The length and breadth of your life -is this moment.
The best people in the world, the greatest leaders of every century – people who have been the epitome of star leadership – they all had one thing in common. They understood that the time now – the present – was all they had. Therefore, their happiness too belonged in the now.
You would never catch a star leader saying, “I’ll be happy when …” They know that tying happiness to a particular thing or a circumstance would just give unnecessary power to that thing or circumstance. Instead of waiting for that promotion, or that deal, or that house, or that relationship, just concentrate on what you can do in the now to make your life better.
Our future is made of countless present moments that we’ll have. So, learn to be proactive in your ‘now’; use your present moment to work on your present moment! That is the only way you can ever give yourself a fighting chance at a bright future.
While it’s extremely simple a concept; that doesn’t make it easy at all!
As an executive coach, the two questions I ask myself is: how can I make my clients first learn to be completely present in the present; and secondly, how would these senior leaders inculcate the habit of working in the present without putting too much of stress apropos to the future?
The answer might lie in Mindfulness. A meditation technique, or more effectively defined as “a way of living”. Mindfulness is what helps people be in their now, completely. The days have long gone when we used to laugh off words like yoga and meditation. But having a slight awareness of these very powerful tools is still not enough. You need to know exactly how these might help you.
So, let’s see how Mindfulness might just have the answer to happiness at the workplace and of course, zoom up your career:
It Busts Stress
We know how stress kills a performance. And what kills stress? Mindfulness. The constant fight-or-flight mode that you might find yourself in, at work – you step out of that as soon as you become more cognizant of your present; it’s when you realize that not every situation is a ‘what-if situation’, or that not every circumstance requires you to make a viable decision. Mindfulness is the way to knowing what’s important in the now, and how to best tackle it instead of stressing over it.
It Makes You Focus Better
Mindfulness is about being aware of everything in the given moment. ‘Everything’ seems like a lot, and even sounds like it has a hint of chaos to it. I mean, how do you observe everything, without having a feeling about each thing, and then having an opinion, and going into a worthless thought-train? The answer lies in focusing on the word ‘aware’, instead of ‘everything’ in that first sentence. Being aware, is to acknowledge. Just notice all there is – both outside and inside of you – and just stop at noticing. As you develop this habit of observing things in and out of you, without having the need to define them or think about them in any manner, is when you’ll see your focus narrowing down to things that are actually important. By not trying to actively ignore your distractions, and by stopping at acknowledging their presence, you inadvertently help yourself in avoiding them.
It Helps You Be Emotionally Intelligent
Emotional Intelligence is another area which is highly important in a workplace. As a boss, you can’t be completely insensitive towards your team, or even yourself; but you can’t get too involved in your or your teammates’ emotions and problems as well. The balance that you create, is your Emotional Intelligence. And how does Mindfulness help here? Well, just as you do it with various tangible things, you do it with emotions as well. As you see someone in your office or even yourself be too happy or too sad about something, please do acknowledge that feeling. But acknowledge it without fearing that you’d get into an emotional roller coaster and won’t find a way out. Or the exact opposite – feeling the need to get on that roller coaster and coming out of it only after you’ve sorted it out. While sometimes you have the exact answer to an ongoing problem, being an executive leader, your power lies in knowing that more often than not, you have no answers, and you just need to wait for an emotion to just ride out. Knowing when to stop forcing your thoughts on an emotion – good, or bad – is the mindful way of developing Emotional Intelligence.
Summary: Great companies like Apple, McKinsey, Nike, Google are using Mindfulness to raise their leaders’ performance and bring stronger positive feelings in meetings. Most of my coaching clients even from the high-tech world who are innovators are turning towards mindfulness to bounce back gracefully in their ever-changing and stressful environment. How about you? Give it an attempt, and you’ll be amazed where it takes you. #BeTheStar
Comments: Have you ever tried mindfulness or any form of meditation? Share your thoughts. I love learning from my readers. And please share this science of awareness.