FlowPosted: January 26, 2012
Flow is a state of everything just happening right. When athlete’s are in a state of flow they report things just happening naturally. They often report that they had almost out-of-body experiences. Things became effortless. Not everybody experiences flow and it is rarer still that a flow state can be called upon at will. It can be an almost transcendental state.
The other day I was having a planing conversation with a school team as they worked through their first Teaching Learning Critical Pathway. There is always some concern that individuals will perceive things as an add-on. This can quickly sabotage the flow of any meeting. Templates and planners and models are just tools. We shouldn’t have to work to fit the tool.
Letting participants voice their questions and concerns did a lot to move the group forward. Once everyone saw themselves in a reflective cycle of inquiry. The group already had a high degree of trust in place with each other and that really permitted us to move forward.
Flow is a really interesting idea. Mihaly Czikszentmihalyi has spoken and written about flow states. At its most basic it involves working in that middle range of stimulation. This is a sort of optimal experience we all strive for. Too much excitement and our productivity and performance suffer due to anxiety. Too little stimulation and we end up being bored.
The entire meeting lasted all afternoon and yet it felt like 20 minutes. The group was in a state of flow. It may not have seemed that way for all members but there was no sign of restlessness or boredom within the group. We moved through our initial meeting in a state of flow. Flow comes with practice. Some will find the need to experience it themselves before they try to involve a group. I was fortunate in this instance to recognize that the group was working in that optimal zone between anxiety and boredom. All I had to do was get out of the way.