is more resistant. It’s like there are rocks there, they don’t feel completely aligned. They don’t feel their values are aligned, maybe they’re not getting recognised, they’re not getting the acknowledgement and this goes back to the six basic human needs that we have.
But guess what in work they’re doing really well, pats on the back, recognition, pay rise. Email goes around “hey, Harminder did a great job today, let’s recognise him for that. In fact you know what, he is now going to be made another level in the company.”
All of a sudden our flow increases at work and it reduce at home.
For anyone listening to this just think really carefully. I’m making quite a deep statement at the start of this podcast because virtually anywhere that you go that you feel the most flow it’s because there is no universal resistance to who you are in that space.Is this making any sense? I’m going deep I wasn’t expecting to go this deep so quickly.
I wasn’t expecting you to go that deep as well. But I’m processing that in my mind and be self-reflective as you’re saying it and saying was that the case for me and I think at certain times in my career, in my past career before business life was actually yeah, that was true. The work was going great so I was in flow there.
Were you getting recognised?
Did you get pats on the back?
Did you feel that you were adding value?
Did you feel your significance growing?
Did you feel connection with people?
Did you feel that you were growing as a human being?
Did you get financially rewarded for it?
Right so on a scale of one to 10 and this is a coaching process but for those key elements there out of 10 where would you say those were being met? Roughly ballpark figure.
I would say eight out of ten.
Now go back to home. I guess you were living home at the time is that right?
So think about those things.
Recognition, pat on the back,acknowledgement of who you are, sense of significance, massive connection, growing at home scale of one to 10.
That’s definitely below four. I’m picturing my mind back then.
And this is honest, I’m asking you straight off the cuff. No judgement.
I’m trying to give people context of why I’m scoring this. So I’m living at home and this is my generation in its entirety Ro, our classic thing is at a certain stage in our 20s most of my generation are still living at home and this was before marriage. This is before I was dating my beautiful wife Geena, but she lived in her house. She was the same version of me in her house.
Right so it’s not like you were going back to see her.
No I would see her maybe twice a month, three times a month.
Here is a question right on those days when you know you’re going to meet her. Which way did you follow then? Did you want to stay at work and do those extra hours?
That was 10.
If you think about it you’re at home and you’re not getting the growth, your folks are doing their own thing. It’s not like you’re getting the same recognition, you’ve gone past that point of being a child and they love you and they conditionally give you all the attention because you’re going to get that as a young child.
Now you’re a man and out working. If you think of flow like a valve from one to 10, one being the valve was shut and ten is total flow you’ve got two paths. One stay at work and you’re an eight, the valve is nearly open and home it’s like a four. Where are you going to spend most of your time?
You feel in flow whilst you’re at work which is your description about 10 minutes ago.
For those listeners who have listened to past episodes, which is why I was leaving work at like seven, 8 PM. When there was over time I was like hey choose me, choose me.
Hold on which one of our podcasts was that? Was that tackling the subject of anxiety, but there was anxiety? I can’t remember now.
There was anxiety, partly in relationships we discussed that a lot in relationships.
Going back to your question the context of what, so flow occurs at home as we’ve just talked about.
The opposite to that it can operate in the workspace. Sport is another massive area, so I over the years I really get into flow in doing sport, particularly any sort of team sport. So lots of human needs met and I don’t think this is a subject that’s really actually tackled and I’ve not heard it talked about.
But you can match flow in direct relationship with the basic human needs that Maslow talked about, Tony Roberts has talked about over the years, various other people. These needs get met in many different ways. And so when you’re in sport mode you’re definitely pushing yourself, definitely growing, definitely have variety, got certainty you can give yourself a real challenge. You’ve got a sense of growth.
All those needs are met, so flow, adventure, I used to climb a lot mountaineer all those sorts of things. But equally you can get your flow in your job, in your business, charity work doing work with other people where suddenly you’ve spent a whole day and it’s just gone boom.
I spent a day on site the other day with my builders and they were doing the work and there were some things I needed to do on the site as well. Nothing particularly physical because I’ve got an injury at the moment, but even though I was there for what I thought was about an hour I was there for four hours.
That’s your world, especiallybecause there’s a renovation going on, it’s property, there’s engineering lots of things going.
Exactly very good point actuallythere are lots of little things and they were asking me some questions, we were looking at the underfloor heating trying to work out these plans and I just got back into the whole world of just giving some value, trying to solve a problem. And we’ll come to this at the end of the podcast, but there are ways to identify how to bring yourself back into flow.
I guess the last one to my list would be relationships because in a really passionate, connected relationship, whether it’s intimate with a loving partner or relationship with your kids, or your parents when you’re really in a good space, it’s like you and I when we get a phone call or face-to-face time goes like that boom. Total flow.
Same with these podcasts, for listeners I can promise you every time we start the podcast we are saying we’ve got to keep this once tight 30 minutes, 45 minutes, one hour maximum it never happens.
I know but it can happen anywhere and I guess before I kick it get back over to you, I think the key thing for everybody listening is you have to start to bring mindfulness back into play, meaning you’ve got to tune in.Start to notice it, start to be aware of it and we will look at some of the signs in a bit and the result of flow is immense. If you’re wondering what’s the point of a podcast like this, why does I need to know this?
The reason I think we brought the subject up is because people can’t always label it, they give it different names. I think flow is a great label that it’s given and Harminder wanted to pick the subject to tackle it. But the result of flow is freaking huge.
If you can imagine having the ability to just do things effortlessly to communicate with impact effortlessly, to actually be able to be with somebody without having to force it, to enjoy a silent moment, and yet it seems to have just flowed. To be able to be contributing to other people, to be able to enjoy health and to work and earn money in an effortless way.
Wow that is immense and for me it’s one of those areas I strive for.
I wouldn’t say that I’ve achieved it in all areas. I thinkthat’s something that very few people have achieved to do but I think if you’re in the space of being aware of it, you can start to bring it into different places and as a human being ultimately if we can get to that place, imagine what life would be like if you created flow in every single area of your life.Consistently on a regular basis it would be like Nirvana.
It sounds great just listening to it, I think that’s something we should definitely aspire to because the challenge issomething I’ve just brought to listeners attention and almost self-processing here is, the challenge is just getting sucked into one area and just trying to flow in that area because that area just to simplify what Ro has said, it meets all your human needs.
The reason I feel like when I’m working in my career, my past career or when I’m doing creative work now, it’s because all my human needs. Somebody is going to pat me on the back and say well done, whereas it’s not being mindful about the other areas that apply. If I was to Ro give you some examples of when I believe I’m in flow,.
Yeah that would be good actually because I was going to put it back on you and let’s put this in context right, you’ve just described the old days when you’re in work and you’d stay there till long hours and without realising it if you look back now, you were actually in flow.
Let’s describe a situation where you’re a 30-year-old married man, you’ve got your own businesses, you’re financially secure. You don’t have to be tied to a job, you’re even floating around the country living in different parts, lots happening your life.
Now if we press pause for a minute, still a millennial, but now in a different space describe what flow is for you now compared to, say, five, eight years ago.
If I was to give you a macro level flow for me is waking up at the same time every day and just getting to work as early as possible, so this is my version of flow and I’ll break it down into different parts. This is now working on things I am passionate about and that’s where my flow comes, it’s working on passion projects, working and collaborating with people closely to me.
When you say getting to work you don’t mean travelling to it, you mean getting into your work?
What I mean is walking downstairs, putting the coffee machine on then going upstairs to the office.
It’s a completely different shift but one of the reasons why I like to get at work and get to it as quickly as possible is so that I can get into the second part of my flow, which is where me and Geena my beautiful wife we get into our relationship flow.
When you spoke about flow can occur anywhere one of those places is in relationships we can sometimes lose ourselves in conversations for hours. We would just start a conversation next minute we are like it’s dinnertime and we’ve just been speaking for two and half hours, three hours about all sorts of various subjects.
That’s me living in my relationship flow and that occurs two, three times a week, so I know we are in a good place there.
So that’s what flow looks like to me and if that gets disrupted, then I feel it. I know what my flow is on a worldly basis but I’m still missing out flow Ro in other areas for example, living away from close friends. I don’t really get involved in sport much, I don’t have that adventure as such, where we can meet up as a group and do sports, adventure style activities.
There are certain areas which I still want to get into my flow in those areas because there’s a complete block there now for various reasons.
That’s a snapshot of where I was spending all my time at work, getting a pat on the back and what’s interesting now is the work that I do and the flow and the feeling of flow doesn’t come from the pat of the back, it comes from working on stuff that I want to work.Very different stimulations as such and I realise that now.
Interesting because you talked about the block there and I know that because I’m slightly in that same space and partly because there are lots of moving parts going on, but you’re also in a place where there’s a lot of focus right now on the business area outside of enjoying time up there with Gee and expanding your property business.
I think there is so much flow in those three, four areas that there is almost not enough a white space in your timeline to fit in the personal health and exercise. That’s good, but I think prolonged because you are aware of it you are going to go I need to adjust that, that’s when the adjustment comes in.
That happens for all of us myself included here.
Yeah and I think the way I stay attached to that in terms of the sports and exercise I just must hit running. I must run at least 5K once a week so that’s something I do just almost if you imagine a cliff I’m just grabbing onto the flow off the health knowing that I don’t want to let go completely.
But that’s because I’m mindful I don’t feel right because I haven’t done the exercise but there’s not enough whitespace at the moment to do it entirely.You’re absolutely right there but that’s where I feel inflow now and actually it’s a result of having worked to get to that flow.
I’ve had conversations with you Ro many times and I think one of things when you surround yourself with people who are in their flow. For example you are one of those you’re consciously mindful of being in your flow. It’s then saying, oh my god, how do I then do what they’re doing? How do I do what they’re doing and not in terms of replicating what they’re doing, but how are they just living the life that they want to live?
I think that only happens when you’re around like-minded people and they start to rub off on you, I think that’s massive.
I think the Seekardo’s community experience that in at the Seekardo meet ups when we all meet up and we are sharing different things. It’s like, goodness there are people out there who are living their flow and it is possible because sometimes it feels so frustrating that you can’t actually get there .
Yeah and it’s a tricky subject because there are people I know that are hugely successful in what they do and they’re definitely in their flow in that space. And if you see a snapshot of that on Facebook, on Instagram, etcetera it looks amazing, you think I want to aspire to that.
But we have to remember that is flow in one area of their life, that doesn’t mean to say that the flow is everywhere else as well. That’s the ultimate place to get to is to find the balance in each of those areas, but we can’t force someone or I can’t force myself to pursue those things by watching somebody else, I’ve got to reflect back on myself and say where do I want the flow? Where am I out of flow?
We have to define what it means as well.
Because you’re a different generation to me now and I’m still at my start-up, I’m still working on lots of things, discovering things, experimenting.
But what does flow look like for you and your world?
If I tell you where it happens then we can go into what it looks likes. It’s quite simple. Actually over the years I narrowed it down. It used to be like trying to get a flow in frigging everything and that’s not to say that when you try something you don’t want to get into the flow of it, but there are certain things we do consistently regularly and I think that’s probably a good place to start for everybody.
If you’re listening to this thinking, where the hell do I start?
Start breaking down and this would come back to where am I now?
Actually again, if you’re listening and you’re already on the Seekardo and you’re part of our community and you may not have had a chance to do this, go back into the vault because the vault has this incredible resource of videos, audios and hypnosis programs that I created.
Some of the tools there from Harminder and his team from B Street, but there’s one particular one I created called where are you now, and that looks at breaking and also there is a whole series on purpose. It is breaking your life into areas categories of life.
I think that’s the best place to start otherwise you are going to try and consistently get flow through everything and it won’t work that way. So if I look at my life there are five or six key areas I find I get most flow and where I tend to show up.
One is public speaking, another one is family so that can include intimate family and close family, etcetera and friends. Then I’ve got coaching, which is the one-to-one time I have with people, when I’m creating something as you know so it’s writing, recording like this, creating something purely from what’s inside me and the universe, and then writing. I put writing separately to creating because writing is something for me that has been on hold for a few years with the book and the children coming along, but now I’m back into the flow of that. That is another place I get it.
The only other area I would say on top of that to make it six would be exercise, sport and adventure. Particularly adventure going out and doing things that really stretch and challenge me.
All of those I find myself getting into flow to do them all at the same time, virtually impossible. To be able to manage all of those in the process of a day, very difficult to do. It’s about then enjoying the experience of flow, for example when I’m in public speaking if you say how do you know you’re in flow?
There’s a sense of calmness in my body, but at the same time there’s a huge amount of energy flowing through me. I actually have sometimes no sense of time as you know and anyone that’s worked with me will say that’s very true and a really immense sense of giving. Being able to just to give unconditionally.
With family it’s a different feeling. I think it’s more about connection. It’s about humility, meaning for me being present with my kids and just being humbled by who they are. The innocence but also the fact that I’m responsible as a parent to give this young human being a chance to just really become amazing as they are.I get into this flow of trying to find that and actually family is one of my biggest challenging areas for flow.
My fiancé of course, my other half she herself is going through a phase in her life where she’s trying to find her flow. She is a mum, she is 40, she has two kids with me, and now she’s like I want to get back into my flow. “You’ve been getting your flow Ro, what about my flow?”And she is absolutely right.
So we are having that conversation at the moment, and when we are really connected we are in a great flow but also as parents sometimes you’re not ad connected as you want to be. That when we can hit loggerheads and the flow gets broken down.
Coaching one-to-one, working with people it’s the same thing. A lot of it comes down to contribution for me it’s being able to give huge amounts to somebody else and see a shift in them, without expecting anything back. And then the whole course of creativity is just, I think it’s bred into my soul. It’s like, what can I do to create something to give other people a chance to grow from and experience an amazing chance to grow really for them and me.
It’s timelessness, I’m just trying to give you some words against it’s effortless, it’s feeling in harmony, feeling energised, not feeling tired, feeling wired and at the same time having a sense of absolute certainty that I can do this and I’m good at this, and it feels right and it feels right for me, the universe and the people I’m around. It’s just seamless and we’ve had this conversation before where I’ve come offstage for example, and you’ve said wow that was amazing or you seemed to be in your flow there. That’s when I can’t even measure it, something is happening that is coming through me and that’s when I know I’m in my flow.
The challenge is to stay in that place and of course life comes along and slaps you left right and centre, and you go out of flow.
About two and a half weeks ago I trapped a nerve as you know, in my left shoulder and it got progressively worse to the point where it’s been so intense that even though I’m trying to get into my flow, it’s breaking that flow. It’s a physical intervention rather than an emotional circumstance as well, so it’s balancing not trying to force it.
What I’ve learnt is and you know this from me, I’ve actually backed off a bit this week because I’m trying to get into my flow and somehow my body and the universe is saying no you have to have a break for a while.
Yeah, I think if you’re listening at home that’s Ro giving you his version of flow and I gave you mine. I think picked up on some of the keywords like energised and then apply that word to your life and say when do I feel energised?
Because that might be an indicator of that thing that you’re doing right there is you in your flow and I think pickup on those things, not so much what is it that Ro does, for example, public speaking, and spending time with the family or creating or writing.
That’s the thing Ro does but the words that are floating around that he described timelessness, when you’re doing something and there’s a feeling of timelessness that’s you in your flow. That’s when you should be mindful enough to say, oh my god that’s me in my flow let me log that, mentally log that, let me journal that, write that down. So I know when I’m searching for my flow I know that was it. So you can almost attach yourself to that activity again to start getting back into that feeling.
Yeah good point.
Is that fair?
Yes that’s a great point actually and let me give some metaphors with this. You’ve just talked about the words there so think about effortless, timelessness, no resistance, alignment and connection. Think of yourself going along the river it gets very choppy and bumpy and you’re going down the rapids there are lots of stones in the flow. That’s not really the real flow.
You come out at the end of the rapids and now it’s that smooth and graceful calm feeling you get, as you come out the rapid but the speed is still there. You look to the side and all you can see are the trees passing you by or whatever you’re looking at the scenery, somebody sat their fishing and boom they’ve gone by really quickly.
That’s that whole graceful feeling, it’s like walking through a door and you’re having to push the door, it’s one of these big glass doors and you’re pushing it versus you’re walking through spinning doors that are revolving and you happen to get into that revolving door exactly at the right point and it just moves gracefully through. Whereas some doors you go through it judders, you know that feeling?
Yeah, it stops you in your tracks.
Exactly so the flow is when you just time it right through those revolving doors and for some reason you’re through and it’s just happened, or you walking through some sliding doors and they just open and close and there’s been no stop to your flow. That’s a great way of looking at it on a personal level.
I love that.
When you’ve got those feelings or when you’re feeling in any of those metaphorical states, that’s when you’re doing something.That’s when you’re doing something that’s in your flow.
Remember that can happen in any category or area of your life, and I think it’s massively important to be mindful not to fall into the trap. Which I did in the past, which is, hey, unless I’m doing something that makes me feel successful or somebody is patting me on the back that’s when I’m in my flow.
See where you can find it in different areas.
On that note, I think that’s a very, very good point it’s being mindful of then suddenly becoming a workaholic because you’re getting into your job but are you and this is the whole thing about the two splits in the river, are you going down one flow of the river and are you moving so far away from that fork in the junction that you become disconnected with your family, because you’re not going back at home to face those things?
The conversation you don’t want to have with your husband or your wife, the difficult situation you’re having maybe on a financial level or the kids there is not a flow there. Relationships having challenges so we’ve got to be mindful in this conversation not to say to you right keep going down now you’re in the flow stay in the flow.
It might be on occasions you’re in the flow for the wrong reasons, or you are consumed by what you’re doing to the point where you’re not really in flow anymore. You’re just doing it because you’re really good at it. You’re good at making money, you’re good at working in your job, you’re good at getting recognition, you’re good at doing presentations, you’re good at getting that report done in the workplace so they keep piling more on top of you.
All that is doing is creating a block to the flow in a different part of your life.
That’s a deep point to cover, but I don’t know if that is making sense? It’s just being mindful of the difference between flow and being obsessive in what you’re doing, but it’s not really flow.
I love that and the next thing I wanted to touch upon was you started to mention it when you were describing what your flow is Ro, which was when your flow is broken.
You said when certain things happen you feel like your flow is broken, so one is a physical thing happening right now which is this injury you have. That’s something physically stopping you from entering your flow.
Now what things have you seen having coached people, haven’t taught people on stage, having done some interventional work, even having seen the Seekardo members so many of them entrepreneurial. So many of them are constantly in their flow with various different things but where do you see people’s flow getting broken?
I think the best way to do this is as always in this podcast, you talk about your generation and maybe I can comment on mine. Or you can add some observations you’ve seen as part of my generation.
Can I start with the younger?
I’ll throw a few quick ones out then maybe you can talk into that space, that is a great way of looking at actually. So yeah, how does flow get broken? Again, this is not a criticism it’s an observation, but kick it back at me if you think I’m off centre here, but I think for the younger generation certainly the millennial’s and even the generation below you, there are three things that jump out to me immediately.
One is I think people mistake success for flow, meaning I am doing really well in my job getting recognition for it and they think they’re in their flow and they may well as I’ve said already separate be in their flow, but because they getting financial reward for it, they’re getting success for it,they go, “yeah I’m in my flow.”
Another one of course is they think that because they’re making more money, higher pay rise, better company car, salaries gone up, better holiday they’re in their flow. Or it could be that they’re just getting recognition and these are things I see in younger people generally.
You get a lot recognition on social media and in the workplace again, possibly in the group, peer group their social group. And they can gravitate and they feel comfortable in there and it’s one of the basic human needs that we get, two things we want a sense of connection, but the other one is a sense of significance. So that recognition is where they go, “yeah I’m really in my flow,” but it’s not necessarily truly harmonistic in their flow, just because they’re making more money, they’re getting more success and they’re getting recognised for it.
Now I see that more in the younger generation and its again, correct me if I’m wrong. If you feel the same way or not but that’s my observation. Certainly at this snapshot in time from where I’m seeing things in the media and social media.
I would agree with you partially there, which is I think the chasing of the money and working towards the objective of getting more money it’s given people a false feeling that they are in flow.
I think I said the phrase in a previous episode and it was about hustling. So in my generation if you’re hustling you’re putting the hours in, you’re working around the clock, you’re sleeping less hours. If you are doing all that you are now in your flow in the pursuit of money.
In that sense I 100% agree and with my generation having their flow broken like that because the entire focus becomes on that pursuit of money, because that’s now consuming the entire day. So, that’s for sure.
But I think the other thing and it’s not a disagreement it’s probably something that’s missing as part of the description is the way that my generation have entered into an informational society, where we’ve got WhatsApp groups, WhatsApp messages every second, social media constantly refreshing every single second.
I saw something like 300 hours of content is uploaded to YouTube every single minute to be consumed, your phone is hitting you with notifications. Every one of those red dots is intentionally placed there to break your flow and divert your attention into what they’ve got to say, or what’s in your inbox. I fall into this part as well; I fall into this trap.
Sometimes I continuously do, which is saying yes to lots of opportunities, especially when they’re financially linked. It’s something I’ve gotten a lot better at saying no at now, understanding who I am as a person.
But one of the things I did in my early days, saying yes, that’s a great opportunity.
Now there’s no way I can divert the metaphorical river into that many different flows it’s near enough impossible, and it becomes overwhelming. And then you get the reverse effect. So I think those things in addition to what you said Ro, is definitely what’s breaking my generation’s flow and you know it’s easy to say, yeah, we’ll just switch off social media but it’s now a part of life.
So these companies are now part of life. If you log into something online even any kind of username and password you login to is all linked to some of the biggest companies out there. You cannot avoid them now it’s a real tricky place we’re navigating.
There’s almost an argument to say and it’s a conversation for another podcast and that is ultimately, if you can identify what your purpose is or the purpose in certain areas of your life and you get into connection with that and moving back into your flow.
We are now not pursuing just monetary success or recognition, or financial success, or acknowledgement in the workplace, but actually moving towards something that’s more purposeful and by doing that you feel more in your flow.
That’s a subtle one but for anyone listening to that if you just tag into that on the back of this you might even ask yourself the question, which direction in my life do I want to take things and then if you start to pursue that with passion you’ll actually line back into a sense of flow. It moves you away from the need to be recognised or to seek financial benefit for it.
Although that is important, but if that’s the only pursuit you’ve got you’re not really truly in flow then, that is just one area of flow.
Where that played out for me Ro is when I started to work on things that matter to me as me as a person not based on what somebody else is going to say about me. When I started to work on things that matter to me, that’s when my flow started to organically take place and it wasn’t a conscious thing, it was like oh my god now I’m working on things that matter to me. I’m in flow. That’s another way to describe what you’ve just mentioned there.
Yeah, that’s a good point actually. The older generation are slightly different. My generation the 40s, 50s, 60s, I’m somewhere in between all of that. I think actually they are a little bit lost now because when we were brought up we were brought up with this whole philosophy of, get your head down, get a good education, get a good degree, work hard, pay off your mortgage, don’t question stuff, just get the frig on with this.
Especially education that was a big thing, you got your degree and a good job, so that whole thing in the 60s and 70s and 80s.
If anyone ever questioned was that really the big drive? We had culture of college polytechnic and university. College was in terms of it call it a, b and c. A being the top, which would be university, B being polytechnic and then C being collage.You’d meet somebody in their career and they’d go “how are you getting on? Where did you study?” I went to this college. “Oh you went to college, where did you study?” I went to polytechnic. “Oh right, you want to polytechnic. You went to university? Which university did you go t?”
It was a completely different reaction you got and you were categorised. We weren’t told about flow. We never talked about purpose or anything like that. I think people of my age group now have got to a point where they’re seeking a deeper level of understanding, we have to get it out of our heads because that’s how we grew up.
It was all about good education, study hard, prove yourself. The 90s was all about one-upmanship, competitiveness, women came into the workplace more and there was this whole masculine feminine shift. It was really crazy so I think we almost need to go back to my mums’ period where things were slower, we were more present with ourselves.
I don’t think either your generation or even my generation are because there is so much going on and my generation are feeling oh shit we’re being left out here. We can’t keep up with technology. What do we? We just missed flow. I don’t think we had it. We weren’t conscious of it. And if you did get into it you just carried on.
You were like, yeah that was a good period in my life. Actually no, you were really in your flow. What the fuck is flow?
Yes it’s almost like flow skipped a generation because I don’t actually know the history of what the culture was like before this whole baby-boom generation, because that’s also where some of the most famous artists came from, some of the amazing architecture.
The amazing authors those names that get remembered they were in their flow. But I feel like that flow then missed your generation as such, and now your generation is looking at my generation thinking, how are all these people loving what they do? How are they just so comfortable because my generation when they do get in their flow, they are really in their flow. When it comes to art, creativity and they very exploratory.
It is like your generation saying that’s not how you do it. That’s not what you’re supposed to be doing.
Exactly this is the whole things about millennials, they’re lazy, they’re questioning the work life balance, they do not fit into the cogs that are in the whole engine of this whole thing we call the industry. You guys aren’t fitted into it that’s because you’re now actually thinking wait a minute, I want something different. You are getting the benefit of social media by the fact you’re seeing other people out there, and this is the challenge people are mistaking flow for a snapshot.
Whereas my generation are still wondering what flow is.
We grew up with the ZX 81, which is the computer and technology was just taking off. We had the Macs coming in, we had IBM coming in technology took over. Everything was rushing really fast we had to try and keep up with that, had to up skill otherwise you’re out of it. We went from car driven computers where there were holes in them to suddenly discs,three- and half-inch discs which you probably don’t remember, there were discs on a computer to suddenly these hard drives. All this stuff jobs were changing.
There was no time to stop you had to constantly be proving yourself to be able to stay in the job and if you’re Asian, black, your culture, my culture you had to get better degrees because you would just be left behind because you were recognised as in those days in my profession, for example, civil engineering there was hardly any people of colour at the top of the profession.
I remember somebody one of my early mentors who was originally from West Indies very dear friend of mine, about four years older than me. He was like “Ro you know what, you and me right in our profession we’ve got to academically work our nuts off so that we are even on paper above a lot of the people around us to be even considered for some of these roles.”
So your head was just down, flow didn’t even come into it.
From a belief system the way your generations belief system is now built up from those scenarios is when you’re in your 50s, 60s, that’s really difficult to step away from and say, actually, now I can go discover things in my flow and go and get in my flow. It’s very difficult at that age to then shift and often they have to come to an event like Communicating with Impact, like a Turning Point you’ve run in the past, or enter the Seekardo community start working their way through the vault and thinking, oh my god I do have permission to myself to be able to shift and start to discover these things.
It’s like breaking out of a box as such, trying to smash yourself out of a cardboard box. That’s the way I see your generation where you’ve said you’re a bit lost. It’s almost like you’re a bit trapped.
Yeah trapped in old school thinking and the longer you go there people struggle to get out of it. That why I love when I see people coming to our events who are 50, 60 years of age. Communicating with Impact is great because it gets people started to talk in a different way and it’s also about mindfulness and presence, there are so many different elements. The vault that we have on the Seekardo has so many different areas that people can dig into, but it’s about self-exploration.
I think younger people are more open to it now the old generation are coming into it but still in a very heady way, as opposed to a heart way which is another conversation for another day really.
Absolutely, so here is an interesting one to throw at you, you spoke about the older generation and my generation are going to be coming up to this part of their life, which is children.
I know you’re going to flip this and say actually the children become, because this is actually I’m wising up to my understanding of flow during our shooting of this podcast. Now the children will be one part the flow but how does that then, how do you juggle that?
If that’s the right word. How do you manage that? Because no doubt the children are going to break your flow or is that an assumption?
Yeah, they do.
If you want to know about flow just watch children, particularly between the age of one and six. At six they start to become more conscious. If you study the human development of the mind and how children are the language patterns change, up until that point when they’re unconscious it means that time just pasts by. You’ll be walking along with a four-year-old and they’ll just stop to look at a bumblebee. They can be there for an hour; you’re looking at your watch because we are thinking go to get down to the shops or whatever it is. But a child can just sit and watch a butterfly, they can sit and just watch a caterpillar and although yes, it’s nice to watch it as an adult we are kind of done with that. Whereas a child is like look at it, look how it moves.
Kids have their own flow and unfortunately their measure of flow, which they don’t even measure is totally out of sync with ours.
That’s true timelessness.
It is and so, you’re spot on they do break up our flow because unfortunately we have, I think we have created a definition of what flow should be. You’ve probably heard me joke about it before it’s like a movie.
My movie for today is this wake up at 6.30, 7 o’clock the kids are just going to get up 15 minutes later. We will have prepared everything perfect. The breakfast table will be laid out. Savanna is going to come downstairs and say, hey daddy I’m going in the shower, get myself ready and look after myself 100%, all my clothes are laid out I don’t need your help. Liv who is only five she’s going to wake up bouncing with no problems at all, she’ll be dressed, washed, showered all on her own and that will be the end of chapter one of the breakfast section.
Chapter two will be we are all sat around the table, everything is perfectly timed we’ve got loads of time to chat about life maybe explore what we are going to do that day.That’s your script for the movie right, that’s your flow script. Basically the kids come with a red marker and just scrawl all over the script, for any parents listening to this they’ll be cracking up right now listening to this.
I think my mum and dad if they’re listening to this they’ll be saying yes, you’re just basically describing my boys when they were children as well.
Yeah, absolutely. It is challenging and flow does get broken and I think the truth is that I am still personally juggling the whole thing. I think because I’m more mindful of what flow is, I’m trying to consciously steer it. It’s everything from how do you juggle your time running several businesses, going to work if you have a career, getting your sports right, your relationship right which comes back a little bit to time management as well.
I think the key thing and this is a personal share, we were just talking about this today, when you’re in a moment where all seems crazy is to bring it back into perspective and just grab that moment, and say right how can I enjoy the flow of this moment?
What am I supposed to learn from my kids here? My daughter’s pulling on my leg saying, “daddy, daddy can we try and solve this jigsaw?” I’m trying to go off and do work. Now that moment in time I could flow to the work and it will be easy because I can lose myself in the work and write an email, or I could sit down with my daughter and I could do the jigsaw.
This is a personal experience right, the only way I can experience flow in that moment, with Liv doing her jigsaw is to allow myself to just, it’s like the river I remove the blocks which are in my head saying, shit what about the email? I promised somebody I said would get off this time, maybe I could quickly do the jigsaw and then get back to the email. They’re all blocks, that’s not flow.
If I even try to force that, if I try to sit there and while I’m doing the jigsaw rushing her to get to the email that’s not me in my flow.
I don’t know if this is making sense. But this is me forcing flow. So it doesn’t feel comfortable and I have done it. I am put my hands up and say I’ve done it on more occasions than one. I’ve then sat down to do that piece of work and afterwards I’ve felt shitty.
If there are any parents in this situation, you’ll know what I’m talking about. You kind of go fucking hell, I’ve got the work done, but it didn’t feel very satisfying. That’s because you weren’t in your flow, you didn’t allow that flow to happen with your child first and then go off to work as well. Is this making any sense?
That does make senseand it is fascinating because as my generation start to have children if they’ve listened to the am I ready to get marriedpodcast, they would’ve got married.
If they’ve listened to am I ready to be a parent podcast, they’d now have a baby. That’s how it plays out in my mind for our listeners. I think it is fascinating and it is interesting because it’s almost like saying that self-talk that was happening the block in your mind, is just trying to get that done quickly, that done quickly and I’m really starting to dislike the word but it’s trying to be as productive as possible in the day. get everything done.
Isn’t that heady?And flow is not about because it’s timeless and I know it’s being a bit soft on the skill here or the experience, but flow can be heady in the sense that it can get productivity done. But that’s a slightly different conversation to the one we are having here.
Yeahand I think the heady part comes from the actual how do you ensure that when you’re doing what you’re doing it is practical? I think productivity and things like that can be applied to work, okay how do I get my work done without any distractions? How do I work on my tasks? That’s great productivity, but I think the flow comes from the feeling you get once you’re in that zone.
So yeswe can get technical, I did a live the other day on post-it notes. I’ve got big tasks when I’m really struggling to get in my flow I’ll put some post it notes out in frontand start working through them one by one.
That’s like a productivity hack or productivity tip, but the feeling attached to actually working through that day is not heady, that’s a heartfelt feeling at the end of the day like, that felt great. So I think when you are doing a jigsaw with Liv it’s a case of just do that.
Just do that, be in flow in that experience and if you were to say if I was in that situation I’ll be asking the question, what is most important? I think doing the jigsaw with Liv would win 99% of the time.
It does take a moment to pause and you’ve been at events where my kids have been there. You’ve seen me coming on stage or I’m on stage and I’m trying to get ready to for the next section, you’ve seen them run up.
It’s the cutest thing.
What do you notice about because you’re observing it from the outside. What do you notice about me in that moment? I’ve got my notes in front of me, I’ve got other people waiting to see me and Liv runs up, or Savannah runs up. What do you observe because that would be a good indication if you think I’m in my flow or not.
What was fascinating at the most recent Communicating with Impact event is you took a moment with them but then you got back to the matter at hand, which was you’re running an event for 100 people, you’re teaching them how to communicate with impact over four days. The next one if for three days.
I think that’s how you managed it there, but that’s very different to the scenario you just painted. Because now you’re at home and you’re comparing your time with Liv versus an email. whereas there you’re comparing a moment with Liv.
I think there was a point where they were trying to jump off the stage, I don’t know if you remember.
I know but because they’re so cute we had the whole team attracted to them, taking care of them and things like that so you could stay focused on teaching the 100 people, but I think you took a moment with them. That’s me observing visually, but you then went back to…
It didn’t break the flow because it felt natural.
It felt natural because they’ve done that with a few of your events they’ve naturally flowed through your events, it’s quite fascinating.
That’s true. Yeah, that’s because they feel comfortable there and that’s another indication of flow is when you’re in your flow and people are comfortable around you when they move around you in an elegant way, it’s like a dance and there’s no jaggedness, no edginess, that’s a really good indicator that I’m in my flow at the moment.
Whereas when you get resistance and people don’t feel in that space, they don’t want to be in that space you are definitely not in your flow.
So flow is actually a huge magnet. It creates from the law of attraction perspective it’s massive, attractive force.
Let me summarise what we’ve covered so far, which is what does flow mean to you and you gave us an amazing description and then we worked through the fact that flow can occur in different parts of your life, it doesn’t have to be attached to work. And the way we can trigger this is being mindful of when you are feeling in flow and then you described lots of different metaphorical words that somebody can associate with their task.
You also spoke about and we discussed older generation versus younger generation and what physically breaks their flow. What mentally breaks their flow, what external factors also break their flow and we’ve gone deep in this episode.
I was going into this approaching it from a headspace as well in all honesty thinking, okay we are going to talk about how to make people more productive. That was almost my approach. But as we’ve explored this it’s totally the opposite, it’s not to do with that at all.
I think what we can do and leave listeners with, we were hoping to get this done in an hour I think we might just make it, but the question is how do we get back into the flow?
What are some things that we can do and I think if we approach this from two different approaches left brain, right brain and give somebody a logical way, but also give somebody a way which is from the heart space.
Because I personally feel if there is one big takeaway that every listener needs to take from this and of course you take your own parts, but that is that flow really comes from a heart space when you’re really in the flow and you’re feeling all those amazing things, effortlessness, timelessness connection, joy, the calm at the same time, the harmonious feeling.
That’s all from the heart space and having been in that flow for various times in different things that’s the place. It is Nirvana, I think you described it as Nirvana.
Yeah absolutely, let me tackle the right brain and do a bit more of this spiritual connected side of it, and maybe if you want to go for left if that’s okay with you.
Okays sounds good.
Before we do that actually, if you’re listening to this the way to look at this now is okay, so we’ve done an hour on this, I would say now you have this awareness, this is about the first step to any change or transformation you make.
Is take what we are saying now and then try and go back into space so whether it’s personal life, business life, professional relationship, whatever, and be aware of when you feel you’re in your flow and actually start to, if you can keep a journal or something close to hand or your phone if you want to put it on your phone. Make a note of what’s happening.
So very quickly what am I my feeling?
What am I noticing?
What’s happening around me?
What things are creating the flow?
Why do I feel in my flow?
And notice some of the things that you could extract from that take, duplicate, model in another area of your life because a lot of these things are transferable. There are certain things we do, certain things that we say, ways that we act when we are in our flow in one area, that we’ve got to learn to translate and move across into another area.
It’s about mapping and modelling it in different areas. If you’re very good in your workspace but struggling in personal life or relationship, or money for example, then let’s take some of the great skills in your work life where you get into a flow and let’s extract those tools basically as they are and move that into another area to start to generate. It’s a bit like taking the oil can out of one part of the engine where you’ve left it overnight and you go right we’ve got to oil the back of the car now, so we are using the oil, which is the understanding of flow to place it to another area of your life. Does that make sense Harms?
That make sense.
Okay, three, four, five things from my side, number one, I would say it’s really important to stop and notice, I have already alluded to that, but just stop and be present.
That’s a word you’ve heard say a lot over the different podcast that we’ve run, but when you’re feeling wow this is amazing, I’m in a really good space here. I don’t want you to break the space because you might be actually not wanting to break that space, but if you can have a way to be mindful of that space, you’re an observer of the moment without extracting yourself from the moment.
Deepak Chopra says,‘be a silent witness to the moment.’ It’s almost like an unconscious channelling of what’s going on inside you. So you’ve got your pen there and you just go right, maybe you’ve made things more colourful in that moment, it might be that your focus has become really, really acute.
For me I often find that things become quite vivid. So if I’m talking somebody I’m really in my flow and doing an intervention it feels like there face been magnified, feels like things have been slowed down and I can almost hear their heart beating and there’s a really sensitive feeling across my whole body. And you’ve seen this with me Harminder I get this little goosebumps that come up, it came up today when somebody was treating me and all these things are my sense that I’m in a moment of flow.
I can literally map it down to physiological, I can map down to visual, auditory, kinaesthetic, how I am breathing, what I am feeling, what I’m noticing and all those things. If you can slow the movie down, slow the moment down to a point where you’re pausing the scene and you go right, what do I notice about me? Does that make any sense? I’m trying to really give you what I do to myself, is this helping?
It makes sense and it’s a tool they can use to be mindful and not allow the moment to completely pass.
Yeah it’s a real extreme case of mindfulness, so that’s if it’s happening to you. If you say Ro I haven’t been in the flow for freaking ages, okay that is not a problem take a moment one evening with no distractions and go back in time to think about when you feel you’ve been most in your flow.
Was it when you’re playing a game of football? When you are playing a game of netball, basketball, climbing a mountain with a friend doing something like this, in your workspace ,with your partner, with your kids? There will be some point or several points where you can go back to when you’re in your flow and you do the same thing. Close your eyes, this is step three if you like.
Number one is consciousness about the moment.
If that’s not available try this, visualise a past moment in time when you were in your flow and in the process, number three, what did you feel? What did you hear? What did you see? This is an NLP technique. If you want to think of it as a movie screen you can do that and you literally become an observer of you when you were in your flow.
Now this is a classic NLP technique, neurolinguistic programming technique where you can freeze a moment, you take a negative or good moment this is a good moment and we can delve into it and we can literally watch it. And you’ll say, “my gosh I was doing that, I noticed I was doing that. I was feeling that. I was doing this particular process; I was experiencing this.” And we need to break those syntaxes down those sequences down and extract those into your real life.
When you come out of that moment ask yourself a question, where could you apply this next?
I’m having a bit of a block as you were saying earlier on with my physical activity, my exercise. Okay, so let me take some of those things I’ve observed and put those into that area, so it could be, for example, that you are very good at visualising things when you’re in your flow. So you go right, I’m going to picture myself, I’ll get some photographs of me getting fit, I’ll take some photos when I was fit. I’m going to picture myself going to the gym and when I get to the gym, I’m going to turn up the sound because that is another thing when I’m in my flow. I’m really good with sound music, for example. Right get some pump music.
So you’re going to do things to trigger, reactivate and stimulate the flow back into that area and I think that’s all I would say at this stage. I’m trying to sequence it, but also trying to keep it kind of touchy-feely emotional spiritually.
Yes, that’s a fantastic process.
At 100 miles an hour.
100mph and when you are in your flow it gives somebody a tool just to say let me just slows this down. Because sometimes just consciously slowing something down, because sometimes you may be in your flow but you never realised that was yourself in the flow, because you weren’t necessary looking out for it. And that thing you’ve been searching for all along, the reason you listen to this podcast to help identify your flow, you actually in it.
It just needed a case to just actually feel that you were in it rather than the logical part which I’ll go through now. Is that cool Ro?
Yes so be a silent witness.
My message is be a silent witness and then log it in your journal and start to expand on it.
Fantastic so what I’d say on the other part, the other side of the brain, which is more logical, I will try not to use word productivity, but I think the first thing I’ve got five points which I have jotted down whilst Ro was working through that process.
Number one is if you haven’t done this already start to walk the path of self-awareness in regards of understanding yourself and your understanding what your personality is. Because depending on your personality it will actually help you understand where you should actually be doing time, in terms of activities.
As an example, I did a high-level personality test a couple years ago and one of my things is my traits is I am a creator. So as a creator it even gave me the things I should be doing, which will allow me to have my greatest flow.
Now this was very much to do with flow rather than wealth creation, that’s something Ro and I have spoken about on a different episode. It said things like writing, becoming an author, teaching, creating things which I can then share. If I was doing those and coming up with new ideas, if I’m doing those things in my life then I’m going to feel in flow.
So for me it’s writing, filming things, editing things I get extreme satisfaction from doing those things because that’s my personality. But your personality may be different, it maybe writing, filming, editing, creating, story boarding all these things podcasting that just turns you off completely. Whereas you may be a systems driven person. If you’re dealing with behind-the-scenes excel spreadsheets that may be where your flow is creating and designing those elements coding that may be your flow.
Understand your personality and then you may have been doing a career which is the complete opposite of your personality all along, which is a part of my story when I was an engineer and now moving into different creative elements.
That’s number one understand your personality. Number two is understand if you are an introverted person or an extroverted person, but not in the context of where does your confidence come from? Where do you show up in social circles? It’s more to do with where do you get re-energise from?
This one I actually asked Geena, my beautiful wife if she wanted to give me an idea, I asked how do you get back into the flow? She said because she’s an introverted personality as am I, she said working alone or taking a walk in the woods, or spending time alone allows her to recharge her energy which can then be reapplied to work to get back in the flow. So when you feel depleted, frustrated understand how you get re-energised.
Quick example, introverted person would be spending time alone and extroverted person will probably be working collaboratively and I think Ro you’re probably a bit of both.
Ro are you introverted, extroverted in terms of where you draw energy from?
That’s a really interesting question because actually when I’m in front of an audience it’s very much a connection externally, but outside of that I’m actually quite, I wouldn’t say introvert.
But a lot of speakers I know are similar, we tend to just withdraw back and privacy is a good word. You’ve been out with me when we’ve done events and we go out to dinner as a group and although I might chat quite often at times I’m reflecting and listening and sucking up the moment. I like the connection of the others; I like absorbing energy back in because I’ve given out so much.
So for me the flow of being around friends sometimes just allowing their personalities and their little fun things to come out and I’ll get back into my mojo. I like fun, so I’ll have jokes and we will take the mick and things like that, but very much going out into nature is a big one for me, always has been, just getting back into connection with nature.
I love that.
Number three on my list of things you can do and these are not in any particular order. These are five completely random things, just maybe choose one of them to get started.
Number three is I read an amazing book a couple years ago called ‘Deep work’ and he talks about the idea of getting into your flow, I can’t remember the authors name. But he talks about getting into your flow by allocating complete zero distraction periods in your day to do whatever it is you want to do.
It could be work, it could be family time, but he’s talking about disconnecting from the Wi-Fi, the phone and really to spend that time in a deep work or a deep moment, where you’re just 100% present with exactly what you’re doing. That’s probably easy number three and if you want to pick up the book it’s called ‘Deep work’.
Number four is an interesting one, which is creating the deep work block for yourself.
Number three was about closing off distractions and before the distractions takeover you, the notifications takeover you, number four would be take it to the next level where if you really need that time regarding sports,or you’ve got a really important task or work or working on a book and you’re just not making headway with it. Something pretty cool which other famous people have done for example JK Rowling, she would book herself into a hotel room away from family even though it wasn’t a pleasant experience. She just had to do that in order to get into the flow and start writing. The co-founder of WordPress when he needed to get into flow of learning, this is a cool one Ro, he sat on the roof of some place somewhere sunny in the USA with a chair and a pile of books and that’s it. He worked through the books and the principle here is just no distractions.
Bill Gates does the same thing; he literally has a week away where he goes with books and no one can get anywhere near him.
Yes, he’s got a cabin overlooking a lake and he does the same thing and it is the idea of getting into your flow. I think it’s intentionally getting into your flow, getting all those blocks out the way and putting yourself into an environment where you can actually get into your flow. Sometimes it’s hard with all the distractions, we do appreciate that.
That is another area of flow. That’s more a creative flow, self-reflective flow. It’snot the same as a flow if you’re with your peers, out on the stage, going to work that’s a very nice way to get back into that creative reconnecting flow.
Yes, and I wanted to bring that up as well because one of the core question is why can’t I get into the flow?
Because there is a truckload of distractions, plus there is a misunderstanding of what flow is, which we’ve covered in this episode. Now that’s where you have to intentionally go out of your way and create a block for you to explore the flow before your phone rings again, before you get a WhatsApp, before your email pops up, or before your boss phones and says you’re amazing at work and I’ve got another task for you. So before you fall into that trap just intentionally go block out some time.
Number five is an interesting one Ro because it actually links with what you said, which is almost a logical way to help somebody who is really struggling with the mindfulness, slowing things down.
Something I started this year which was, I picked it up from another podcast actually it was a case of daily journaling, but at the end of the day give yourself a score out of 10. It’s not something I’ve done before and the purpose behind it is to look back on the month and pick out the highest scores and the lowest scores and work out when there was a low score what was actually happening that day?
So one we can get less of that in our life. And when there was a high score, a high score for me is linked to that day had flow, that day was joyous, amazing, harmonious if there’s a high score what was I doing that day and how can I do more of that. Or how can I make sure I schedule more of that in or how can I work towards doing more of that.
If you are struggling to connect and slow the scene down, to be a silent witness I’d say do practice the art of journaling. Maybe if you’re a logical person give yourself a score attached to that day, so when you look back at the month, you can help identify what days you were in your flow.
Those are the top five things I would say, they’re completely random just pick something from the right side of the brain, the left side of the brain. I would suggest merge two say,
I’d say start Ro’s process and maybe pick one of my things just to actively get started on working on your flow, re-finding it, exploring it.
Does that make sense Ro?
That is great and what’s nice is they’ve got a choice, you can pick some of mine, some of Harms either way it’s whatever feels right for you. And I think that’s the key thing with flow there’s no forcing to it, go with whichever one felt like the smoothest to do.
Absolutely, and what I haven’t mentioned and I’m a pretty good at this is all of these things we’ve spoken about, especially this last section will be in the show notes, so they will be at growthtribes.com/podcast, click the episode that you are interested in and just have a look at the show notes.We break these down and you there will be a full transcript there as well.
Hopefully that’s helped, Ro is there anything else to add before I sign us off?
No I think I like it; it’s a great subject just go and enjoy.
Have a think about what we’ve talked about, don’t overthink it but be might mindful of don’t think about it as blocks now, think of it as ways to open up the flow. That way you’ve got a different perspective to any situation you’ve got where you want to get more flow to your life.
That’s Dr Ro and myself signing out for another episode of the Seekardo’s podcast.
Thank you for listening and have fun finding your flow.
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