What is “Going with the flow?”
The flow is a feeling you get when the next logical thing to do shows up for you. Going with the flow is the opposite of forcing things to happen.
For the past few months, I’ve been trying to meet with someone. I had a proposal for them I felt could help their business. We talked briefly about it and they were interested, but we couldn’t find a time to get together.
I was a bit frustrated. I thought to myself, why is this so difficult?
But, I’ve learned over the past few years to notice when things are in the flow or out of it. This seemed out of the flow. I wanted to meet with her and she wanted to meet with me, but we couldn’t make it work.
Something wasn’t working, so I let it simmer. I didn’t give up and dismissed my frustration. I watched myself to manage any feelings of discouragement and said to myself that now was not the right time. And let it be.
Well, today I found out for the past few months she was looking to move her office. She was too busy with her office relocation and had no time or energy for my proposal!
We haven’t met yet, but it goes to show you that pushing when the time is not right makes it harder than it needs to be and maybe it’s better to wait. Maybe even patient.
Tip Number 1 – Know what you are doing right now
The flow starts with being present. It requires a level of comfort in where you are. It requires a sense that things are working well for you.
Flow happens now. You can’t be in the flow tomorrow or yesterday. Only now. You need not wait for it to start, but you do need to let go and trust things will begin to happen.
Tip Number 2 – The Flow is Not Passive
A common misconception of going with the flow is that you must be passive.
By going with the flow, you actually have more power. Your power comes from placing your focus, attention, and energy where it has the most impact. The point of greatest impact is always right now.
You are paying attention to what is happening now and reflecting on how it can help get you to where you want to be.
Tip Number 3 – Just look at the next step, (200 feet, baby)
Beth and I have a favorite statement we use when we realize we are getting ahead of ourselves and not going with the flow. We remind each other to focus on the next 200 feet. This is our catchphrase to not worry about things way out in the future and to think about what we can do in the very short term. We wrote a post about it – see it here.
We learned the term “200 feet, baby” from Rhonda Byrne in The Secret during her interview with Jack Canfield. In the movie, Canfield makes the statement you can drive all the way from California to New York in the dark by only looking at the 200 feet your headlights shine right in front of you.
The beauty of this story is that you don’t have to worry about what you are going to do in Kansas when you are still in California. Sure, you can and should think ahead. But, there is no need to get too far of yourself, like getting too far into the details.
Tip Number 4 – Course correct when you catch yourself getting out of the flow
Beth has a tool she has created to help her stay in the flow. She will call herself out by saying “No Beth” when she catches herself thinking thoughts that distract her.
She described an incident the other day to me where she was meeting some old friends and started to question herself. She found herself asking things like “what will they think of me now?” and “I wonder if what I’ve done will stack up?”
She shared how she caught herself thinking about things that don’t matter to her and coached herself with “No Beth, you don’t think like this anymore.” She is beginning to identify thinking that doesn’t support what she wants with this simple phrase. “No Beth” has become a valuable tool for her in this thought transformation process.
It’s a simple way to stop the distracting thoughts and replace them with more mindful ones like ‘obstacles will move out of my way, so I’ll arrive on time’ or ‘someone will pull out of a good parking place just in time for me to pull in.’
It’s these kinds of thoughts that muddle the flow and slow your progress toward your goals.
Tip Number 5 – Flow is a measure of trust
One aspect of moving with the flow is trust. This is where many of us have the most difficulty.
We all want to know what happens next. We plan and schedule. We anticipate. We want to control the outcome. We don’t trust ourselves to get what we want. We don’t trust the Universe to deliver.
When we look back on all the things that have worked out for us, we can see that we played a crucial role, but so did ‘luck’, ‘chance,’ and ‘just in time coincidences.’
The Universe works to take care of the how. It’s up to us to ask for what we want and get out of the way – stop putting up resistance and trust.
Try trusting yourself and go with the flow once each day to start. Give yourself a week and let us know how it works. And remember if it feels difficult, you’re trying too hard.