How Not to Stand in Your Own Way When You Experience a State of Flow

We have all experienced it in our business — that state of flow — when everything is going great. How do we prevent ourselves from getting in our own way when this happens?

Ride the Wave

In our business, we have times where we face challenges, struggles, and slow growth. Then there are periods where everything is going just as we want. We feel as if we are riding high on a wave of success. It is awesome!

Q state of flow wm

In a conversation with a colleague recently, I was expressing how grateful I am that my business is currently in a state of flow. It occurred to me how important it is that we, as entrepreneurs, not disrupt that process. If not careful, we can get in our own way at times.

Put it All on Red

One trait of entrepreneurs is our overwhelming enthusiasm when things are going well in life and in business. We have this super-positive mindset that overcomes us when we feel success. It is important to look on the bright side and see the good things that are possible; however, it can sometimes cause us to be overly confident to the point that we lose our sense of caution.

If we lose our balance, we can become so optimistic that we are like the gambler who goes to the casino and feels so sure of his luck that he puts it all, every bit of it, on red because he is so sure he is going to win big. His confidence outweighs the realism of the situation.

He gets in his own way.

Growing Pains

Hiring one staff person that is not a good match for your team can put a sudden stop to your flow.

Obviously one thing we want to do in business is grow. Growth requires a bigger support staff and when we are in this state of flow, it is easy to make a bad decision. Hiring one staff person that is not a good match for your team can put a sudden stop to your flow.

Everything is great and we are riding the wave. We look around and realize we need more people, so being in this optimistic state of mind we may overlook the warning signs. We only see that this candidate has talents in a specific area and seems like a good choice. What we might fail to acknowledge is the factors that make this person a bad choice.

Eban Pagan refers to this as ‘emotional estimation, seeing only validation.’ In other words, we are so wrapped up in how great things are that it gets in the way of the entire truth. We estimate on an emotional level, ‘yes he/she can get the job done.’ What we might overlook is that maybe they are not culturally a good fit and we make a decision that gets in our own way.

Stay Sane

What is the opposite of acting sane? Acting crazy of course. When you enter that state of flow, in order to stay there, you cannot lose your mind! You may feel the urge to go out and celebrate. Then you find yourself unable to work for a couple of days because you are hungover; or you make really bad decisions while you are “celebrating” and it effects the health of your business.

You may be so high upon your wave of success that you decide to invest all of the company’s profit in a huge house or an expensive office. Suddenly, you find yourself with bills and debts you wish you did not have. This brings the wave to a crashing halt with challenges and struggles that come from bad your own bad decisions.

The most important thing when you are experiencing flow is to remain rational. Put yourself in a monk-like frame of mind. Be conservative, humble, grateful, relaxed, centered, and stay aware. When you feel like you can conquer the world, that is awesome, but remember to conquer it like a king, not like a warrior.

Ride the wave and enjoy it, but don’t stand in your own way.

If you enjoyed this article, please let me know by leaving a comment below or send me a Tweet @EelcoDeBoer.


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  • 21 April 2015
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Sarah Isle - 13 October 2015

Hi Eelco,

Ik vindt je blogs/podcasts super inspirerend, dank daarvoor!
Mijn naam is Sarah, 26, afstuderende in Media en Entertainment Management, ik ben bezig met mijn start-up in songwriting en vocalen.
Ik heb een vraagje over het benaderen van Virtual Estate. Op welke wijze zou je zo’n interessant profiel benaderen, zodat je serieus genomen wordt? Ik kan me voorstellen dat niet iedereen daar voor open staat. Kwestie van wie niet waagt…?


Groetjes Sarah


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