Force vs. Flow

In a conversation this past week about life and the goals I am trying to achieve with The Optimists Journal, my wise and close friend said to me, 

“it’s already in your heart, it’s making its way to your head, and then it can flow freely through your voice”

It made immediate sense to me, and I’m working on it. I think that’s a big part of why I like writing so much, it’s a conduit that gives me time to move the words from my heart to my head. I learned so much about that process writing and publishing 365 Days of Optimism. As I move forward sharing my book and new ventures for The Optimists Journal, sometimes the patterns from past life experience chime in, there is excitement and enthusiasm and then all of a sudden a gripping sense of self doubt that feels almost paralyzing. The scar tissue and triggers born from some of life’s tougher moments rear their ugly heads, and I feel myself take a step backward. Doing new things is scary, there is no way around it. I push forward because I have a vision of something great, that elevates the level of social media and the vast amount of informational space that is the internet, but in the very next moment, I am longing for that comfort of what I have always known in my life…complacency speaking loud and clear. 

That gap between comfort and becoming, is the difference between surviving and thriving, baseline and best life…and I think I am just rounding the corner to allow myself to envision maximum potential.

Often it seems we have to sustain one of life’s disappointments or even devastations to shake us enough to contemplate what that best life looks like.  Only when we are brave enough to seek next level awareness, can we heal our wounds and slowly but surely lower the stress on our nervous system enough to process life in a way that achieves calm and flow. I still, even just this past week, experienced setbacks on this path, but thankfully, the adjustment back to the higher and clearer mind comes quicker these days. 

So often, I feel the pull between the big bright world of thinkers and doers, the place where I want to live and achieve my goals, and the small world of judgment and scarcity, as if there are finite amounts of confidence, generosity and kindness out there that we have to fight to receive before it’s gone. I am grateful that as the weeks and months go by, and I am brave enough to stick my neck out there, although there may be criticism and doubt, I get to sit in the presence of calm, present and open minded people that know there is enough space for everyone’s success in this world. With these minds, there is no gaming or territory to protect, just good conversation, action and a commitment not to force but to flow. Check out this interview with Cassidy Lichtman, Stanford All-American, former USA National Volleyball Team Member, currently working for Shift7 in Washington DC helping to create solutions that move society forward for the an example of one of these conversations.

INTERVIEW WITH CASSIDY LICHTMAN

Although force can be goal oriented, it is ego driven. Force always tries to act fast, sometimes before we have the full capacity to feel. Force compares accomplishments and keeps track of the imaginary finish line. Force makes us tired and then looks for validation from the outside to sustain the our energy.  In short, force is always calling for backup.

When we evolve enough to find even brief states of flow as we work toward our goals, we can be patient, because the process itself is so enjoyable and worthy. Flow attracts believers and like minds. Flow always propels us forward.  One of the most interesting things I learned about flow just this week is that the requirements for finding flow are different for everyone, based on our character traits. As part of the Catalyst Coaching Intensive, a life coaching course I am participating in, we took the VIA Character assessment and discovered the makeup of positive psychology personality traits that make up each of our personalities. For any individual, the top five traits in our personality must be in play to for us to achieve a state of flow. If you are interested, you can take the VIA here:

VIA CHARACTER ASSESSMENT

This deeper level of understanding of ourselves can add so much calm and clarity to our lives but also adds more work. Once you have experienced flow, even for a brief amount of time, it’s easy to feel why that work is only something to be grateful for.

Stay tuned in the next week for some exciting announcements about fun and engaging long form conversations that I am taking on the road, first to my hometown of Fresno, that aim to bring more flow and optimism to our lives.