01 Apr Creating Flow in your Life is a Simple Choice
Do you ever experience a moment of synchronicity or happenstance that has an instant way of getting your attention? It doesn’t have to be connected to a momentous event; rather it could be quite simple. For instance, on a whim, you call last minute for a Saturday night dinner reservation at the new restaurant everyone is talking about and are pleasantly surprised to hear the opposite of what you were expecting. “Normally you would have had to call last week, but this must be your lucky night. We just had a cancellation seconds ago and I want you to have it.”
You light up. In the back of your mind, you can’t help but wonder–– “How did this line up in my favor?” Next, comes the brush off, “I was just lucky.” Maybe… but when you experience this kind of thing frequently, we can call that flow. The state of flow shows up (or not) in all areas of your daily life. You effortlessly align your relationship, business, friends, and family interactions and outcomes with a connected rhythm. Opportunities appear where they didn’t before and the frequency of easiness increases. Everything keeps lining up.
Creating flow is directly influenced by the conscious choices you make. Once you understand how to tap into your flow through these choices, you will begin to experience your life as if you finally found the jet stream. It will leave you wondering why life was cloudy before. Coaching clients initially have difficulty understanding the concept of flow because they believe their choices are limited. They are accustomed to looking out for what doesn’t work. This is part of what neuroscience calls negative bias. Essentially your brain is encoded to experience life as a series of reactive moments, seeking out what could go possibly wrong first, rather than creating possibilities that serve you positively. This genetic coding made sense for our ancestors when daily life was the survival of ‘eat or be eaten’. Fast forward to today where we are safe and secure. We now have to consciously rewire our 21st-century neural pathways because neurons that fire together wire together. What we think, feel, experience, and see creates and increases more of the same.
You would be surprised how many opportunistic, healthy choices you are overlooking because you simply are not aware of them. Ever hear the expression “don’t leave money on the table” during a job interview or deal making? Well, the same could be said here: Don’t leave unused choices on the table. Do so and you are greatly limiting your possibilities.
Initially noticing your choices might seem difficult because you believe it is out of your control. It is true many things are out of one’s control (if you can affect the outcome of tomorrow’s weather, let’s talk.) With that said, you are in control of the choices you make. Doing so is a process of awareness and practice. Choices and flow are reciprocal. Your choices influence and direct your outcomes. I have noticed that clients who consciously focus on what choices they are making increase their flow exponentially. It is that simple. Remember, neurons that fire together wire together. The basis of turning your flow around is rooted in the words themselves – reactive and creative. Being reactive is a contracted state where drama seems the norm, and adrenaline is the stimulant de jour. You are constantly fatigued because all your wasted management and maneuvering efforts deplete your energy.
Inversely, the creative state increases your feel-good serotonin and dopamine levels. It is an expansive state and your flow is amplified. You are clear and balanced. If you notice the words reactive and creative both have the exact same letters but each is ordered differently. This choice alone to shift your approach from reactive to creative will give you dramatically different life results. Remember you are a whole system and each part greatly influences the other. Here’s an example of cascading events: What you eat and drink affects your body, which affects your neurotransmitters. If your mood is negatively altered, that will create tension in your relationship. You will leave the house off balance and carry it to work. How do you think that will affect your businesses’ bottom line? Once you recognize how everything in your life is interlinked, you will start to make different choices in each area and doing so will increase your flow.
Every day you have the opportunity to make different choices than you did the day before. You can step outside the narrow confines of what you do, think, act, believe, and how you show up in the world. It will take the time to create a shift. You have to pay attention and nurture it. If you plant a seed and the next day you don’t see any results, does that mean nothing is happening? No. It might take ten days for the seed to germinate before it pops out of the ground, and another few months before it has a chance to blossom. All during that time you need to be mindful the seedling needs sunlight, water, and nourishment. The same could be said for you, but with a footnote – the seedling started off with a clean slate. If you are 43 years old, you’ve already had 43 years of self-created deep-grooved patterns, habits, and behaviors. Give yourself some time to turn it around and establish new pathways.
If you commit to noticing the choices you are making consciously, what is waiting for you is not only a table at the restaurant but a technicolor seat at your table of life. Great joy and happiness follows, not just in one area of your life, but everywhere. Knowing this, what choice are you going to make?
This article was originally published in the Spring 2014 Issue of VETTA Magazine.