The Best Brands Have ‘Flow’ — Here’s How to Get It
You started your business with a lot of excitement. But right now, perhaps all that positive energy feels like a distant memory. Right now, everything feels like it takes a lot of effort — like you have to grit your teeth and dig in to make anything happen. You're drained; you're anxious. And you're definitely not having fun. Even worse, all of that grueling work isn't bringing you the clients or projects that really light you up. It feels like you're settling and just trying to get by.
This is a painful place. And if it's the place you're currently in, today I want to help you get unstuck. The secret is tapping into the phenomenon of flow to reinvigorate your brand and bring greater ease and happiness to your work and your life.
What Is Flow?
Flow is a distinctive mental state that's been studied by scientists. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, the foremost researcher on flow, describes it this way:
…being completely involved in an activity for its own sake. The ego falls away. Time flies. Every action, movement, and thought follows inevitably from the previous one, like playing jazz. Your whole being is involved, and you’re using your skills to the utmost.
Think back to a time when you were so completely engaged in a project or an activity that it seemed almost effortless. You felt alive, energized and focused. That's flow.
Work isn't the only time that we experience flow. But when we do enter a flow state at work, we both create higher-quality results and feel more contentment and satisfaction.
What a Lack of Flow Feels Like
We typically talk about flow state as it pertains to individuals. But after working with countless entrepreneurs and small businesses, I can tell you without a doubt that brands can also be in flow — or painfully out of flow.
You've probably sensed this yourself when encountering brands other than your own. You know those brands that exude confidence and excitement? The ones that you just instantly get and like? You feel a connection to them, and you may or may not know why. They're in flow. On the other hand, think about the brands you've seen that seem muddled or leave you scratching your head about what they do or why they're different. Think about brands that feel like they're trying too hard, or that maybe even seem a little desperate for attention or business. They are not in flow.
This only makes sense, right? We say this a lot, but your brand should look and feel like you. It should reflect how you want to show up in the world. Your brand will succeed when it harnesses your strengths, showcases your personality and advances goals you care about. In other words, when your brand enables you to be in a flow state, it will be in a flow state, too. The opposite is also true: If you build a brand on anything other than your authentic self, flow will remain elusive. Unfortunately, entrepreneurs do this all the time. Ask yourself whether any of the following things are true for your business:
- You're doing something you're competent in but that you don’t love, because you fear that no one would pay you to do the work you're really passionate about.
- You're so focused on getting more clients that you don't feel you can be selective about who those clients are.
- Your brand emulates others who have already succeeded in your space because you feel safer relying on what's worked for someone else.
Following any of these paths might feel like smart business. But they're not sustainable and, ultimately, they hold back your success because they block your flow. My own story with DesignGood shows why this is true.
How DesignGood Found Our Flow
I used to worry a lot about having enough business and what I could do to attract more clients. I made this my focus because I cared about my company. Eventually, though, I realized that all my effort was counterproductive. I was actually blocking “flow.” So I decided to make some shifts.
Primarily, I stopped focusing on how I was going to get clients. Instead, I experimented with the idea that simply showing up as my full self in my business — or concentrating on the areas that enabled me to be in flow — would attract the right clients.
So I started owning my mystical, spiritual side. I focused on what I was passionate about and cleared my schedule to do the work I was actually best at. Instead of pouring so much energy into trying to get more clients, I channeled that energy into doing extraordinary work for the clients I did have. I expanded our team so that I was free to do the the work I had forgotten I loved because I was so caught up in the day-to day-operations.
As my mindset changed, DesignGood changed, too. I began putting out high-vibe messaging that reflected who I really am. I experienced more flow, and so did my brand.
The result of all of this was that more clients started showing up and finding us in ways I could have never imagined. These weren't just any clients, either; they were clients who really resonated with what DesignGood is all about. Seeking more flow transformed my energy and DesignGood's, which drew the ideal clients to us, without all the struggle.
How You Can Go With the Flow
Those experiences mean we know how to guide our clients to discovering their own flow. Here are a few of the key things we teach them:
- You enter flow when you fully tap into your unique talents and aptitudes. That means you have to be fearless about showing up as yourself in your brand. If there's not enough you in your work, you suffer, and so does your brand.
- A clear and compelling goal makes it easier to enter flow. So you have to know exactly what kind of work you want to be doing, the people you want to be serving and how you help them.
- If your days are filled with tasks you aren't passionate about or that don't make the highest and best use of your talents, you're missing the chance to enter flow — and your brand isn't living up to its potential. Think about how you can get some things off your plate so that you can focus on what you love doing.
- There's one final idea that underlies all of this: You have to believe in the power and value of what you create and contribute. Have the faith that embracing your uniqueness will help you manifest your desires.
When you have this kind of courage, you clear the way to do the work you were meant to do. Your business stops feeling like a grind and starts feeling like a joy again. You put a powerful new energy out into the world, and your people respond to it.
Resources for Building Flow
- The best way to understand what flow looks like in a brand is to see some examples. Life coach Holly Krivo, personal and spiritual development coach Joshua Smith, counselor Bernadette Chavez Piñon, dating coaches A Good First Date and real estate agent Michael Jurkash are among the DesignGood clients who embody the idea of brand flow. Follow the links to learn more about our work for them.
- We create websites that set the stage for flow by telling the world about our clients' expertise and passions, the people the love working with and the powerful results they create. It's a very specific and intentional approach to web content, which we explain in a recent series of blog posts. You can access them in Category No. 2: Find Your Voice on our blog. (Start with the article "Write Web Content That Works" and go from there.)
- "The High-Vibe Entrepreneur Method" is our definitive guide to building a brand that's authentic to who you are and that creates lasting success. Download it for free on our Tools page.
- Rather not go it alone? I can be your guide to discovering a greater sense of flow in work and life. Shoot us an email or schedule a call with me to get started!