Mindfulness: Mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment.

As we begin 2017 and continue our saga together, it is a good time to think about mindfulness.  Mindful people and leaders are focused, kind, and authentic but not complacent or soft, even tough when they need to be.  Their passion can be fierce.  They will hold you accountable for commitments and will not avoid difficult conversations.  They will encourage you to stretch beyond your capacity.  These seem like excellent behaviors to model.

Research reveals that mindful individuals, those focused on the present moment and the present task at hand, have greater attention control, self-awareness, and emotional regulation, and get better results.

Here are few things you need to know about how to become more mindful, in the moment:

  • Learn how to be present.   Breath slowly and deeply.  Key in on what you are observing, noticing details that you would not have otherwise noticed.  Listen closely.  Engage all your senses.  It sounds cheesy but it works.  Mindfulness is the opposite of absentmindedness or automatic responses.
  • When you face a challenge or crisis, choose responsibility, compassion, and generosity. Inspire others to become better people by setting the example. Be 100% accountable for what happens next. Be that co-worker, friend, or leader who is calm and resourceful during the storm.
  • Be open to feedback.  Be fully aware as you take actions that are outside the values you have established for yourself.  Accept feedback with grace and humility rather than reactivity.
  • Recognize that you are tuned-in, connected, and engaged.  Every word you speak, every action you take has a tangible impact on everyone else.  You make a difference – good or bad – in your world.
  • Adopt a beginner’s mind rather than an expert’s mind.  Look at everything with fresh eyes, as if you had not seen what is going on around you before.   A beginner’s mind makes us more intelligent, not less.  We still take our knowledge with us.  A beginner’s mind keeps us from falling asleep at the wheel.
  • Empower others to shine.  A good co-worker and leader empowers his/her team members to shine, rather than taking credit for all that is done.  Affirm others by letting them know they are appreciated, capable enough, and worthy.  Truly see the good skills, behaviors, and compassion in others.  Help them become their best selves.

This is a great time of the year to practice mindfulness.  Examples of mindfulness:

For yourself:

  • As you drink a cup of hot chocolate, feel the warmth of the mug, taste the richness of the flavors, think about how it makes you feel.
  • As you observe someone you know in a concert, play, or recital, look at the faces, engage in the experience, and smile at those you are enjoying it with.
  • Whether you have young children or not, go to the park or the mall and observe.
  • When you are outdoors, look at the sky, feel the breeze, and watch the birds.

For those at home:

  • Look at their eyes when they are sharing an experience.  Hear what they are saying.  Try not to think about your response, simply engage in what they are saying.
  • Be there when they want to talk.

For those at work – employees or customers:

  • Look at the person when they are talking; listen, observe.  Hold back on responding for just a moment.
  • Recognize each person as a unique human being.

In summary, take each moment as a mindful, focused, in-the-moment individual and use it to persevere in moving forward.

Reference: “The Mindful Leader: 7 practices for transforming your leadership, your organization, and your life” by Michael Bunting

“You never know when a moment and a few sincere words can have an impact on a life.”

– Zig Ziglar

“The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing. – Socrates

“The greatest good you can do for another is not just to share your riches 

but to reveal to him his own. – Benjamin Disraeli

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