One resource for everything flow. View our Library homepage here
Meet Stephanie who is a climber, coach, and executive.
Outline a brief overview of yourself?
"I am a rock-climber and a health coach. I have been on a mindfulness journey for many years- I find myself having a hard time staying present and often have a busy mind.
I have seen such a positive impact on my life over the past 8 years as I’ve embarked on this journey. I felt like putting more intentional energy into the concept of flow would be beneficial for me as a person, and wanted to work on integrating flow state into my climbing. I also am a health coach and am unsure what direction I will take my health coaching long term in terms of an area of focus. I have had some curiosity as to whether I would enjoy performance coaching, so thought taking a course would help me think about this a bit more. I’m not certain if I’ll dive into this further as it relates to my career, or rather use these principles as relevant with members as it relates to their wellbeing."
What did you learn with us?
"The following are the concepts/tools that I appreciated the most/resonated the most:
- Find something to change your state/wipe the slate clean/get us ready for accessing flow. I have been taking a deep breath and shaking out my body before a climb and it has helped significantly with accessing flow.
- Flow is the total focus on the task at hand.
- Perhaps the most important element of the training for me was that even though you may have an outcome goal, to let go of getting to the top as the goal throughout the process, instead making the goal being to look for flow, and the tie of this to external vs. internal motivation. It resonates with me that thinking about the outcome takes energy away from the process. This is similar to a concept that was a key take-away from the book “The Rock Warrior’s Way” for me, taking ego out of climbing, which has been an ongoing journey.
- It’s not happening by me, it’s happening through me, to transition from effortful to effortless, or disinterested interest- this framing has been helpful for me in finding flow.
- We hold intelligence in head, heart, and gut- align the three to become united as a being.
- Suggestions of synchronizing our mind and body: Say mantras, connect to our senses, focus on breath- all three have been helpful for me.
- Be so absorbed in what you are doing as you cease to see yourself as separate from the thing you are doing -
Other key take-aways were as follows:
- Self-determination theory- when we make decisions based on what really interests us, we are likely to make better decisions; when we make decisions based on external factors like money or fame, these become distractions from being able to focus on the task at hand, we lose desire and motivation
- There is no failure only feedback
- Flow happens when we are highly motivated, inspired by something, or an enormous amount of pressure pushes us into the task at hand, so we can learn to increase our motivation by finding our why, thinking about how it connects to our values and our future, how it benefits others, and what you will learn. I like this piece because it is really connected to principles of health coaching in general and how we can increase motivation and likelihood of success on any goal by thinking about these pieces. As it relates to climbing, I like the idea of reminding myself of my motivation prior to the task or at the beginning of the day.
- The challenge should be equal to or slightly above our skill level; we must be open to inviting in new challenges rather than shying away because of the level of discomfort associated with it.
- Approach the task from a point of curiosity and learning. I loved the quote from the training “When we grow to love learning above all else, we become free”.
- Finding a clear vision in order to proactive prepare your mind for flow.
- I’d like to better utilize visualization in achieving my vision, for example, imagining myself doing the climb when everything is going right, focusing on the way I want to climb. I loved the suggestion of looking through your own eyes, not in the third person- in all of my years using visualization as a tool in sports, I always did it in the 3rd person
I was already working as a coach and very familiar with flow, but I was struggling to be the coach I knew I could be. I lacked a robust coaching framework and support system…Hear other stories
What have been the effects - how has it impacted / improved your life?
"I have definitely seen a marked improvement in my ability to access flow. I think this will be a really wonderful skill for me to continue working on over time.
Throughout the course, I worked on integrating flow principles into more challenging hikes and into rock climbing. An interesting example of a result of accessing flow state- I have had a bit of a mental block in successfully completing a specific goal in climbing (climbing 5.12 “clean”). This is something I’ve been physically capable of for quite some time and I have found myself getting in my head and thinking too much about the outcome to accomplish it. Interestingly, I sent my first 5.12 this past weekend despite not being in the best climbing shape this past month.
I think the concept of thinking about the process and not the outcome was the most important piece for me in getting through this block.
Over time I would like to also more intentionally apply flow in my relationships (ex. during conversations) and in my work (ex. during health coaching calls). While I try to bring mindfulness to these calls and conversations, and do sometimes achieve flow state in these activities without trying to, I have not actively tried to integrate flow state here, yet.
Integrating a consistent mindfulness and meditation practice is an ongoing goal for me. I found that while taking this course, I naturally was more consistent in both of these areas. In health coaching calls I have also found myself talking a lot about being present in the process rather than the outcome and finding intrinsic motivation- this translates to concepts beyond flow."
Did you achieve what you set out to do when you began working with us?
"Yes, although interestingly I have realized that this is a much longer-term personal goal that I initially realized it would be. Yesterday I did some journaling to map out my goals for 2022, and integrating the principals of flow is one of the five goals I set. The course did also help me think through whether pursuing a focus on performance coaching is something I’m interested in....this training nonetheless will be incredibly beneficial to my work.
I think this will be positive concept for me to integrate long term in my life, and will help me build on some goals around mindfulness I’ve been working on for many years."
This is a flow story to highlight real experiences from real people; sharing their stories for others to understand the impact flow has had on their lives. Personal experiences are conveyed in the hope of providing insight into what the Flow Centre is about, and demonstrating the value in what we do and why we do it. Please see other flow stories here.