Earlier this month, I had the opportunity to go on a Caribbean cruise with Hay House where I participated in a “Writer’s Workshop.” My wonderful first coach, Cheryl Richardson, was one of the presenters and it was great to see and learn from her again. I have posted our photo on my Facebook page. Check out Cheryl’s work at www.cherylrichardson.com.
As I reentered my “normal” life at home, I began reflecting on the nature of time and how it can be hard to get back into the swing of things upon returning from a vacation.
In my work as an executive coach, I see that many people walk through their days unaware and out of touch with their emotional lives in the workplace as well as at home. This inattention can cause people to flip back and forth into two extremes: during much of the day, people live their lives filled with the anxiety and the pressures of work and “making a living” kinds of obligations, while during their leisure time, they tend to live in a state akin to passive boredom “vegging” out in front of the TV or internet.
The real key to getting things done with a high degree of satisfaction and even joy is challenging ourselves with tasks that actually require a high degree of skill and commitment. Psychologist and author Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (pronounced “chick-SENT-me-high”) wrote the best-selling book “Flow” on this topic and offered compelling research to show that we actually desire the joy of complete engagement and don’t want to just “do nothing.”
Instead, we want to do what we do with a transformational approach. It is not so much what we do as how we approach what we do.
Sure, it is easy to say that being on a cruise in the Caribbean is more fun than compiling your information for your taxes or paying your bills both of which I had to complete upon returning home. That said, I bet you know people who can’t seem to relax even while on vacation such that they must always be doing something or checking their Blackberry or iPhone.
I must admit it took me a few days to drop some of my worldly concerns and projects enough to let the rhythm of the sea enfold me. And I had to chuckle at the sign in the photo below in Half Moon Cay whose caption reads “I Wish I Could Stay Here Forever.” This is my writing friend Lucy and me on our last day with the ship in the background. I suspect the “here” in this message refers not just to this beautiful island in the Bahamas, but to the state of mind we all long to live in daily.
The good news is, this state of mind can be taught and self-taught and I have included some of my tips in the “Transformational Coaching Tip” section below so be sure to scroll down!
Over the years, I have learned to train myself and my clients to be more consistently in the flow. Living in the flow means living fully in the present. It means not hanging out in the past rehashing old issues or previous conversations. It also means not hanging out in the future trying to second-guess how things will turn out.
Instead, it means focusing all of our attention on each interaction, whether it is washing a dish, attending a meeting, doing your laundry, or listening to a loved one or colleague. Whenever we are fully engaged in whatever we are doing, time seems resonant and full. Many call this practice mindfulness and there are great books out there about it.
It also means knowing yourself well so that you can be aware of where you are now and where you want to go. Even more fundamental than that, you must also know who you are and how you help or hinder yourself.
As a coach, I loved the movie “The King’s Speech” as it exemplifies the ways and whys we struggle when we could be in the ease and joy of flow. Aside from superb acting, it is an uplifting triumph of awareness. The main character becomes more aware of the beliefs about himself that drive his behavior and learned some tools and techniques to deal with his stuttering. But it wasn’t until he reframed his identity and completed a successful public address, that he knew he could stop being derailed by powerful emotions and unknown drives.
Once you become aware of how you think, act, and feel and understand what you believe at work and at home; you can begin to accept where you are now with all of your strengths and limitations and become a leader in your own life. Then you can begin to consciously mold your own destiny and express yourself with authenticity and real power.
I wish you success on your journey! I coach leaders to become more self-aware and emotionally intelligent so that their success is inspired with ease and flow. This can be done one-on-one and with teams and groups in training sessions or keynote speeches.
For the appropriate balance of challenge and support in becoming a better leader of your life and the lives of your direct reports and colleagues and associates, feel free to call us at 404-327-6330 or email me at Laura@lauraadavis.com.
|Transformational Coaching Tip:
“We are shaped and guided by what we love.” Goethe
Coaches and leaders who are coaches have learned to ask themselves and others questions that create value and new ways of thinking and being. These questions can help to guide us in discovering what we love. Here are a few for you on your journey into flow:
1. What is your natural pattern for getting things done? If you are not a morning person, don’t fight it. Schedule your important activities and meetings for the time you are naturally in “the zone.” I resist any “one size fits all” advice as it just doesn’t work that way in my experience.
2. What are your natural talents and defining strengths? Skills are things that you can do while talents reveal how often and how well you do it. Talents are instinctive, naturally recurring patterns of thinking, feeling and behaving that can be enhanced by new knowledge, skills, and experience. Identify yours and leverage them!
3. What are the activities and tasks that I can get so absorbed in that I lose track of time? There are clues in your life that can help you determine your career path and perfect creative self-expression. For example, I love to speak, coach, write, and help people with personal and professional growth. It took me awhile to realize I could make a living at it. Make sure your career is aligned with your passions and you can’t help but succeed.
4. How can I keep developing hidden talents into new strengths? Commit to a life of continuous learning and growth. That’s where the fun is!
5. How did I take on new challenges this week or how did I face old challenges in new ways? Exercise your reframing muscle and remember the power of a positive attitude in getting things done under even the most challenging of circumstances.
As stated earlier, the best of life comes from a willingness to stretch byond your current capabilities amd explore, test, and reflect on expanding in new and exciting ways. Enjoy the process and find the flow without effort!
Of course, it is easier to stay focused in an empowering direction with the assistance of a trained coach. For assistance in operationalizing any of these best practices into your workplace for more powerful, effective results, feel free to call us at (404) 327-6330 or email me at
To your inspired success!