We are in the flow in areas where we start from the needs/values. We will likely be unsuccessful in areas where we start from the results and try to reverse-engineer the rest.
Look at the areas in which you are really great at getting results through great action. Think about the emotions/self-talk accompanying your actions. Think about the needs and values they are shaped by. You will find that the entire chain of command is somewhat driven by confidence, joy, maybe even a sense of love. It just pops up everywhere: Your needs might rather be centered around growth, freedom, or contribution. Your values might be around fun, giving, enjoyment. Your emotions/self-talk are probably pretty great and action might well come easily to you. You are aligned. It just all makes sense. This is when you are IN THE FLOW.
Now look at areas in which you would love to have great results, but really struggle to do so. Again: Think about the action you are (maybe not) taking and what emotions/self-talk you have regarding this action. Probably they are now less comfortable: You might be scared, come up with excuses, be defensive, numb yourself to shield yourself from other even more uncomfortable emotions. Your underlying needs are probably not being met. Maybe you are experiencing a lack of certainty, recognition, love. Your values might be related to protection, having a safe haven, respecting each others’ space. Now this chain of command will likely be somewhat driven by fear. Often times: Fear of the emotions we believe to experience when performing that particular action. This is when you are not aligned. Then things are magically OUT OF FLOW. Things just don’t work. It all feels wrong. It might even become the ultimate bottleneck of our life.
Now here comes the big catch!
You might have realized something: We are in the flow when we start with our needs/values and go right through this great chain of command to have fabulous results. This is when results fall into place naturally.
Many times though we start with the results which we believe to need thanks to influences like our parents, friends, social media – pick your favorite! For instance: We see the beauty standards out there in the world and we believe, yes, we too have to have a great body. We see that “being rich” is important and believe we too should urgently become rich. Or we see others in (presumably) great relationships and want to have that for ourselves.
Then we start take action. And we will find out that it just doesn’t work.
Because: WE CANNOT REVERSE-ENGINEER OUR CHAIN OF COMMAND!
Imagine again Paul who wants to really have a promotion, but when he tries to ask for it, it just feels terrible. It’s all just out of tune. Because asking for a promotion in this annual performance review is just not the way how Paul would satisfy his need for certainty, his high need of being liked.
Because Paul’s needs and the action of “asking for a promotion” are not aligned, Paul will likely struggle or maybe even fail to achieve the desired result.
Summary: When we start with our needs/values results often fall into place naturally. That’s when we are aligned and in the flow. When we start from the results and try to reverse-engineer the rest we are likely failing.
 Note: Numbing can take all sorts of forms. It does not just describe the mere act of “ignoring” your emotions. I can also come in the form of being deliberately: distracted (social media? Being “always busy”), confused, systematically tired, excessive partying/ drugs/ eating or excessive self-pity, going from one personal-development-event to the next without ever changing something. The list can be long.