Such a state of mind can occur in individuals engrossed in their activity – whether it’s work or play – but it can also be seen in teams that have stepped into a state of togetherness, of unity that has them operating is perfect sync with their colleagues.
Rebecca Soni – Winner of 8 Olympic Medals
Manifesting the Magic
In such a state, when the richness of the moment floods the senses - time seems to vanish, actions become effortless and even the sense of self becomes blurred as the performer and the performance merge into one.
Such a state is common to numerous lines of activity and so a variety of terms have been coined to label these moment: Jazz players call it ‘being in the pocket’ and other musicians ‘the Groove’, marathoners call it ‘the Runner’s High’, cricketers call it ‘the Zone’ and the US Navy SEALs speak of activating ‘the switch’.
When I asked Floyd Woodrow, a former Major in the British SAS, to describe these states he surmised,
What actually is flow?
FLOW is a period of intense focus when you find yourself completely absorbed in what you’re doing and, when you need to deliver the goods, you’re also performing at the very edge of your capabilities.
Long distance drivers know it well, computer programmers go there often; book readers, gamers and singers get so absorbed in it that the feel like they’re on another planet.
- Intense and focused concentration on the present moment
- Merging of action and awareness
- Loss of reflective self-consciousness (loss of awareness of oneself as a social actor)
- A sense that one can deal with the situation because one knows how to respond to whatever happens next
- Distortion of temporal experience (typically a sense that time has passed faster than normal)
- Experience of the activity as intrinsically rewarding, such that often the end goal is just an excuse for the process
As a leader it is vital that you understand how to get the best out of yourself and of your team. This can only really be achieved through an understanding of the factors that enable each one to get into their personal state of FLOW.
With this understanding, you’ll learn what you can do to set yourself up to spend your hours in your own flow state and achieve much more – whilst also enjoying what you do a whole lot more.