Think about a time when work seemed effortless. When the hours flew by without your even realizing. When you finished a time-consuming task and you weren’t emotionally drained. When words, notes, or ideas seemed to spring from your mind fully formed. Have you ever felt like that? You probably have, and you probably loved it. That’s flow. It’s when hard work becomes easy and excellence ceases to be a chore. At times, the end of the day may mean you’re exhausted. At the same time, what you do is exciting, renewing, and energizing. You’re ready to take on another round.
Because employees are motivated in great part by the desire to become more proficient at something that matters to them, everyone ultimately aspires to what is referred to as flow, the mental state first described by psychology professor Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. Flow, he says, is, “The state in which a person performing an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of the activity. In essence, flow is characterized by complete absorption in what one does.” pg. 131, MAGIC: Five Keys to Unlock the Power of Employee Engagement.
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