What does it mean to be in “flow”? 

The concept of the “Flow Channel” was developed by a Czech researcher, Mihaly Csikszentmihaly. It’s a simple visual of a graph with the X-axis representing your skill level and the Y-axis representing the challenges you face. I will illustrate this concept with the following example.

I am a novice tennis player. If I were to take on Serena Williams in a tennis match I would be over challenged. Serena Williams would be under challenged. The match would be very unfulfilling for the both of us. She would tend to become complacent and bored. I would become frustrated and apathetic. Neither of us would be operating in our respective flow channel.

"Flow" by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

In terms of your practice, to understand your flow channel you must appreciate your current skill level. Whether your skill level allows for 30 patient visits per week or 30 patient visits per hour, you must come to realize exactly where your skill level is.  In order to grow and gain new challenges you have to elevate your skill set. This can be accomplished by learning more, reading more, training more, being coached more, etc.

A tree wants to grow to be as big as it can. It doesn’t place any artificial limitations on itself. It simply grows as much as it’s environment allows. You can be the same way. Your skills must be parallel with your challenge. If you want to increase the number of patients you see, you have to grow your skills.

Dr. SeaDr. Douglas Sea, CTO SIDECAR