I was facilitating a meeting the other day. At one point, I was standing at the front of the room, asking questions and really trying to pull out the opinions and thoughts of people at the table to hone in on what our next steps were and what we wanted to achieve from our meeting. At one point I realized I felt really good playing this role. While that certainly has a lot to do with the fact that we’ve created an amazing team and that we’re all willing and interested in hearing each other’s opinions, I also realized that it had to do with feeling good about my part in the process.
On my way home I really broke this down in my mind. Was I feeling too comfortable in this situation? Did it feel too easy? Was there nothing new to learn from the experience? If I had answered yes to any of these questions, I would definitely get worried. When you’re in your comfort zone, things can feel good or easy because you’re doing it automatically. You can be robotic and tune out from the situation.
You ever have that feeling when you’re going home and take the same route you always take – you somehow end up safely at home but can’t honestly say you recollect your path? (Scary thought but happens a lot!)
That’s what it feels like to be in your comfort zone. You don’t need to consciously process what you’re doing. You don’t really show up. You’re not truly present.
Being in flow is completely different. The more I thought about it, I was in my flow that day. I was comfortable in the sense that it just felt good to be doing what I was doing. But being comfortable didn’t quite describe the feeling of being there. It felt good to contribute. It felt like I was adding to the dialogue and was truly an important part of the process. I felt like I was making a difference. I decided to really show up that day and my commitment to the process was palpable. By being present in that space and bringing my best to the table, I was able to not only add to the progress of the team but also become aware of my value and how I can continue to contribute.
That feeling, is gold.
Image courtesy of Keri Smith.