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#167: Entrepreneur Flow: A Plan to Experience Flow

Introduction

Welcome back to the Entrepreneur Mindset Podcast!

Today we are going to begin a series of several episodes talking about how to really prepare for the upcoming year so that you can start in January really just in a place of motivation, in a place of flow, which is what we’re going to talk about today. And truly just figuring out how to take what it is you want to do with your business and make it a reality.

We are going to start with the concept of experiencing flow and flow is what helps you get into the groove of things. So that is where we are going to begin today. And as this series continues, we will talk more and more about getting things done, motivation and all of those nitty gritty details that help you to keep overwhelm at bay and actually make progress in your business.

Why is Flow Important?

Over the past few months, I have had this project that I’ve been working on and it is converting all of my previous podcast episode titles and descriptions for YouTube. And in doing this, I am working to find better titles, more descriptive titles now that I know more three years later, creating descriptions that are going to attract listeners on YouTube.

It takes time, it’s kind of tedious, and the fact of the matter is that it doesn’t create flow for me. What it means is that when I sit down to work on converting all of my podcast episodes into YouTube podcast episodes, the time feels like it drags on and on and on. You have tasks like that, I’m sure.

I think we all do, whether it’s in business or in life. I think we all have tasks that just kind of drag on. They don’t get us in the groove. We don’t feel like time stands still, and we’re just flowing with our work. And that’s kind of why we’re going to talk about flow today because flow is absolutely critical to the success of your business.

And you might be thinking, wait a minute, no, it’s not. I need to have income, I need to have an offer, I need to have this, I need to have that. You can think of any number of things that are actually critical to your business before the thought of flow even comes into your mind. But what I want to share with you is the fact that flow is actually what helps you get to that point of having really great systems, having an offer that is desirable to having messaging that works, to being able to sit down and create new content for your social media channels. 

Flow is critical to getting the big things done. And flow is this idea. If it’s something that you haven’t heard me talk about before and you’ve not seen before, that’s okay. Flow was originally defined by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. Flow is this kind of state of being that you get into when you have a balance of skill and challenge in your tasks. The easiest way that I usually explain this is, you know when you lost track of time because you were just in the groove on something that’s flow. 

Usually if I, if you actually think about what you lost track of time doing, it was probably something that was a little bit challenging. It was something that you were also, you had some skill level in and it kind of felt like it. It was just one of those activities that you were maybe looking forward to a little bit. So flow happens with a balance of skill and challenge. Why do I keep saying that? Because if something is too hard, say it’s a brand new task that you have no idea how to do, flow is not going to happen.  

Flow happens when you’ve kind of gotten your feet wet a little bit, you know a little bit more about how to work, how to do something, that’s when flow happens. So it’s a balance of skill and challenge. If it is too easy, if it is something that is super simple, that’s not going to create flow. And the reason we want flow is not just because it’s critical to your business to get all of these big things done, but it’s also the place where creativity comes out to play. Flow is where you sit down and these new ideas come to you as you’re working on whatever thing it is you’re working on.

Your brain, your mind just really opens up to the possibilities. And so when we don’t ever get into that flow state, a lot of times what it means is that we are kind of stuck in the nitty gritty, little tiny details like converting all of those YouTube titles and descriptions from my podcast to be more SEO friendly and searchable and meaningful to potential listeners so that they’ll click on them.

That does not create flow for me. It might for some people though, for some people it might create flow. So you now know that flow is critical. It is what happens when you have a balance of skill and challenge in your task. And it is something that helps, that is really that idea of losing track of time. You get in the groove with things.

Steps to Incorporating Flow into Your Business

Today I want to share with you three steps to help maximize your flow. And this is going to help you not only as we round out the year, but also as you move into the new year. Because I know so many people, so many entrepreneurs who are currently planning for the next year, but they aren’t necessarily planning with flow in mind.

They’re thinking, okay, I want this many more listeners on my podcast. I want to sell this many courses and I want to grow my email list by this number. These are all fantastic metrics to look at, but how do you think you get there by maximizing flow? 

The first step that I want to share with you today feels a little bit tricky because it is one of the biggest objections that anyone has in business, and it’s all about time. I want you to carve out time for your business uninterrupted. Think about the last time you got into the groove and you lost track of time. Is it because you were interrupted every three seconds? Probably not. You probably had a chunk of time that allowed you to focus on your business and to really sink into the task that you were working on.

That brings me to the second step of maximizing flow, and that is to choose the tasks that are challenging. And I don’t mean tedious. I mean the things that are going to stretch your brain a little bit that are going to make you move forward. Don’t just go to the easy stuff that doesn’t create the opportunity for flow to happen. It doesn’t create the bursts for creativity because either it’s too hard, it’s too easy, it’s not meaningful enough. And so you need to make sure that as you are choosing tasks, think about what you can share with maybe a virtual assistant, a VA, that isn’t challenging. It doesn’t really require your specific skill set. Why can’t you give that to a VA? And then focus on the tasks that really allow your business to flourish.

These are the meaningful actions that you’re taking in your business. So for instance, I might decide to give a virtual assistant the task of renaming my podcasts because they have full transcripts, they already have a title and a description. They just need to be kind of jazzed up and made a little bit more specific so I could give that task over to a virtual assistant and then I could, with my newfound time, create a plan and a strategy for the podcast for the upcoming year. 

You see where I’m going here? You need to take that meaningful action. Can a virtual assistant plan my podcast strategy, the topics that I want to talk about and all of those things? No, probably not, maybe, but probably not as effectively as I can at this point in my business.

So step one is to carve out time for your business uninterrupted. Step two is to choose the tasks that are challenging that are going to allow you to take meaningful action in your business, not just the things that are “woo-hoo, I got to check it off kind of to-do list” things, but the stuff that will make a difference, the stuff that only you can do inside your business.

And before you tell me, I am the only one that can do X, Y, Z, chances are someone else could do X and Y, but only you can do Z. So really lean into your zone of genius. And a lot of times that means letting go of tasks that you have previously held onto, whether it’s from a financial standpoint or it’s kind of being in control of that so that it goes out correctly.

Whatever that looks like you might find yourself. Now, if you want to make this leap in your business and find more flow so that you have those times for creativity, you have to give up stuff. I’m reading a book right now, 10x is Easier Than 2x and a lot of the concepts in there are really fantastic. 

If you haven’t read the book, I highly recommend it. It is written by an organizational psychologist near and dear to my heart because I am an industrial organizational psychologist as well. But in the book, the author talks about the idea that you’re going to have to give up some of the things that you’re doing in your business to make big, massive leaps forward. You’re going to have to focus on that 20% of your tasks that are going to allow you to move your business into the future. So in choosing the tasks that are challenging, in choosing the tasks that will create meaningful action in your business, recognize that that’s going to create an opening for you to delegate some other things that maybe you’ve been holding onto. And it’s time to let go of either let go of them completely in your business or assign those tasks, those duties to someone else. 

So step one was to carve out time in your business uninterrupted. Step two was to choose tasks that are challenging. And step three is to give yourself some grace. The first time you sit down with flow in mind might be an unmitigated disaster full of squirrel moments.

What do I mean by squirrel moments? You get really distracted, you start doing other things, things that probably are not meaningful actions, things that are a little bit easier because you know how to do them. They’re comfortable, they don’t push you, okay? If you end up in one of these squirrel moment flow sessions, that doesn’t mean that you can’t really get into the flow.

I would encourage you to create some space to recenter yourself before sitting down to work or to brainstorm ideas. Because if you are like so many of us, rushing from one task to the next, flow isn’t going to happen. We need to be in that physiological state as well as that mental state in order to be able to slip into the groove of things and to allow for that creativity to take root.

So if you can start your work session where you say, okay, I have carved out an hour and a half of time, if you can start that work session with even one or two minutes of silence and slow, steady, deep breathing, your body physiologically will be in a better place to let flow happen. Your mind is no longer going to be racing, your heart is going to slow to a nice comfortable pace instead of racing from one thing to the next kind of like your brain is doing. And so give yourself some grace, okay? Give yourself some grace to work on establishing a practice of flow in your business.

Action Item

So what actions can you take today that will set you up for success in the future?

What I’d like you to do today is to identify one task that you’d like to accomplish in the next quarter and start carving out time for that task. If you feel like you can’t find the time, there is just no nook and cranny that’s big enough for this task. Examine a few things, whether or not this particular task is important to you and your business.

If it is, what is keeping you from finding that time? If it is literally a laundry list of things that have to be done, maybe including the laundry, I encourage you to explore who, what, how that laundry list of things, including maybe the laundry could be reassigned to someone else. Could it be crossed off altogether? Is it something that you’re doing because you think you should be, but it’s not actually helping you in your business? Could it just be crossed off? Is it something that it’s now time to delegate because you have systems in play that allow someone else to take over this piece of your business or this task inside your business? If it is in fact the laundry, who in your home can you ask to help? Say, you know what y’all, everyone’s responsible for all of these clothes everyone’s adding to the dirty laundry pile. How about we rotate? Who does the wash? Who does the folding and the putting away? That way you’re still doing it too, right? But other people in your home can also help. 

It might might mean a few uncomfortable conversations if you are starting to ask for help, and maybe it’s the first time you’ve had to ask for help and know that it gets easier and know that it also creates that space for grace as you start to learn how to build flow into your business. Because the magic happens when you get into flow regularly. 

You’ve heard me talk about this before. If you’ve been following me for any length of time, you know that I co-work three days a week with some fantastic women around the world. And we co-work for 90 minutes at 6:00 AM my time. So I work from six to 7:30 AM and more often than not, when seven 30 rolls around we miss the deadline because we are all just focused and in the flow.

And what’s happened is when someone new joins our coworking session, they often report in those first couple of weeks, oh my gosh, I kind of got off track. I started doing something else. And what happens is if they stick with it, if they regularly create this space, this 90 minute chunk of time, they get to that same place that those of us who have been doing this for over a year now without fail, that we get to almost every single time we sit down because our body, our minds are ready for this. We know that this is a 90 minute chunk of time when the magic can happen.

Conclusions

When you practice getting into flow regularly, it happens more easily and it happens with more regularity. Alright? The whole point of talking about flow today was to help you start thinking about how you’re going to plan for this last month of 2023 and then into the next year as you are creating your business plans and thinking about the goals that you’d like to set.

I want you to think big, and I want you to think about the tasks that are going to require skill and challenge these. These are optimal tasks, optimal goals for flow state. So find the time, find the task, give yourself some grace. Practice it because when you commit yourself to getting in the flow regularly, you are going to be taking meaningful action in your business.

And that is going to have a positive impact. It’s going to have a positive impact on your bottom line. It’s going to have a positive impact on your wellbeing. It’s going to have a positive impact on your clients’ and their success because now we have this ripple effect. They go out and do even more good, those people go out and do even more good.

You see where I’m going here? So if we can commit to getting into the flow regularly, it’s going to have a ripple effect. So this week’s reminder, your action item is to identify one task you’d like to accomplish in the next quarter and start carving out time for that task now.

I’ll see you back here next week for another episode of the Entrepreneur Mindset Podcast, where we focus on mentoring, community and implementation. It’s all about taking action so that we can remove the overwhelm of building a successful and profitable business and add in a little dose of momentum.

Until next time, have a healthy, safe, and happy week.

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