“It was just one of those programs that clicked. I mean everything went right, everything felt good. …….it’s just such a rush, like you feel you could go on and on and on …like you don’t want it to stop because it’s going so well. It’s almost as though you don’t have to think…….. It’s like you’re on automatic pilot so you don’t have any thoughts. You hear the music but you’re not aware you’re hearing it, because it’s all part of it all.”
– Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (author of Flow)
Last time we talked about the “Deal” phase; a time for experimenting, training and stepping out into the world to connect. This week, we will explore what it feels like when you step into the phase of Playing the Game.
Have you been fortunate enough to see a professional gymnast, dancer, surfer or figure skater complete a flawless performance? If so, you’ll know what Playing The Game looks and feels like, even from a distance – it’s that powerful.
Playing The Game is the experience we are rewarded with when we have invested our time, our energy, our focus and our will into something and have taken the chance to step out there into the world. It is a mostly positive time of the Cycle of Change when the Universe responds to the fruits of our labors by providing the experience of living our dreams, reaching a new level of success and being in a state of well-being. This phase is the time when we feel fully in the moment and our world just seems to flow.
If you’ve ever spent a long time planning something, like a wedding or a big work or passion project, when you’re IN it, that’s when you’re Playing The Game. You’re there, but you’ve let go, life has taken the wheel and is breathing through you. It’s effortless and enjoyable.
Unsurprisingly, we mainly we feel harmonious and optimistic in the Playing the Game phase. Most plans will work if we can just stay present, stay in the moment and stay out of our heads.
However, whilst this stage is usually associated with success, sometimes plans do not go as they’re “supposed to” and just as you’re becoming nicely accustomed to the dopamine boost of the flow state, life plonks your squarely in the land of set-back and challenge. Having been through just such an experience earlier this year (a stomach-churningly expensive and humiliating one I might add), my one golden nugget of wisdom is this……..don’t worry about what happened in the moment, THE REAL GIFT IS ON THE OTHER SIDE!
If you are currently Playing the Game, then you might be experiencing some of the following thoughts, feelings and behaviors:
- Sense of fulfillment, peace and purpose
- “There’s so much opportunity, what do I do next?”
- “How can I find the time to do all of this?”
- Self-doubt when things don’t go as they’re “supposed to”
- Fear of failure
If this is you, remember that whilst we have been conditioned to think that Playing The Game is all about the recognition and the highs, in actual fact, when you zoom out, the challenges and setbacks are just as much part of the process. The real goal is the experience itself. Playing the Game is less about judging what’s happening as good or bad, and all about allowing whatever is unfolding. Just like the gymnast, the dancer, the surfer or the figure skater, even when they are in the midst of that magical moment, there are the times when you see them drive themselves forwards and the moments when they step back and breathe.
Next time we will explore the Toss In phase, but in the meantime, if you’re interested to learn more about how to cultivate your self-awareness and increase your level of consciousness through conscious education or develop a career in self-mastery and personal development, join our free A-Z Road map to Becoming a Coach webinar at http://www.ipeccoaching.com//events-and-seminars.aspx .