How the flow state of athletes can inspire us in our daily job?


How the flow state of athletes can inspire us in our daily jobs?

First of all, thanks to PMI for organizing the National Forum 2016 in Marseille more than 550 professional attended ! not only project managers, but also athletes and specialists on sports. Specific thanks to  Paul Henri De le Rue  (Olympic snowboarder) and Elisabeth Grimaud, (neuroscience expert) for sharing their expertise in that conference.[/vc_column_text]

AchievUp is pleased that this conference was ranked as one of the best ones ! article in French here.

What is the flow state?

Billy Elliot words about his feelings while dancing : “I feel like a flying bird”

Mihaly Csikszentmihaly, a famous psychologist pointed out 6 characteristics of the optimal experience : 

  • Action awareness merge, effort seems instinctive and spontaneous
  • Full concentration on task
  • Sense of control, no fear nor self criticism
  • Loss of self consciousness
  • Transformation of time
  • Autotelic experience, meaning rewarding in itself

Even if necessary conditions are known : right balance challenge/skills, clear goal, immediate feedback, sufficient conditions to initiate neurologic and chemical sequences in the brain are still a mystery.

In the conference participants had the opportunity to remember a flow experience either in their private or professional area, meaning this state can be reached by everyone, not only athletes !

How taking advantage of this state in the business ?

Mc Kinsey study pointed out that executive feel 10% of their time in flow and when in flow they consider themselves 5 times more efficient.

Another study by Mihaly Csikszentmihaly revealed that executives experience this state easier in their professional lige rather than in their private life : flow requests a challenge, which is not always the case in leisure activities.

To make progress, in his book “Drive” Daniel Pink outlines that intrinsic motivation is much more powerful that extrinsic motivation for all jobs requesting creativity. At organizational and collective levels, the flow state is easier to reach in “Teal Organizations” that describe Frederic Laloux in his book “Reinventing organizations”.

Both point out very similar levers :

  • Purpose / evolutionary purpose : doing things in the service of something larger than ourselves
  • Autonomy / Self management
  • Mastery: making progress at something that matters
  • Wholeness: using body& mind, spirit & soul

How expanding flow state in our daily professional lives?

Despite still very few organizations are “Teal”, studies showed that the flow state is very contagious; so the best way to expand flow in a team is just start yourself.

How? remembering a flow experience, putting your attention on the internal or external triggers which facilitated the switch, and then trying to reproduce conditions …

It is a matter of attention and practice. It is worth !

It is free and can be a way to change statistics about engagement in corporations while creating more meaning and self-actualization. The professional world need more flow of everyone!


To see the complete program of AchievUp conferences, just click here

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