Week 1. Vol. 1. 12 Dimensions and 21 Questions

08 Jan

VOL. 1 

“Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom”

— Aristltle

flow dimension shaded. flow center.jpg
Last week in the introduction I sought to identify the difference between Technical Knowledge (Tk) vs. Flow Knowledge (Fk).

Technical knowledge represents “what” you know in your professional or personal arenas (i.e., business, athletics, medicine, law, school, hobbies, at home or with friends, etc…) while flow knowledge represents the factors that impact your performance (i.e., motivation, vision, goals, prioritization, attitude, focus, perspective etc…).

Technical Knowledge:   Tk = X1+ X2 +X3 +X4+X5…
Flow Knowledge:         Fk = X1 + X2 +X3 +X4+X5…

To be a high performer you must look at both equations. Being knowledgeable or skilled is necessary but not sufficient to be at the top of your game and to demonstrate your “X-Factor”.

When I work with corporate clients and university students I prompt them with the following thought on focus:

“The quality of individual, team, and organizational performance is directly related to ‘where’ and ‘when’ we place our  attention—and the ‘duration’ of our attention.”

After 25 years of research, teaching, and practice, I have sought to make sense of the world of leadership development—especially personal leadership development. With so much to read (hundreds of new books coming out monthly) it’s difficult for many to sift through all of the “muck” and make sense of what to work on now. Solving this issue was the purpose of Finding Your Flow book (click here for the first chapter free) and the workshop by the same name (click here for more information).

What I discovered through the years is that most of the books, articles, and workshops can be sorted into 12 main, but inter-connected dimensions. These 12 dimensions, however, house several sub-topics that provide further insight into the nature of flow and peak performance.

As I craft these weekly Flow Tools, I thought it might be helpful to give you a brief overview of the 12 dimensions before diving into the 60 topics that will comprise this series. Let’s begin with a few targeted questions—each of which reveals the value in each of the dimensions:


21 personal leadership questions graphic. jpeg. 1 2 15.jpg

In the middle of this model is where we “find our flow” or step into the “zone”. This is where, from a personal leadership standpoint, you are focused (F), in the moment, completely present, fully engaged.

So what keeps us from being in the moment or in flow all the time? The answer: interference linked to gaps in awareness, knowledge, and skill. Such is my quest—to help you find your flow, and discover the peak performer within you.

To give you a general overview of this series, consider these 21 core questions and see how they land on you. Answering these up-front questions will give you a preview of the topics and tools we will focus on over the next 60 weeks. 

As you review these questions, notice where you are skilled and trained. Notice where you are lacking. Not every question will be a hot button for you and that’s a good thing. But several may. If some of these questions confront your current level of knowledge, skills and abilities, then the next 60 weeks may be of value to you.

Let’s review these questions as they relate to the 12-dimension model above. Here we go:

From the perspective of your Long-Past (LP):

  1. Do you understand, accept, and learn the valuable lessons of your past?
  2. Are you drawing from your past experiences to maximize your self-image & confidence?

From the perspective of your Short-Past (SP):

  1. Are you actively seeking meaningful feedback from your experiences?
  2. Are you constantly learning from each experience to improve your performance?

From the perspective of your Long-Future (LF):

  1. Are your missions and vision for the future clear and meaningful?
  2. Can you see the legacy you would like to leave behind?

From the perspective of your Short-Future (SF):

  1. Are your goals set for this hour, day, week and year?
  2. Do you have a measurement process in place?

Looking at your current Environment from a Broad perspective (EE):

  1. Are you striving to understand the “big picture” environment you are surrounded by?
  2. Do you understand the macro factors (both positive and negative) influencing your performance?

Looking at your current Environment from a Narrow perspective (IE):

  1. Is your immediate physical environment inhibiting you in any way?
  2. Is there anything you can change to optimize your environment?

Looking at the 5 dimensions (physical, emotional, psychological, philosophical, spiritual) that make up you personally:

  1. Are you living your deepest values that serve a higher-than-self goals?
  2. Is your personal “Philosophy of Engagement” driving your daily focus?
  3. Are you “mentally tough” and “positively focused”?
  4. Are you emotionally resilient and in control of your feelings?
  5. Are all of your physical systems in check (nutrition, exercise, rest & recovery)?

More general considerations include:

  1. Do you have an ongoing plan to grow your flow assets?
  2. Do you have an ongoing plan to decrease your flow liabilities?
  3. Are you fully engaged in your “moments of performance”?
  4. Do you regularly find your flow?

From a personal leadership perspective this is a lot of ground to cover. These 21 questions embedded in the 12 dimensions help provide a framework for how to think about what aids you (Flow Assets) and what inhibits you (Flow Liabilities) from being fully engaged in the moment with your “A” game present.

If my work with clients has revealed anything it is that we all have our own unique formula for success. These 21 questions are just scratching the surface. Below these are more subtle principles and practices that add to the mix. Your goal is to discover which one’s are most important to you at any given time, then decide where to place your time, attention and resources in order to move the needle in that area.

This Finding Your Flow Toolkit will touch briefly on each of the 60 questions within the Finding Your Flow book and provide not only insights, but also resources you can tap into for further development. As always, if you have personal questions, feel free to send me a note and I’ll do my best to answer them.

For the next few days, ponder these questions and begin raising your awareness of the factors that contribute to and inhibit your current performance. The awareness itself is half the battle!

Exercise & Practice

  • Use the Finding Your Flow 12 Dimensions Tool above
  • Review the 21 questions each week and take a mental note of your current strengths and weaknesses
  • If you would like to dig deeper into your flow and peak performance experiences take the flow survey:
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