I loved that challenge and so when Sue told me she was running it again (oh go on, I’ll admit I kept nagging her), I jumped in with two feet eager and curious to discover what new insights I would get. Today I wanted to share my insights so far and the A-M-A-Z-I-N-G thing that I have discovered is within my control.
The way the Find Your Flow Challenge works:
You spend time exploring a task, an activity or an event when you feel absolutely in flow. Sue describes being ‘in flow’ as “When what we do and how we do it are completely aligned with who we are and how we express it”.
I have chosen dance as my activity … more specifically, dancing to Northern Soul. Northern Soul is a music and dance movement that emerged in the late 1960s. It’s evolved from American soul music and based on the heavy beat and fast tempo of the mid-1960s. When I start dancing, I could dance all night. I love dance but especially this style, this beat, this rhythm.
The stages of being ‘In Flow’
In the first week, we explore:
- the environment: what you need and how you prepare your environment;
- our behaviour: what are you doing and how well do you do it;
- our skills & capabilities: what skills, qualities and strategies do you use.
Next week we will translate our insights and learnings to help us develop our growth or leadership in another aspect of our life.
What I learned about me, courage and Northern Soul
Northern Soul music dance has a pattern. You dance by yourself but as part of a group. The floor is important. Talc is brilliant but I’m never the one to provide it because I don’t want to break the rules.
What’s important: comfort, sound, lights, clothes, atmosphere, people around (it doesn’t matter if they are or aren’t), space and being clutter free. No extras getting in the way.
What I learned is that I don’t care if others disapprove of what I enjoy. It’s enough for me that I like it. My rules. Not their rules. I don’t want others’ values imposed on me. Comes back to my integrity. What I love is the ‘being unrehearsed’; responding in the moment (and why I love my Live Q&As). I feel more alive and I can be more ‘me’. I think this comes back to authenticity. I love the spontaneity of not knowing what tune is coming up next. And if it’s a new tune (new to me), I just feel my way through it. Rule maker not breaker, as Sue suggested.
Which led me to realise that I love the ‘being in the moment’ because it enables me to problem solve and respond to the reactions.
What can I take to other situations: just be me. Don’t worry about others. Clutter free. Comfort. Flow. Rhythm. Quality of the sound. Just feel the flow. The more ‘me’ I am, the more I am me. The more fun. The more relaxed. The more laughter.
When I’m dancing, I’m not thinking too much. I’m aware of others but not focusing on them. There’s an appreciation – it feels mutual – of others. Their elegance, their grace, their physique. I have a sense of freedom, independence, creativity and belonging.
The strengths I noted:
- Observation of detail (the steps, the spins, the rhythm)
- Respect and appreciation of others
- Willingness to experiment and try something new
Sue commented on the emerging theme of responsiveness (rather than planning) and not over-thinking.
Our skills & capabilities
The HOW of what I do. When I dance, I don’t dive straight onto the floor …. I dance in a smaller space, or maybe to the side because I want to get the feel of the room, the group and importantly the floor. When I have the feel, I have the confidence (or is it bravery or courage) to take centre stage.
I’m feeling my way into it … checking out whether I’m on a floor with a group of elite World Championship dancers and will I feel out of place? How sticky is the floor, how soft do my movements need to be? There’s a collaboration and energy and connection involved.
The MOST important thing is that I don’t dive straight in. I ease into it. I get the feel of everything first. I wait a little before taking centre stage.
How does that translate into other aspects of my life? In life I do tend to dive straight in and don’t like holding back. Sometimes that tendency does me a disservice and I’ve learned to ‘sit’ on things for a few days before I launch into activity. I feel like I need to bring more of my approach to the dance floor to my business.
And where is it holding me back? Maybe at networking events … I don’t like speaking up (I can hear you laughing at the back). I don’t mind speaking to a big crowd on stage. I’m much less comfortable chatting to small groups of people.
Then Sue asked THE killer questions:
How do you KNOW when it is time to move to centre stage? And how is the centre stage space created when you make your move?
THIS is when I figured out something incredible. And it’s not that I ‘just know’ when the time is right to move to centre stage on the dance floor. Sometimes it’s a couple of minutes, sometimes longer but ….
Centre stage is always there. Just waiting for me. It’s up to me to go there.
It’s within my control.
And now I’m curious. What do you do to move to centre stage?
p.s. if you too are a Northern Soul fan, yes I know the photo isn’t truly representative but I’m hoping my sister will give me something more authentic when she gets back from her KTF weekend in Portugal