Advice from Promedia Office Manager, Sharyn Cripps, on finding your flow.
My life is complicated and yet simple. I manage finances — my own, and those of others – I balance books. Some think I don’t work at all! Some think I work too much. Most don’t understand how I work. I get it, it’s tricky. Work is tricky for all of us.
So, I thought it might be time to share how I choose to work.
Firstly, I work. Every single day. Sometimes I get paid, sometimes not so much, and it really doesn’t matter, I work. I love to work. I work at my marriage, my health, my family, my home, my business, my community, my future, my happiness. It all takes work.
When we talk about work, we generally mean those hours we exchange for money, but work is so much more than that.
I define work by the application of effort for return. Some work takes a lifetime, some a moment.
When you consider all the things that matter in your life, they all require work. We make a living by exchanging time for money, very simple, but what else do we exchange our time for, and why?
In my own life, my “aha moment” was in my 40s. It was a series of three separate challenges. A serious car accident, a brush with cancer, a chronic illness diagnosis, all in close succession that caused me to pause and turn my full attention to how I live my life. I questioned why I was working so much. It turns out, with a little re-structuring, better planning and management, I didn’t need to work so much. I could actually achieve some balance.
So, the questions began about what that balance would look like, what I valued in my life. It turns out that the things I really valued came with no (or very small) price tags. Wow! So, I let go of the “work hard and work long” mentality and adopted a softer approach. Work for what you need and for what you love.
With this new approach, I began to appreciate the things that really matter — those we love, experiences we love, places we love. Things became simply tools to achieve “flow”.
I was first introduced to the concept of flow in my voluntary work in outdoor education. It turns out that when you work hard for something, and achieve it, the sense of satisfaction, of joy you attain, is called flow. It is that feeling that all is right in your world, that you have done well, that you are in the right place, with the right people, doing the right things, the things that make you happy, you are truly happy in that moment. The rest of the world falls away, and you are enjoying the challenge of the task, “nailing it”, “in the zone”.
Flow can creep up on you, it is in the hug from your child, a grandchild’s giggle, it can happen when you are paddling a serene waterway, standing atop a conquered peak, wondering at the budding of a flower, nailing a work task, mastering a new skill, at any time.
When you feel it, take a moment to savour and commit it to memory. That is your pay day. That is why we challenge ourselves, and it is oh so worth it.