Have Clear Goals — Clarity of goals is everything when it comes to flow. This is because when you are clear on what you want and why it matters to you so much, you are motivated intrinsically, which is the best and most powerful form of motivation.
As a part of our series about “How Anyone Can Build Habits For Optimal Wellness, Performance, & Focus”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Dr. Michelle Rozen.
Dr. Michelle Rozen, PhD is a game-changing, revenue- building, performance-boosting change expert, keynote speaker, and highly respected authority on the psychology of change. She is an author, a Huffington Post contributor, and a frequent guest on media outlets such as NBC, ABC, FOX News, and CNN. Dr. Michelle’s rare blend of audience engagement, killer take-away strategies, and instant connection with the audience have made her one of the most unique and memorable speakers on the stage today. Her latest work is around “2-Second Decisions”, helping people to master time management and power through decision making in turbulent times. Dr. Michelle consistently speaks for Fortune 500 companies and her clients include some of the most recognizable companies in the world including Johnson & Johnson, Merrill Lynch, and The U.S. Navy. She holds a master’s degree and a PhD in Psychology and resides in the greater NYC area with her husband, three kids, and two dogs.
Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive into the main focus of our interview, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your childhood backstory?
One of my favorite memories of growing up has to do with my dad. I specifically remember one day, walking back home with him after a school celebration in second grade. It was one of those celebrations where kids sing and parent tear up and get emotional with excitement. Only problem is, I can’t hold a tune for the life of me, and this was when I found out. “Dad” I said sadly on the way home “I think I was really singing off tune”. My dad looked at me. At that moment, as a parent, he could have easily lied to me. He could have told me that I sang beautifully and what am I even talking about. He could have also chosen to be brutally honest and tell me that yes, singing is not my thing and next time I really shouldn’t sing so loudly. You know, not to ruin it or the rest of the kids if you know what I mean. But he made a different choice. A very interesting one. He looked at me and said “you know, Michelle, even if you sang off tune, I think you did it quite beautifully.” He chose not to lie and not to crush. He chose to tell me that he loves me in spite of my imperfections. What came out of this, in my adulthood, is a woman that is very quick to forgive herself for her mess ups and shortcomings. The biggest gift we can give our kids is to teach them to love and forgive themselves, in spite of their shortcomings and mess ups. That is what builds resilient, strong people, and that should be our goal as parents and as leaders.
What or who inspired you to pursue your career? We’d love to hear the story.
It all started on a rainy, windy day, on October 11, 2008. I was 37 years old and I felt that my life sucked. Back then, I’d meet my good friend at Starbucks at 7am every Saturday morning before our kids woke up. One day, I told her how much I hated my job and routine. She looked at me and said, “Then change it. Go to school and change your path.”
“I wish I could,” I told her while holding back the tears. “My kids are so young, and they need me. Adam is in a startup and never home. One day, when the time is right, I’ll do exactly that.”
She gave me a sharp look and then told me something that changed my life.
“Michelle,” she said, “you just don’t get it, do you? Your kids will always need you and Adam will always be in a startup. Go and sign up for classes this week, and tell me next Saturday that you’ve done it.”
I looked at her puzzled. That never crossed my mind. I never thought of it that way.
SO, I REGISTERED. I COMMITTED TO CHANGE
Not many people start their master’s with a five-year-old toddler, one-year-old infant, full-time job, and spouse who constantly travels. The new 3am to 6am shift for studying was brutal, but my life was suddenly full. I was being challenged. I was finding fulfillment. I was going somewhere.
Then, in 2008, the economy nosedived. My husband’s startup shut down. Being challenged moved closer to being broken. I told my husband that I thought the most sensible thing for me to do was to take a break.
“I’ll go back to school later,” I told him. “When things get better and the time is right.”
He looked at me and said two things that I’ll thank him for every day for the rest of my life. “Who deserves a PhD more than you?” Then, he said, “Michelle, if you leave now, you won’t go back. Stay with the program no matter what and finish your degree.” So, I stayed.
A few semesters in, I found myself struggling with bills, kids, work, and school. The juggle impacted my coursework, and I even received a warning letter from the university. It said I was on probation unless I repeated a class. I literally sat and cried.
That night, I cried myself to sleep. I was tired and worn out and felt that I had no wins under my belt. Everything seemed to work against me. Perhaps I was wrong with my choice to go back to school. And a PhD? For a full-time working mom of three little ones with a husband who is never home? What was I thinking?
Maybe I should have thought this through. Maybe I want too much. Maybe I am just aiming too high.
That night I cried myself to sleep.
The next day was my daughter’s 10th birthday party. I had it all planned beautifully, with the kids and the balloons and the beautiful cake and all the fun activities. I was smiling on the outside but my heart was heavy. What am I to do? Should I stay at school, or should I leave? I had a big paper that had to be submitted within a week. I am chanting to myself: should I stay or should I go? Should I stay in school? Or leave? Should I even write the paper at all? Just to think of all the spare time I’ll have if I just won’t have to do it…
And then the cake came and I hear the kids chanting:
Are you 1
Are you 2
Are you 3
Are you 4
And all of a sudden, out of nowhere, I remembered a tool that I learned in one of my classes. We’ve learned a tool of scaling for people who suffered from depression. It was called scaling questions; it was a part of Solution Focused Brief Therapy and the goal of the tool was help people scale how they feel.
Are you 5
Are you 6
And I think to myself: what if I use this to decide, right now, right here- what on earth am I going to do? What if I use this tool to figure my decision out?
Are you 7
Are you 8
Are you 9
My head is chanting: Do I stay or do I go?
The kids were chanting:
Ae you 10
And then they yelled-
And then it hit me.
It’s a 10. It’s a 10 for me. How much do I really want to leave? 0. I just kind of think it’s something people expect me to do but it’s not what I really want! How much do I want this? 10! I want this a 10.
I got up. I gave Abby the biggest birthday hug and felt so relieved. So happy.
Gosh. Now I have to write this paper.
I know what I want.
I know my 10.
I know what matters the most to me.
Fighting tooth and nail I got my PhD. The day I got it was one of the happiest days of my life. Not that I liked the ceremony, I hate ceremonies (also, didn’t really eat that morning and forgot my banana in the car so I spent the entire ceremony thinking of that banana- full disclosure). But what I really felt good about that day was that I stuck with what mattered to me the most. This wasn’t about pleasing anyone. This wasn’t about doing what other people expected of me. This was about following my “10” through and through. And it felt whole, and it felt right.
That decision I made at that birthday party is a decision that changed my life. It changed my life not only because I took a decision that changed the course of my career and ultimately my life, but also because it gave me a tool to work with when it comes to making decisions that I found myself using in my daily life more and more. And the more I used it, the more successful, focused and high achieving I became.
I used it for prioritizing and time management, and found myself a lot more confident and in control of my time, both for work and for rest.
I used it for making business decisions for myself.
I used it for managing my day to day
I used it extensively with leaders throughout the globe that I was working with. I found that leaders used it in team meetings for team decisions, and for their own decisions that they had to make.
Who to hire?
Who to fire?
How to price
Outsource or in-house
Instead of being in doubt, indecisive or taking the wrong turn if life, in a business, as a leader or within your family, I started getting out of my own head and coming up with a number for every decision in my life. I was amazed at the impact it had on leaders I have worked with. I was amazed at the power it had over my own life. I learned to be bold. I learned to be decisive. I learned to take action. And I witnessed how successful and powerful it made others. Change was no longer just in sight. Change was happening.
I believe in the power of the human mind to do amazing things when we are given the tools and the freedom to make the decisions that shape our lives. I believe in getting in the driver seat of our life, work and future. I share all of that with you through my books, my articles, from the stage and from the media. If I can do it, so can you.
None of us can achieve success without some help along the way. Was there a particular person who you feel gave you the most help or encouragement to be who you are today? Can you share a story about that?
I owe so much of my success to my husband and business partner, Adam. I am so grateful to him. Adam has this thing about him where if I set a goal for myself or want something, he commits to it himself. When I came and said that I want to go back to school, this guy, who was always in trouble with me for not helping enough around the house, took it upon himself to stay with the kids and run the house while he was working full time so that I can go to classes. When he couldn’t do it, he made sure we hired help. When I wanted to quit school because the economy collapsed and he lost his start up and we had no money, he pushed me to stay. In my hardest moments. He encouraged me to push forward.
Two years ago, he joined the business as my business partner and manages the marketing and branding. When we started working together, after already being married for 20 years, it is a miracle that we even stayed married. It was so challenging and we didn’t get along at all. Now, we work together in complete harmony. We understand each other completely and I would not be where I am today if it wasn’t for Adam’s relentless work and belief in me.
Can you share the funniest or most interesting mistake that occurred to you in the course of your career? What lesson or take away did you learn from that?
This is only funny in retrospect considering how much I move on stage these days but at the time it was not that funny at all. My first speaking engagement was in Canada at a conference for elementary school teachers. When I got to the conference, the organizer pointed at a podium and said: ‘Michelle, I just need you to stand there’. I was so confused. How can I be engaging if I just stand behind the podium the whole time? Hesitant, I asked him: ‘Are you sure? I would rather move around and interact with people”. The guy just looked at me impatiently and said: “Michelle, please. I just need you to stand there, behind the podium and please don’t move from there, that’s it”. Being that this was the first time I spoke to a large audience; I had no experience to understand that just standing behind a podium and not moving literally ruins a talk. I followed his request and stayed behind the podium the whole time. Somehow, I got through the talk and did what he asked but this is what I had learned: communicate expectations ahead of time, stand your ground, and take the lead. I never, ever, just stood behind a podium again.
The road to success is hard and requires tremendous dedication. This question is obviously a big one, but what advice would you give to a young person who aspires to follow in your footsteps and emulate your success?
Failure means nothing. It is what you do when you fail that makes all the difference. I do not believe in people that don’t fail. I believe in being a success warrior. You fail, and you hurt, and you get up and you fight for where you think you belong. This industry is made of success warrior. We are all afraid of failing, but we all do it anyway. That’s what being a success warrior is all about.
Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?
The book that had the most profound impact on my life is The Law of Success by Napoleon Hill. It is a book from 1928 that talks about the fundamentals of success. My favorite quote from this book is “No man ever achieved worthwhile success who did not, at one time or other, find himself with at least one foot hanging well over the brink of failure”. I have gone over that quote many times in my mind when I was struggling myself and on the brink of failure.
Can you share your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Why does that resonate with you so much?
“It’s never going to be the right time. Take the first step.”
As people, we have a moral responsibility to lift others. This is something that everyone should be doing with everyone around them, today more than ever. People in the speaking industry have more impact on more people. It’s just a wider scope of people that hear you and are impacted by you. Getting the mic, getting that impact is an opportunity that comes with a huge moral responsibility. If you got the mic and you were mediocre- you’ve wasted the mic. You’ve wasted the opportunity. I am here to fully respect and max out the opportunity that I am getting.
My main empowering message is this: it is never going to be the right time. Take the first step. Take control. You make 35,000 on average every single day and those decisions shape your life. I want you to get in the driver seat of your life, work and courage and make winning decisions that will get you to the life that you want and deserve. If I could do it- so can you. I took the decision to go back to school at a time in my life that was supposably not the right time- my husband was traveling a lot and my kids were very young. Had I not taken the decision to take the first step then and sign up for school even if the time was not right, I would have still not even started until this very day. It is never going to be the right time. Just do it.
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now? How do you think that might help people?
I have a new book coming out at the end of this month! It is called “2 Second Decisions- Get in the Driver’s Seat of Your Work, Life and Courage with Everyday Winning Choices” I cannot wait! It is about making winning decisions fast. This is a system that I have been using for myself and for my clients for years and now, with all the pain I am seeing through Covid19, I have decided to write it down in this book and make it available to you as well!
I am also launching Success Academy at the end of this month- online training courses for individuals and companies on time management, goal setting, decision making and all the wonderful tools that will get you the success that you are looking for in 2021! I cannot wait to share it with you!
OK, thank you for all of that. Let’s now shift to the core focus of our interview. This will be intuitive to you but it will be helpful to spell this out directly. Can you help explain a few reasons why it is so important to create good habits? Can you share a story or give some examples?
Creating good habits is the core of success.
Have you ever wondered why some people seem to get so much done? When they say, ”I’m going to…” start exercising, eat healthier, get organized, read more, etc., you know that they’re going to make it happen.
But when you try to go after similar goals, it’s a different story. You might be able to stick to them for a while, but then, somewhere along the way, you lose your motivation and quit.
When that happens often enough, it’s easy to get frustrated and discouraged. Creating and sustaining good habits, however, doesn’t have to be so difficult and painful. In fact, it can be quite easy. It can even be a lot of fun.
Your habits play an important role in your life. Having good habits leads you to the life that you dream about and wish for. Having bad habits, on the other hand, will lead you to failures. So, it’s essential that you build good habits.
Here is what we all need to understand: habits are an absolute must in our day-to-day actions. Why? because the brain is constantly looking for ways to save effort. In other words, the brain will make almost any routine into a habit because it allows our minds to just take a break and work on autopilot.
Here’s how to develop good habits and make them stick:
1.) Start Ridiculously Small. Most people want to create big change as quickly as possible. They want to go from zero to four gym sessions every week, switch to a healthy diet overnight, and meditate for 20 minutes every day even though they’ve barely managed 5 minutes in the past.
The problem, of course, is that this requires a tremendous amount of willpower. Research has shown that willpower works a lot like a muscle. If you use it a lot, it will get tired. Plus, when it does, you’ll be very likely to quit.
The solution to this problem is to start so small that it hardly requires any willpower at all:
- Instead of doing 50 pushups per day, start with 5.
- Instead of switching to a new diet, add a vegetable to every lunch.
2.) Adopt This 3-Step, New Habits Crushing System: Biting your nails? Eating food that is bad for you late at night in front of the TV? Spending money that you really do not need to spend? Wasting time instead of being focused and productive?
Drop the self-criticism. There is always a way for you to change your habits to those that will serve you best.
So here is the most important thing to know about changing habits to change our lives: you can’t extinguish a bad habit. You can only change it by creating an alternative one. Does that sound complicated? Not at all. New habits are created when we use a very simple, 3-step process. I call it the CRR System:
Let’s take the example of going to the gym every morning.
Cue: sneakers and gym outfit (socks included) by the bed
Routine: get out of bed, drink coffee, leave the house by 6:30 a.m.
Reward: smoothie after a workout
See the 3-steps here? Let’s take another example.
To stop the habit of eating unhealthy snacks at the TV every night.
Cue: a big pot of herb tea and a glass and a small bowl of fruit by the TV every evening
Routine: sit by the TV, relax, drink herb tea, eat fruit
Reward: new pants by the end of each 7-day successful evenings
1.) Have a Clear Goal. If you’re serious about your new habit, vague intentions like “I’ll try to hit the gym three times this week” won’t cut it.
Research has shown that you’ll be much more likely to follow through if you’ve decided beforehand exactly when and where the behavior is going to take place.
Here is what research says: write down your intention, and then SCHEDULE IT. The clarity here is key because the brain will always look for excuses to go back to old habits and postpone or ignore anything new, especially if it requires effort.
You are working against your brain, so to get these new habits to become a part of your routine, do not leave anything vague or open. Write it down and schedule it, because what you schedule clearly, you are far more likely to actually do.
People, if your habit is truly important to you, let your calendar reflect that. Put it on your schedule like you would an important business meeting.
2.) Change One Thing in Your Environment
Your environment may manipulate your decision-making more than you think. For example, if you want to lose weight, decide on one change. Pick a smaller plate so you consume less food.
Do you keep missing gym sessions? Put your gym clothes right at the foot of your bed at night, sneakers and socks included.
Do you see where I am going with this? Forget self-control and make your life easier. Manipulate one thing in your environment that will condition you to succeed. Once you change that one thing in your environment, you’ll retrain your brain and create new and healthier habits.
3.) Surround Yourself With Supporters
The people around us have a surprisingly big impact on our behavior. One study showed that if you have a friend who becomes obese, your risk of obesity increases by 57-percent — even if your friend lives hundreds of miles away!
Other research has shown that we tend to feel the same way, and adopt the same goals, as the people we spend the most time with. So, one way to dramatically increase your chances of success is to make sure you have the right people in your corner.
If you want to create new healthy habits but all your friends are unhealthy, it’s time to make some new friends. If you want to make big things happen in your life but you’re surrounded with pessimists who drag you down, it’s time to create a support group who inspires you and picks you back up when you fail.
You’re the average of the five people you spend the most time with, so be selective about them.
When you take small steps to form new habits, you’ll be amazed at the success and accomplishments you’ll be able to enjoy. You can be proud of the many areas of your life. Your finances will improve; relationships will flourish and you’ll feel healthy and energetic.
Simple habits have the most impact, so don’t worry about making life-changing decisions overnight. Change is gradual and it happens through repeated motions that we eventually turn to habits.
What good habits can help contribute to your success? What can you set as a goal for your day today?
Yes, you can change your habits.
And yes, you can absolutely transform your life.
It is in your hands.
How have habits played a role in your success? Can you share some success habits that have helped you in your journey?
I actually do not trust my willpower at all when it comes to my weaknesses. For example, I have a horrible sweet tooth and can never resist a good cake. If it has whipped cream, forget it. I will never be able to resist. Over the years, I got into the habits of throwing cakes out after I host. I host and then as the guests are leaving, literally as the door closes behind them, the cake leftovers are in the trash. It sounds horrible but it saves me every time.
I also got into the habit of walking for 7 to 8 miles daily. I am so used to it that I don’t even think. This habit is so rooted in me that when it snows, I get really confused. As long as the weather is reasonable, I already put my gym clothes and sneakers before I even have my coffee.
Good habits go a long way because they become automated.
Speaking in general, what is the best way to develop good habits? Conversely, how can one stop bad habits?
You really cannot stop a bad habit. The only thing you can do is replace a bad habit with a good one. What I recommend is deciding on an alternative habit and removing the triggers for the bad one. For example: If Doritos are a trigger, throw them out on a day you feel strong enough to do so. If you crave a cigarette when you drink socially, avoid social triggers — restaurants, bars, nights out with friends. Believe me, if I can throw away my whipped cream cake, you can throw away your potato chips.
A new habit takes 30–60 days to form
Let’s talk about creating good habits in three areas, Wellness, Performance, and Focus. Can you share three good habits that can lead to optimum wellness. Please share a story or example for each.
In terms of wellness I made it a habit to always eat veggies with my breakfast. This way, if I slacked and didn’t have veggies throughout the day, at least I know I had a good amount for breakfast already. I really try to eat a lot of vegetables but some days I get really busy and this really works.
I work with a to do list and set goals for each day. I check things off as I go. Most days I start my to do list on my phone as I am going on my morning power walk on the Notes app. Then when I come home, I email it to myself, print it and follow up.
I got really good over the pandemic at setting boundaries and have taught myself to say NO without feeling bad about it. Here are my three rules for avoiding interruptions during the pandemic as my kids are working from home and I am at the verge of going nuts because I am constantly, literally constantly, interrupted:
- If I went to the kitchen to get coffee, that does not mean that I am available. I am working. I am not here. Move away. Let me work.
- I do not want to see any cute cat movies during work hours. Do not show me any cute cat movie before 6:00pm.
- I rate within 2 seconds 0–10 how important something is right now. Cute cate movies are at 0 (sorry!) but if you got hurt it’s a 10. Sometimes you get so bombarded with interruptions that you become reactive. It is important to remain active and prioritize quickly in order to guard your time, focus and energy- your three most important resources.
Can you share three good habits that can lead to optimal performance at work or sport? Please share a story or example for each.
- Visualize your success. When you visualize your success, you become the person that you visualize yourself to be. The brain does not know the difference between day dreaming and things that are actually happening. For that reason, for the brain, when you visualize yourself as successful, it is actually happening. Jim Carrey says that his success is due to the power of visualizing. He says that in the 90s he was a struggling actor and postdated a check of 10 million dollars to himself for 1994. On 1994 he was paid exactly 10 million dollars for his role in Dumb and Dumber. Will Smith has famously said: “In my mind, I’ve always been an A-list Hollywood superstar. Y’all just didn’t know yet.” The better you get at visualizing; the more motivation you’ll have to act toward what you are seeing in your mind.
- Fill your mind with good content. Food for the mind and for the soul is just as important as healthy food for the body. Do not feed your mind with negativity and fear. Stay away from those. Always find good content to listen to. In my most challenging times, I was listening to Jim Rohn in every spare minute that I had. It filled my soul with good thoughts and helped me overcome adversity.
- Learn to rest. Work smart, not hard. Rest is part of a successful person’s practice. Know when to stop so that after you rest, you come back stronger, more determined and more focused and capable.
Can you share three good habits that can lead to optimal focus? Please share a story or example for each.
People everywhere seem to be experiencing some form of getting overwhelmed at work, at home- or both, more often than not. I call this The Epidemic of Getting Overwhelmed, and it seems to be much more common in today’s modern life than ever before. There are two main reasons for that: first, the amount of information we now process is something that the human brain may not be used to. Second, we have all these new technologies which are very good at distracting us, which our human habits have not caught up to. The combination of a tremendous amount of new information to process (new rules, regulations, technologies, information) and a huge amount of distractions such as social media, emails right into our phones and just overall crazy multitasking on an ongoing basis, is really not a good one for focus and performance.
What we need to realize is that our attention is a limited resource and our most valuable one. There is so much new information to process and so many distractions, that our brain just gets very cluttered and tired as the day goes by, and will tend to lean more toward distractions and less toward focused efforts. Studies show that each task you do tends to make you less effective at the next task, and this is especially true for high-energy tasks that require a high level of self-control or decision making.
Here are three things that you can do that will help you in staying focused throughout your day and getting things done the way you need and want to:
1. Create a Daily Focus Pocus Sheet
Before you start each day, write down your 3–5 most important tasks for that day. Things that absolutely must happen for that day, no matter what. These may be an email you need to send, a call you need to make, an assignment you need to complete, or anything similar. Keep your Focus Pocus sheet in front of you at all times, and check off completed assignments as you go.
Believe me, by the time you hit noon, you’ll be happy to have it in front of you. This is because half the things on it would have slipped your mind by now if you didn’t have it in front of you. Focus Pocus sheets are best done the evening prior. If it is work-related, do it before you leave work. If you work from home or the list is home and family-related, create it before you close the day, go to sleep or start watching tv.
Make sure you have all the resources you need to complete the tasks on your list. Don’t put anything on it that you don’t have the time or the resources to do. These should be ready to complete, ready to check off as ‘Done’ tasks.
2. Set Deadlines. Seriously. For EVERYTHING.
Any task without a deadline, If you have ever had an important task that didn’t have a deadline, chances are, you put it off… and then put it off some more. Until it became urgent or had a definite due date, you weren’t motivated to complete it. The reason for that is that urgency breeds motivation, and deadlines create a sense of urgency.
Deadlines help you prioritize what you’ll work on (and for how long). There is nothing like a strict deadline to help you prioritize your workflow. Even while writing this article, I’ve set a deadline to finish this before getting out of my seat. This helps me avoid checking email or doing anything else on the web before finishing this article. My self-imposed deadline is forcing me to stay on task so I will move on to other tasks later.
The trouble with setting deadlines is that we often don’t know how long something will take. Psychologists refer to this problem as the planning fallacy — wherein we often underestimate how long it will take to achieve something. We often set goals that are too ambitious — and don’t think about all the challenges along the way. Keep your deadlines realistic, keep them at a safe distance from any last-minute catastrophe (it is a great idea to have projects ready 24 hours before they are actually due if you can), and keep them in front of you at a visible place, to keep yourself accountable and focused on what you need to do, and by when.
3. Take Breaks. Here is Why.
Taking a break when you feel overworked, unfocused and worn out it critical to your ability to refocus. Do not feel guilty about it and do not keep pushing if you feel that it is needed. Breaks can prevent Decision Fatigue. The need to make frequent decisions throughout your day can wear down your willpower and reasoning ability. Decision fatigue can lead to fallacies in our decision-making process and to procrastination. Working for long stretches without breaks leads to stress and exhaustion. Taking breaks refreshes the mind, replenishes your mental resources, and helps you become more creative. These much desirable Aha moments come more often to those who take breaks, according to research. Research also suggests also that taking regular breaks raises people’s level of engagement and productivity.
So how often should we take breaks? And for how long? There is different research on this, but no consensus. It is somewhere in the 50–90-minute range. Frequency is the name of the game with break taking. Rather than obsessing about precision-timing, listen to your brain and when you feel that you have had it, stop and take a break from what you do.
How long should your break be? 15 to 20 minutes is the ideal length, but you can take longer at lunch. Do not let the break becomes a stop. 15–20 min should allow you to grab a cup of coffee or tea, take a short walk or do something that is non-work related. When you come back from a break, refocus yourself and get things done. You will find that you are more focused, more creative and more productive.
As a leader, you likely experience times when you are in a state of Flow. Flow has been described as a pleasurable mental state that occurs when you do something that you are skilled at, that is challenging, and that is meaningful. Can you share some ideas from your experience about how we can achieve a state of Flow more often in our lives?
- Have Clear Goals
Clarity of goals is everything when it comes to flow. This is because when you are clear on what you want and why it matters to you so much, you are motivated intrinsically, which is the best and most powerful form of motivation.
- Block Interruptions
It is so important to dedicate your undivided attention to what you do. Interruptions from kids, pets, chores or just multitasking in general, stand in the way of a meaningful flow. Make it your goal to get really good at blocking interruptions, even if you have to get up earlier to find your quiet time to focus and create.
- Enjoy the process
While having a goal is important, flow requires enjoying the process just as much. Whatever it is that you are working on, enjoy it. Do not beat yourself to the finish line, enjoy the ride just as much.
Research suggests that the benefits of flow include increased skill development and improved performance. These will boost your confidence as well.
Ok, we are nearly done. You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good for the greatest number of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.
I have my heart on working with teenagers and kids from less privileged communities. I feel that many of these kids lack role models and inspiration and their dreams are limited simply because they have not seen any adults that can demonstrate to them what they can possibly become.
We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US, whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we both tag them 🙂
Oprah, of course. Because she is living a life that is beyond any circumstances and filled with purpose. She is a living proof that anything is possible no matter what your circumstances are. I don’t know about the lunch though. I don’t think I’d be able to chew!
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Thank you for these really excellent insights, and we greatly appreciate the time you spent with this. We wish you continued success.