What is flow?
It’s irresistible and it’s addictive. Once we’ve experienced it, we long for more of it. Flow is the state of being in the zone.
The term is fairly recent but this state of mind has been given many terms through the ages – rhapsodic, ecstatic, in the pocket, laser focused, tuned in, pumped up. Almost everybody knows this feeling of synchrony and total absorption, however fleeting or accidental these experiences may have been. They are golden.
Many have discovered this state accidentally as if by miracle, and often the experience is transformational. It shifts our neural chemistry, it bends time, we find focus and we lose ourselves. Our inner critic is silenced and we become more creative, more confident, more motivated and so much more productive. Flow delivers peak performance.
In a state of flow, we become the performance, or any activity, and we fully engage. Peak experience leads to elevated peak potential. This is a dynamic process; we can train our brains to find freeways to flow and mastery. Our senses are sharpened, our experience is amplified, but our anxieties fade and disappear.
Flow wipes out fear
Public speaking or performance is terrifying for many people. It’s the top rated fear, even beating death in the polls.
This fear can undermine us in a multitude of ways. It can distract us and make us fumble, or it can petrify us, or prevent us from even trying. We become too afraid to speak, to audition, to put ourselves out there. We might have a great question we want to pose at a conference but are too afraid to stand up and ask. By avoiding the fear, we miss opportunities.
For performers, stage fright is the ultimate fear. And it’s self-fulfilling. We fear the fear which might cause us to fail. Coping with the fear does not cure it.
While stage fright is potentially crippling, flow is immensely freeing. This is the experience of being absolutely in the moment, which, for an actor, is essential to being truly authentic. The brain is locked in and engaged, and distractions like fear ebb away. Our inner critics are silenced. Our focus is absolute and the actor, or the doer, becomes the action. What was potentially a traumatic experience becomes an opportunity for exhilaration.
Recent developments in neuropsychology have exposed the workings of the brain so that we can now actually see what goes on inside the black box of the mind. And research shows that we can modify it. The brain is not rational, but it is coachable. We can train our brains to think differently and to embrace performance in a fully positive way.
Through coaching, you can discover your own shortcut to the flow state. Heightened concentration, confidence, and creativity result; and there is a broader ripple effect, leading to greater calm, and bigger thrills.