A Coaching Power Tool Created by Gemma Gilbert
(Business Coach, UNITED KINGDOM)
In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity. Albert Einstein
In physics, Ohm’s Law describes the way current flows through a material. The flow can be slowed by material that offers resistance, or in some cases, the flow can be almost completely shut off.
The same law of physics can be applied to our lives and in this particular context, to building a business.
Imagine building a business as one large electrical circuit. You can see the end of the circuit – the vision of where you want to be. As you travel along the circuit, your journey can feel easy and effortless, or sometimes your progress can be slowed or almost completely ground to a halt.
We can call this flow and resistance.
Those who flow as life flows know they need no other force. Lao Tzu
There are times when building your business feels almost effortless. You feel connected with what you want to achieve and your purpose and are focused on your daily actions to achieve your goals. You see opportunities present themselves, feel in line with your intuition, and take inspired action.
When you are in flow, you feel connected to the present moment. You can lean into the task at hand with full concentration and as a result, your productivity skyrockets.
Your flow can be most readily achieved when you are doing tasks that tap into your unique strengths and abilities. Gay Hendricks (2010) refers to this flow as your Zone of Genius.
What you resist – persists. Carl Jung
At other times in building a business, you meet resistance – both within yourself and in the outside world – which can slow your progress.
Resistance to your natural flow can manifest in different ways:
- Limiting beliefs - beliefs that do not serve you but rather hold you back from reaching your potential such as believing you’re not good enough, or fearing judgment from others. These beliefs could stop you from getting visible and growing your audience for example.
- Experiences - challenging experiences such as a failed client relationship, work-life balance, or doing something you’ve never done before like running a workshop or building a website. A negative client relationship might stop you from giving honest feedback to other clients, or lead you to blame the client.
- Distractions or “shiny object syndrome” - constantly following new ideas and starting new projects instead of seeing through projects you started. This might lead to a lack of commitment to your goal and keep you in the 'trying zone’.
- Success and self-sabotage - In The Big Leap (2010), Hendricks discusses how when things start going well, you can hit your upper limit for how much success you think you can handle. When you hit this ceiling, a common practice is to start self-sabotaging. For example, you might start to criticize or introduce negative feelings into a client relationship, because deep down you doubt whether you can truly help them.
Resistance is connected with many disempowering stances such as blame, lack of commitment, and procrastination. When you feel resistance, your progress towards your goal is slowed down.
Resistance can often be confused with misalignment. Misalignment occurs when you do not feel connected to the path you’re on – something feels off. This could be the niche you’ve chosen, the service or product you sell, or what you spend most of your time doing. Perhaps you don’t feel connected to your purpose or spend most of your time doing activities you don’t enjoy.
You can establish whether you are facing resistance or misalignment by honing in on where in your body you’re experiencing it. Resistance often takes place in the head and is connected to your ego. We can recognize that we are over-thinking or have an underlying belief which is affecting our behavior. Misalignment is something you feel in your whole body or your heart – it’s an all-encompassing feeling that something isn’t quite right.
Misalignment can be easily confused with resistance when starting a business as there are many activities which you perhaps wouldn’t choose to do and don’t sit in your zone of genius. When starting a business, you typically have responsibility for everything from creating a website to writing blogs to email your list. Many of these activities might feel uncomfortable to you. You might feel resistance, in the form of fear or limiting beliefs, or procrastination. Not wanting to do something, or questioning whether you can do it, is usually resistance, rather than misalignment. That said, when you have grown your business to a certain profitable point, it is these less than enjoyable activities which do not light you that you would first outsource. This allows you to give over your attention to your true zone of genius and spend more time inflow.
Maintaining your flow
Flow is not the absence of resistance, but the ability to be present and move forward with full acceptance and responsibility of whatever is.
10 steps to achieving flow
- Choose your niche from the head and the heart. Who do you want to spend your days with? Who do you want to be a hero to? Often in business, there are many problems we could solve – many clients we could help. Choose a niche that allows you to surround yourself with people who light you up and give you energy.
- Tap into your Zone of Genius. Establish which activities tap into your unique ability, don’t feel like work, and give you the highest ratio of abundance and satisfaction.
- Outsource activities outside your Zone of Genius. As soon as possible (and perhaps sooner than does feel possible) outsource time-sucking repetitive tasks that take you away from what you do best.
- Set goals. Be clear on what you want to achieve and why. If you don’t know where you’re going, you won’t be connected to your purpose and will miss opportunities to get you there quicker.
- Eliminate Distractions and don’t multi-task. Commit wholly to each task and take simple steps to eliminate distractions, such as closing down your emails and turning off notifications.
- Choose to see resistance as an opportunity. Unlike electrical current, we have a choice. When we come up against resistance, we have the power to turn that resistance into a conductor which propels us forward. Lean into resistance and discomfort, understand, and accept. Find the gift in the situation. For example, a failed client relationship opens up space for a new client.
- Condition yourself for success. Work on your mindset daily and create positive habits that will support you in growing your business.
- Do any resistance activities first. Start your day with your most important tasks.
- Leave space for creativity. Slow down. Schedule in time for creativity and allow new ideas and opportunities to come. In today’s busy world, if you don’t schedule this time, it will never come.
- Work with your body, not against it. Listen to your body. When do you feel most alert? When does your energy dip? When you tune into your body, you can learn your optimal productivity periods and use these wisely. Exercise, eat well and ensure you get enough sleep.
Questions to bring attention to flow:
- If you had a team of people around you, what would you choose to outsource?
- What do you do that lights you up?
- Where is your energy?
- What feels easy?
- When do you feel you're most powerful?
- What is your unique ability?
- When do you feel at your most creative?
- Can you remember a time when you lost track of time? What were you doing?
Questions to challenge resistance:
- What were you doing when you felt resistance?
- What would it look like to lean into this discomfort?
- How could you choose to move forward in the face of this obstacle?
- What is the opportunity here?
- What can you learn from this situation?
- What gift do you see in this challenge?
- If this experience propelled you forward instead of slowed you down, what would that look like?
Hendricks, G. (2010). The Big Leap: Conquer Your Hidden Fear and Take Life to the Next Level. HarperOne.