Your ability to perform follows a unique cycle.
Knowing this rhythm well will literally change your life on every level. It places your energy back in your control, and with this power you have the capacity to manage your outcomes, your success, your health, and your creativity.
Flow is the natural movement of life. When you align to this motion of energy, you will find that it takes you towards your desired goals with less effort, less stress, and way less resistance.
The 4-part flow cycle is the foundational code behind growth and sustainability. It is seen in nature and if you pay attention, you will see it in every project and endeavour you embark on.
Phase 1: The Gathering Phase
“If I had 20 days to solve a problem, I would take 19 days to define it.” - Albert Einstein
The Gathering Phase offers you immense energy and it is also where most of our efforts are spent. At the start of any project or endeavour, we can expect to move through this phase by gathering data, doing research, asking questions, and building new skills required to kick-start. It will feel like an overload of data but your brain is operating at 12-40 hertz allowing huge amounts of data to be absorbed and processed.
In this phase you will be inspired to learn and absorb as much as you can. Physically, your adrenal glands are highly active to produce adrenaline and cortisol. This supports increased energy and awareness.
Staying in The Gathering Phase too long and you will experience overwhelm, burnout, or mental fatigue.
Phase 2: The Incubation Phase
“I think 99 times and find nothing. I stop thinking, swim in silence, and the truth comes to me.”- Albert Einstein
The Incubation Phase can be difficult to honour as it goes against societal conditioning that has us believing our productivity cannot happen when we are still, quiet, and in non-action. Yet, written in the code of our energy is The Incubation Phase which requires us to walk away from the project or task at hand in order to make ourselves available for new creative ideas.
So get into nature, or do a monotonous task like cleaning, or meditate. Your brain operates in alpha here, releasing nitric oxide, which widens the blood vessels and releases stress. This allows for new ideas, next best steps, and increased clarity.
Staying in The Incubation Phase too long and you will experience procrastination, physical fatigue from stagnation, or lack of motivation.
Phase 3: The Illumination Phase
“That is the way to learn the most, that when you are doing something with such enjoyment that you don’t notice that the time passes. I am sometimes so wrapped up in my work that I forget about the noon meal.” - Albert Einstein
The Illumination Phase is the most well known phase in business and entrepreneurial circles, also called The Flow Zone. This phase feels extraordinary! Here we are fully inspired, clear, and everything we do feels joyful and effortless. We become so immersed in what we are doing that time seems to stand still, we lose our sense of self, and the moment feels rich with support.
Physically, our bodies release high-performance and feel-good chemicals. Our brain is operating at 8 hertz, thinning the lines between our conscious and superconscious minds. This offers us access to greater intelligence, clarity, and an increased sense of connection.
Many people try force a more permanent state here (and it's understandable!), however trying to stay in The Illumination Phase too long can lead to overindulgence in stimulating substances such as coffee, energy drinks, or psychedelics.
Phase 4: The Recovery Phase
“The monotony and solitude of a quiet life stimulates the creative mind.” - Albert Einstein
The Recovery Phase can be the most challenging to accept. Coming from The Illumination Phase, we may feel like the life has abandoned us. We suddenly feel human again and may even struggle with health niggles as the body processes the previous three stages.
This is a time for self-care and self-compassion. Your world might feel like it has paused, or there might be long delays, or perhaps all your efforts bear little fruit. This is sign that you need to stop, take rest, and allow the final phase of your energy cycle to regroup and rejuvenate.
Not honouring this phase leads to serious health conditions and staying in this phase too long creates states of depression, so monitor your energy and move into action once you sense The Gathering Phase entering.
Sensing our way forward
The trick in truly harnessing this 4-part cycle to benefit our energy and productivity, is to:
Respect the phase you are in. Forcing ourselves to perform when we need to rest creates long-term problems (and visa versa). It slowly decreases our capacity to show up fully.
Experiment with it. Take rest when you are fatigued. Stop all actions when you experience delays or persistent issues. Act when you feel inspired. Break away from your desk when you feel overwhelmed.
Sense, don't think. Our energy cycle is not something our minds can truly grasp due to its dynamic, non-linear, and expansive nature. So practice sensing for how you feel. Connect with your body more.
Start small. Pick an area of your life and become aware of how the 4-part flow cycle operates there. For example, money flow, health flow, or a specific project you are passionate about.
“Going with the flow is responding to cues from the universe. When you go with the flow, you’re surfing Life Force. It’s about wakeful trust and total collaboration with what’s showing up for you.” - Danielle La Porte
The 4-part flow cycle operates in every area of our lives, in every project, in every idea and endeavour. When we begin to work WITH it, we will shift how we do life and how we do business. We will float WITH the river of life, not against it, and the possibilities that emerges from this will be immeasurable!