You can tell if you are enjoying an experience. If you are in the flow. People the world over, in many different languages, describe this knowing as the vibe, the vibrancy, the energy of the experience or the group.
While people in 1,000s of groups my colleagues and I have worked with, in 125 countries across the globe, describe their experience with similar terms, many “serious” people suggest that this experiential description is subjective and new agey. Rigorous science that is accepted in the mainstream does not talk like this. Until now.
A recent study published in Science Advances (Shao, Hayward, and Visell, 2020) from the Centre for the Study of the Senses and UCSB finds that the human sense of touch is far more than the specific spot of the touch. As Prof Visell, one of the coauthors, describes to the Science podcast host Sarah Crespi,”Our sense of touch, which we also call the haptic system, comprises our skin, muscles, brain and nervous system that allow us to touch and interact with the world via our sense of touch. An important part of that is the skin itself, and it’s not just properties for sensing, but also the mechanical elasticity and transmission of vibrations as waves throughout the skin, including kind of our whole hands.” We literally are wired to process the vibrancy we experience through our senses.
Leading business-school professors talk this way now. London Business School professor of management practice Lynda Gratton describes “hot spots” and “glow.” “You always know when you are in a Hot Spot. You feel energised and vibrantly alive. Your brain is buzzing with ideas, and the people around you share your joy and excitement. The energy is palpable, bright, shining.” The Harvard Business Review published Fully Charged: How Great Leaders Boost Their Organization’s Energy and Ignite High Performance (Bruch and Vogel, 2011), describing how, “Most leaders have experienced the ebb and flow of different states of energy in their own organizations (p 1).”
To assess your experience of the vibrancy of a group or a relationship, the Institute for Strategic Clarity developed the Agreements Health Check survey. It is a free, online survey you can take periodically to check the health of the agreements in that group, the vibrancy you experience when with the group.