Had the most wonderful experience watching someone who was really good at their job working last week. It was at a fabric shop and she was selling 2 women fabric that they needed for a wedding. What was remarkable about how she worked was that she seemed to anticipate the women’s questions and offer up a solution before they had a chance to ask. She seemed to know how their event should flow, what was formal enough and what would look over-done. As sales processes go, it wasn’t sales-like and it was refreshingly efficient. It didn’t look like she was working at all. In fact, it seems like a peak experience.
A Peak Experiences is an experience that seems to flow out of us as we focus so completely on a task or a challenge that we forget about everything else. You lose a sense of self and your surroundings and exist shamelessly without any social point of reference. They don’t happen easily for most but they are a skill so you can get better at having them.
I’ve found physical activity and playing guitar to be the easiest ways to facilitate them, but more recently I’ve found that I am having them with teaching cycling classes and occasionally while coaching movement.
They are possible only when we have enough competency at a task that we do not need to think about doing it while we are doing it. And then, the task must be challenging enough to force your attention away from everything else.
What does it feel like to have a peak experience? It feels like nothing, literally. You don’t really know you are having one while you are in the flow state. Thoughts of it will bring you out of it and if you are doing something really intense, thoughts about thinking will cause you to screw-up something – I’ve fallen really hard snow boarding because I started thinking about what I was doing and how I seemed to just know when to carve.
You know you have them when you come out of it. Instructors have told me about teaching classes were they remember starting and remember stopping, but don’t really remember anything in between other than some images and a really satisfied feeling
This girl was excellent at what she was doing and she seemed to emanate joy as she worked with the women to find the perfect fabric to their event. Rare and amazing to observe someone that good at their craft!