Ever since second grade when I failed phonics, I have disliked reading aloud. (I mean REALLY dislike; I have “tackled” some of this in my commitment to read to my kids but the dislike persists.) In late 2017, despite my inherent dislike of reading aloud, I spent a few days in a friend’s studio, recording the audio version of my new book, Create More Flow. It was a task that I had been avoiding, but one I wanted to tackle before the end of the year.
We spent nine hours over two days recording the audio version of my newly launched book. It was humbling to reread things that I had written 10 months earlier (seeing how my thoughts have already evolved). Candidly, it was hard work to read accurately (harder than you might think), to find the right inflection and pacing, and to not be distracted by my internal running commentary…Is this the right way to read this passage? Will listeners feel engaged? Crap, I stumbled again!
By the end of the first hour, I was close to terror’s edge as I worked to build new muscles and get used to the team, the equipment, and the rhythm. Could I do this? But after a few hours in the learning zone—stretching myself to acquire new skills and a new level of confidence in my voice—I found myself in flow.
In fact, despite having just written an entire book on flow, this experience still came as a surprise. Even though we had turned off the heat off to minimize furnace distractions, I found myself losing track of the time in the chilly studio. Once I was in flow, I felt fully immersed in the task at hand and even found myself enjoying the opportunity to reread my own book—this time slowly, deliberately, and with a fresh set of eyes.
The thing that struck me most about my initial struggle and eventual success in recording a version of my book was the deeply humbling nature of the experience. It reminded me again of flow’s phenomenal power to propel us over obstacles that may at first sight appear to be insurmountable. It also reminded me that struggle and learning are essential to flow. Flow isn’t something one can always step into immediately into but rather a process that is part of a larger and complex cycle of events that frequently does include initial obstacles. The experience also reminded me of how much I relish the experience of flow and how it has transformed so many aspects of my life…not only my ability to record an audio book!
Here is to hoping that you enjoy Create More Flow and find more opportunities to achieve flow in whatever new challenge you take on over the coming year.