It is almost a month into my New Chapter following my 50th year, and yes! I am still celebrating.
I’ve come up with one “thing” for each of my five decades. I’m calling them my “five fabulous things”. Here they are: going on a cooking course in Greece with four of my school girlfriends (of forty years!); listening to Andrea Bocelli on his farm in Tuscany; working towards my dream of meeting Brené Brown (author of Daring Greatly, my favourite book of all time) come true; writing my next book which will talk about Courageous Conversations around our Relationship with Money Matters to enable Retiremeant™, and continuing to spread the message of the importance of exploring our relationships with money through the work and writing that I do.
The point of sharing these details with you is that what is encompassed in my dreams for 2018 are three of the things I’m most passionate about: travelling, cooking and learning. These three things represent me at my most inspired. Because finding your flow is about what makes you feel alive. I love how Ariel Gore, author of Bluebird: Women and the New Psychology of Happiness, puts it: “In a typical day that teeters between anxiety and boredom, flow experiences are those flashes of intense living – bright against the dull. These optimal experiences can happen when we’re engaged in work paid and unpaid, in sports, in music, in art.”
Be fearless to follow your flow
I was having dinner with some special clients recently. Five years ago we had had a meeting that changed their lives. They had come to see us because their life was at a crossroads – a difficult one. My client, a busy businessman (unhappy in the field he was in), was struggling with cancer. In our meeting, we were running scenarios of what working one more year would look like for him, the implications of restructuring his business – and of then downsizing it. At some point, I put this to him: “So, are you telling me that you’re going to carry on doing more of what you don’t like for longer?”
Hearing it like that changed the course of his life. It was his “aha” moment: right there, he and his wife started envisioning the life they actually wanted. They started to feel the flow into what saw him leave his job, move with his wife to a more peaceful place, change their lifestyle to a healthier one and be more in touch with themselves spiritually. Today, they are happy and healthy. And they’re grateful for all they have.
That is being in the flow.
If you’re still trying to find your flow, here are a few tips to take you forward:
Five ways to find your flow
- Do: Think of an activity that when you’re doing it, time goes by so quickly that you’re hardly aware of it. Chances are that activity is integral to who you are. This is your mainstay, your true north. Spend some time finding out what these things are.
- Reflect: Schedule regular reflection time into your diary – the more often, the better. You want to bring your most authentic self to the world around you and not a watered down version of who you are. Reflection time is revolution time.
- Write: Buy yourself a journal. And if you have one already, start using it. Even if you aren’t a writer, write. Expressing thoughts, feelings and things you’re grateful for – as well as dreams and plans – is key when it comes to watching your journey unfold.
- Mean: Human beings are wired for purpose, for meaning. Even if you think you aren’t, you are. Flow doesn’t find its place unless you’re purposeful. Think about where you feel fulfilled insofar as having added value to the lives of others. It’s probably in these spaces that your purpose lives.
- Seek: It’s time to start looking around you – and inside you; to seek the signs for the wisdom you need for moving forward. Whether it be from books or people that inspire you or a worldview that helps you to “see” things with a little more spirituality, you need to develop a personal portfolio for the path you take. Be open to your internal compass and to the clues and clarity life wants to show you. Listen for the sounds of the truth around – and in – you. Learn to trust it and let it guide you to your goals.
So, what question would someone need to pose to you to see you move into your particular flow? Yes, words can indeed be a powerful force for flowing us forward. I love these ones by Rainer Maria Rilke, who writes: “May what I do flow from me like a river, no forcing and no holding back.”
Here’s to a year of flow for you. No holding back.