by Lynn Banis PhD -
Do you remember those times when you were doing something that you truly loved and felt you did well - those times when you totally lost track of the hours flying by, when you were totally immersed, totally fulfilled?
Czikszentmihalyi calls that "flow", I call it "power and passion". The degree to which we can find that in our personal and professional lives is the degree we can live out of our power and passion.
The way to find our way back in to feeling that flow is to examine the situations in our lives where we were doing something we loved and felt we did it well. Those situations can be analyzed to find the consistent themes and conditions consistent across all circumstances.
Start by writing out ten situations - they must be times when you:
a) did something you really enjoyed and
b) felt you did it well.
Describe what you did using verbs as much as possible.
Now go back and analyze each situation.
1. Note how you got involved in each situation. This will tell you what circumstances you are drawn to. Is there an opportunity you seize, are you asked to participate, do you see a need, etc.?
2. Note the skills and abilities you use to accomplish your goals. How do you learn, how do you organize, how do you plan, how do you make decisions, how do you persuade others, how do you take action? Be very specific e.g. I learn by gathering information or by asking and probing. This will tell you exactly HOW you do things.
3. Note what subject matter you work with. Do you work with tangible or intangible things? What are they? Do you use mechanisms or data or people? Again, be very specific. This will tell you WHAT vehicles you use to accomplish your goals.
4. Note what the environment is like in each situation. How do you get recognized for what you do? What kind of structure is present? Are there challenges, opportunities for change or potential? How do you interact with others? This will tell you what characteristics and conditions are present to stimulate your achievements.
5. Note how you work with others or alone. This will tell you what relationships and structures are important when you are achieving your goals.
6. Note what was most satisfying about reaching your goals in each situation. What themes are present? Do you focus on personal performance, the process you used, creating or building things, gaining control over something or the effort involved? This will tell you what you actually do, what drives you in all that you attempt. It will also give you insight into what the pay-offs are for your accomplishments.
Once you have all of this mapped out you will be able to put this map up against almost anything you get involved in and you will be able to see how closely they match up.
Does your new situation have the conditions you need to really enjoy what you are doing and do it well? The closer you come to a match the happier and more productive you will be.
When you are able to quickly analyze a new opportunity or situation you will be able to make a good decision about how positive the fit will be for you.
This is valuable in accepting a new assignment, choosing a career or job, volunteering your time, joining a club or social group and just doing what will make you truly happy.
Lynn Banis PhD, MCC is known as America's High Performance Coach. She specializes in helping executives and entrepreneurs make the most of their opportunities and potential. Her years of working with small and large businesses has given her a depth of knowledge that is invaluable to her clients. You can reach her at email@example.com.