Week 5: Vol. 5. Adequate Tools & Resources

29 Jan

FINDING YOUR FLOW TOOLKIT
VOL. 5
ADEQUATE TOOLS & RESOURCES

"Our age of anxiety is, in great part, the result of trying to do today's job with yesterday's tools and yesterday's concepts"

 

-- Marshall McLuhan 

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It’s a simple notion but one that comes up over and over again in discussions with individuals seeking focus and flow without unnecessary interference.

While we will soon be talking about multiple time-based and self-regulation strategies that contribute to flow, there is a simple question that needs to be asked before engaging in any arena:

Do you have all the tools and resources
to meet the challenge?

We’re not talking about internal tools and resources. That is the focus of the Finding Your Flow Toolkit. Instead let’s talk briefly about the tangible tools you need to do the work, perform at your best, and find that “zone” that comes with uninterrupted focus.

Have you every seen an operating room fully prepped for a major surgery? With refined protocols, procedures, and contingency plans set for each operation, every tool, resource, and surgical assistant stands at the ready to ensure a successful outcome.

Formula 1 and NASCAR pit crews who have demonstrated a significant evolution of efficiency and effectiveness over the past 60 years. In the 1950’s pit stops took around 70 seconds. By the 60’s, they were dramatically reduced to around 12 seconds. Today with tools, gear, and teams so well trained and coordinated, racers enter and exit the pits in around 1.5 seconds. If the wrong tool is in the wrong place the race is lost--right in the pit!

Ask professional artists and writers how they prepare to engage their work. Notice the tools and resources they gather and coordinate to limit distractions to allow the creative process to unfold.

Consider the focus needed to ascend and descend a complex rock formation. In a study conducted in Boulder County over a 14 year period (1998-2011) rescue incidents involving 428 climbers found that 20%-40% of climbing accidents were caused by small mis-calculations such as; not wearing gloves, not carrying enough rope, or not tying a knot at the end of a rope. The simple act of carrying a headlamp significantly decreased the number of search & rescues.

And no organization takes this concept more seriously than NASA. The world was stunned on January 28, 1986 when the Space Shuttle Challenger (mission STS-51-L) broke apart 73 seconds into its flight. It’s root cause: temperature facilitated O-ring failure.

On a lighter note, perhaps my favorite story is told by Patrick Fiorenza, who recounts his father’s best friend giving a speech during the 7th grade on the importance of being prepared. After completing his well researched, organized and eloquent message, with much praise from his classmates and teacher, the boy stood up, and in a final blaze of glory, walked out of the room with no pants on!

Consider for a moment the arena’s you’ll enter today where you seek greater focus and uninterrupted flow. Perhaps you can take a few minutes and identify all of the tools and resources you’ll need to fully engage the task at hand--maybe even consider the “what if’s” and think a little deeper.

Whatever your arena (office, surgical theater, tennis court, court room, mountain, class-room, or laundry room...) doing a thorough resource check can make the difference between deep focus and full engagement or game over!

EXERCISE AND PRACTICE:

  • Review the tools & resources you'll need prior to entering any MLA.
  • Build redundancy to ensure readiness.
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