Step 5/7: Create FLOW in your life! How & Why you ask!?

Occasionally I surprise myself and people around me with exceptional ideas. At least I get the feedback as if it was a great idea. I feel like the LinchpinSeth Godin talks about in his books. As much as I love the feeling, I hate it when it goes quiet. For some reason the great ideas degrade to good and then to average and very quickly to quite bad. I have spent some time wondering why this happens! Someone once said; if you have done a genius act once, you should be able to do it again!

Interestingly enough when my ideas hit average and bad, I try to compensate with quantity.

As most often, when things happen that I cannot solve or understand I try to read books! After some reading it hit me. It was so obvious, at the same time surprisingly tricky to handle. Here is what I discovered to get up to a level Good & Great.

The secret is in keeping the flow and not in following a recipe! No magic, only consistency in hard work!

People tend to love recipes for success. First thing to know is that THERE ARE NO RECIPES and if you need one, you are being misled.
Seth Godin wrote in Poke the Box, “We reward people who draw maps, not those who follow them”. There is a lot of truth in this. If you see yourself as only a part of a system that you cannot affect, you will always follow and never lead.

I believe that everyone has the qualities necessary to be creative, insightful, witty and productive. It is a matter of training those qualities and bringing them forward. Once it is done, you have to work on your flow. The secret or my source of my epiphany was “the ability to keep the flow”!


Here is an example:

I needed to come up with a new service offering. It wasn’t anything exceptional about it. Just create a marketing message with all the parts of back-end support etc.
I started to set the environment to be totally creative. I closed my email application, closed all the streams of different social media. Switched off the phone! Now, nothing to interrupt and dilute my concentration.

Started to go through the process and after each step, pause and ask questions! The questions I used where very simple.

  • Would Apple have designed it that way?
  • Would my most demanding customer be happy about the change?
  • Most of ALL!!! Is it possible to tweet the marketing message/sales pitch/? If your message is so clear and concise that you can fit in in 140 characters. Well you have done a great job!

The result was spectacular, simple, down to the point and easy to understand. I verified it with lots of customers and colleagues. I was proud of the result.

Next step is to do it again and again and again and….

The trick is to keep the flow of creativity. Don’t listen to people trying to sell you software, hardware of other stuff. You can only keep the flow with the things you already have. You need discipline!

Manifesto: Discipline, consistency, goals and delivery

Set a goal, if you haven’t already, do it now, stop reading and write it down. Can you do it in 140 characters? Try hard to achieve this.
Once the goal is clear, set as many action items you need to reach the goals.
Next, set aside 30-45 min. everyday to work on your goal. Don’t break this, don’t postpone it, don’t over do it!
Last, concentrate on delivery rather than quality. Sounds strange? It is not; if you have reach this far in the blog, thank you, most people stopped probably reading right down to the caption “Discipline…” Did you see many spelling errors? Grammar mistakes? I don’t think so, not that there were none, because you don’t care! People don’t care! Working an extra day on this blog would have killed the flow, delayed the release. It wouldn’t have given me the satisfaction of being on time and proud over the fact that I wrote it and people hopefully will comment on it! I don’t think you would be much more happy or impressed with the extra day!

In summary, be disciplined with your goals and focus only on delivering.

Focus on delivering, anything else that comes up in your way to delivery should be shut down. Stop checking e-mails, tweets, Facebook pages etc. If they don’t take you one step forward to you delivering, they are not just delaying you, they are taking you one step back. Set a time for the specific task and do only that and DELIVER!

Once you have delivered, tweet your heart out and update your Facebook like there is no tomorrow!


Looking forward to your opinions and comments.


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8 Responses to Step 5/7: Create FLOW in your life! How & Why you ask!?

  1. John Kypriotakis July 6, 2011 at 18:06 #

    Nice blog post Shahram, thanks for sharing!

  2. Dfewgoodmen June 20, 2011 at 08:11 #

    “Focus on delivering, anything else that comes up in your way to delivery should be shut down”… Well said. An interesting an elucidating post. One has to get his priority right and then follow through. I’m glad that I came here!

    • Shahram June 20, 2011 at 08:30 #

      Thank you Ovie for you comment. Always good to get other professionals confirmation on different subject.

  3. Jacqui Kimmel (@GoSocialSA) June 19, 2011 at 22:26 #

    You make some excellent points Shahram, especially pertaining to focussing without distractions. Something that I would like to add, however, is something that I’ve found invaluable to my own experience when it comes to creativity and ‘flow’:

    What I’ve found is that when I am required to be creative (particularly at the outset of a project that needs conceptualisation, for example) it helps to divert my attention AWAY from the subject at hand and allow my mind to focus on something completely unrelated for a given period of time. I might go for a walk, play a game of tennis, make a cup of tea and flip through a magazine or even better – sleep on it. Some of my most creative moments have followed one of these breaks where the creativity has not been forced to emerge on demand but rather allowed to bubble forth, spurred on by other thoughts and experiences.

    After that, as you say, it is imperative that all external stimuli be set aside, a given time period assigned to the task at hand and that the goals which have been set are tackled systematically. In our ‘always on’ world, this definitely demands a certain amount of self-discipline. I think it is a good idea for those of us involved in digital media to have a clear idea of our own ‘ground rules’ or ‘boundaries’ when it comes to managing online engagement.

    • Shahram June 19, 2011 at 22:56 #

      Jacqui, thank you very much for a great comment!
      You make an excellent point. I agree in that the “time-off” helps getting the ideas out and crystallizing it. Absolutely something to add to the list.
      Too much concentration or force will just make things harder to handle or grasp.

  4. Pam Ross June 19, 2011 at 21:38 #

    Very true – I’ve heard, and believe that, the difference between good and great is discipline. Focus is often the number one element that leaders say helped them be successful. This is a great reminder to turn off my TweetDeck notifications, email, phone ringer, and sit and write.
    Thanks for a great post!

    • Shahram June 19, 2011 at 21:49 #

      Thank you Pam for your comment. It is always good to get confirmation on the thoughts I have and work with. Looking forward to your writings… 🙂


  1. Step 6/7; 3 magic words: Mastery, Purpose & Autonomy | Blogs by Shahram Khorsand - June 24, 2011

    […] Autonomy, put yourself in the center. If there is a problem, well it is YOURS! Yours to solve that is. Don’t wait, blame or procrastinate. Just do it! Focus on delivering rather than finesse! […]

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