Did you ever try to drive while pushing on the gas and breaks at the same time? It is like willing to ski but stalling at every turn: you drain your energy, you miss the fun and you get nowhere. Change is like ski slopes or traffic: there is an energy, a flow, like a current in a river that brings you from up to down, old to new, here to there. When you can tap into that current, you literally flow and go places while controlling your energy and usually having a lot of fun in the process.
Go With the Flow
Psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi calls it "optimal experience;" it is when your energy, expertise, motivation, experience, challenge and perception align together. I experienced it while playing golf when I could hit the perfect ball: the sensation was light and powerful at the same time, no energy and pure pleasure with a ball that landed exactly where I wanted. The same goes with skiing, surfing, running, Yoga, and even work. What I refer to as "flow" is that moment where your mind, heart, body and environment are in sync and you are not fighting against anything.
The Flow of Change
Change is no different to skiing or canoeing or traffic: there is energy, dynamic, current, power. Once you can tap into that energy and you ride it, life becomes so much easier. It is as if you were lifted from the ground and floated to places you couldn't imagine that bring you joy and fulfillment. It is not a fluffy concept or a dream: it is how our world works.
Albert Einstein understood it and explained it through quantum physics. Particles are energy waves that can become literally anything they want but with addition or shift of energy, they morph into particles, into matter. When you meet someone and for no reason you say "I like that person" it is because something happens at the quantum level, the one beyonds words. There is an exchange of energy. The more you meet (or the more you shift energy around your particles) the more you create something and give it a form like a friendship, a partnership, a business deal or a love affair.
[Related: How I Got Past "You Can't"]
Indicators that You Are Flowing
Change is like a dynamic river, its current is strong and can move things around. When you tap into the flow of change, you can expect to feel:
- Your heartbeat accelerating; you sense something is happening even though you don't control everything. You feel a positive power.
- A strong power lifting you and letting you achieve things you thought you couldn't do. You want to get out of bed right away and do whatever you feel the urge to do; you meet people that you didn't dare contact before; you do things that you thought would be strenuous; you dare try new things that you were discarding or afraid of.
- Connected: you receive calls, contacts and emails from a variety of individuals. You feel a strong bond with your environment instead of feeling isolated.
- Radiant: you smile, you shine, you are positive. People might reflect that back to you or you are just seeing yourself in the mirror and liking what you see.
- Creative: you think in new ways and you find new ideas, sometimes so many that you can barely keep up.
- Efficient: what took you hours or days before only takes a few minutes to get done. You deal with projects and decisions more quickly by using resources that are just there to grab (thoughts, people, budget...).
Flows are everywhere, so just observe your environment and trust your senses to guide you through them. Flowing is the opposite of controlling: there is no effort and you are not driving, you are surfing the wave. It does not mean that you don't drive your own life, you just ease it and save time.
[Read more: Design the Life You Love: Using Design Thinking to See Life a New Way]
This article was originally posted on www.sarabigwood.com/blog.
Sara Bigwood, Leadership and Change Coach, PCC, MBTI, ORSC, is the author of The Expat Method, Mastering Personal and Organizational Change (release May 2016 on Amazon and Barnes and Noble).
Ellevate Network is a global women's network: the essential resource for professional women who create, inspire and lead. Together, we #InvestInWomen.