February 2, 2011

Key to Having Flow in Your Life

I've had friends say to me from time to time, "Things just seem to flow for you. Jobs, relationships – they just seem to come to you ... why is that?!" I've never really been able to answer this question well, but, after reflecting for some time last night on a new opportunity that has recently become available for building my coaching practice, I decided to take a closer look at this concept of “flow.”

Immediately, I was reminded of my life this time two years ago. I'll give you the punch line first and then tell all the dirty details: I lost my nannying job one day (the father was out of work, so they could no longer afford me) and got hired for a tutoring job the next day!
 
Now let's go back in time:

While still working as a mentor for teens in 2009, each leader was asked to write up a personal profile that would be shared with the parents and teens. One of the questions was: What are your dreams and aspirations? Now, the typical responses were often about wanting to start a family, some career goal, or places to travel. While I surely have some similar intentions for my life (Italy!), when I thought about what I really dream and aspire to be/do, I realized my answer would not fit the status quo. So, now, a decision presented itself - go with the standard response or be authentic? Here's what I wrote:

"To live in such a way that people are better off for having known me. To love unconditionally, to forgive radically, and to live with integrity."

Now, those thoughts are so key to who I am that putting them out there for just anyone to see is stepping into being vulnerable (not my first instinct) and giving up being stingy with myself (openly sharing). It also meant risking being misunderstood or judged (another thing that drives me crazy!).

A week after the profiles were posted, I got a call from a mom who had seen the posting. She said, "I read that and immediately knew you were someone I needed to connect with!" We had about an hour conversation, getting to know each other, and she shared with me about her company that produces and distributes meal replacement products. I had no interest in becoming a "salesperson" - but I filed it away as something to keep in mind for others.

The day after I lost my job, I called her, because I had some extra cash (read “severance package!”) and wanted to give her products a try. Now, the conversation began by her asking the usual, "How are things going?" Rather than give the standard answer of, "Fine," - I said, "Well, it's been an interesting week! Yesterday ..." and I went on to explain what happened with my job. I also decided to share about the possible tutoring opportunity I had lined up but hadn’t yet heard back from. To which she said, "Oh, I've been looking for a tutor for my daughter! How about I hire you!?" ... and there ya go! ... I had a new source of income. On top of that, because she knew my situation, she offered to work with me on the cost of her products, so I could go ahead and give them a try!

As I smiled again at remembering how one door closes and another door opens, I decided that the flow in my life is directly related to:

1. A willingness to give up looking good, to be authentic, to as often as possible be genuine about myself, my life, my needs, my desires even when doing so goes against social norms or what feels most comfortable.

2. Due to this, I get into communication with people and share in a way that is vulnerable, open, non-stingy,

3. Which creates the space for opportunities, support to flow into my life either from the person directly or from someone who they may know.

All of this definitely applies to personal relationships as well!

So, if there is anything that I do at all to create flow in my life – assuming it’s not just blind luck! – I would say it is these things!

If you were to set aside looking good, the fear of being vulnerable (or whatever else it is that stops you) – what would you do today? Who would you get in touch with? What phone call would you make that you’ve been putting off?

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