Do You Have ‘Flow’ In Your Career?


Flow is a term used to describe someone’s mental state when they are fully immersed in the activity they are performing. They feel enjoyment, full involvement, and energized focus. Flow, which is also referred to as in the zone, is a concept that was named by Mihály Csíkszentmihályi. He deems the following six factors as experiencing flow:

  • Experiencing an activity that is intrinsically rewarding
  • Your subjective experience of time is altered
  • A sense of personal control over the activity
  • A loss of reflective self-consciousness
  • Merging of awareness and action
  • Focused and intense concentration

For flow to be achieved, there needs to be three distinct conditions. Firstly, you must have a good balance between your own perceived skills and the perceived challenges of the task at hand. Secondly, the task must be clear, and feedback must be immediate. Thirdly, the activity must have a clear set of goals and progress.

If this does not sound familiar, then it’s clear to see that you aren’t ‘in the zone’ at your current place of work, and changes need to be made so that you can fully immerse yourself in your job.

The balance between capacity and opportunity is especially important; you need a career that provides you with challenges while also being supportive and within your skill set.

Flow states have triggers, i.e. pre-conditions, which create more flow. Some are creative, others are social or environmental, and some are psychological. Challenge\skills ratio is a physiological trigger. If a challenge is not difficult enough, we don’t pay attention. However, if a challenge is too demanding, fear swamps the system.

Flow appears when a task is challenging enough to stretch us, but not difficult enough to make us fearful. As you can see from the diagram, it is about finding the middle ground between boredom and anxiety.

Is Your Career Fulfilling?

If your work no longer inspires, excites, and motives you, now could it be time to branch out and start a new job, whether this day trading, accounting, medical care, or something else. The worst action you can take in any career is inaction.

If you aren’t experiencing the psychological state of flow, it is a sign that now is the time to move on. Draw upon your unique experiences and traits, and find a job that really appeals to you – something that is challenging yet motivating. If specific qualifications have been specified as necessary, and you don’t have them, this is the perfect chance for you to up-skill.

Perhaps this is one of the reasons you feel like you have hit a brick wall in your career? Continual training is a must irrespective of the field you work in. There are always new trends, technologies, and methodologies to get to grips with, and new skills to develop. If your current job role doesn’t offer opportunities for training and development, find one that will.

If your foot is on the career ladder, but you haven’t taken any steps up, now is the time to start moving forward. A job change could be just the thing you need. It will help you to stay up to date with what is happening in the industry, give you new experiences, enable you to re-establish your value, and get your confidence back too.

Stop performing your tasks mechanically, and find a career that you love and thrive in. Talk to us today to see how we can help.


About Author

Ben is a follower of Christ, a rabid computer geek, small business owner, and breaker of things. He is married way above his station in life and has three wonderful children who have made driving him insane their mission in life.

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