Myths to Know About Finding Your Flow: Part III – The F-Bomb
We’ve made it to the end of all of my wisdom. The last myths I or anyone else have ever encountered while turning a passion into a real product.
Obviously, I’m joking. But I really appreciate you following along and hope that some of my own struggles have helped you feel a little less alone in your journey and have also helped you push past the clutter to find that flow state.
A quick recap on how we got here:
- The first myth was about knowing you don’t always have to know the end goal. About jumping in with abandon. Getting started and kind of following those moments and projects that just feel right.
- The second myth that I had for you was all about realizing you won’t always love what you are doing. Flow is really kind of a muscle – or rather a neural pathway that you’ve built into your brain from repetitive practice.
And sometimes your brain is an adolescent teenager that wants to do everything but that one thing that you told them to do. It will come up with some world-class justifications for why you just can do the thing right now. But you have to snap your fingers, be mindful and recognize them for what they are: avoidance.
Case in point: I have a full-time job. A rather demanding one that I absolutely love.
But it zaps a lot of mental and emotional energy from me on the daily. And when I get home from a day of running marketing campaigns and managing blogs, sitting down to….do marketing for my business and manage a blog is just about the last thing I feel like doing.
I’ve noticed that feeling usually dissipates after about 10 minutes of sitting down and getting into what I had planned for the evening.
But then what?
After you’ve started, you have to keep going. And then you have to start again the next day. And, sometimes, the next day, you are actually starting further behind than where you were the previous day.
Today’s myths are all about persistence and daily practice…
Myth 3: You can meditate your way into a flow state
I want to start by saying that I am a huge advocate of meditation and that I strive to do it daily (though, I don’t always hit that mark). However, in my experience, meditation and mindfulness need to be matched with motivation and action.
I’m a rare breed of creative that kind of resents creating art for art’s sake.
I like to know that what I’m doing has a purpose. That it can help someone plan an amazing adventure, can spark a brand collaboration or can teach someone about a new place in the world. I’m a creative, but I’m a thinker. And I think nothing is more beautiful than when wonderful art mixes with a fantastically executed plan. It brings a tear of joy to my eye.
In fact, my own personal flow is at that exact intersection.
Similarly, I think meditation is great. It can teach to you calm down, be present, and recognize that flow feeling so that you can apply it to other areas of your life. But, alone, it just can’t start your business for you.
In an era of a mindfulness awakening, I love seeing companies and business owners apply mindfulness to their decision making.
But daily action is that secret piece of manifestation that a lot of people miss the mark on.
I like to think of my meditation practice as one component of my business-starting toolbox. I meditate in the evening by spending a quick 30 seconds to check in with my body (for example, am I stressed and getting sick, or did I stick to my eating goals and feel strong and healthy?) and my goals (did I clock that one hour of “showing up” for my passion?).
I also meditate after a workout and before working on my passion projects.
This second meditation is less a body scan and more the typical type of sitting crossed-legged listening to guided music that one might think when I say “meditation.”
I leverage it to clear my mind and get in the headspace I know I need to work on my passion. Because you have to have the right mindset if you are going to overcome this next one…
Myth 4: “F” is for flow, not failure
You didn’t think we’d have a series about the pitfalls of following your passion without talking dropping the f-bomb, did you?
And in this example, the f-bomb I’m referring to is, of course, failure.
A whole part of what I do is sharing my camping and travel failures with others so that they can avoid the same mistakes. But I also offer my own anecdotes as a sacrificial lamb because I want people to know that it’s ok to mess up.
Sometimes, you are over-confident in the weather report and you decide to shave weight in your pack by forgoing your rain gear. And then you spend a few days suffering in silence as you bicycle through a torrential downpour.
Pleasant? Not really. A reason to never go outside again? Definitely not.
Similarly, you are going to hit both big and small failures. Maybe it’s missing an important deadline for a product launch or totally bombing your first public speaking gig. This is where most people tap out.
But you made “work on my new business” a New Year’s Resolution for yourself, and now you owe it to yourself to keep going and see it through. It’s not really enough to work hard up to your first hiccup and then just throw in the towel.
This one’s about habit-building.
There is plenty of research and information out there about how repetitive actions (and even thoughts) actually create new “routes” in your brain. I’m going to make this a forest analogy. Because nature.
Your brain is a dense rainforest and you are just starting to embark on a new journey that will move you closer to your dreams. As you stand on the edge of the forest, you aren’t necessarily intimidated by the fact that you can’t see through to the other side, and you aren’t even worried that there isn’t a trail already there. “I’m creating something new!” you think. “I’m going into new territory.”
And you start, but it’s hard. You spend the first whole day hacking away at weeds, battling negative thoughts, and getting back up after you trip on those twisted roots that cover the forest floor.
And then you applaud yourself for a hard day’s work.
And the next morning, you get up to hike again and realize that there is now a bit of a path forming. Definitely not a trail, but it seems like maybe, just maybe, there are fewer bushes and trees covering the path. So you forge on.
And you wake up the next day, and there are even fewer obstacles. And this keeps progressively happening to the point that, one day, there is a full-on trail trail there in the woods for you. Occasionally a rogue tree root shows up in the path, but you are able to get over it and move on.
What’s happened with these habits and neural pathways is that they have become your new default. So, when something happens – even if it’s life-changing bad – you’ve already built the habit of forging on.
Getting through those small daily arguments with yourself about whether you should commit to your flow for the day is really preparing you for the bigger obstacles that are coming your way.
I know there are plenty of people out there that talk about failure, so I’ll stop there and just share my own take: Lean into it.
No one loves the jerk that had a great job and great family and a ton of money and left said job to start a business and, on the first try, that business exploded into a 6-figure, internet sensation (if this guy even exists).
Life is messy.
People like warriors.
They want to know you have grit. They want to follow you or buy your product because you’ve overcome what they are dealing with. As a creator, you owe it with the world to share your journey.
And in case you were wondering about that no-raingear-in-a-downpour example: It happened. I was halfway through an 11-day trip biking in Yellowstone National Park. The temperatures dropped into the 20’s and my feet didn’t dry for the rest of the trip.
But I lived to tell the tale.
Chances are when you hit road bumps and momentarily fall out of flow, you will, too.