The Flow Formula

10 Steps to Peak Performance on command

 

One of my clients walked into my office fighting back tears…

 

When I first met her, she was SO stressed out.  After months of struggling with nerves, she totally lost confidence in herself.

But, the person who walked into my office this week has been completely transformed. She was on the verge of crying because she was so relieved and reinvigorated.

She just played her best game ever.

 

She described it to me:

It felt like an out of body experience.  She was playing an experienced opponent.  But, somehow that didn’t bother her.  She was completely immersed in the experience of the match.  Time slowed down and she did everything right.  It was the hardest she had ever played, but it didn’t feel hard.

Everything finally fell into place.

 

I said, “Looks like you found your flow!”

 

What exactly is flow?

 

It’s the pinnacle experience.  The absence of everything you dread.

No fear.  No worry. No problems.

You feel at peace.  Body and mind completely in sync.  It’s part gift and part grit.

 

Flow is your reward for all the time you spend sharpening your mental and physical skills. It’s a level of performance that few achieve.  The intersection of peak performance and maximum enjoyment.

 

Have you experienced flow? It really doesn’t get any better.

 

What if you could train your brain to find flow more often?

 

Here are the 10 key elements that set the stage for flow:

 

  1. Physical preparation

Train your body to work automatically.  When you can perform your skill without thinking about it, you’re ready for flow.

 

  1. Mental preparation

Train your mind to work automatically.  Mental skills like self-talk, mindfulness, intention and imagery become ingrained with consistent practice.

 

  1. Goals

Another part of preparation is having clear goals.  When you know what you’re aiming for, you can adjust to stay on the right track.

 

  1. Confidence

Anxiety and self-doubt are the anti-flow.  Build confidence by setting goals that line up with your skill level.  The task you are working toward should be challenging, but still within your reach.  The more you reach your goals, the more confident you will feel.

 

  1. Focus

Distractions sabotage flow experiences.  Practice blocking out distractions and staying focused on what is relevant to performance.  When your focus is on what matters, you can easily answer the question: are you heading toward your goals or do you need to change something?

 

  1. Thoughts

Flow is an absence of thoughts.  If you have done your preparation, you don’t need to think. Just trust your training.

 

  1. Emotions

Flow is characterized by positive emotions.  Find excitement and joy for what you are getting ready to do.  The simple act of saying to yourself, “I’m excited!” (And trying to believe it) can shift negative emotional states and make room for flow.

 

  1. Awareness

Be in your body.  Get in touch with how the performance feels and progresses.  This way you can adjust if you veer off track.

 

  1. Optimal energy level

If you are overly anxious or tired, it’s hard to get into the zone.  Use strategies like breathing or listening to music to get to your ideal energy level.

 

  1. Mindfulness training

Be present with your thoughts and feelings, without judging them.  The more you practice mindfulness, the more you will be able to tap into flow in all areas of your life.

 

Once you get your mental game tightened up, your physical skill can take over.

 

Stay tuned for more on The Flow Formula.  I’ll be going in depth in the coming months, showing you simple ways you can increase your chances of finding flow when you want it.  

 

Have you felt flow?  Tell us about it in a comment below.  

 

Ready to take your performance to the next level?

Let’s chat!

 

 

Grab a copy of my FREE Mental Toughness Checklist & get on the list for peak performance insider tips