EP: 143 Stabilized Flow: How To Prevent And Get Out From Burnout With Lindsay Briner

BWW 143 | Stabilized Flow

 

How does the body play a huge part in how we show up in our work and lives? There are so many areas of study on this, including somatic psychology, neuropsychology, and more. Lindsay Briner, an Executive Coach and Leadership Development Trainer, explains how the stabilized flow leads to a new path to leadership development. She adds more fields to look into, including Transpersonal Psychology, a sub-field of the school of psychology that seeks to integrate the spiritual and transcendent aspects of the human experience with the framework of modern psychology and neurophenomenology, which refers to a scientific research program aimed to address the hard problem of consciousness pragmatically. Our bodies steer us in the right direction according to our motivations, desires, and values. The tough part is ensuring we get still and listen. This is a fascinating conversation that many can learn from, so don’t forget to tune in to this episode today!

During my chat with Lindsay, we discussed:

The backstory that drove Lindsay to the work she does with her clients

What are flow states and its difference?

The positive byproducts of being in a stabilized flow

The stabilized flow when people meditate

The importance of Self-Work for everyone, especially leaders.

How do family systems drive the negative narratives we carry around with us all the time?

Lindsay’s morning routine to stay in a stabilized flow

And more!

Listen to the podcast here

 

Stabilized Flow: How To Prevent And Get Out From Burnout With Lindsay Briner

How are you doing out there? I have to tell you, I’m starting to get into studying something. I’m studying how the body plays a huge part in how we show up in our work and our lives. It may sound, “Jen, that’s self-explanatory.” Maybe I’m slowing the uptake but I want to understand how those internal signals and my intuition if I pay attention have a huge role. Whether we pay attention or not, our body is always trying to get to that point called homeostasis. There are so many areas of study on this. As I dive into that, I’m like, “There’s a lot here.” Some of these areas of study include somatic psychology, neuropsychology, and so many more.

Lindsay Briner, my guest on the show, adds even more fields for me to look into, including transpersonal psychology. It is a subfield of the school of psychology that seeks to integrate the spiritual and transcendent aspects of the human experience with the framework of modern psychology and neurophenomenology, which is a whole separate study. It refers to a scientific research program aimed to address the hard problem of consciousness in a pragmatic way.

The bottom line with all of those studies is that our bodies play a huge role in steering us in the right direction according to our motivations, desires, values, and more. The tough part is making sure that we get quiet and still. That’s hard for me as I’m sure it is for you. Tap in and listen to our bodies and what they’re trying to say to us.

This conversation was so fascinating with Lindsay. I learned so much from her and I am sure you will too. During my chat with Lindsay, we covered the backstory that drove Lindsay to do the work she does with her clients, what flow states are, what the differences between a flow state and a stabilized flow trait are, which there is a big difference, what the positive byproducts are from being and living in a trait of stabilized flow, and if stabilized flow is possible for us mere mortals instead of athletes and people who meditate a lot.

I went there because I wanted to know if I could get to stabilized flow. When you read this, I’m sure you’re going to be wondering the same thing. Why does self-work is important for everyone, especially leaders? How family systems can drive the negative narratives we carry around with us all the time? How that can impact our kids? How we can, through this work, help our kids break those bonds no matter how old the kids are, whether they’re young, middle school, high school, or beyond. I asked Lindsay’s morning routine to stay in stabilized flow and so much more.

Here’s more about Lindsay. As an executive coach and leadership development trainer, Lindsay has worked with individuals, leaders, and groups for over ten years. She is applying psychosomatic modalities ranging from intersections of sports psychology, meditation, mindfulness, positive psychology, family system psychology, and much more through a transpersonal lens. It has been her greatest joy to guide people in groups into stabilized flow with her novel methodology. Lindsay’s approach was inspired by her research as her team continued to collect and publish data on its validity.

As a research scientist, Lindsay’s ongoing curiosity has always resided in the largest open question in the science surrounding the “hard problem of consciousness” characterized by philosopher David Chalmers. What are the neural correlations of consciousness? How does an updated scientific approach to defining consciousness evolve culture?

Lindsay holds a Master’s degree in Transpersonal Psychology from the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology with a specialization in Neurophenomenology and Consciousness. She is also nearing the completion of her PhD, which she talks about. She has been investigating the societal implications of the leadership styles of the wellness technology industry and how it relates to avoiding the imminent existential and catastrophic risks we are faced with globally.

Before we get started, if you’re enjoying the show, please make sure to leave a rating and review on Apple Podcasts and Spotify. As I always say, if you’ve left a rating and review, I thank you so much. Your support of the show means the world to me. It’s getting in the hands of more people globally and that makes my heart sing. Thank you so much.

As a reminder, my second book, Brave Women at Work: Lessons in Confidence is out in the world in both hardcover and Kindle versions. If you asked me years ago if that would be happening, I’d be like, “No way.” I’m telling you my second book is out there. Thank you to all my friends, family, and supporters. You giving me that support means the world to me. This particular book is an anthology of women’s stories that will give you the inspiration and motivation to grow your confidence. You can purchase the book whether it’s a Kindle version or hardcover wherever books are sold. Let’s welcome Lindsay to the show.

Lindsay, welcome to the show. How are you?

I’m great. Thank you for having me, Jen.

I am excited to dive into our topics because I geek out on this stuff. I’m not telling anyone what it’s about yet. You’re going to have to dive in with Lindsay and my conversation. Before we get there, why don’t you share a little bit about your backstory and how you’ve gotten to where you are at this moment?

My area of expertise is flow. I became a long-distance runner at a very young age in about fourth grade. It quickly became a part of my identity as a competitive long-distance runner. When I became injured and couldn’t run, it was this identity crisis. I struggled to find myself because running was such a core of who I was.

I was introduced to yoga and meditation. I discovered that I could get to the same type of euphoric state that I got to in running which was so addictive without the adrenaline. That was a big insight. I always had compassion and a desire to want to help people. I thought I was going to do social work. I started studying psychology and then neuroscience, which led me to get my Master’s degree in Counseling in Psychology. I then reverted to neuroscience to do research and study these higher states and stages of consciousness at the Trans Tech Lab in Silicon Valley.

All through my upper graduate school, I was seeing clients on the side while I was doing my research. I started to naturally attract executive clients because of the professional network I had working out of the Trans Tech Lab, running conferences, the community, and my reputation. I ended up bringing my research in these higher states and stages of consciousness into my coaching practice.

I started applying the techniques of the combination of positive psychology techniques with a variety of meditation techniques to support my executive clients. I found that the previous methods that I was using, which were predominantly limiting belief work, combined with techniques that I was doing research on to transition people in higher states and stages of consciousness was the golden key. It was the combination of these methods. I started collecting data on the method that I was creating and using it on my clients. It has taken off since.

Some kids know when they’re little. Fourth grade is still on the young side. It is like, “Mom, I want to be a doctor. I want to be a teacher. I want to be a neuropsychologist.” Did you know that you wanted to do this study even as a younger person?

As most of us do or predominantly, most people do, I had a tragedy early in life in my family. My little sister passed away. It affected my brother. My heart broke open for initially my family. Through the process of healing within my family system, I began to see that all families struggled and all people were struggling. At a young age, my heart broke open. I decided that whatever I decided to do, I wanted to help people. It may sound cliché but it is true that early trauma informed the whole path of my life.

Thank you for sharing that. I’m so sorry about the loss of your sister, for sure. I’m excited that you found a way to transfer it into something that is positive and you’re helping people. I have one other question about meditation. You’re using a combination of limiting belief work and meditation. Is this part of your methodology that you have created your meditation style or do you use a particular meditation style with your clients?

Initially, because of the research that I was doing under my PhD supervisor at the Trans Tech Lab, I was analyzing his pre-existing data and running hundreds of people through his program to collect fresh data. It was on an online positive psychology and meditation course. We taught people the primary lineage tradition types of meditation that have all been research-backed.

Jeffrey Martin, my supervisor, used a Find Your Fit method in that program. We introduced all of these predominant meditation styles and encouraged people to choose which one they felt worked best for them. Initially, that’s what I was doing. I went and did my retreats, training, and all of these different lineage traditions. I started there. At some point, I found what worked best for me, which was when I found my teacher, Daniel P. Brown, out of Harvard University. He spent 48 summers in between teaching at Harvard, going to Nepal, and translating the last of the Tibetan text on enlightenment. He was an exquisite, masterful teacher. He, unfortunately, passed away in 2022.

When I found Dan, he teaches a blend of Dzogchen and Mahamudra meditation. I realized that this particular lineage is a style of concentration training that upregulates the same area of the brain as flow, which is different. I also discovered as I was doing my research that each of these primary lineage traditions and styles of meditation upregulates different areas of the brain and therefore downregulates other areas of the brain as well. I had this insight that it’s this customized consciousness that if you know what you’re doing to your brain, you can pinpoint which methods to use to target the outcome you want.

I’m a high performer, high achiever, perfectionist, and the gestalt of all of those things. That’s why I started working with executive clients because I can relate to them more. I found that it worked the best for me. I started and got permission from Dan and some permission to teach some of these pointing-out styles, which is what it’s called in Mahamudra. I started teaching and taking people through the stages of realization in Mahamudra with my clients. I found that it was so much more effective for this type of person so I stuck with that.

We’ve talked about flow a couple of times so I’d be remiss if we didn’t come back around to that. I believe that we talked about flow, my version of the idea of being in flow from my perspective. I’m super excited to dive into this with you. What does the idea of flow mean to you? You’ve also added that you’re creating this whole other movement called stabilized flow. When I think flow, it comes and goes but when I hear stabilized, it’s ongoing. Give me your thoughts on these concepts.

Csikszentmihalyi is the famous Western psychologist that coined the term flow. He has a book called Flow. It was he and Abraham Maslow, another Western psychologist who has that pyramid that most people know about with self-actualization at the top. In that stage of development called self-actualization, most people experience a lot of flow states. It is a flow state as Csikszentmihalyi defines and a temporary experience as all states are.

BWW 143 | Stabilized Flow
Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience (Harper Perennial Modern Classics)

How he defined it is a unity and action with the task at hand where your identity goes away and your sense of self transcends and merges with whatever you are doing as a master. A lot of this research on flow state has been done on professional athletes, professional artists, and musicians that have mastered a single task or a single skill. When basketball players go out on the court, they can usually trigger themselves into that flow state to be a master on the court but then, the rest of their life usually is a mess like most people.

I am publishing a paper with Roger Walsh who is one of the first people to bridge meditation with Western psychology. We’re bringing stabilized flow as a concept into Western psychology too by bridging contemplative practice with developmental psychology. I call it stabilized flow because I like the sound of it but it’s a flow trait.

There is a difference between a temporary state, a permanent, and an ongoing trait. My understanding of it is the difference between temporal processing in the brain where the default mode is and parallel processing when you can be present with a task at hand in all areas of life from task to task and day-to-day. It’s staying in that, learning that pathway in the brain, like a neural pathway, from temporal processing into parallel processing. Eventually, that pathway becomes hardwired with practice and effort.

The difference also between the flow state and a flow trait as Roger and I define it is that a flow state can be experienced by anyone at any age, meaning at any developmental stage. In Western psychology developmental stages, when you transition into higher stages, you are maturing. It’s like the life path. My five-year-old, for example, probably experiences flow states when he is on the playground, on the swing, or doing arts and crafts at home.

Flow state, as I see it, is not necessarily a leadership attribute because you don’t have to have a level of maturity to experience it. Whereas stabilized flow requires you to be in these higher developmental stages of the human experience. It requires you to grow and mature as an individual. As you do, as these developmental stages are defined, your values change and your ethics get more refined. You become a better thinker. You can see the long-term trajectory more clearly. You have more compassion and consideration for the interconnectedness of how your behavior has a domino effect on the world.

The stabilized flow requires you to be in the higher developmental stages of the human experience. Share on X

It’s been a beautiful thing to witness my clients’ growth and then how their values change and how their leadership naturally becomes more refined because they’ve matured and stabilized this level of presence, effortlessness, and self-contentedness. I’ve studied all these different leadership styles but I don’t even have to teach them. They naturally emerge because the person has matured. They’re present and embodied. It’s beautiful.

In terms of the state versus trait of stabilized flow, just so we’re clear, can anyone get to a place of stabilized flow? I’m stereotyping. It sounds amazing but I’m also like, “Do you have to be using more than 10% cognition in the brain?” I’m joking here, “Do you have to be a Zen Buddhist master? Do you have to not have as much stress in your life?” With the women that are reading, that’s what they’re thinking. It is like, “Can I do this?” That’s the question back to you. Can we do this? Can anyone walking around get to stabilized flow?

I believe that any adult can get to this stage of the stabilized flow. It takes motivation, discipline, diligence, and practice. As long as they have the diligence and desire to want to get there and the resources of the techniques that’ll get them there, then I believe so. A lot of my clients who I’ve transitioned into stabilized flow still have stress in their life but how they respond to it is different.

Let’s dig into that stress, the idea of getting up and grinding, and all of those things. It sounds like in your world, you’d like to obliterate the idea of grind and hustle. You don’t think those are healthy ways to live.

They’re outdated cultural belief systems that reinforce a lot of subconscious limiting beliefs that keep us in the fight or flight response of our stress and adrenaline. Also, this concept of having to work harder to achieve more. “I have to prove myself.” Also, failure and all these things. It’s this feedback loop that entraps us in being motivated by fear or scarcity.

When you think of all these things, it’s looking at motivation. What are you motivated by? Are you motivated out of fear, scarcity, or not wanting to fail? It is identifying what I call the false self-narrative. What are your limiting beliefs? Where is the origin of them? At what age did you opt into the belief that you were not worthy of success? It is all these things.

It is identifying them and where they come from and why. When you get enough information, then you can start to see how they get reinforced by the external cultural belief systems of hustle culture and all these things. My job is to pinpoint how to rewire those limiting beliefs and start running the axiom of motivation in your body and mind from a different set of beliefs that are more healthy and supportive without losing motivation and productivity. You are even more productive because your nervous system is more at ease so you can think clearly.

That’s a good distinction to say. We’re recording this in the US. I don’t know about you and how you were raised but I was raised in the grind and hustle of both my parents. I love them. They both had two jobs. They wanted to give us a better life. They taught us great work ethic but it is like, “Where’s the end? When do we stop? When do we enjoy?” I am wrestling and grappling with this in my adult life. I got to a point where I also went through significant burnout, which I’m still healing from.

It sounds like you are retraining people so that they can be in a state of flow. I’m jumping here but is it to the point where they wouldn’t have the burnout because they’re being true to themselves. They’re being true to their beliefs and their intrinsic motivation. They understand how to harness the energy. I’m not being hard on myself. It’s something that I have to learn a different way to move through the world. I’m curious about your comments on stabilized flow and the idea of burnout because it’s so prevalent in our culture. It’s like a buzzword that you hear everywhere.

I do see that my method for stabilized flow is a way to both prevent burnout and help people get out of burnout. I see it in my clients all the time. I see the red flags when they are going to run into it. I have a lot of people come to me when they’re already in it feeling like they’re practically near death. It’s been very serious. It takes a lot of unwinding to do. The mechanism of burnout of these high achievers is they are striving to succeed.

Stabilized flow is a way to prevent burnout and help people get out of burnout. Share on X

It becomes needing this external validation of their success and putting that as the primary mode of operating out of fear of not getting there. It becomes this abandonment of self. It is about slowing down, giving yourself permission to take the time to do these types of practices, and coming back to the self, the body, and presence. It is feeling safe to slow down and do so moment to moment, being with the breath, having compassion for yourself, and putting the self first. That also goes against our cultural belief systems that it’s nobler to put other people first.

When you look at Eastern cultures, it’s the opposite. My meditation teacher used to always say that the foundation of this path as a practice is self-love and self-trust. If you don’t love and trust yourself, you’re not going to achieve these higher states and stages of consciousness. It’s about slowing down, not abandoning the self, and not running this adrenaline into the external reality but coming back inward.

I take my clients through The 15 Commitments of Conscious Leadership. It’s a great book. One of those principles is feeling feelings all the way through. It’s hard for high achievers to turn inward because they are so externally oriented. It is a principle of conscious leadership as this book defines it. It is a principle of stabilized flow because it requires presence from moment to moment, which is flow. Unity and action with the task at hand require being in the sense of self, the body, and the mind without judgment and with compassion, acceptance, and ease.

We run adrenaline and cortisol when we’re stressed out in the fight or flight response. It’s a survival pattern. The high achiever is running a survival pattern that they adopted at an early age and bought into some limiting belief systems. Those belief systems get reinforced culturally. They’re locked in there in the survival pattern.

When you’re able to unhook from that even a little bit and you’re not running your survival pattern, then what happens? You’re present. You can feel yourself. You can know what emotions you’re experiencing. They don’t get repressed. What happens when you’re present? You get to discover who you truly are, like your true self. For so long, many people running their survival pattern are living in these narratives of what I call the false self-narrative. It’s like a hoax to believe that you have to work harder to achieve more constantly.

Maybe sometimes that’s true but not as a constant or to believe that, “If I don’t succeed, I’m going to be alone forever.” It is these kinds of concepts the underdeveloped brain at a young age believed and opted into because they didn’t feel safe. For whatever reason, they had to make up an explanation to understand why they didn’t feel safe. It then gets locked in and hardwired. When you’re out of that survival pattern and false self-narrative and you’re in presence, you get to discover your authenticity and be with your emotions in a rational way.

There’s this traditional executive coaching framework that I use. I’m sure you’ve heard of it with the drama triangle. When you find enrolling yourself or other people as the victim, the villain, or the hero, you are probably projecting some form of your false self-narrative. When you’re present and out of your survival pattern in more of a stabilized flow or intermittently in a flow state, you can start operating what’s called being above the line. It is where the hero becomes the coach, the villain becomes the challenger, and the victim becomes the creator.

The way I think about it from more of the contemplative perspective is when you start to see the true nature of your mind by being in this state of presence and stabilized flow, you can start to unpack more clearly the true nature of things and other people. You have more patience and compassion. When this person is having this conflict with me, instead of reacting and escalating the situation and then making bad decisions that the business turns sideways and all these things, the snowball effect can slow down. Be in your body. Open your heart. This person is running their survival pattern and it has nothing to do with me.

That’s so good. I’m going to read that part again, for sure. I’m like, “I got some learning to do in there.” Finishing off on the burnout, and this is a conclusion that I came to as you were sharing such good information, burnout, for me, is the dissonance between me trying to run that survival pattern. There’s a famous book, The Body Keeps the Score. It’s almost like the body is like, “No.” It’s almost like my truth is like, “I don’t think so.”

That’s why it’s so painful to burn out. I tell people it’s like driving a car as fast as you can into an invisible wall. You don’t know that it’s happening until it happens and you’re like, “This doesn’t work anymore.” You didn’t know that five seconds ago. I told my friends or therapist, “Once you see the wall, you can’t unsee it.” I don’t know if that resonates with you.

I see it in my clients regularly. That’s initially when clients come to me and they’re in total burnout and desperate because they feel like they’re going to die or lose their business or everything. It’s this concept in our culture of sacrifice. It’s simply not true. You have to be your own well-being. The success of your company is mounted on your own well-being.

The success of your company is mounted on your well-being. How much you sacrifice and suffer does not equate to the success you attain. Share on X

How much you sacrifice does not equate to the success you attain. The amount of suffering you endure does not equate to how much you are worthy of in return. Burnout is when we abandon the self. This concept that we have to self-sacrifice is like not being in the body, not feeling our feelings, and not giving ourselves permission to slow down.

There is more learning in there for me. I’m telling everybody, “This is a selfish episode. This is for a Jen Pestikas episode alone,” but everybody could benefit from this one. You’ve got me all jazzed about this. How do we get started? Do we start with at least getting to a flow state? I’m saying state versus trait. Some people may be so in it. What I mean by in it is in their negative self or the negative narrative that they may not even get to a flow state. Where do we get started with this continuum to get to stabilized flow?

You nailed it. It is looking at slowing down so you can hear what that negative self-talk is and start questioning it. “Where did that come from? Who does that belong to? Is it true?” When you can slow down and be a skeptic of your mind, you can start to pinpoint themes and what that negative self-talk is. You maybe start to identify some of your limiting beliefs, where they come from, and where you’ve inherited them and start to redirect.

That’s the first part of my work with my clients and group programs. It is identifying that false self-narrative, which is the inner critic. You’re correct. You can’t get into even a temporary flow state if you’re inner critic is running the show. You can’t be in unity in action with a task at hand if you’re constantly second-guessing yourself and being self-diminishing. It’s looking at what those themes are and where they come from.

In my work, it’s hard to do on your own but if you know someone that does limiting belief work, it’s about getting to the origin or getting to the root. I think of it as a generator function. It’s the root generator function of the algorithm of your false self-narrative of the inner critic and getting to that root of it.

The second part is the redirecting process. If you know the general vicinity of where it’s come from, then you can start to be like, “That’s not true.” You call it out as not true and redirect into what your conscious mind believes is true, which is usually the opposite. When you have those moments of total self-doubt, pause, have some compassion for where it comes from, and be like, “I’m going to be okay no matter what.” Start redirecting.

We’re beings of repetition. That’s how neural networks are formed and get hardwired. The belief of, “I’m going to die if I don’t succeed,” for example, is extreme. If that’s running in the subconscious mind at the core or the root of your false self-narrative, then the opposite is usually true. That is like, “I’m going to be okay no matter what.” When the inner critic comes online, it becomes elaborated in the body sensations. Your chest gets heavy, your stomach starts to cramp, and your throat tightens. It becomes an elaboration of thoughts in your mind.

Sometimes, you veer into this whole virtual reality simulation of hypothetical scenarios that don’t even exist, like worst-case scenarios. It’s about redirecting yourself out of those patterns with other repetitive thought forms of what you believe is true. That is like, “I’m going to be okay no matter what,” and come back into presence.

It is a huge responsibility because if we believe everything that we think, the thoughts can take us down weird rabbit holes of lack of self-belief and self-confidence. I love what you’re saying and I tell my clients this. You have to be present. It’s a decision to get curious and start noticing like, “Where is this stuff coming from?” One thing I wanted to ask you is I don’t know if it’s in the genetics and if it’s mother to child but some of the stuff can also get passed in families.

I’m not here to blame my mom. I’m taking responsibility. I’m curious if you also think that. I’ll give you an example. I always have this underlying fear of scarcity. There is some stuff on my side on abandonment and things. I asked my mom, “Where is that narrative coming from?” She was abandoned by her family because they didn’t approve of her relationship choice with my father many years ago before they got married. She always felt that she would only scrape by. There was fear of scarcity. I’m wondering if some of these narratives also get passed through families.

I could say so much about that. It’s so on point. There’s no such thing as a perfect mother. The relationship and bond with the mother as a baby and small child up to about seven years old inform all of the hardwiring of our false self-narrative. I teach a workshop called Rewiring Attachment for High Performers. I take attachment theory from Western psychology, which a lot of people are familiar with. I see how those attachment deficiencies that everybody has because there’s no such thing as a perfect mother, show up in our work.

It’s an intimate experience, especially with entrepreneurs. You’re so passionate about your work. It means everything to you. These attachment deficiencies are about intimacy with the mother. Whenever we feel a disconnection or a break in the bond with the mother, if the child up to age seven experiences it is not feeling safe or protected, that’s when the brain naturally tries to explain why. That’s how limiting beliefs are formed.

Any attachment deficiency we have from our childhood that shows up in intimate relationships also shows up in our work. It’s like intimacy with life. It’s not just intimate relationships. It’s intimacy with our work, our life, our best friends, our co-founders, and everything. That’s one framework that I use. I’m also trained in this methodology for clinical practitioners called Family Constellation.

It’s the African Zulu tribe’s form of shamanism that was integrated with family system psychology. The Zulu tribe’s form of shamanism believed that all of any deficiencies that we have in our survival patterns that show up as self-sabotage, procrastination, psychological disorders, or any of these things come from untold stories of our ancestors. It’s fascinating stuff. It comes up a lot in my clients, if not, every single time. It’s very relevant.

That blew my mind. For everyone reading, I’m not here to blame my mother. I love my mom. I’m not here to give you a free pass to blame your mother, your parents, or anything like that. What I’m so excited about bringing this conversation to light is that once we know better, we can do better. One of the things that I’m working so hard on, and this is the silver lining of it all, is that once we know better, we can break these chains and the narratives in ourselves.

We can break the narratives for our kids and their kids. We don’t have to inherit it. It’s not because your grandfather passed with cancer that it means that you have to pass with cancer. There are genetic predispositions but that doesn’t mean that we have to live in the same mental or physical patterns as our parents, our grandparents, and beyond.

The Dzogchen style of meditation that I teach is called The Path of Spacious Freedom. On the path of spacious freedom, we have freedom of choice. It’s the choice to not pass on those patterns or not live them. Most people are not living a life. They’re living a pattern. If you can slow down, be present, and access this sense of spacious freedom in your mind, you have the freedom of choice to live a pattern or live a life from your true self.

It’s in the research that I’ve done with Roger Walsh on developmental psychology, in which the central pillar is motivation. This transition into stabilized flow is when we can shift being motivated from fear into being motivated by altruism. That’s what naturally happens. You start to have compassion for yourself and then for other people. It is like an acceptance. Everyone has suffering and trauma. We can then start to be motivated by altruism, even if it’s just for our kids.

For myself, my five-year-old, I don’t want to pass on survival. I hit burnout. That’s why I got to where I am too. I hit burnout several times and had severe health issues because of it. I realized how my mom’s trauma informed that. Studying the brain development of children, we realized that they entrain the mother’s nervous system. It’s an entrainment. If you’re in your survival pattern, they’re going to pick it up. We’re beings of repetition. It’s biomimicry.

If you can be present and have that freedom of choice or that spacious freedom to be present and live from the authenticity of your true self, then your children have the freedom to do that too by feeling that and witnessing it by observation in your body. They can discover their true self and their presence and not run their nervous system on adrenaline constantly at a young age. That’s part of my altruistic motivation. It is like, “I’m going to at least do this for my son, Angelo, to stay on this path.”

I’m curious. I have a middle school-aged child and a younger child. You got me going, “I wish I would’ve met you many moons ago before.”

It’s never too late. They still observe and witness you. If you’re changing the patterns, even if it’s unseen and unspoken, they’re going to pick up on it one way or another. It’s like leaving some breadcrumbs for them as they mature and go through their developmental stage transitions. I believe that it’s never too late.

What about resistance, whether it’s internal resistance or resistance to maybe from loved ones? Let’s say that you are in a study of this. You’re like, “This sounds so amazing. I want this in my life.” Can you face resistance from people that are living in that negative narrative and may not either be willing or at the level of understanding? You’re graduating up through either the flow state or stabilized flow. How does it impact relationships?

I hear my meditation teacher’s voice in my head. He used to always say, “Only good things can come from this.” In my clients and groups, I teach about this Buddhist concept called bodhicitta. It is reverse engineering that altruistic motivation. Maybe you’re having some resistance to going into the false self-narrative, looking into where that inner critic comes from. You can reverse engineer the unwinding from that by focusing on being motivated by being on this path, not just for yourself but for other people. It starts with the self.

Bodhicitta is the recognition, intention, and acknowledgment that by being on this path of self-love and of presence, striving to achieve stabilized flow is going to positively impact all of the people, projects, and situations around you. Therefore, that will have an invisible domino effect of positive impact on the world. If you’re more present, you’re more compassionate and patient. It’s only good things.

The recognition, intention, and acknowledgment of being on this path of self-love and its presence of striving to achieve stabilized flow will positively impact the people, projects, and situations around you. Share on X

That’s good news. You are very trained in this. It’s been amazing learning from you this time. As a long-time meditator, and I’m talking about you because I know that you also have studied yoga intensely, what practices do you incorporate in your daily life to maintain that state of stabilized flow? What does that morning routine look like for you?

For me, at this stage of my practice, it’s doing my meditation and continuing the goal. Part of the bodhicitta, the goal, and the intention setting is to not just get there but to continue to increase the level of intensity and depth of what it means to be there. It’s not that you learn this pathway in the brain and then you’re there. Once you’re there, 1) You don’t want to lose it and 2) It never ends. You can continue to increase and intensify the experience. There’s so much I could say about that. There’s always an edge in my practice. I’m continuing to strive to expand the edge of my practice.

For me, it is meditation. Part of it too is the basics. I do this with my clients when they get thrown off. I am like, “Come back to the basics. Are you sleeping enough? Are you eating healthy? Are you exercising? Are you drinking a lot of good, clean water and getting electrolytes?” I try to live a super healthy lifestyle. I exercise a lot. Sleep is important to me. I’m mindful of the boundaries that I hold within my relationships and social networks to make sure they are mutually nourishing as well as healthy relationships and community. It’s a healthy lifestyle for me. Meditation is all I need at this point.

You’re doing a lot of study. Let’s not diminish that. I saw your bio. You’re going for a PhD. Are you done with that or are you pretty close? I know you were close on your website.

I’ve been almost done for quite some time. I had to practice what I preach, which is the slow down. I went on a sabbatical. I got very close. I ended up having to go on a sabbatical because I was reaching burnout. I’m a single mom with a five-year-old. Growing my business, having a five-year-old, and also doing the PhD got to be too much. I wanted to pause, slow down, and prioritize my son and my practice too so that I wasn’t falling into burnout and not being in integrity to what I teach.

You’ll get there. I have no doubt. My daughter is five. That’s a fun age but still, it’s a lot of work. I hear you loud and clear. I ask everyone this and I would love your response. What are 1 to 2 ways that you believe women can be braver at work?

For women at work, don’t hold back your truth. We’re taught culturally as women to fall into these patterns of being submissive and being the good girl. Sometimes, it’s hard to not react being that acculturated reactive feminine where it’s like, “You can’t treat me like that. That’s not fair.” It’s about slowing down, speaking your truth, learning how to do so with grace and ease, being authentic with poise, and holding strong boundaries. Being brave is not holding back your intellect, insight, or intuition. It is not being afraid to allow your emotions to inform your intuition, insight, and creativity and voice it.

BWW 143 | Stabilized Flow
Stabilized Flow: Being brave is about not holding back your intellect, insight, and intuition and not being afraid to allow your emotions to inform your intuition, insight, and creativity and to voice it.

 

Let me know what you think about this. This work you’re tapping into and that you’re pioneering the idea of stabilized flow separates run-of-the-mill management versus next-level leadership. There is a big dividing line. I hope that you eventually get this work into schools if that’s where you want to go or to younger people. This is going to be such a much better way to live if we can get to this area and the state of stabilized flow.

Thank you. I agree. I talk sometimes about how it’s going to be a required 21st-century skill. We live in this state of civilization of overstimulation and complexity. The world is falling apart in a lot of ways and it’s complex. With AI coming to fruition, it’s getting more complex. It’s going to require us to be present and have a higher level of cognitive function to have access to our brain that can do complex problem-solving with great complexity and incredible levels of distraction. The distracted mind pulls us into our fight or flight system, our survival patterns, and our false self-narrative. It’s about being able to stay focused and see the long-term picture to solve complex problems creatively.

The distracted mind pulls us into our fight or flight system, survival patterns, and false self-narrative. Stay focused and see the long-term picture to solve complex problems creatively. Share on X

Where can women find you and your work online?

My website is my name, LindsayBriner.com. I have a public group coaching program. I do private groups for teams but I wanted to make myself more accessible to more people. I have a public group that’ll open. October 2023 is the next one. They can find that on my website and sign up.

Lindsay, thank you so much for the work you’re doing. It is very unique and so needed in this world. I wish you the best of luck as you move forward.

Thank you so much, Jen. This was such a great conversation.

That does it for my discussion with Lindsay. I hope you found our conversation both valuable and inspiring. Here are a few questions until next time. Have you ever been in a flow state where time stood still and you felt energized, creative, and in the zone? If so, when did it happen? What were you working on? How can you get back to a flow state more often?

What positive habits like meditation, for example, could you incorporate into your day to get into a place of stabilized flow? As a reminder, please rate, review, and subscribe to the show on Apple Podcasts and Spotify. The show is also available on Google Podcasts or any other platform you enjoy. Until next time. Show up, get to stabilized flow, and be brave.

 

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About Lindsay Briner

BWW 143 | Stabilized FlowAs an Executive Coach and Leadership Development Trainer, Lindsay has worked with individuals, leaders and groups for over 10 years, applying psychosomatic modalities ranging in the intersections of sports psychology, meditation, mindfulness, positive psychology, family systems psychology and much more through a transpersonal lens. It has been her greatest joy to guide people and groups into Stabilized Flow with my novel methodology. Lindsay’s approach was inspired by her research as her team continued to collect and publish data on its validity.

As a research scientist, Lindsay’s ongoing curiosity has always resided in the largest open question in science, surrounding the ‘hard problem’ of consciousness characterized by philosopher David Chalmers: What are the neural correlates of consciousness? And how does an updated scientific approach to defining consciousness evolve culture?

Lindsay holds a master’s degree in Transpersonal Psychology from the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology, with a specialization in Neurophenomenology and Consciousness. She is also currently nearing the completion of her PhD, where she has been investigating the societal implications of the leadership styles of the Wellness Technology industry, and how it relates to avoiding the imminent existential and catastrophic risks we are currently faced with globally.

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