With burnout in companies rising in dramatic fashion, the practice of mindfulness to combat it has also risen. Mindfulness is an essential tool you need in your leadership toolkit. It prepares you emotionally, endows you with a positive attitude, protects you from office pollution and frees you from mental obstacles from the past. But its use inside corporations has not been sufficiently maximized; its use, unfortunately, is too often limited to simply reducing stress or building resilience.
The true potential of mindfulness lies far, far beyond this. Let us explore together. The enemy of being mindful, the state of being highly aware of one’s self and others, is to think without knowing that you’re thinking. Learning to become aware of your unconscious decisions and internal sabotage is nothing short of life changing. It boosts your clarity about just what it is that you want in your life and reveals your natural self-confidence. And isn't that one of our most precious quests?
For a manager, it is simply a must.
I want you to realize how much is going on in your mind and to practice putting it aside, reducing the noise inside, focusing on one simple thought: thinking about nothing. This practice itself can be magical. It may feel like “taking a vacation away from myself.”
Let’s do an exercise. I would like you to take out your notebook and write down ten ways to quiet your busy mind, ten things that you can realistically do. To help you with this, here are a few examples of simple things that anyone can do. There is no wrong way to do this. This is about feeling and experiencing; it’s not about thinking. On the contrary, it’s about drastically reducing the amount of time you spend thinking.
Walk in a park alone, in silence. Turn off your phone. Listen to the sounds of the trees. Close your eyes and listen to the wind passing through the leaves. Notice the different patterns and textures of the sound. If a thought comes in, notice it, let it pass, and focus on the sound of the trees. (Welcome to meditation.)
Jog, walk, run, ride a bike – exercise quietly while focusing on your breathing, the beauty of the landscape around you, or simply the peace of the place where you are. Avoid listening to the radio or some frantic buzz of distraction, nothing beyond perhaps some peaceful and relaxing music.
Listen to melodies that are more about sounds (feeling) than concepts or stories (thinking). Dance to music you love. This is a great way to shift your mindset and get into a nice groove. Don't think! Just dance. Move your body in a sensuous way or shake it. The goal here is to feel your body alive.
Take a nap.
Count objects in the street. Observe their shapes as if considering them as forms of artful expression. Focus carefully, thoughtfully, on these forms. (This is one of the best techniques I discovered during a personal development workshop in California: simple, yet so potent. Thanks to this technique, within ten minutes many of my coaching clients are astonished to feel a great sense of relief and are surprised to discover the eye of the storm in their storming anxiety.)
While eating a meal, close your eyes at each intake. Luxuriate in the flavor of what is in your mouth, delicately savoring the different tastes, the varying textures. Focus on the taste, on eating slowly. In one of our workshops, we have people pair up to feed each other from a small plate. This particular exercise can entirely change your relationship with food and help you realize the importance of eating in a quiet environment and focusing your attention on the moment, focusing on the now. It will make your meal last much longer for a marvelous enjoyment … and possibly help you to lose a lot of weight.
The good news is that there are lots of ways you can find to quiet your mind. Select a few techniques and find out what works for you. Later on, you can create this as a regular practice. For now, it’s important to understand how pollution can and does exist in your mind.
The Quiet the Mind Workshop
Developing our emotional intelligence and training our ability to be a conscious witness of our lives are the most powerful combination to discover the magic in our life. Quieting the mind is an answer to achieve this. In my book What Color Is Your Sky? I develop further methods and practices to quiet the mind, anytime, anywhere.
However, a faster and more powerful way to fully experience this is to attend a workshop out of town and disconnect from your daily hectic life. It makes a HUGE difference. This is not about taking a vacation; this is about being away from the stress, the pollution, the noise, the intellectual busyness, and the suffering created by our own minds.
I invite you to my upcoming workshop "Quiet the Mind", a powerful personal exploration into mindfulness, emotional intelligence and falling in love with life again, applied to improving personal and professional performance.
Click here to find out the details of the workshop.