Achieve Peak Performance – Today!
Have you ever finished a task, glanced at the clock, and wondered, “Did I really just spend two hours on that?” You were so engaged with what you were doing that time seemed to lose all meaning. Your mind, body, and soul seemed to align in perfect focus as you worked. And when you were through, you could hardly believe what you’d accomplished – almost subconsciously.
If you’ve ever experienced something like that, then you know what it means to be in a state of flow or peak performance.
What is a State of Flow?
This hyper-focused state of mind was first researched back in the 1960s and 70s by the psychologist Dr. Charlie Tart. His studies revealed that flow states offered people a heightened sense of focus, greater levels of confidence, a feeling of timelessness, and a sense of being in the moment. All of this adds up to far greater productivity than an ordinary waking state ruled by distractions.
If you’re like most people, you’ve only experienced this state of peak performance haphazardly. If you’re really lucky, you may have a work session like this every few weeks. In that case, one day of peak performance may be the only thing that keeps you ahead of the ever-looming avalanche of daily work.
But what if you didn’t have to settle for a flow state once every few weeks?
What if you could enter a flow state on command?
The Power of Peak Performance
Imagine walking into your office each morning, sitting down at your desk, closing your eyes for a few brief moments, and opening them to a state of flow that carried you through your day. Think of everything you could accomplish if you could do that day after day, week after week, for an entire year.
This isn’t just a pie-in-the-sky pipe dream. It’s a lived reality for thousands of people who understand the power of flow states and who have developed the ability to enter those flow states on command.
And you could be among their number. It just takes a little understanding, some practice, and a thoughtful plan.
Discovering the Flow State Sweet Spot
In order to achieve a flow state, you must approach your tasks in a very intentional way. Research has shown that people enter flow states more easily when they’re slightly challenged by the task at hand. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, a pioneering researcher in flow states, has put it this way: “The best moments [of flow] usually occur if a person’s body or mind is stretched to its limits in a voluntary effort to accomplish something difficult and worthwhile.”
Think about it like this: If you’re working on something that’s well below your skill level, you’ll become bored. And boredom is the first ingredient you need for distraction. Just think of all the Zoom meetings you’ve been in where you start out listening but eventually find yourself scrolling through Facebook.
Why do you do that?
Because a bored mind seeks something interesting with which to engage.
So, you want your task to offer a challenge, otherwise you’ll end up distracted. But that doesn’t mean that any challenge will do. If you attempt something that has a difficulty level way above your reach, you won’t reach a flow state either. But this isn’t because of boredom, it’s because of anxiety. You’ll feel inadequate. You’ll struggle to figure out your next step. You’ll choke with every attempt. And flow will be an impossibility.
The key to getting into a flow state is riding a wave between these two crests – attempting a task that’s challenging enough to keep you interested without being so challenging that it wears you out. Find that middle ground and you’ll be able to live in a state of flow.
Other Things That Can Keep You from Flow
Boredom and anxiety aren’t the only things that can keep you from reaching and remaining in a flow state. In addition to those obstructions, your pursuit of a flow state may be hindered by any of the following…
- A lack of experience
- Poor relationships with your team
- Unhelpful criticisms
- Low self-confidence or self-esteem
- Physical exhaustion
- Poor psychological preparation
Any of these things can hinder you from entering a flow state. As a result, it’s absolutely vital that you root out the causes of these problems first. If you don’t, you’ll waste a lot of energy attempting something that will be nearly impossible.
How To Reach Peak Performance
Understanding flow states is the first step in consistently experiencing them for yourself. But developing the skills to enter a flow state on command requires more than reading a brief article. There are so many different moving parts to get right that attempting it on your own can frustrate you to the point of giving up.
You may think you’ve done everything right and yet fail to get the response you were hoping for. Meanwhile, you don’t realize that you’re making a subtle mistake that’s throwing your whole effort out of alignment.
That’s why a coach can be the difference between gaining genuine skill in flow states and floundering in frustration. With a coach by your side, you’ll have someone who can offer an objective perspective on your goals and efforts. You’ll be forced to confront tough questions about commitment, distractions, self-talk, and more. And since a coach will have experience with flow states, he’ll be better equipped to pinpoint anything that may be holding you back.
Need coaching? Contact me today about my special coaching packages.