In the flow, as a business owner!

It is a clichéd statement to say that business can learn much from elite sport yet this assertion retains its currency because of its apparent truth. Elite athletes achieve marvellous outcomes under difficult circumstances and after many years of training, requiring substantial personal discipline, sacrifice and considerable persistence and effort.

Many business owners could relate to these factors. So why do we persist, often against the odds and in light of the personal hardships? Is it simply because we can make a lot of money, because we could be famous or retire sooner to something we would rather do? Or could it be possible that we enjoy the so-called journey more than needing to attain a prescribed outcome? Perhaps like sport, we can succeed in our business if we first strive to enjoy what we do. Accordingly, there is a clear and reciprocal relationship between wellness and optimal performance.  That is, when we are well, we are more likely to perform optimally, and vice-versa, when we succeed we are likely to feel better and be healthier.

Could it also be possible, that being in business is an end in itself, just like the professional athlete ‘living their dream’ where their satisfaction is as much about the participation and the lifestyle afforded? Maybe it can be those special days or performances when an athlete can experience ‘flow’ that keeps them ‘hooked’ on their lifestyle choice. Indeed, the allure of those special experiences keep athletes motivated, and maybe, it could be the same for successful business owners too.

So, what is flow? Csikszentmihalyi first coined this term which some people may know as ‘being in the zone’. Subsequently, Australian Susan Jackson has popularised this phenomenon in her book called ‘Flow in Sports’. Jackson explains flow as being a state of consciousness where we are totally absorbed in a task, to the exclusion of other thoughts and emotions. In this state, our mind and body are in harmony, this experience is especially enjoyable and “it is in those moments that we feel truly alive and in tune with what we are doing”. It is during these times that individuals, and sometimes teams too, can achieve optimal performance as well as experience joyful emotions.

Flow is a powerful motivator for many performers, not just athletes. To the extent to which business owners must perform, there is a role for flow to contribute to the success of business people too. Trouble is, how do you achieve it? Simplistically, by being process focused, not outcome focused. By aiming to be your best, not to beat your competitor, by committing to wellness and all those related principles, including the basic principles of positive relationships, they being integrity and trust, and through the delivery of products and services that your customers will strive to patronise.

When your business is a place that values humanity, when respect and equity pervade your workplace, and when you feel like your business is special, then you may already experience this wondrous state of flow from time-to-time.  If not, then perhaps it is time to review your business practices and attitudes, as you may be missing out on something that can truly elevate your business to that next elite level.

2 Comments on In the flow, as a business owner!

  1. Hello there,

    My name is Aly and I would like to know if you would have any interest to have your website here at promoted as a resource on our blog ?

    We are in the midst of updating our broken link resources to include current and up to date resources for our readers. Our resource links are manually approved allowing us to mark a link as a do-follow link as well
    If you may be interested please in being included as a resource on our blog, please let me know.


    • Hi Aly, that would be fine. Your blog appears to be more technical than mine, and you probably possess more IT skills than I, but it seems we are both in the ‘business’ of helping others, which I believe is an honourable and important contribution in an otherwise complicated world. Best wishes, red-maverick

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