I am sure some of you are in the ‘Struggle’ phase today — and maybe have been for a few days. You are a leader and your team seems to be all over the map with the project you are working on – or not working on. Or, you just can’t seem to get started on the blog you are supposed to write for Openfor.business. You have been challenged with the task at hand and are unable to find the elusive Flow that you are seeking. You do not know how to get this project going.

It’s time to let it go!

Yes, this is one of those times when giving up can lead to success. Release leads to Flow, so the sooner you let go and lean into the struggle, the sooner you can find Flow – or it will find you.  

As we talked about in the previous blog, Struggle is the phase that is necessary to start the Flow Cycle. The next step is Release, where we literally quit thinking and stressing about the Struggle, and Release into the task that we are working on.

How to do that?

How do you Release when it seems as if the task is too big, the problem too overwhelming? Here are some ways:

Just do it: One of the easiest ways to release is to just launch into the task. Got writers block for your blog? Just open up your document and start writing. Unsure of what is the right conversation to have with your team to fix a problem? Just get your team together and start talking. The act and action of just doing it allows you to start focusing on the challenge and not the overwhelming feelings — and Flow comes a little closer. Picture a big hopeless tangled ball of string. Just start somewhere. Pick a spot, focus on it and start to loosen up the knots; one thing leads to another.

Get out of your head: A common challenge for many people when they are in Struggle is that they get too deep into thinking, overthinking, and worrying into the future. They try to cognate their way out of the Struggle. Instead, try going for a run (or workout, or practicing yoga, etc.). When we start really using the body, the mind unwinds — and begins to drift and wonder. It is here that Release can happen. For me personally, at the end of a long run I find that I am thinking more clearly about what my next steps are, or I sometimes have a breakthrough idea or solution. The act of running releases into the body many of the neuro-chemicals such as dopamine, norepinephrine, anandamide, and serotonin, which create Flow.

Take a shower:  A great place for an “Aha” moment. I’m sure you agree. (Hence the photo above.) Have you ever thought about why? The answer is Release and the body. When we shower, the action of soaping and scrubbing our body is actually helping us Release. As we massage our skin we are stimulating thousands upon thousands of nerve receptors in places such as our hands, legs, midsection, heart, and head, which triggers the release of neurochemicals, which lead us to Flow.

So, let it go. As for me, finally writing this blog has gotten me into Flow, so I’ll try and keep it going by taking a long run…

About Croft Edwards

Croft Edwards, MCC, leadership coach and speaker, is a thought leader in the field of leadership and organizational change. He is the President of CROFT + Company, a global leadership and organizational change firm with clients spanning the spectrum from oil companies and manufacturing firms, to government entities and non-profits, to small businesses and start-ups. He has coached hundreds of leaders at all levels of organizations from front-line supervisors to CEOs and Social Entrepreneurs. His speciality is the study of LeadershipFlow, the melding of the emerging study of Flow with the field of Ontological Coaching which looks at how leaders show up in their use of language, moods and emotions and the body. Croft is also a retired Army officer with a decorated career as a command and staff officer in the United States Army, both active and reserve.

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