Go with the flow, an incredibly common phrase. Can have many interpretations, but I interpret it to mean following and conforming to the expected and common norms of society.
I look around and every day I see people conforming; following and imitating their surroundings just to “fit in”. We’re surrounded by such immense pressures to be, look and act in such stereotypical ways, to fit into the mould of what society and the media says we should. Many studies have been performed proving the powerful existence of conformity.
Are you blindly going with the flow? Are you flowing with the expected norms in fear of being different or excluded?
I grew up following the expected norms. Being highly motivated and studious I achieved great success in my studies and leadership roles. I just kept flowing… school captain, university degree and diploma, student representative, leadership scholarships. After years of hard work I easily obtained a full-time teaching position in a local school. By theory I had it all, everything that society said I should. And the reason I was there - I knew how to tick the boxes. I had a clear view on what it took to get somewhere and I made it happen.
Now even though I had a clear view of what society was doing and what these norms and expectations were (I never blindly followed), I still continued to flow with it. It was easy, it was comfortable. Until I checked-in with my passions and realised how I was being. I realised I wasn’t living my full potential nor fired with passion. I asked myself, “Do I want to continue doing this for the next forty years?” and my answer was a screaming “No!”
As still working full-time, I began exploring my passions and completed additional certifications in the personal development and holistic wellbeing realm. It then came to my fork in the road. Two school principals offered me teaching positions for the following year (one being the most sought-after school in the area). It was as if everything was being offered to me on a silver platter. I had overnight to make my decision. As I’m sure you can imagine everyone I spoke to that night encouraged me to ‘accept’ (in that “you’d be stupid not to!”). I declined both. I packed up my things and said goodbye.
From that point I was no longer going with the flow, I was being MY OWN FLO.
Three shifts happened for me: I released societal messages from my mind, I respected my own burning desires, and I began expressing the true, full me. And I consolidate this into The FLO Philosophy: Free my mind / Love my body / Open my soul.
FREE MY MIND
Free your mind of all societal messages of manipulation and negative self-talk that says you can’t. Release thoughts that say you should do this and shouldn’t do that, and that stop you from having a clear perspective on why you’re doing what you’re doing.
What limiting thoughts and beliefs do you have around your abilities? What messages are you repeating to yourself based on what society expects you to do or what those around you are saying you should be doing?
LOVE MY BODY
Listen to your body. Tune in to how you feel when you’re working. We need to focus within and respect those lingering inner passions. I see too many people ‘hating’ their job, dreading Monday morning, counting down days till the weekend.
What lights you up? What burning desires are you not listening to?
OPEN MY SOUL
Open your soul in the sense of expressing your real self, being your most uniquely amazing ‘you’. I coach and mentor our up and coming generations, and every day I see their lights dimmed (mainly through self-consciousness, fear of not “fitting in”, and holding onto negative beliefs shaped by their surroundings – beliefs about themselves and beliefs around how they should exist in this society).
Are you expressing your full most extraordinary self? Are you giving it your all, living in YOUR OWN FLO?
Jenna Claire Fletcher is the founder of FLO Girls and The FLO Movement. We are very happy to have her as a contributor to The Happiness Compass as we both strive to build strong and robust communities for health and happiness.