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Strategies for Maximizing Flow-states

Updated: Oct 29, 2018

How to recognize and trigger Flow

When I do presentations about flow-based decision making and flow-based leadership, I'm often asked, "How do I experience flow more often?" It happened again this week, when I was meeting with Team Diem at Apres Diem in Midtown Atlanta. I was not completely happy with how I responded, so I thought this might make a good little article to put out into the world.


Flow is a feeling, not an activity..."being in the zone," "bringing your A-game," "peak performance"

The first thing to recognize is that flow is a feeling, not an activity. It is neutral. That is, it is not "good" or "bad," "positive" or "negative." It is how you feel in the moment. Flow, also called, "ecstasis," "being in the zone," "peak performance," among other things, feels wonderful. My cousin, Eric Glickrieman, a amazing musician, and composer, calls the feeling, "riding the wave of action." I've heard firefighters refer to it as "bringing your A-game."


Most of the time we recognize flow when we are in it. Initiating flow is a skill.

Here are a few strategies to help you get the point where you can consciously pop into flow.

  • Recognize when you are in flow. Consider how you got there and what is keeping you there. Remember, flow is the intersection of skills and challenges. Pay attention to what happens that pulls you out of flow.

  • Have a plan. Understand that the plan will change and be OK with that. Having a plan helps you make decisions and enables you to live in the moment unfettered by worry and anxiety.

  • Take care of yourself from a physical, mental, and spiritual perspective. Choose to be happy!

  • Nurture an outward focus on making the world a better place by helping and mentoring others. Practice forgiveness. One of the most important characteristics of flow is the loss of sense of self.

  • Get better at what you do. Training and experience mitigate boredom and anxiety, which are the two primary flow-stoppers.

It occurs to me that each of these bullet points is a separate set of blog posts (or maybe the next book!). Let me know if you have any questions. By the way, at 11:00 this morning, I'll be speaking on the topic of "Flow-based Leadership" to Technology Association of Georgia's Entrepreneurs Society. I'd love to see you there.

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