May 11th, 2021
With Chris King, “Pique-performance” executive coach and flow expert who sets up the conditions for high-flow teams. He helps companies and organizations create sustainable advancements by supporting their teams to minimize barriers to flow and achieve flow-states, and supports individuals to exceed their professional and personal goals with velocity. Chris has a particular expertise with professional women and women-led/focused teams, ensuring they are running their businesses and lives instead of their businesses and lives running them. In short he helps his clients go from the status quo to Status Flow.
Imagine making the impossible, or even the unimaginable, a reality in 1/5 the time everyone thought it would take you to fail. And imagine doing it without stress. This is what happens in “flow.” Flow is an optimum state of consciousness wherein you feel and perform your best. And it’s trainable and available to anyone – including professional organizations and teams.
Biggest takeaways (or quotes) you don’t want to miss:
- In order to get yourself in and out of flow states, you need to lean in when you want to lean out, you need to embrace the fear instead of resist the fear. Like Bruce Lee, be like water, you know.
- Time dilation is one of the signatures of a flow state.
- Chris believes that he is in the energy of the resource management business. He is optimizing and maximizing every resource, space in his head, his thoughts, his processes, everything.
- Speed is a function of horsepower. It’s a function of weight and it’s a function of friction.
Check out these highlights:
4:27: Importance of time dilation in flow states.
5:21: Chris explained his history with flow.
19:08: What basically Chris does in his work.
46:38: Importance of speed and time in life
How to get in touch with Chris:
On social media:
Learn more about Chris on his website here.
Imperfect Show Notes
We are happy to offer these imperfect show notes to make this podcast more accessible to those who are hearing impaired or those who prefer reading over listening. While we would love to offer more polished show notes, we are currently offering an automated transcription (which likely includes errors, but hopefully will still deliver great value), below.
GGGB Intro 0:00
Coming up today on Guts, Grit and Great Business.
Chris King 0:03
Humans, in my experience are beautifully ironic. And sometimes the thing that we want to do, the thing that we start to do is the exact opposite. This is why in flow states you’re doing the opposite because it’s the counterintuitive where the magic happens. In order to get yourself in and out of flow states, you need to lean in when you want to lean out, you need to embrace the fear instead of resist the fear. Like Bruce Lee, be like water, you know.
GGGB Intro 0:30
The Adventure of entrepreneurship and building a life and business you love, preferably at the same time is not for the faint of heart. That’s why Heather Pearce Campbell is bringing you a dose of Guts, Grit and Great Business stories that will inspire and motivate you to create what you want in your business and life. Welcome to the Guts, Grit and Great Business podcast where endurance is required. Now, here’s your host, The Legal Website Warrior®, Heather Pearce Campbell.
Heather Pearce Campbell 1:03
Welcome. I am Heather Pearce Campbell, The Legal Website Warrior®. I’m an attorney and legal coach based here in Seattle, Washington, serving information entrepreneurs around the world. Welcome to another episode of Guts, Grit and Great Business. So today, I’m super excited to welcome our guest, Chris King. Welcome, Chris.
Chris King 1:25
Thank you so much grateful to be here. I’m excited to speak with you.
Heather Pearce Campbell 1:28
Oh, I am too. I know when you and I first connected. I was like, gosh, I love his area of expertise. And it was I want to say like, end of last summer. Yeah, here we are. Right. This is the first time we got our calendars to overlap. So quite a bit has happened between then and now.
Chris King 1:46
For sure, yeah. It’s been an ever changing world, right?
Heather Pearce Campbell 1:49
Oh, my heavens, yes. And I you know, but it’s starting here. And we’re recording this, obviously the start of the year. By the time people get this, we’re still gonna have a lot going on in the world. But I love your topic. And I think this is going to be a really fun one to talk about. So for folks who don’t know, Chris, I love his introduction. Imagine making the impossible or even the unimaginable of reality in 1/5, the time everyone thought it would take you to fail. And imagine doing it without stress. This is what happens in flow. Flow is an optimum state of consciousness when you feel and perform your best and it’s trainable and available to anyone, including professional organizations and teams. Peak Performance executive coach and speaker Chris King sets up the conditions for high flow teams. He facilitates the journeys that lead to the discoveries that create sustainable advancements for organizations and individuals to exceed their professional and personal goals with velocity. Chris has a particular expertise with professional women and women lead focus teams, ensuring they are running their businesses and lives instead of their businesses and lives running them go from the status quo to status flow.
Christ King 3:08
Well, wow. I’m excited!
Heather Pearce Campbell 3:10
Great! I mean, first of all, I will tell you as a mom in the middle of COVID, like the idea of reaching a flow in anything kind of feels like a pipe dream right now. So I joke with my peers, right? I joke with my sisters and people in my life, like COVID, for me has been one long experience of like dipping my toe in the water and never being able to go for a swim.
Chris King 3:37
Heather Pearce Campbell 3:38
But the the context shifting – the number of times that you know, being home full time with two small children and trying to run a business, it is so challenging to reach those states of flow. And the first time I was introduced to really digging into the concept of flow, I was an undergrad. And I picked up a book that was specifically on flow. And I was in love, like just I it’s such a phenomenal concept. And you know it, when you’re in it you are you I should say you know it when you have experienced it. And usually it’s like when you’re coming out of it, you’re like, Whoa, what just happened, right? There was like some intense things that just happened either in a short period of time or time flew by but you were so involved in the moment you didn’t even notice.
Chris King 4:27
Yeah, that is that time dilation is one of the signatures of a flow state, you know, where, you know, this happens in car accidents, where time stands still that happens when, you know, like you mentioned when you were in college working on a midterm and you’re so focused on what you were doing, it felt like you know, 30 minutes went by you looked up it had been three hours and you had this amazing thing in front of you. That’s that’s a flow level flow state.
Heather Pearce Campbell 4:52
That was my experience. That’s what what happened to me at the time, especially when I was really digging into that concept is like five hours would go by and It felt like minutes,
Chris King 5:01
Right? Yeah, that’s exactly it. And it is available at the ready if you train yourself for it.
Heather Pearce Campbell 5:07
Oh, I’m so excited about this conversation. So, tell us for those that don’t know you How, how did this become your topic? How did this become the thing that you are now? so focused on your history a little bit?
Chris King 5:21
Oh, yeah, that’s uh, okay, so I’ll give you the Cliff’s notes as best I can. I have a very long history with flow. I, you know, I was trained to race cars when I was a kid. So I’m a trained racecar driver, I was an ice hockey player, I you know, there’s I was born and raised on the west side of LA. So, you know, it was lords of Dogtown, skateboards and BMX bikes and all this stuff. So. So I had a very intimate knowledge and understanding of what flow is. Now of course, I didn’t know anything about it, I had no idea there was a name for it, or that it was a thing. I didn’t learn that until much later. But But I, I’ve experienced it so many times in different areas of my life. And ultimately, I discovered that this is the way to create real innovation in my life. And it was probably my first grown up job, I worked at a I was work, I came up in tech. So I was at a tech company. And I was I was what they call the the fig. The How do I pronounce it was just let’s just say the ignorant new guy, we’ll just leave it at that. And so what that meant is they gave me all the projects that nobody wanted, or knew what to do with. And they were small enough that nobody cared if I just completely blew it up, right. But because they left me alone, and let me do my thing, I was able to create magic, I was able to create something out of nothing, you know, if that was, you know, growing a business or taking a new account and creating this incredible thing out of it. Like we were able to do that, because they they inadvertently didn’t know that they had set the conditions for me to do it. And so that’s, that’s what it is. And from then it was like, hey, I want to do impossible things. I want to trash my career and become a radio DJ, great. How do you do it? You know, and it was all it was all around flow. So
Heather Pearce Campbell 7:09
It’s fascinating, you know, and I’m so excited to hear your take on. I mean, first of all, what you raise about having the set of conditions that facilitates flow, like when I think about times in my life where I’ve personally experienced flow, you know, definitely in the academic setting, when I’ve had to do a deep dive into something, but again, you know, not having children at the time I was able to like do things on interrupted, you know, athletics, I would say there were times in my life during athletics that I certainly experienced a state of flow. And then growing up I also was a I studied classical piano. And like, I think of this one kind of pivotal moment where it was a lot of pressure, like there was a lot of pressure in this moment to perform. It was a 40 page ish Bach concerto, I was one of four pianos with a full Symphony behind me. Wow, playing entirely from memory. Wow. And I got off on one of the measures of music, right. And so I had to like regroup in the moment and just take a pause and then pick back up. And I don’t know how even to this day, I’m like, I don’t know, it took so much to memorize that in the first place. But for my brain to do the mechanics, even under pressure and very, very high stress. Like it wasn’t me doing the sorting and figuring out like how to pick up where, you know, I needed to pick up it just happened automatically.
Chris King 8:40
Right that yeah, that is the way it seems it feels like it’s coming through us as opposed to coming from us. You know, and and there’s so many examples of this. You know, we hear stories about some guy that was parasailing and something went wrong, and did the exact opposite of what you’re supposed to do in that situation. And doing the opposite of what you’re supposed to do is what actually save the same frame. Yeah. Right. And, and and there’s a great line in the movie Top Gun 1986. Right, where Maverick says he’s talking about one of the exercises and, and he says, you know, they asked him what were you thinking? And he says, You don’t have time to think up there if you think you’re dead. And this is exactly what flow is right? It doesn’t there’s no thinking going on. There’s actually less thinking in a flow state. So where all the creativity in the brilliance comes from doesn’t come from thinking it comes from not thinking and I could explain the biology behind this. If you’re interested. I’ll give you a little piece of it.
Heather Pearce Campbell 9:41
So glad you mentioned that because when I think of flow like I wouldn’t have known because I haven’t so I’m not an expert on it like you are I’ve just done a little bit of reading on it. But like, even as a kid who grew up doing a lot of piano performance, before every performance, it kind of felt like my brain was mush, right? I kind of had this like anxiety like, I never got over it, there was never a time where I showed up on stage. And they didn’t have cold, clammy hands that, you know, I just thought, like, when am I going to get over this? And so it’s surprising to me that even and I’m gonna be really curious to hear your thoughts on this, like how flow happens, either including, or especially in some of these high pressure moments?
Chris King 10:28
Well, it’s, it’s actually necessary to have some measurable level of risk involved in order to get a flow state, you know, you ever hear somebody say, Oh, I want to, I want to talk about our fearless leader. Well, I will never follow a fearless leader. Because fear is a focusing mechanism. Okay, there’s a chemical in the brain called norepinephrine. And this is what’s happening when you when you’ve got some fear going on. It’s designed to make you pay attention to things that love, it lessens the number of things in your awareness. So like if you’re walking in the woods, and you’re having a nice leisurely stroll, and you’re noticing the grass and the trees and the birds and the sounds and the smells and the sights and everything, and then you see a bear. All you see from that point forward is the bear. That’s not norepinephrine, right? It’s making you pay attention and ignore the things that don’t really matter right now. So as it turns out, that there are what we call flow triggers or flow switches, there are 22 of them that we know of right now. And risk is one of them. So you need a measurable level of risk in order to generate a flow state because it’s all driven by your natural neurochemistry.
Heather Pearce Campbell 11:37
Interesting. So even in the even in the case of, for example, studying for an exam, I wouldn’t think of that as like a high risk scenario. But some, there’s some element there, I think that adds additional pressure. Like as I look back, for me, it was probably having very, very high personal goals around that particular event.
Chris King 11:58
Right? It’s and it could be a fear of failure, or not getting something right or not doing as well as you could or whatever. And and, and, and it doesn’t have to be a physical threat, right? Just the idea is that there is some kind of risk involved here to you, whatever, however, you interpret that right, however you define risk. So it’s when people say, you know, I, I don’t want to be afraid. I’m like, well embrace that fear, because it becomes wind in your sails if you know how to leverage it.
Heather Pearce Campbell 12:25
Interesting. Well, that’s that was going to be my question is that should it make us feel better that were designed this way? Or are there some hangups? Like, are there some things that we need to know about how to utilize it in a way to have it performed correctly versus incorrectly? Yeah, the
Chris King 12:42
the thing about the risk part is that there there’s a there’s an equation for this, as a matter of fact, you need enough fear so that you’re paying attention, and not so much fear that it paralyzes you. Right. So there’s a perfect balance. And as it turns out, here’s the math on it. 4%, the risk needs to be about 4% greater than your perceived skill set. So that seems to be the sweet spot.
Heather Pearce Campbell 13:06
Chris King 13:08
It’s like 10% more, right? Like it’s gonna terrify you.
Heather Pearce Campbell 13:12
That’s so fascinating. How do you measure? How do you make a measurement like 4% of perceived risk?
Chris King 13:20
You know that? I mean, I would say that there’s some subjectivity in that, because how do I measure my it’s because ultimately, what this boils down to is perception. Yeah, right. It’s the perception of how fearful This is, or how risky it is, and my perception of my skill set. Right? So I might be better at something than I think I am. I might be worse at something that I think I am. So really, it boils down to perception.
Heather Pearce Campbell 13:44
Got it? That’s important. Does everybody experience flow? At some point?
Chris King 13:51
I would say that anybody with a biologically normal or close enough brain now that you know, you know, can somebody who’s on the spectrum get into flow? I think so. Can you know somebody who’s dyslexic or whatever it does seem to be through all walks of life. There’s a book by a man who’s really the what we call now the godfather of flow, his name is me. Hi, chick sent me Hi. He wrote a book called flow simple enough, you know, simple title, because a complex author name, right. So he was kind enough to do that for us. But he studied this in like the 60s and 70s. And they went and talked to basically everybody, right? They talked to plumbers and sailors and athletes and and it seems that anybody can get into an access flow states.
Heather Pearce Campbell 14:37
How is flow measured? How is it observed? Like, I think, I think in the way that we first talked about it, I could look back and recognize like, oh, maybe that was Flo, that experience I just had, but how, like, if you were talking to somebody who’s brand new to this subject, how do they How do they recognize it either when it’s happening or after it’s happened?
Chris King 15:00
Well, that’s it’s you’re you’re gonna you’re gonna retro cast it, you’ll you’ll notice it as it’s ending. And you’ll look back on it and see the interesting thing. One of the other characteristics of flow, like we mentioned, time dilation, right? That’s where, you know, Time passes in a very strange way, there’s a reason for that your ability to track time is housed in the prefrontal cortex of your brain, okay, that’s up in the front of your brain, it’s about the size of two walnuts. And this is where all your, your big thinking comes from, okay, this is how you can operate a computer, drive a car have a job? Well, in a flow state, that part of your brain, all your big brain thinking goes offline, and other parts of the brain start to light up. So you can’t track time, when you’re in a flow state because your brain that part of your brain is turned off. The same is true with your own self awareness, your own consciousness, there is no I, in a flow state, I’m not thinking about me, or how good it feels, I’m just connected to whatever the task is. So that’s another characteristic is that loss of sense of self. Now, I can throw out other names for flow, you know, athletes call it being in the zone, jazz musicians, when they get into the pocket. We talk about runner’s high, you know, it has many names. And this is when you’re so immersed, right? Deep embodiment of that experience. And you know, you’re coming out of a flow state when you start to notice how good it feels. Because when I’m sitting here thinking, wow, this feels really good, I feel really good. Well, the I, my own self awareness is coming back in online, which means as part of my brain is coming back online and the flow state is drifting and now drifting away.
Heather Pearce Campbell 16:41
Interesting. So in your background, I mean, you obviously lived this flow state, like through various, various activities, right? Sounds like you had a lot of familiarity with it, how take us to the portion of your path where that became something like highly of interest to you, and especially at what point it became like, one of your, or maybe it has been your primary career focus.
Chris King 17:09
You know, it didn’t really become a career focused until, until the last couple of years, you know, I’d already been in the coaching world for for several years. But it was when I realized what flow was and how it works, and how much I already knew about it without knowing that I knew about it. I very quickly recognized or at least believed this is the future of my industry. And I want to be on the cutting edge of this. And it’s something that I really love more than anything. So we pivoted, we decided we’re not going to do any of the standard kind of coaching engagements, we’re not going to do culture problems or standard leadership development, we’re not going to run disc assessments or 360s, those are all great things. And we’re certainly not going to deal with the organizations that don’t have the psychological safety, or what we lovingly refer to as the dumpster fires, you know, we’re just, if you have the narcissists and the petty tyrants and the communication, the infrastructure problems, the infighting, the cliques, the little factions and camps, that is never going to produce flow states. It’s and and the problem with that is that the world is moving too fast to not access flow states. There’s Ray Kurzweil, at Singularity University, states that there’s what he calls the Law of Accelerating Returns. And it’s kind of like Moore’s law, but think of it as Moore’s law on crack, right? It’s that simply stated, 1920 is to 2020 as 2020 is to 2030, we’re going to see 100 years of evolution and next 10. So we can’t move at the speed of speed, we need to move much faster than that and be much more creative and much less stressed out.
Heather Pearce Campbell 18:52
Hallelujah. Right. Right. So I’m curious about how you take this concept and apply it to teams and team performance and organizations. Where do you start? Yeah,
Chris King 19:08
The here’s the thing, our the way that we look at it through our lens is that it’s it’s not so much about answers. It’s much more about barriers. We don’t tell people what to think we don’t people tell people what to do, because you have every answer you’re ever going to need for any question is already in your head somewhere, right? Business personal otherwise. So if you come to me and say, Chris, I don’t know what to do, what I hear is Chris, I don’t have access to my knowledge, I don’t have access to my inner knowing my information. So I don’t have to seek the answer or figure out the answer because it’s already in use somewhere. My job is to figure out the barrier, and then remove it and support you through executing on whatever you need to do. Flow is basically in my framework the same way. I don’t have to teach you how to get there. What I need to do is remove the stuff because again, flow is driven by your own natural neurobiologist. If I can figure out what are the barriers and remove them, we can produce flow states. This is not easy work. It’s simple. It’s not at all easy.
Heather Pearce Campbell 20:10
Got it? Got it. Thus the focus on what conditions create the possibility for a state of flow, right? So right in the example of a workplace with high stress or conflict or other things going on at work, people are certainly not going to be able to reach a state of flow.
Chris King 20:28
Right? You know, if if they need to be right, if there’s all the communication problems, if there’s a lack of psychological safety, or people are shutting down, like, you know, what are the barriers, one of my I call him a mentor, because I spent about three days with him his name was Gene Kranz, he was a flight director at NASA during the Apollo and Gemini space missions, including Apollo 13, if you saw the movie in the 90s, Ed Harris played him in the movie if you saw it, but you know, failure is not an option. That was that was gene, right. And when you have a situation like that, when there are three lives on the line of you know, people in space, and we have no idea how we’re going to get them back, because mathematically, it wasn’t going to play out the math, they had to completely invent a space mission on the fly, and get real creative real quick, they didn’t have time for blame. They didn’t have time for judgment, they didn’t have time for arguing they needed answers, and they needed them fast. And so if we can remove all those barriers, look at how awesome humans are, look at the things they achieve when they challenge what they think is possible when they get out of their own way when they don’t need to be right when the egos not present. This is where the magic happens.
Heather Pearce Campbell 21:38
Hmm. Well, and I love that idea about, first of all, accessing our own inner knowing, right, we all I mean, regardless of what we do, what field we’re in, you know, I think there’s a lot of alignment between who we are and our natural gifts and what we end up choosing to do in the world, right? What are what work, we end up choosing, but ultimately, we’re all problem solvers. And we do come with an inner knowing, you know, and so, first of all, I love that the focus is on like, we don’t need to come up with the solutions for people, they have those. It’s about removing barriers. How do you take this conversation? I mean, even in an average non COVID year, I imagine there are some high hurdles, especially in the context of organizations and workplaces, to get people to the point of conditions that facilitate flow. And then you add COVID, on top of it, like I’m so curious what your conversations are, like right now, for people, right? Because when I think about my last year, oh, my heavens, like, again, the amount of times in a day that I have to context shift, I think that’s the proper label for it, right? There’s, there’s just so much energy drained in the process of trying to hold things together at the seams. Is there a way it isn’t actually possible right now in the midst of COVID for people to achieve flow?
Chris King 23:07
Alright, this is where I’m going to blow your mind. It’s more possible. Because everything we look at, we don’t look through in my organization, we don’t look through the lenses of efficiency or productivity, we look through the lens of leverage input to output ratio, how do we get more using less? Now it’s very easy to say I can’t because oh, yeah, I can’t right now. I’m too busy. I can’t there’s a pandemic, I can’t look, that’s all constructive thinking. And again, it affects brain chemistry and how your brain is working. So when we look at what and you know, who’s really good at this in terms of leverage the United States government, no matter what side of the aisle you’re on, it is not about the circumstances of the situation. You don’t have to like it, in order to make it work for you. So, you know, you look at the government, and you know, all of a sudden social media, this brand new thing called MySpace, and then Facebook, and maybe the government liked it. Maybe they didn’t. But that’s not important. The question was, hey, that’s cool. How do we leverage it? How do we use it to drive our agenda? Again, doesn’t matter what side of the aisle you’re on? You got a pandemic? Oh, cool. How do we leverage it? How do we make it drive our agenda? If you can get out of how much I don’t like this? Right? Because again, that’s affecting your brain and get into Wow, that’s interesting. What can we do with it? Where can we go from here? Right? It’s like golf. You can do nothing about the hole you just played. Where can you go from here? Same with chess, you can’t do anything about the move you must have made Where can you go from here? Right, but it is about adjusting yourself. Now. I will say this much too. So much of this is counter intuitive. Humans in my experience are beautifully ironic. And and sometimes the thing that we want to do, the thing that we start to do is the exact opposite. This is why in flow states you’re doing the opposite because it’s the counterintuitive where the magic happens in order to get yourself in and out of flow states, you need to lean in when you want to lean out, you need to embrace this fear instead of resist the fear. Like Bruce Lee be what be like water, you know?
Heather Pearce Campbell 25:14
Feel like water, yes, that’s going to be my new mantra.
Chris King 25:20
Feel like water? I know. So the pandemic is great, because like I said, I mentioned there’s 22 flow triggers that we know of right now. And the pandemic is filled with them. You know, so one of the flow triggers is autonomy. People need to be kind of left alone to do their own thing. Well, everybody’s working from home, they got a ton of autonomy, we have complexity, we have novelty things that have never happened before. So all of this stuff is rich in flow. And this is what we do is great. Where are those triggers? And how do we set them up? The same way you might build your family around a value system or an organized religion, you build your team around flow triggers?
Heather Pearce Campbell 25:57
And do that for for flow to occur? does there need to be more than one trigger at a time? Is it is it more likely that flow will occur? If there’s more than one trigger happening? Talk to me a little bit more about the triggers? Yeah, they’re
Chris King 26:12
I mean, they, the more flow triggers, the better. And the more that you can consciously engage these things, the better So, and again, because it drives neuro chemistry, the more neuro chemistry, you’re driving the the more chance that you can make this happen. So I don’t know how down how far down that rabbit hole you want to go. But, you know, so risk, for example, you know, risk is an easy one. Because, you know, people get in that fear based thing. It’s
Heather Pearce Campbell 26:38
Oh my gosh.
Chris King 26:38
It’s like, well, understanding something that’s really interesting. Maybe you like roller coasters, or horror films? Why do we like those things? There’s fear. And it’s exciting. Why is that the case? Well, because fear and excitement are the same thing. By what I mean by this is that I mentioned earlier that when you’re afraid you see the bear walking in the woods, norepinephrine is the chemical in the brain. And again, it’s a focusing chemical makes you pay attention to things that speeds up muscle reaction. So when you’re excited, there’s a chemical in the brain called norepinephrine, it’s the exact same thing your body, your brain does not know the difference between fear and excitement. So instead of expending energy, avoiding the fear, holding out the fear, denying the fear, you release that let the fear come in and through you breathe it in even, and accept how much of it you’re experiencing and own it. Then visualization technique, holding your consciousness of the outcome that you want, you know, hold that in there and say to yourself, I am so excited about that. All of the fear that paralyzes you, then catapult you forward instead, in enthusiasm and excitement. Hmm. So it’s all about how you relate to to whatever the issue is, how you relate to the issue is the issue.
Heather Pearce Campbell 28:09
Well, and I love that example. I feel like I’ve heard something not not put quite that way. But similarly, in regards to public speaking, right about like, you’re gonna have this experience and rather than just hoping you don’t have it like a little bit like what I would experience before going into a piano performance, right? clammy hands sweaty, like just feeling all agitated. Like recognize that’s the experience that you’re having, and you’re going to keep having it and then channeling it in the right direction. I love that.
Chris King 28:40
That’s exactly it. People will ask me because I do a lot of speaking engagements in the hotel ballrooms, and the rah rah events and these kinds of things, and corporate trainings and whatever. And almost invariably, somebody will come up to me and say, Chris, I got a presentation next week, you’re a really great presenter, and I’m terrified of public speaking, you know, how do you get over that fear? And I look at them go, I’m terrified of public speaking. And they look at me like their dreams are shattered, like all hope is lost, because oh, my God, like you’re scared, and they don’t believe it. Right? I say, Look, I’m terrified of public speaking just like anybody else. The difference is, I know how to leverage it. I know what to do with it. And I know how to save myself the energy by not avoiding it, right. So you know, I mean, ultimately, I’m in the energy of the resource management business. I am optimizing and maximizing maximizing every resource, you have space in your head, your thoughts, your processes, everything.
Heather Pearce Campbell 29:37
So let me ask you a question. Because I’m still so curious about this relationship to time, like when I, you know, again, this is going to be a personal example, because this has been my life the last 10 months is that, you know, two small children like I warned even before we went live on this interview, could run through that door at any time, right. So I’m still stuck around like how do you get in Because Do you have to have time to get into a state of flow? Or can you have slow for five minutes and get results in five minutes? Right?
Chris King 30:10
Well, what you need is focus. So you can train yourself in focus. The problem is I you know, and I love the multitaskers. If you’re a great multitasker, I’m really about to screw this up for you. The because first of all, humans don’t multitask, you know, biologists will tell you that, that we don’t do two things at the same time. And even when we are doing two things at the same time, like walking and talking, our attention is only on one of those things, it’s like having multiple tabs open in a browser, you know, you might have several tabs open, but you’re only you’re only focused on one of them. So if you’re walking and talking with somebody your attention is on the talking, you’re not consciously thinking of I’m putting one foot in front of the other. Same is true if you’re texting and driving, guess where your attention is on the texting. That’s why people run into stuff so. So it takes about 20 minutes or so to really get into a flow state. So when people have open door policies, my staff can come in whenever they want. They’re killing themselves, right. And this is why professors have office hours so they can like have their alone time to do their work. So having that open door policy is a killer, the the five minute thing you mentioned you, I don’t know that you can get into a real flow state. You can train yourself in focus, though, you can train yourself in focus and discipline Because ultimately, you’re always training yourself one way or the other. You know, am I training myself to manage boundaries to honor boundaries to make commitments and hold to them? Or am I training myself to be a little more flexible and you know, distractible? And how am I training myself? You know, what I recommend to people as you give me four minutes of meditation, five days a week, for the next two weeks, I will change your life. I’ve made that bet many times. And I even had a guy stand up in a meeting once who said Chris told me that if I did this, you know, and I think it was a month I made him a bet for a month, he said you give me 30 days of this performance will change your life. And he stood up and said I thought Chris was full of crap. He was right.
Heather Pearce Campbell 32:12
Yeah, so just practicing the focus what you’re saying,
Chris King 32:17
Giving yourself like, even when you I know, I have eight minutes great, this is going to take me five, I’m going to be completely focused on this with nothing else in my awareness.
Heather Pearce Campbell 32:27
The thing that’s been a challenge for me, you know, and probably like a lot of parents, and anybody who’s listening to this, that’s a parent, I’m sure that we could all swap our COVID stories, but it’s getting to the end of the day, and still having a list of things that did not get done that day. So I’m with deadlines. And I’ve been trying to like undo this bit of like a wonky schedule I’ve gotten myself into. But I think what we’re talking about right here, because I will end up working until like two in the morning pretty consistently. It is because and I didn’t realize this until now it is because I’m able to get so much done. In that time. Like it takes me forever to get my kids to bed. I have a three year old who doesn’t sleep, she is often up until 10 to 11 to midnight. And then my my real work starts. But once I’m in, I’m in, which is why I can go until two and then I’ll be like, Oh my gosh, it’s too I’ve got to go to bed. But I think it is because actually, there are so many times where I’m actually in flow in those late night hours. And it’s the only time I could accomplish that for any length of time, just because of having a high needs, you know, special needs number one child and number two child who’s three, right? So my days, it’s really challenged to get into that flow state during the daytime,
Chris King 33:52
Because you’re constantly interrupted. There’s all these distractions right now I will say this much about working more hours. This is again, I’m going to go right back to the same thing, counter intuitive behavior, working more hours to get more done is very linear thinking right? Which is normal for our ancestral monkey mind. That’s just the way it works, right? Here’s the thing, working more hours to get more stuff done is the same thing as using your credit card so you can afford more stuff. Right? That’s our leverage. Yes, the hamster wheel right. And that’s how most people do it. And, and, and that’s fine in an emergency, right? Like, that’s what credit cards are for only in an emergency, right? The problem is if you live your life like that, that is going to take you bankrupt and in the time, you know, in terms of working more hours, that’s going to take you to burnout. Now it’s also counterintuitive, because if you want to get three to five times done more every week, you don’t work more hours, you work fewer hours, right? If because we’ll take an executive working 5055 hours a week, cut him or her back to 35 hours a week and they’ll get three to five times More done, because they’re only focused on the things that move the needle. They offload anything that does not matter. Right. And if you want proof of this, everybody has experienced this. And here’s when, how much stuff Did you get done Monday through Thursday, when you knew you were getting on a plane Friday morning and being gone on vacation for two weeks.
Heather Pearce Campbell 35:23
Chris King 35:24
Right on everything, all those projects that took months got tied up, wrapped up, this was done that was done and everything was clean. And why? because you knew you’re leaving, you just lost 10 hours of your work week, and you crushed it, all of a sudden, you got three to five times more done that week. So that’s that’s the dance, you know, challenge yourself and do the counterintuitive things. And yeah, it comes at a price. It comes at a price of multitasking and the distractions and all this kind of stuff. So it also comes at the price of the badges of honor, the perceived badges of honor, that are actually serious liabilities. So when somebody says, oh, man, John’s such a high performer, I emailed him at eight o’clock on Sunday night, he got back to me in two minutes. John’s not a high performer. JOHN is a guy that’s steeped in victim mentality and has poor boundaries. Right? Yeah. Right, because he’s afraid I have to get back to you or else I’ll lose something. I’ll miss out FOMO whatever.
Heather Pearce Campbell 36:28
Well, and I think right now, like this issue around boundaries, I was just having a conversation with somebody, actually, just before this about business boundaries, I think it can be challenging for people, especially if they’re not working for themselves, around how to set those how to be clear on boundaries, how to be part of an organization if the organization hasn’t helped them have or hasn’t respected boundaries, right. How give me a few. I mean, and I know we’ve we’ve probably just touched on the tip of the iceberg for some of the stuff that you get into, talk to us about a few more strategies, right? I mean, and I’m hearing the work less, not more probably like setting deadlines for yourself, right? What are some of the strategies that people can implement that are like just things that we all should be doing to get more into a state of flow more frequently, like day to day things that we can be doing that will help kind of ease that path? Sure, I,
Chris King 37:33
I’m very careful, I don’t work in absolutes very much. I have very few absolute, so I’ll get like, because some industries are different than others. You know, you have some experience with the law, for example, the legal system is set up in a way that is diametrically opposed to flow states, in terms of the way they’re trained, the way they’re taught to think the way they set up their businesses, the way they’re structured. All of it is backwards into
Heather Pearce Campbell 37:59
Everything dates, right. And anybody who shows up is like I needed this yesterday before they even hire you. Right?
Chris King 38:05
So it’s very difficult for attorneys, because I’ll give an example what I’m talking about attorneys are trained to immediately look at something and figure out all the reasons why it can’t work, and it can’t be changed, and nothing can be you know, we can’t do this. And we can’t do that and can’t can’t get it’s all constructive thinking that’s diametrically opposed to creativity and flow. Right. So, so nothing I say here is going to be, you know, across the board. Right. Right. So the asked me the question again, to make sure I answer.
Heather Pearce Campbell 38:33
Yeah, no worries. My My question is just like, it sounds like there are some obvious things that we should all be doing that could facilitate at least setting us up for the experience of flow, right? There’s no guarantees, we’re going to have it. Right. But that that could ease the pathway, right? Whether it’s things like this, like make your goal working less rather than working more unit. I mean, like, I’m not sure what the tips are like, I can have the discussion with you.
Chris King 39:01
There are a lot I don’t know if they’re obvious, but I’ll tell you, one that we talked about quite a bit is time blocking, for example, you know, where where you go into your calendar, and you block out certain times for certain things. Email is a killer. All right, most people who wake up at say, six o’clock in the morning, they’re in their email by 604. And what the problem with that is that their the story that they’re telling is that I’m being responsive, I’m taking care of business, I’m a high performer, and what’s really happening is that you’re setting your brain in react mode. And once you get in react mode, especially first thing in the morning, you’ll stay in react mode. So you spend the first half of your day, you know, basically being driven by everybody else’s stuff. And then your day doesn’t start until about two o’clock in the afternoon when you’re fried because you’ve been jumping from one thing to another. So if you can set up your day, like I say the last thing I’m going to do today is set up tomorrow, and make sure I know what I’m going to do and in what order at least Through 11am, because I know in my world that whatever doesn’t get done by 11am, tomorrow is probably not going to get done tomorrow. So I know, you know, there’s no thinking in the morning, I know exactly what I’m going to do in what order. And that saves me a lot of resources in my brain in terms of my decision making and everything, it saves all of that all those resources. The other problem with email is that email is nothing more than a chaotic filing system for what everybody else wants from you. That’s all it is. Right? This is not a performance tool. It’s it’s convenient. It’s It’s, it’s, it’s effective. It’s not efficient. Right. Right. Right. And it’s very distracting. So I do have a guy worked with a lawyer, he, he had a different way of relating to it. He said, I’m allowed to check my email five times a day. I can check it whenever I want. But if I’ve checked it three times by 11am, I’ve only got two more left for the day. And the point here is that it’s about being intentional, not being reactive. No, there’s a difference between being reactive and being responsive. clients say yeah, but I have to get back to clients immediately. First of all, no, you don’t, right, that’s a victim mentality, I have to second is not for most of us, the client, the customer may want it right away. They don’t need it right away. So we need to manage these expectations. It’s not about being your client or your customers slave. It’s about managing their expectations. Because if you do the React thing, they are going to run your business, and I have some bad news, they’re going to suck at it. So
Heather Pearce Campbell 41:35
The thing that’s fascinating about this is, and I’m sure there’s loads more but like approaching, you know, some of these rules that are very, very sound principles, like for most of us, this is not going to be the first time that we’ve heard like, don’t check your email at, you know, six in the morning, when you first wake up, have clarity around this stuff, like understanding it, though, even from a flow perspective and how it impacts flow. It’s a very interesting way to approach that conversation. Right? And this idea about having clear business boundaries, and not being driven by your clients and setting up expectations the right way. Talk to people who are in the mode of doing that, about what’s missing, right, it’s really about the impact and what they could have, if they stopped doing that.
Chris King 42:27
Well, you’re gonna save yourself a lot of headaches and frustration and energy, you’re also going to save yourself from being annoyed with your clients or your customers, right? Because when some how, how do you feel when somebody violates your boundaries? Right? It’s annoying, I don’t think that’s gonna drive me crazy. But the reality is, they aren’t violating my boundaries, I’m allowing my boundary boundaries to be violated, right? So it this, you know, this requires a massive amount of personal responsibility. And recognizing that how am I how am I creating this dynamic in my world? Because responsibility is not fault. If I say it, somebody has responsibility. I’m not saying it’s their fault. I’m saying they have ownership of this. And when I take ownership of something, only then can I affect it. Hmm. Right. So there’s a massive helping of responsibility and accountability. And you know, who’s really good at this is like the Blue Angels, for example, you know, they have a culture where it is okay, to screw up and admit that you screwed up. Now, when you’re flying, you know, two meters off of somebody else’s wing and two FA teens, there’s not a whole lot of margin for screw up. So these, these people will come into a room after an exercise and say, you know, what, I was about a half a meter off here. And, you know, this is how I’m going to fix it. And then I love it with the end with grateful to be here. They end everything that they say that’s the first thing to do is here’s all the ways I screwed up grateful to be here. You know, because there’s no shame, there’s no fear, and there’s no guilt there is simply aligned or misaligned with the outcome that they’re trying to produce. And they are aligning themselves. It’s not simple. So if you have an organization where you can remove the fear and shame of screw up, and understanding that that is part of progress, right struggling process of progress, or in a relationship together, you don’t get progress, progress without struggle. So when somebody comes in and says, I super screwed up and the boss can go, cool. What happened got this happened? Great. What did we learn? We learned this? Awesome, right? That’s a completely different plays. Then somebody goes, What are you thinking? How could you do that? Which one is going to be faster?
Heather Pearce Campbell 44:35
Right? Right. That’s a that’s a fabulous point. Because within the law, like when you describe the law about it really being a constraint oriented place and a constraint oriented kind of conversation, right? Yes, I think you’re largely right where, especially because it’s so rule bound, right. Most attorneys are like, okay, you have this problem. Let me go look at all these rules. And luckily for me, one of my early mentors in law was was the second person that you’ve just described is like, great. How did that screw up? Go? What did you learn? Right. And that was so unusual. Within the law, it was, but it gave people the freedom to actually pursue growth in their career and in their work, because they weren’t afraid of trying something, right and seeing it more as an experiment. And not, you know, not in a super crazy way. Like, these are attorneys you’re talking about, you know, they still took their responsibility to their clients very seriously. But it was a very different way to be mentored compared to the vast majority of people that you see in the law. And ironically, and I don’t think I ever have been a very traditional person in the law. But when I look at a client problem, the question I asked is, how can we come to a solution of this? And it’s really kind of not regardless of the law, but like, in a much bigger way, what are the possible solutions for this problem, and then let’s brainstorm those. And then let’s also go look at the law and just look at it there as an overlay, but it’s not the dictator of what’s going to happen. And that’s not to say that you’re going to have some illegal solution. But I think that it allows for a lot more practical solutions of some problems that can be dealt with, not because of the law, but because you provide somebody some coaching strategy on communication, or just basic problem solving or something else that doesn’t involve the law.
Chris King 46:38
You know, it’s it’s amazing. I love that you mentioned communication, because it’s, it is incredible, even to me to this day, how the slightest change how one word will change neuro chemistry. So I’ll give you one you can play with here as the question why I love this. Why is an instantly adversarial question, even if I don’t intend it to be, if I come up to, you know, one of my associates or something, and I say, Hey, why don’t you do that? They’re instantly on the defensive, right? And so that creates friction. And that’s going to slow things down. If I come in and say, Hey, can you help me or something? I’m not getting this. They are actually excited. Because I’m asking for their input and feedback. I’m asking for their help. And most people love to help, right? So I can change why to a what or how question. Yep, you know, so if instead of saying, why’d you do that, I go, Hey, wait, how’s that going to help me? Right? I’m, I’m, it’s much less adversarial, there’s less friction. And because we need the kind of speed and the innovation that we need, you know, moving forward, and now to the future. Speed is a function of horsepower. It’s a function of weight. And it’s a function of friction. Imagine what can happen if we can go into an organization and remove all of the friction from relationships. Yeah, we’re gonna get real fast, real fast.
Heather Pearce Campbell 48:07
Well, I love that. I mean, as soon as you said the word friction, it was like, oh, ding, ding, ding, I think most of us can pretty quickly identify things, whether it’s in our work lives are relationships, etc, that cause friction, right? And so to get creative around, how do we eliminate that really seems like a worthy challenge.
Chris King 48:29
Well, and I’ll give you my favorite analogy, my old man is an electromagnetic compatibility engineer. So, so I’m a little geeky. But this is an exercise that that you know, somebody can take with them right now and start using it and it’s gonna start relieving a lot of stress and friction. So the way that aircraft fly, there are four prints, there are four forces at work that need to be balanced in order for heavier than air aircraft to fly. Their forces are Wait, thrust, lift, and drag. Now, on an aircraft weight is everything the aircraft is carrying, plus the aircraft itself. So cargo people, whatever right, thrust is provided by the engines, that’s what’s pushing it forward. Lift is provided by the wings, that’s what picks it up off the ground. Anything that slows it down, any inefficiencies in aerodynamics is drag. This is what slows the airplane through through the air, right? So everything in your business, everything in your life is one of or a combination of those four forces. So let’s say you have a mortgage payment. That’s wait. It’s something I chose to take with me on my journey. Let’s say I have passion projects or recreational activities, these are lifts they lift me up, kids, all the above, right. Right. Thrust thrust is like, Oh, I want to I want to get that promotion or you know that thing that drives you forward, whatever that is for you. Anything that slows You down is drag. Now, here’s my favorite part, right? Drag has a sound, it’s when you grab your phone, and you got a text message from that person. And you go, Oh, that’s the sound of drag, right there. Right? So when you look at your task list, right, when you look at the things you have to do when you look at things in your world, and you put a little letter by it, this is weight, this is thrust, this is lift, this is drag, thrust, drag, drag weight thrust, you start to see where you can lighten the load, and soar that much faster, that much higher, with the same or less energy.
Heather Pearce Campbell 50:41
Yeah, that’s such a good example. Especially the sound effects.
Chris King 50:46
It’s my favorite, you know, your eyes roll out to get that that phone call to get the caller ID and you’re like, Oh,
Heather Pearce Campbell 50:51
totally, everyone knows it, or you look at your task list for the day or whatever. And you know, it’s the thing that you put last, or you try to do everything else before that thing. And it’s, anyways, I get, like
Chris King 51:05
I said, we’re in the resource management and optimization business. And that’s everything is resource, your time, your energy, your physical space, the space in your head. Everything is energy, and everything can be hacked and recoated to an optimized outcome.
Heather Pearce Campbell 51:23
Oh, I love that. Chris, this has been so fun to to get into this topic with you today and hear from your perspective, like how it shows up for people what we all do wrong. And I know there’s a long list for me. But it’s also really fun to think about how do we start looking at our energy at our time at our resources in you know, through this lens? For folks that are listening and want to reach out to you? Where do you like to show up? Where are you online? Where do you like to connect?
Chris King 51:58
Yeah, thank you so much. You can Oh, my god awful website is status flow. dotnet. And I and I like to make fun of my god awful website, because the moron that built that website is mate. And so I, I have new website, people that are real website, people that are building the new one, it will be done. It’ll be done by the time this airs. So I’m very excited about that. So status flow dotnet. On Instagram, we’ve got great content, because again, I’m not the one doing it anymore. So we have the digital marketing people doing our Instagram stuff at the status flow. Or you can just send us an email velocity at status flow. dotnet
Heather Pearce Campbell 52:37
Awesome. I love it. You and I sound like we’ve had similar website journeys. I’m laughing because people don’t know before I went live, I told Chris, I was literally on the phone with my website host because my website went down yesterday. Anyways, it’s in the middle of a big redo as well. Awesome, Chris. Yes. For folks listening, make sure you reach out and connect with Chris connect with his content on Instagram online. You’ll find his links and anything else you want to share with me in the meantime, because I know you’ve got a book coming out and i’d love I’d love to plop that into the show notes when you’ve got it. So I’m just gonna put a plug for that watch for Chris’s book. That’s super exciting.
Chris King 53:17
I’m excited about that. Yeah, yeah. It’s more than just flow. It’s it’s really about how you can renegotiate your existence in this world, like you can make the impossible reality.
Heather Pearce Campbell 53:32
Hmm, I love that. Well, and how many of us don’t need that this year right now? Yesterday, right? Yes. So check out those links. I by the time this airs, I’m going to have his book link in there as well. At The Legal Website Warrior® forward slash podcast, Chris, so great to connect with you big A big thank you for coming on and sharing your brilliance with us today. Wishing you and everybody who’s hearing this a very, I don’t know a very flowy 2021.
Chris King 54:06
Thank you so much. My pleasure. You’re an absolute Angel. So thank you. Oh, it’s
Heather Pearce Campbell 54:10
so good to connect with you. I love the topic. Make sure you check out Chris and his work in any resources on flow. I know we all need it. I know you do too. Big. Thank you, Chris. We’ll talk to you soon. Thank you.
GGGB Outro 54:25
Thank you for joining us today on the Guts Grit and Great Business podcast. We hope that we’ve added a little fuel to your tank, some coffee to your cup and pep in your step to keep you moving forward in your own great adventures. For key takeaways links to any resources mentioned in today’s show and more see the show notes which can be found at www.legalwebsitewarrior.com/podcast. Be sure to subscribe to the podcast and if you enjoyed today’s conversation, please give us some stars and a review on Apple podcast, Spotify or wherever you get your podcast so others will find us, to0. Keep up the great work you are doing in the world and we’ll see you next week.