Fitness Training for the Brain!
Mindfulness means you can better manage your thoughts. It can also support you in coming off “auto-pilot”, or in other words, simply doing what you’ve always done because that is what's easy and comfortable and gives you a certain amount of pleasure! How many of you (myself included) have had a simple thought, which then quickly becomes a sentence, a chapter in a book, a whole book and then a movie!? Being mindful means you can observe these thoughts and let them pass without getting caught up in them; remember, you are not your thoughts - thoughts are not facts or reality.
Using mindful practice can mean you learn to respond, instead of just reacting. How would increasing your focus, calmness and clarity in daily life benefit you?
In my opinion, everyone can benefit from this! Especially leaders and managers in businesses, large or small, in terms of the ability to increase your:
- Focus - managing your attention when your mind wanders will mean you focus on those “big rocks”, in the words of Stephen Covey. Only if appropriate and time allows can you move to your pebbles and sand!
- Calmness - feeling less reactive to situations could prevent conflict, and avoid the need for those “difficult conversations”
- Clarity - see what is actually there, not what is imagined - it is about keeping things real and not allowing your inner voice to take over.
- Adaptability - deal with change and ambiguity by recognising what's important now, in the moment.
- Resilience - develop your self-compassion; be kind to yourself, then take care of others - put your oxygen mask on first!
- Productivity - increase your personal effectiveness. In my Working Smarter, Not Harder! blog I talk about not multi-tasking, instead focusing your attention on one thing! Although I do like to think I'm excellent at multi-tasking or "juggling", am I really..?
Realise when you're hurtling along at 100 miles an hour and not seeing or appreciating things around you;
Aspire to be “purposefully present” at least one more time each day than you are currently; and
Do train your brain - you, and those around you, will notice the difference!
What is mindfulness? According to Jon Kabat-Zinn, mindfulness is "paying attention on purpose in the present moment, non judgementally”.
As a leader or manager, you must create trust with each member of your team in order that you can have open conversations on any subject, and at the same time be true to your self!
For all of us there are just some things we will never have an interest in, and no matter how much development we undertake (and it would take a lot!) we're probably never going to master them.
To perform at your best, you need to be effective (doing the right things) and efficient (doing things right).
Always “notice” what is around you; have the self-awareness to realise that even when you think you have no impact on others, you can still do so.