FINDING YOUR FLOW TOOLKIT
TAPPING INTO A HIGHER POWER
On June 15th 2012 Nick Wallenda set a new record, being the first person to traverse the roughest 1,800-foot section of Niagara Falls from U.S. to Canadian Terra firma via a tight rope. It was an awesome spectacle.
As I watched this man place all of his attention completely in the moment for 25 minutes, I was struck by the purity of this discipline and what it can teach us about the many elements of flow—even the spiritual strategies that help us tap into deep reservoirs of our personal resources.
As a review of the 12 Dimension graphic I use each week to signify what dimension of focus we are speaking about, let’s take a quick look at our tight rope walker as a clear example of what finding your flow is all about.
Listening to Nick speak about his performance (even while he was crossing!), he talked about his past and the memories of his great grandfather who inspired him to enter his craft. He then reflected back on the many other successful crossings he has made over the years and the confidence that came from each success.
He spoke about the great vision he had more than two years ago as he planned for this event (Vision and Mission).
He then spoke of the step-by-step goals he took to make this event a reality. As he stepped on the rope, more than 20 stories above the ground, his objective was to make his way across to reach his family who were cheering him on.
Prior to stepping on the rope he spoke about the overall weather variables, the temperature, the surroundings, the people, and the elements that were, from the big picture, rather stable, except over the falls themselves.
As he began to traverse over the falls the wind, moisture, and air patterns were swirling all about with his immediate environment somewhat unpredictable.
Doing as best he could to manage his immediate environment he spoke about the intense physical demand of this task—how fatigue was setting in the more real estate he crossed.
He spoke of the importance of staying emotionally in control, of being calm and stable throughout his journey.
He talked about the power of visualization. He spoke about how he saw himself over and over again completing this goal in his mind’s eye. He used positive self-talk to manage his attitude and focus in the present moment.
His core philosophy was derived through his beliefs in his great grandfather, himself, his family, and his cause. He was determined to succeed in order to be an inspiration to his family and the world.
As he made his way across the rope, inch-by-inch, he was using his immediate experience gone by (each completed step or his Short Past), to gather feedback and make adjustments in his balance and composure.
Watching the 30 foot pole wobble up and down provide the immediate feedback he needed to stay the course and be completely in the moment, step, by step, by step, by step, by step… as he demonstrated his personal flow.
With all of the principles, strategies, and tools he was using to achieve his dream, his spiritual strategies stood out as one of his most profound dimension.
In my study of peak performers, spirituality often plays a significant role. From prayer to sacrifice, gratitude to Rosary Beads, great performers often find their flow by connecting with and using their performance as a dedication to something greater than themselves.
As Nick walked across the long tightrope, he was thanking Christ for the opportunity to be doing what he was doing. He was demonstrating a thanksgiving and a level of gratitude that could not be mistaken as disingenuous. Besides the gratitude he demonstrated for his religious convictions, he spoke of the importance of doing this walk for his family and for the world so that everyone would see that dreams can be fulfilled.
While the spotlight was his for those fleeting moments, the glory was for something larger than himself—hence the power of his commitment to risk and to achieve.
This event that took place on June 15, 2012 was a beautiful microcosm of how to engineer flow. It was also a testament to the power of tapping into values that are higher than self—that to do great things in our lives we can use this power to find more flow in everything we do.
Whether you are a tightrope walker, a teacher, a firefighter, a stay at home parent, or an Olympic athlete, take a few moments this week and reflect upon the reasons you do what you do. Is there something larger than yourself that drives you to get up in the morning and perform every day? Maybe it’s the glory of God, your family, or a cause that you believe in. Whatever it is, consider drawing a deeper connection to it and keeping it with you whenever you engage in your most important arenas.
EXERCISE AND PRACTICE:
- Exercise: A simple question is all you need for this week: Consider your most important Meaningful Life Arena (MLA) and ask yourself:
- What is it that I draw from that gives me the resources to do great things? How can I develop a deeper relationship with this source?