Physics and Flow…. Or is it Fysics and Phlow?

Everyone’s talents are unique.

Flow is the overlap between peak performance and joy in practicing one’s talents.

Focusing on a few key strength areas can make a profound difference.

These are good reasons to write a strength statement, not an easy exercise but definitely worth it. 

Strength statements are your talents manifest. Unique to you but can be used over and over again; a description of you in flow.  

If I only had one strength statement, it would be;

I love helping people loosen the mental knot

Hopefully this tells you about me; I love to think, I love to learn, I love translating what I know into your context in such a way that you come up with a few powerful ideas.

As someone once said to me; ‘Everything that didn’t matter dissipated until I could see clearly’. That is very rewarding to me. 

 Someone I work with, Jen, created a strength statement for herself;

I use energy efficiently to stimulate the building of momentum to overcome challenges.

I think we all resonate with this one, either because we welcome and appreciate it in others or we aspire to have it in ourselves or both.

I’ve also heard Jen say many a time, ‘time to rip off the bandage’.

Then it clicked.

In physics, Power is the rate at which energy is transferred, used or transformed. Energy transfer can be used to do work, so Power is rate at which Work is performed. 

Power = Work/Time

Imagine you do 100 units of work over 100 hours. Average power (1 unit/hour) may be so weak that people barely notice.  Do the same work in 1 hour and your power is now 100 times greater, that’s packing quite a punch.

Your power output is 10X higher if you run a mile in 6 minutes versus walk it in an hour, even though you’re doing the same amount of work in both cases.

People notice power more than they notice work, that’s the power of Jen’s strength statement.

So then I looked at few more;

‘I love helping people go from confusion to clarity through dialogue’ (increase signal/noise ratio)

‘I love tuning an idea for a specific audience without losing any of the idea’s meaning’ (transponder)

‘I love it when my days are so filled with a range of challenging, impactful tasks that the only way to deliver on all of my responsibilities is to be so efficient and productive that not a single second of my day is wasted.’ (peak instantaneous power; friction-less energy transfer)

You’ll know a good strength statement when you see one and recognize the person’s unique talents and see what timeless positive force the strength is tapping into.


Knowing others is intelligence

Knowing yourself is true wisdom

Mastering others is strength

Mastering yourself is true power

– Lao Tzu


There is more in you

Talents are like electrons

Some talents – such as stage performance – are easier to spot than others – such as Einstein having an idea related to quantum physics.

So, what is a talent?

This is a very hard question, as evidenced by the fact that we don’t have a universal definition although people have been celebrating talents and peak performance ever since we’ve been people.
In 1925 Werner Heisenberg said ‘discard any hope of observing hitherto unobservable quantities such as the position and period of the electron’.
This statement hit our understanding of physics upside the head.

Talents are like electrons.

One of the basic tenets of physics was that every particle has a position and velocity. In other words, your stuff is in a spot and its either moving or not.

Unfortunately this isn’t true, we can’t know position and velocity with absolute certainly, the more we know of one, the less we know of the other. Physics (and therefore reality) is fuzzy and so are talents, you can’t put out a trap and catch them.
Peter Drucker said ‘Most people don’t know what their strengths are. When you ask them, they look at you with a blank stare, or they respond in terms of subject knowledge, which is the wrong answer’.

Notice he uses the word ‘strength’ as opposed to ‘talent’, secondly he tells you what it isn’t versus what it is.
Surfacing your talents

1. Do the Strengthsfinder survey, its been around for many years and you can do it for $10 online.

2. Send me an email with your thoughts

3. Collect data – count your strong moments over the course of 3 to 6 months

4. Send me another email, I’ll respond with some ideas, I promise

5. Stimulate the context

3Minute Strong Moment Stimulation Checklist

1. 2GO In 60 seconds use ‘5 why’ approach and iterate back and forth between Goal and Outcome until you have 1 Outcome and 2 Goals
2. +-S In 60 seconds define 2 signs you’re on the right track (+S) and 2 signs you’re on the wrong track (-S).
3. ?Q In 60 seconds come up with 2 or 3 questions you want to ask when you are in the middle of the challenge

6. 30 second score – After the challenge is over quickly write all the salient points you can think of in 30 seconds

Excellent Performance = [(Talent)**(Skills*Knowledge)]/[(Fear)**threat]

The Power of Checklists

A small hospital in Austria saves a 3 year old hypothermia/drowning victim who had stopped breathing for over 6 hours.

An airline experiences severe engine throttle back due to sudden loss in fuel, the pilot recovers the engine by throttling back even more despite his intuition screaming at him to throttle up.

A hospital reduces central line infection rates from 11% to zero, resulting in saving 8 lives and two million dollars.

A 49 year old man burns 10% more calories than his personal best immediately after writing down 5 items on a piece of paper.

Although the last example (mine) is not as powerful as the other three, all four have one thing in common. They unlock the power of a checklist. The first three examples are from an excellent book called ‘Checklist Manifesto’ by Atul Gawande.

You may be thinking one of two things; either ‘I love checklists’ or ‘what’s the difference between a checklist and a to-do list’.

A to-do list is like a laundry list or a grocery list. A checklist pushes you to peak performance.

Checklists work in  life or death situations – and let’s face it – we’re all in a life or death situation as long as you expand or contract the timeline accordingly.

In the case of the Austrian hospital, the 911 operator followed a checklist immediately after taking the call and dispatching rescue operations. The checklist allowed the operator to ensure every single expert needed was ready and waiting at the hospital with complex equipment that was in perfect working order. If any one of those people were not there or piece of equipment malfunctioning, the little girl would have stayed dead.

Dr. Peter Pronovost created a simple checklist for performing the central line insertion procedure. Five simple yet powerful steps –  1. Wash Hands 2. Use Antiseptic 3. Wear a mask, gown and gloves 4. Drape the patient 5. Use sterilized dressing on the site. At least one of these steps was being missed at least thirty percent of the time. Nurses had the authority to halt the procedure if all 5 steps were not being followed.

An investigation revealed that a plane which had followed the polar flight path had developed ice crystals in the fuel. These crystals bunched together and clogged the engine’s fuel intake. If you’re a pilot and your plane experiences sudden power loss, you don’t want to read about polar flight path ice crystal investigation findings. You want to read: THROTTLE BACK.

If you can order a book from Amazon, you can execute a checklist. You don’t need ‘Amazon book ordering’ training. Now, imagine if you do have specific skills. A unique checklist designed to call on your specialized skills in a specific situation is like having super powers.

My exercise bike checklist pushes me like a personal trainer.

  1. 00:00 – 07:00 – Take-off – Set Working Load (12-13)@95 RPM – MAX HR 150
  2. 07:00 – 30:00 – Oscillate – [(15-16) – (10-11)]@95 RPM – MAX HR 160
  3. 30:00 – 32:00 – Tumble – (10-11)@85 RPM
  4. 32:00 – 35:00 – Approach – (11-12-13)@90 RPM – MAX HR 150
  5. 35:00 – 40:00 – Land – (10-11)@85 RPM – READ CALS
After a   while this checklist will become a specialized skill called 40 Minute TOTAL Cals

Welcome to the nerd side, we have pi.