As a Business Owner you have a lot to do.
So it makes sense that you want to figure out how to be as productive as possible and make the most of your time. I’m all for that.
And yet, there is another dimension to your time that often gets overlooked.
Because it’s not only about the amount of time you have (or don’t have), it’s also about how you feel during the time when you’re working in your business.
The reason is that how you feel, your state of being, as you’re working has an enormous effect on the quality of work you produce as well as the level of enjoyment you experience as you do it.
And who doesn’t want to create remarkable work and have fun while you’re doing it?
You’ve probably heard the term, flow. This is the feeling I’m talking about.
In the book, Stealing Fire by Steven Kotler & Jamie Wheal, they refer to this state of flow as ecstatis.
They propose “four characteristics of ecstasis: Selflessness, Timelessness, Effortlessness, and Richness or STER for short.” Let’s take a closer look at each one of these and how they relate to your business.
This is about getting rid of that nagging voice in your head that disapproves of your ideas and your work.
It’s about getting out of your head. “By stepping outside of ourselves, we gain perspective.”
Now, the present. This is the only place where reality exists.
Yet we spend so much time replaying business mistakes from the past or anticipating failures in the future and then often miss the moment right in front of us.
There is an abundance of clarity in the present moment so if you want to make better decisions, stay in the moment. Plus, it’s much more relaxing.
When we are in flow the body releases pleasure chemicals. These chemicals are behind effortlessness. “I did it, it felt awesome, I’d like to do it again as soon as possible.”
If you can to identify the marketing activities in your business that you connect with and that you’re passionate about doing, you will want to do them more often.
And remember that marketing doesn’t have to be stressful. For more on this check out my post, Want Marketing to Be Easier? Apply Mindfulness.
Richness is “a reference to the vivid, detailed, and revealing nature of non-ordinary states.”
One way to reach a non-ordinary state, or altered state, is meditation.
“Control of consciousness determines the quality of life.” Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience
The authors also discuss the “Four Forces of Ecstatis: psychology, neurobiology, pharmacology, and technology.
I want to look deeper at two of these, psychology and neurobiology, and how they apply to your business.
Personal development is directly related to your business development. The better you know and understand yourself, the more success and enjoyment you will derive from your business.
A study of leaders by Bill Torbert referenced in the book found that “those at the top of the developmental pyramid not only were more ethical and empathetic, they performed better in the workplace as well.”
Leading the authors to conclude, “Consciousness, it turns out, goes straight to the bottom line.”
The Power of Now
I’ve already mentioned the present moment and now as it relates to timelessness (the T in STER).
The book mentions Eckhart Tolle and his video series and how his work is all about STER. I highly recommend Tolle’s book, The Power of Now.
Solving your business challenges and tapping into your creativity happen most effectively in the present moment.
Meditation is another way to get out of your head and enter an altered state.
It doesn’t have to be complicated and you can get started with just 10 minutes a day.
Here is a post with several options to choose from.
Actively practicing gratitude on a consistent basis can shift how you feel as you do your work.
“The real gift of gratitude is that the more grateful you are, the more present you become.” Robert Holden
Check out what Robert Emmons, author of the book Gratitude Works has to say about gratitude.
Webster defines neurobiology like this: “: a branch of the life sciences that deals with the anatomy, physiology, and pathology of the nervous system.”
The authors of Stealing Fire point out, “Advances in neurobiology, meanwhile, have clarified our understanding of what is happening in our brains and bodies when we experience a range of mental states.
What is certain is that our thoughts in our brain are not disconnected and secluded from the rest of our body.
And we need to be careful about trying to think our way out of every business challenge. The ego is clever and doesn’t always put your best interests first.
You may have heard of Amy Cuddy and her ‘Power Pose’ which is a technique that uses the body to inform the mind.
In Kim Elesser’s 2018 article in Forbes she explains Cuddy’s concept this way: “She suggested that our body language governs how we think and feel about ourselves, and thus, how we hold our bodies can have an impact on our minds. In other words, by commanding a powerful stance, we can make ourselves actually feel more powerful.”
Watch her TED Talk on this topic here.
Practicing yoga is one way to access higher states of awareness.
You can take a break from work and do it on your own at home.
And if you’re craving some interaction and need a break from being at home, head out and join a class.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed or frustrated in your business, start moving. Exercise is a wonderful way to improve your mood.
And getting out of the office and into nature for a walk can give you fresh insights and new ideas. Read more on this here.
I hope you’re starting to see that you can influence how you feel in your business.
Take charge of how you feel when you’re working by using some of the approaches shared here.
Choose a couple of ideas that resonate with you and see if it makes a difference in what you create and how you feel when you do it.
© Stephanie Ward
Stephanie Ward is the Marketing Coach for Entrepreneurs who want to create meaningful and prosperous businesses. Grab your FREE copy of the special report ’7 Steps to Attract More Clients in Less Time’ plus business building tips, at: https://www.fireflycoaching.com.
Which ones are you already doing? Is there a new one you want to try? Share your experiences in the comments section below.
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This is an excellent article. STER, I really enjoyed how this is broken down. All of it is how I feel when I work on certain projects or working with a client. To answer question I’m doing most of them, meditation, gratitude, exercise (could be better). I also journal to help flesh out ideas or work out problems. And one area that I know sometimes is hard is Timelessness, The power of now. My mind often wanders to tasks not yet completed. And it adds frustration and overwhelm when I do that. I think this all takes consistency and practice.
Appreciate your feedback, Susan! Many thanks for sharing your experiences here. Indeed, consistency and practice are key.
Thank you Stephanie for this useful article. Very relevant points here. The ones that resonate with me are:
1- The power of our physiology. As someone who works with NLP I know how effective that can be. Our posture definitely influences how we feel and vice versa.
2- Meditation: continues to be a challenge for me but I haven’t given up. A book that I found particularly useful is “Mindfulness” by Mark Williams and Danny Penman which comes with a CD that has guided meditations that build up from 5 minutes to eventually 30 minutes a day. I am still on the 5 minutes a day but it is a start in the right direction.
3-Personal development is key to professional development. Something I experienced in myself and also in clients that I worked with in the past. To be productive one must first be in a good mental, emotional and physical state.
4- Finally walks in nature are just wonderful. This definitely helps put me in the here and now as I appreciate the simple beauty that we often miss around us and the stillness that helps clear my mind.
Thanks once again for your thought provoking articles.
Thank you for sharing your takeaways, Rawia! Great insight and helpful tips.
I fully agree that neurobiology is very important for how you feel. After a down period of suffering from chronic depression, I started to move, walk in the nature regularly and think positive. This changed my whole life, now I am successful and much more productive. I feel grateful. Very good article.
Thank you for sharing your experience, Tahsin. Nature is amazing, I love to go for walks in the woods as often as possible. Appreciate your feedback on the article.