The formula for flow

THE 4 KEY INGREDIENTS TO FINDING FLOW

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I’ve been a planner since a very young age, even if I didn’t know the word for what I was doing.

The cycle of getting clear on what I wanted, setting a plan and putting my head down to work hard and make it happen, was a constant in my life. There’s no denying it served me well and many good things have come into my life as a consequence.

Yet, there’s also no denying that many things in my life haven’t transpired according to my well intentioned plans.

Like my degree course which was discontinued during my first year leading to a new plan that involved changing universities and delaying my studies by a year. So much strength, friendship and confidence came to me as a result.

Like the plan my husband and I made to start a family which took 5 years longer than expected, but gifted us an incredible son and more growth and clarity than I thought possible.

Like renovating house after house with the aim to settle peacefully in each one for many years and, for a range of reasons, ending up selling each one and moving on. Not only did we grow in confidence with renovating but we found the house we now so joyfully call home. And yes, we are renovating it!

So now you’re expecting me to say ‘don’t plan‘ , but really that’s not what I believe.

What I know now is that I tried to push my plans through time and time again, despite the unexplainable resistance I was experiencing. Tirelessly working to make it happen.

Each time I accepted the plan wasn’t working, I felt deep disappointment and failure, went into rethink mode, rewrote the plan and kept moving on more driven to make up for lost time.

Who was I kidding? I was thinking I was achieving so much and yet at what price? How much easier could it have been?

A plan is an idea, a best guess, a way to focus our action towards something we aspire to achieve. It’s not real. It’s not a guarantee. There’s so many variables, one being ourself, none of which you can fully control, predict or force.

Life is full of surprises and often they don’t make sense.

And yet, at the same time, life is truly beautiful.

The meandering of so many lives into one creates moments, situations, lifetimes that can never be predicted. Some which take our breath away and some that shock us to our core.

A greater force is present. Whether for you that’s God, the universe or an unknown element, it’s bigger than anything in us individually or collectively. It flows through us if we let it. Like when we’re writing or painting we are literally taken on a journey, not knowing or even thinking about where it will go because we are in itAt one with it.

How can we trust this life force enough to be “in” our life? To be at one with it? To truly live and not get rigidly fixed on the plan.

How can the plan be clarity of what we desire in the knowledge that sometimes we don’t have the complete picture in our hands at the time of setting our course?

How can we not feel let down when we need to give up on a plan we have been working towards and evolve towards another?

How can we surrender to the flow of life?

For me, it’s literally summed up by;

Clear desire + spacious & focused plan + mindful work + curious acceptance of life’s unpredictable force = Flow

Clear desire
Knowing what you want, truly want. Not what somebody else out there thinks you want or thinks you should want, but what you truly want. For this you need to know yourself and compassionately trust yourself.

Spacious & focused plan
A clear plan with a focused path but with lots of open space for changes, for unexpected twists and turns and no sign of unrealistic timelines.

Mindful work
It takes work and this is rewarding because it is taking you towards your true desires and yet it is still work. This work is quality time, mindful time, true focus.

Curious acceptance of life’s unpredictable force
The undefinable factor which we can’t plan for and yet by loosening our grip, we can allow it to have a place alongside us knowing it’s such a critical part of finding our flow.

How would I say this to a the structured, driven, planned me of the past?

Would it feel like I was talking another language? Or would the me that’s always been inside, let it in just a crack, a slither and cradle it until it grows and builds and takes over? Or would I dismiss it as not being part of the plan?

I will never lose my passion for planning, I find it so helpful in focusing me in a world which often feels like it has no focus. Yet, if you have been like me and been welded to the plan, rigid, stuck, locked on, exhausted and exasperated then there is another way.

There is a way for life not to feel like a constant disappointment by accepting what has always been, what is and what will always be….life. Not giving up on what you desire but working with life and not against it.

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Michelle

 

McCartan

Is a coach, a writer and leadership consultant. Her deeply compassionate approach to helping others unearth their true self and find their true work has touched the lives of hundreds of clients from all over the world, from CEOs and MDs to new and aspiring thought leaders, entrepreneurs, creatives, and new mums.

She’s the author of two personal development books, The Journey of Me and Inspiration Quotient (INQ) and the co-founder of Wellineux. She is a certified Leadership Coach and qualified Holistic Health Coach. She brings her extensive professional expertise, her firsthand familiarity with her own personal challenges and journey home, and her flexible, empathic nature to her every engagement and interaction, so that every client she serves feels witnessed, seen, and honoured for who they innately are.

Connect with Michelle at http://michellemccartan.com