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6 Steps To Tap Into Your ‘Flow’

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tap into your flow to be happy and successful

Have you ever been so focused and engaged in a task that it feels like an out of body experience? You’ve got the midas touch- everything you do is done with ease, you completely lose track of time, no such thing as hunger or weariness, your ego just disappears from consciousness.

It’s called ‘flow.’

Athletes break records when they are in flow, musicians write hit songs because of flow, entrepreneurs seal deals when possessed by flow.

When it comes to understanding this incredible state that is available to all humans, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi is the expert credited with identifying this incredible peak experience he refers to as flow. Your nervous system is only capable of processing about 110 bits of information per second, having a conversation with one person takes about 60 bits per second- the reason you struggle to listen to two people at the same time. When you enter into a state of flow however, every bit of your processing power is directed to the task. You become blissfully possessed by the work that you are doing.

Everything else disappears.

The key to human happiness and success, according to Mihaly, is the ability to tap into your state of flow.

 

Here are the 6 steps to tap into your flow:

 

1. Set the stage

Whatever task or work you are engaged in, create the optimum environment for flow to happen with an organised and tidy area free from ANY distractions. Some of the world’s greatest writers have a special room or space where they will only engage in writing- that becomes the place they enter into their flow state.

Where is your flow space? It could be in your attic, basement, or the quiet corner of your favourite coffee shop.

 

2. Intrinsic Motivation

Flow happens when what you are doing becomes worth it for its own sake. You need to value and enjoy your work ultimately and above anyone else; regardless of how others may profit or be affected from what you do.

Here is a great flow question: if you never received any recognition for what you’re doing, would you still love doing it?

 

3. A Trigger

This is where physiology meets psychology; a physical trigger to set off an emotional peak state. Tony Robbins is known for jumping up and down on an exercise trampoline and clapping his hands before walking out to a conference. A great technique is to squeeze your middle finger and thumb together and then think of an ecstatic flow experience in the past- a previous victory, accomplishment, or pinch-yourself moment. Then release and bring your mind back to an everyday mundane experience. Practicing stepping in and out of a heightened state.

From now on, every time you squeeze your fingers together your mind will immediate be taken to a flow experience.

 

4. No Destination

Once you have your mind primed and in flow, engage in the task at hand. A crucial key for being in flow is to cast away any expectations. Flow cannot be put into a box. Don’t cut flow off by only getting a certain amount of work done, and don’t try and force flow by continuing to engage when the state is over.

 

5. Too Deep, Too Shallow

Flow is the perfect balance between skill and challenge. If your skill level is too high for the task, then you don’t have enough of a challenge to be in flow. You fall into a state of “comfort.”  On the other hand, if the challenge is too high, you go into a state of “arousal.” This leads to frustration because you don’t have the skill to accomplish your task.

Whatever work you engage in, make sure that you are not over-qualified, nor under-qualified. The challenge should be just a little beyond your skill- to stretch you, but not break you!

 

6. Time-Out

The stages of getting into flow can be broken down into: Struggle – Relaxation – Flow – Consolidation. The final stage of consolidation is crucial for your brain to absorb and remember the new skills it was able to learn. The temptation will always be to chase after that next flow state. But you need to take a break and let your nervous system recover from the immersed experience.

Lastly, flow states must be incorporated in a holistic manner. You do not want to become dependant on a flow state to function regularly. Flow addiction can be very detrimental. This is what turns a person into an unhealthy workaholic- continually chasing the flow experience. Be engaged in a number of different creative tasks. This will allow you to enjoy the flow state without becoming dependant upon a single one that dominates your life.

 

The perfect moment picture quote

A refugee from Vietnam, raised in Australia, with a BA from Texas, Thai writes for many publications including The Huffington Post, Entrepreneur.com, and Addicted2Success. A professional chef, international kickboxer, and spiritual teacher, Thai is passionate about helping people become the best version of themselves. Signup for his free weekly Infographics at TheUtopianLife.com | Connect @ThaiWins | On Facebook 

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14 Comments

14 Comments

  1. Marsha

    Jun 20, 2014 at 3:27 pm

    I like some of these strategies and will practice them. Thanks!

  2. Sid

    Mar 30, 2014 at 3:02 am

    One of the biggest problems in life was not living in the moment. I always had thought of what I’d do later.. Whether it came to a definite goal or pursuing a desire.. But when the time came to execute i never did.. Instead I rationalized that I’d do it later by making another plan.. I dint realise i wasn’t living in the moment! This opened my eyes

    • Thai Nguyen

      Apr 10, 2014 at 1:44 pm

      Very true Sid. Flow is much being being immersed in the moment. All the best to you.

  3. Thai Nguyen

    Mar 27, 2014 at 3:16 pm

    Thanks Joel, I’ll have to check out Pirsig’s work- thanks for the referral. Definitely, as writers, being in flow is crucial!! All the best to you mate.

  4. Joel

    Mar 19, 2014 at 4:37 pm

    Great post Thai. Much of what you’re saying resonates with Pirsig’s idea of the pursuit of quality in ‘Zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance’, a fantastic book. As a writer, I find entering this mental state helps enormously with productivity, and most of all, creativity. Thanks for sharing these tips!

  5. Thai Nguyen

    Mar 16, 2014 at 10:34 pm

    Thanks Hristiqn,

    There really isn’t much that can stand in the way of passion, absolutely agree. Wishing you all the best mate.

  6. Thai Nguyen

    Mar 16, 2014 at 7:06 am

    There is definitely a mix of early birds and night owls when it comes to flow! Part of the fun is figuring it out.

  7. Jeremy

    Mar 14, 2014 at 1:43 pm

    I think I tend to get this flow late into the night… I can work from midnight until 8 in the morning and I’ll be very pumped up and inspired while at work. Unfortunately it’s good for my health I think.

  8. Thai Nguyen

    Mar 14, 2014 at 6:12 am

    Hi Naomi,

    Definitely some interesting debates going on about multi-tasking. You are right that there comes a point when it does get out of control. We all need that reminder reassess and refocus.

    All the best,

    Thai.

  9. Naomi@business start ups

    Mar 12, 2014 at 10:46 am

    Hi Thai,

    I’m a multi-tasking queen. I’ve spend my life juggling several tasks at once and persistently attempted to achieve the art of NOT just getting many tasks done at once – But getting them done well.

    As my task list grows I’m starting to realize sometimes I need to be in the moment and submerged within one single activity. Your post is a great reminder for me.

    Thanks, Naomi

  10. JALAL KHAN

    Mar 12, 2014 at 2:56 am

    I learn everyday something new, which are worth implementing in the work place. Keep this good work going. Any time you are coming to Chicago side,please do inform us.

    • Thai Nguyen

      Mar 12, 2014 at 4:53 am

      Learning something new everyday is a great habit! Thanks Jalal!

  11. Emily Filloramo

    Mar 11, 2014 at 11:02 pm

    Thai,

    Great reminders about the points of this groundbreaking book.

    I have find flow an “easier” state to get into since I have found my life’s calling. When I finally realized what the Universe has put me on this earth for, then it’s an obligation to do what I need to do to make a difference. This motivation helps me to tackle the challenging things I need to do to take my life to the next level.

    • Thai Nguyen

      Mar 12, 2014 at 4:52 am

      Well said Emily. I think it is very much a two-way street- finding your flow can help you understand your calling, and knowing your life’s calling makes it easier to find your flow. Wishing you all the best!

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Success Advice

How to Be a Selfless Leader in Your Business

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Leaders are required to make decisions daily that impact the success of the business and its bottom line. Understanding leadership training key terms can offer insight into core values and principles associated with leading people. Leadership training prepares leaders to recognize a variety of leadership styles prevalent in many organizations, the significance of communication, team building, and establishing a vision.

The following 6 key terms are important to building foundational skills in leadership:

1. Leadership style

Leadership style is the process of exploring the methods leaders use to approach guiding human capital in the workplace or on organized projects. It can encompass persuasive presentation skills that inspires trust, integrity, character, positive role modeling and other behaviors useful when working towards a goal.

2. Vision planning

According to leadership experts, a vision is an idealized picture or snapshot of the future, and vision planning is the ability to communicate core values and articulate a sense of direction by implementing a plan as it pertains to this vision. Organizational vision encompasses a strategic plan that generates motivational impact and leads employees to a specific outcome or shared desired goal.

“A great leader’s courage to fulfill his vision comes from passion, not position.” – John Maxwell

3. Team building

Team building is the method a leader chooses to empower a group of people using motivational strategies and guidance to accomplish a specific task. Effective team building must encompass an understanding of organizational culture and the dynamics of teamwork in order to exceed shared goals and objectives.

4. Communication

Communication is the ability to impart and exchange information through the process of listening, writing and speaking. Successful leaders understand that enhancing communication skills not only makes them more effective as leaders, but boosts the company’s success as well.

5. Performance evaluation

An important aspect of leadership training is determining whether the steps taken towards a goal are working. One of the many roles of a successful leader is to appraise or assess the effectiveness of both individual and collective workplace skills and strategies to achieve stated goals.

“A good objective of leadership is to help those who are doing poorly to do well and to help those who are doing well to do even better.” – Jim Rohn

6. Decision making

The term decision making is the process of choosing from several ideas or choices. It’s the practice of targeted determinations that can offer creative problem solving solutions. This is a vital skill in developing potential leaders because it strengthens the use of critical thinking and resourcefulness to make choices on behalf of the company.

How to be a selfless leader in your business organization

Many leaders try to play it safe when leading their business. In other words, they don’t really lead. They are afraid of taking risks and possibly making some people unhappy. It’s important to note that when you own a business, you may make decisions that won’t make everyone happy. Ideally, your culture will be set up so that what you do is transparent and enables people to speak up and share their concerns.

At the same time, people in an organization want their leaders to lead and part of that involves the leader making a passionate commitment to the direction the business needs to go in. When there isn’t clear leadership in a business, then the business is like a ship that is moving in a circle. It’s going nowhere.

A leader must always make it clear that what they are doing is actually serving the best interests of the business as opposed to their own best interests. If people in the organization think that a leader is abusing their position, it can create a toxic situation in the business bringing it down as people leave or sabotage the business.

A leader must be selfless, focused on what will truly benefit the business and the people in it. They must be willing to share the spotlight, instead of taking all the credit and must recognize the value of trusting the talents of the people they work with.

Recently, I was talking with a client of mine. He was having some personnel issues, and I suggested he carefully evaluate the talents of each person involved. After doing that, he made some changes in roles, and the people involved were much happier because they were doing the work that capitalized on their talents.

Throughout this process he was transparent and he made it clear that the changes he was making were for the benefit of the company. Each person involved saw that because the leader was honest and focused on the success of the business. He wasn’t making changes to make it easier for him, but rather making changes that would really help the business succeed. That’s the kind of leadership that is needed when a business undergoes changes or needs to focus on a specific direction.

What does being a selfless leader mean to you? How do you focus on the welfare of your business and show that to the people involved in the business? Share with us below!

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Success Advice

Things You Need to Know to Succeed as a Life Coach

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Becoming a life coach is one of the biggest choices you will ever make. Your choice in this field will change how you treat your spouse, how you empathize with others, and how you manage your business.

When I decided to make life coaching my goal, I had many steps to take before I reached the finish line and I wasn’t quite sure how to motivate myself to get there. I know that I am not the only one who struggles with staying motivated. That’s why I’m sharing with you the secrets that helped me make my dreams a reality.

Dan Sullivan is the founder of The Strategic Coach, a company that helps entrepreneurs grow their businesses. Dan is often considered to be the number one entrepreneurship coach on the planet. If there is anyone who can motivate you to make your dreams a reality and go for gold – it’s him.

Here are the 2 life-changing ideas I learned about becoming a life coach:

1. Keep Selling Yourself

Don’t sell yourself short – but keep selling yourself on your future. Dan Sullivan suggests that the reason why we, as entrepreneurs, can’t focus on achieving our goals is that we haven’t actually sold ourselves on our project or endeavor. I believe this wholeheartedly. We may have listed our pros and cons, we have an ideal outcome, and we may even have a backup plan – but we haven’t truly committed to our goal.

In order to properly take advantage of an opportunity, we must be focused. There is no doubt that we live in a new age of multi-tasking. We watch videos while we respond to e-mails, we’re glued to our phones when we’re out on dates with our spouses – we even have the option to have two multi-tasking windows open on our smart devices so that we can do different things at the same time.

But studies show multitasking accomplishes less in the long-run. Multitasking reduces both our performance and efficiency. Dan suggests instead of trying to do everything at once, sell yourself on three tasks a day. The next day, sell yourself on three more. This will help you to have more focus and drive on what you are doing. You will accomplish more and feel better about fulfilling your goals.

2. The 3 Wins are Everything

Dan suggests that positive focus is everything when it comes to succeeding in business. That’s why he developed “The 3 Wins” mindset. After the day is done and you’re getting ready for bed, focus on three wins you had. By focusing on the three things you did right, you practice gratitude in your personal life. You set goals, reach them, and then celebrate them – no matter how small! This can help you have a more positive mindset going forward.

Dan Sullivan explains, “I would look at tomorrow… and I’d say, ‘Well these are gonna be my three biggest wins for tomorrow’. So, I would go to bed feeling good about the day, excited about the next day, and I would get up the next morning excited. So, then I would go out that day and try to have to three wins, but often times what happened is that I had wins that were bigger than the three I imagined the night before.”

The feeling of accomplishment is addictive. Not only does it feel great to get work done and accomplish our goals, but it encourages us to keep working hard in life. We work hard to grow our business, to maintain a healthy marriage, and to give our clients our best. By focusing on The 3 Wins, we view each day as a new opportunity to stay motivated and achieve something great.

How to Succeed in Becoming a Life Coach

Along with these life-changing ideas, here are some other great tips for anyone who is thinking of becoming a life coach.

1. Rapport is Essential

When you are becoming a life coach, you learn that your ability to have a rapport with your clients is just as important as the chemistry you felt with your spouse when you first started dating. Are you good at striking up a conversation? Do you have a knack for getting people to trust you or open up about their problems? If so, then you will be a natural at building your entrepreneurial business because your ability to connect with your clients is important.

2. Ask the Important Questions

As a life coach, it’s your job to ask the hard questions. This means that you must be intuitive about your client and really get to know and understand their thoughts and intentions. Only then can you help them reach their life goals.

3. Get Comfortable with Silence

Silence between two people can be the most uncomfortable, awkward, cringe-worthy experience, but as a life coach, it’s your job to let it happen anyway. When there is silence, your client will be eager to fill the void, which often leads them to show vulnerability and really work through their issues.

4. Don’t Take Things Personally

Your clients are not always going to gel with you. This may cause them to leave your services. Don’t take it personally. Alternatively, you may have a great rapport with your client, but that doesn’t always mean that they will take your advice. This can be frustrating for you, but don’t let it overwhelm you. Instead, look at it as an opportunity to continue building trust between you and your client.

You can make becoming a life coach a reality. Stay motivated by selling yourself on new ideas and strategies every day. It’s also beneficial to remind yourself of your three wins and always strive to keep growing and getting better. By becoming a life coach, you show people that you care, have an excellent rapport, and aren’t afraid of the hard questions – or the silence!

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Success Advice

Consistency Is the Hidden Power to Your Success

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It’s often difficult to start a new habit or change an old behavior. There are enough books and courses online that will teach you about planning your day, planning your night, organizing your home, filtering through paperwork, and on and on it goes.

In the midst of a lot of busywork, though, there lies what I believe is a hidden secret to anyone’s success. Getting into detail about this secret, though, calls for a little reflection on your part. Look at the people you admire, whether alive or dead. Reading about their successes and failures teaches powerful lessons for life.

People will talk about “getting into a groove” and how it feels good. Writing, for me, comes a lot better when I am in a groove or in the flow. Words and phrases come quite easily because I’m sitting down to have a written conversation with you. By the way, it also helps to have a lot of experience as a writer in the back pocket too.

The Answer Lies Within The Question

What’s the secret?” you keep asking. Look at what you are doing in your life today. In business, are you moving forward or stagnant? Connecting with new leads or looking to keep the wolves at bay by taking anything offered? Are you making time to actually do the work while also having some fun?

When you look at the values and practices of successful businesses and entrepreneurs, the one thing that is obvious is that they have developed a level of consistency in their actions. Did it happen overnight after having an awakening experience? Probably not. It was a lot of little things, done over a period of time, and it produced success.

Consistency in business, relationships, friendships, health, wellness, spirituality…you name it. Staying consistent with your actions will lead to results. Here’s a quick caveat: Make sure these consistent habits and behaviors are healthy and nurturing. It does matter in business that you develop a pattern of consistency which reflects a deep level of appreciation for people in your business or on your team.

“Success isn’t always about greatness. It’s about consistency. Consistent hard work leads to success. Greatness will come.” – Dwayne The Rock Johnson

Time and time again, studies have shown how actually being consistent in showing employees appreciation and gratitude can raise the level of work much higher. If you consistently show up as a little tyrant and liar, then you’re going to get burned. If you consistently show up as someone who reflects humility, gratitude and thankfulness for what is going on in your business and life, then you’ll get more of it.

Like attracts like. It’s just that simple. Consistency is one of the most powerful practices and forces that you can add into your business and life.

Here are three specific suggestions that can help you develop a strong core of consistency today:

1. Start out small

Let’s use a restaurant analogy real quick. You walk into a place and you’re hungry. You look at the menu and see a full-course meal that has everything you love in it. Therefore, you order it. The platter comes and you go, “Oh man, that’s a lot of food.” Eat the whole platter in one sitting and you might have a bellyache later on.

If you looked at the platter, took a little bit and ate that, then you’d have some leftovers. You start out small on the meal, not stuff your face with all the food at once. Same concept with consistency. Start out small on what you want to achieve. Just make a little beginning and follow that path.

2. Take your time

What’s the hurry here? Consistency doesn’t pick up right away if you do a total deep dive into it. You have to take your time and go at your own pace. Look, peeking at what Mr. X or Mrs. L is doing will not help you one bit. Patience and persistence are two little powerful motors to help consistency become a part of your life. Even then, though, you have to take your time. Your time, not someone else’s.

“It’s not what we do once in a while that shapes our lives, it’s what we do consistently.” – Tony Robbins

3. Appreciate the journey

While you are on the road to consistency, there are going to be bumps along the way. Just know that going forward. There are two ways to look at this: get frustrated and angry and simply say “nope, this consistency thing isn’t worth it”; or, just continue on the path and appreciate all the stops along the way. Developing a practice of appreciation and gratitude can also play roles in you trusting that level of consistency to appear in your life.

Consistency does equal success. How you define success might be as simple as getting up in the morning and feeling grateful you have a roof over your head, food to eat, and clothes to wear. It might be closing the biggest business deal in your life. It might be looking at your children and knowing they are healthy, well, and happy. It also might be that you survived going through hell in life and made it through just fine.

All it takes is a few consistent actions to change the way you show up in this world. We all need people and examples that remind us about the little secret of consistency. Take your mind off of your phone and out of your laptop sometimes. Look around. You can find these types of success stories all around. They reflect their own results of the power of consistency. Tap into this power today and change your world, along with others too.

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Success Advice

4 Ways You Can Develop Indispensable People as a Business Owner

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In a world where more artificial intelligence, robots and automation are taking over, good employees are beginning to feel less and less indispensable. However, they don’t need to be because robots and AI cannot replace human common sense and authentic, heartfelt engagement. That being said, more and more employers are looking for good employees who want to become great leaders within the organization and are willing to make the investment.

Here are 4 ways organizations can develop indispensable employees:

1. Invest in training & personal development

Personal development is definitely the responsibility of an employee and their own willingness to improve themselves overall. But when you combine that with an employer who is looking to keep quality talent and who sees the tremendous value in assisting their employees growth, the results are incredible.

Statistics show as one of the top three non-financial motivators, 76% of employees want opportunities for career growth. They also show that corporate training has grown to over $70 billion in the United States alone. Companies that do make the investment in their employee’s learning and development tend to lead the way and sustain longevity.

They also become the most sought after places to work for. When you help grow your employees, your employees will help grow your business.

“Clients do not come first. Employees come first. If you take care of your employees, they will take care of the clients.” – Richard Branson

2. Empower them with decision-making abilities

You will find that many companies try to create a “think like an owner” mentality throughout their organizations. While this is a great strategy to implement, it cannot be fully accomplished when an employee does not have the appropriate decision making capabilities.

Companies that empower their employees to make the proper decisions (within reason and to a certain extent), become more effective and efficient as a whole. They are able to provide support to both their internal and external customers without having to wait for longer than needed timeframes to get responses.

Empowering employees through training and mentoring is one of the best practices a company can make. The more power an employee has to make certain decisions, the more sense of ownership is displayed and taken, making it a win-win for everyone.

3. Keep them informed and up to date

A wise man once said, “knowledge is power” so if you want your organization to be a powerful force in your industry, your employees need to be informed. Companies that have an effective system in place to keep employees informed and up to date usually have a higher rate of productivity and success.

Most communication within organizations is only shared within their respective departments where the information is pertinent. But imagine how much more would be able to get done if everyone was aware of what was going on company wide (again to a certain extent). That’s why interdepartmental communication is vital and in order for that to happen, employees need to be kept abreast.

For example, have you ever spoken to different people at a company and have gotten different information? That’ because they are not on the same page or haven’t been informed properly.

If an employee knew “generally speaking” about the happenings in other departments, they may be able to assist the customer base more effectively and avoid unnecessary transfers.

A good way to start this practice of being informed would be to share the company’s wins and losses, successes and failures, and any other significant changes the company may have made. When this happens, everyone is made aware and everyone is on the same page.

“To effectively communicate, we must realize that we are all different in the way we perceive the world and use this understanding as a guide to our communication with others.” – Tony Robbins

4. Develop a true culture of open communication

Honest and open communication is important in the workplace because it affects the ability of everyone being able to work together (as a team). Many employees don’t engage more frequently when asked to because of fear of being ridiculed and even losing their jobs. Why is it that most employees feel more comfortable expressing themselves during normal team meetings but are more reserved in meetings where upper leaders are present?

Could it be that clear lines of open communication have not been established? Studies show that companies who operate in an open forum style atmosphere have higher levels of employee engagement. Engaged employees are more likely to stay with an organization and in return you have less turnovers.

Creating a culture of true and honest communication also develops confidence in the upper leadership team amongst employees. When the leaders of an organization displays proper and safe two-way communication, it also helps the employees feel like their making a difference and their opinions matter.

Implementing these tips will not only help you to develop indispensable employees but will also increase engagement and sustainability. It will also help you to develop an indispensable team to help take your organization to the next level.

How does your boss encourage you to become better? If you’re the boss, how do you encourage your employees to be more productive? Share your thoughts below!

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