Managing Your Mental Flow

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Written by: Yulia Stark

03.12.2020

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Yulia is the President of the European Women Association and Senator for WBAF.

Women and leaders of tomorrow: If you are struggling to balance your professional goals with your family life, health and internal well-being, this article is for you. 

Presently, many of us may be struggling with distractions, self-sabotage and uncertainty. 

So, let’s talk about what is really happening from a scientific point of view, and how to fix it by understanding our mental states better. As—according to science—it is the gateway to the solution.  

“Managing our mental state is the key to any problem we face today.” 

Yulia Stark

Let’s Start From the Beginning 

During the last three hundred years, the world developed very fast, starting with the First Industrial Revolution and steam trains in the 1700s, followed by the invention of electricity one hundred years later, and subsequently the introduction of computers in the ’90s, bringing us right up today and The Fourth Industrial Revolution of Intelligence.  

AI, blockchains, nanotechnology and biotech are evolving faster than ever, accelerated even more by the global pandemic.   

A Feminine Way of Leading 

We realize that the “masculine” linear, analytical thinking that facilitated the previous revolutions is being replaced by the fast moving technology. No more “muscle work” is needed as in the past, making space for a more “feminine” way of leading. 

This technical evolution could disclose why we have an unconscious bias, and after being addressed, we are well on our way to closing the gender gap. In a few generations, we will no longer have discussions about gender inequality. We will live in an equal world. 

Emotional Intelligence 

Meanwhile, new sets of skills are required as we continually evolve. Emotional Intelligence (EI) is needed more than ever: inviting collaboration, holistic and empathic means of leadership to the world’s stage. 

So I believe, dear sister, it is our time to lead. Starting with ourselves first. 

Your skills are needed. Your empathy and collaborative nature are valued now more than ever. 

Through working with professional women in the past ten years, I’ve found that many of us may be sabotaging ourselves on the way to becoming tomorrow’s new type of leader. 

Demystifying Holistic Leadership 

Famed author, Steven Kotler

Science—neuroscience to be more precisely—has helped me and the thousands of women I have mentored over the preceding decade, to work on our personal leadership.

I am not a doctor, but I was greatly inspired by Steven Kotler’s books. By diving into the studies of our mind, this insight provided me with a greater understanding of myself and others.  

So let me share my findings with you: 

“It’s not your fault, it’s cortisol.” 

First of all, you need to realize that during challenging times, we tend to lose focus and our creativity. And that’s ok. 

According to the Harvard Health Medical School, this happens because of the stress hormones that are fired when you are in stressful circumstances. Our biology is smart. The brain will focus only on the most necessary tasks, eliminating the “luxury” ones like creativity.  

To solve our challenges, we demand more of our brains, or simply said, smooth collaboration of our right and left brain hemispheres, where emotional and intellectual intelligence meet. 

“Leadership during challenging times demands for inner balance, empathy, connection and creativity to solve the changes we face.” 

Yulia Stark

How two activate the altered states of mind? 

According to hundreds of scientific studies, mindfulness practices can help you activate an altered state of mind, thus leading to a more balanced, calmer brain activity. Reaching this balance can help you tap into new parts of your mind which can open doors to solutions and possibilities that were previously hidden. 

Each of us have already experienced this balanced state of mind during pleasant activities such as: making love, meditating, walking, running, coffee, yoga, overcoming obstacles. These activities cause the production of “happy hormones” such as dopamine, serotonin, endorphins, which increase blood flow to both hemispheres of the brain, allowing you to access the information hidden within.  These changes can be measured through neurobiology. 

FLOW 

This state can be called the FLOW—optimal state of consciousness. This state is your ultimate competitive edge in entrepreneurship. 

By tapping into this flow state, research by McKinsey shows that your productivity can increase by 500%!   

You are in the flow when you lose track of time, when you feel completely present, and the thought process shuts down. You are one with the process you are in. 

Activation of these altered states of mind are now practiced by the most corporates in innovation like Google, Tesla and even the Navy Seals. 

“Flow leads to an increase in creativity, attention, memory and other cognitive improvements, solidifying your ultimate competitive edge in entrepreneurship!” 

Yulia Stark

What is flow according to science, and how does it feel? 

A feeling of:  

  • Selflessness: temporary loss of ego. 
  • Timelessness: prefrontal cortex deactivates, perception of time changes. 
  • Effortlessness: concentration chemicals activated, reinforcing the experience. 
  • Richness: strong attention and pattern recognition. 

If you just realize that being in flow gives us tremendous freedom, this subject becomes very fascinating. We find answers within ourselves and experience well-being on a whole different level. 

In the past, this information was only for the few chosen ones to experience. Modern science has demystified the flow and other altered states of mind, making it understandable and accessible for all of us, the new leaders of tomorrow. 

An Invitation 

So, my invitation to you, dear SHE Community, is to embrace the technology, and lead by tapping into your full potential. That is where you will find Emotional Intelligence, creativity and heart driven leadership are the guidelines towards a new future.  •