When you are operating at your best you work from a state of pure potential. Time ceases to exist, you are in the present moment, and completely absorbed in the matter at hand. It’s a great place to be. Some people call it the zone, others, “being in the flow” – but no matter what you call it, we all love being there!
The only thing is, we so often we have interference in the form of external distractions (others needs, requests and noises) or internal ones (worry, stress, and random negative thoughts) and have a hard time always operating in our flow. To be able to get into that space by choice rather than by chance, actually defining what your best looks like is the key! Since you are the only one who can identify precisely what that is, here is a way to get you started.
- Find a quiet place and set aside time with no external distractions. Take a deep breath and get ready to let your memories bubble up to serve you.
- Remember a time when you were “in the zone.” Take a piece of paper and divide it into three columns. In the left column write down the event that you were completely engrossed in. In the middle column, write down what area of life it occurred in (home, work, social, community). So for example, “working with John when we were brainstorming ideas for the upcoming event” (work) or “making cupcakes with my daughter.” (home)
- Recall how it felt. In the third column, write your feelings during that time. It could be words like happy, having fun, creative, focused, collaborative, grateful, etc.
- Where are the common threads of characteristics? You may find a few words showing up more than once. As you look, you may find that you want to jot others down.
- Use these words as a compass for yourself. Once you find the common characteristics that you feel when you are in the flow, you have a direction to do, and know what your best looks like.
When you show up for life everyday knowing what your best looks like, you are more able to apply it to whatever you are doing by using it as a reference point. In every area of your life, what would it look like if you consciously applied these characteristics to what you did? You would operate closer and closer to your best!
Note: Much of the above information was inspired by Scott Eblin’s book Overworked and Overwhelmed.