Mindfulness: The foundation for growth

You might be wondering what mindfulness has to do with organization development or leadership. I will tell you: it has EVERYTHING to do with it!

Have you ever…

     been in a meeting and held your tongue even when you had a solution? 

     looked back on a conflict with someone and wondered how it got to that point? 

     felt like the world is spinning too fast and you can barely keep up?

In order to lead and coach people, we have to be aware of all of the things we communicate and why. We have to be able to think clearly and make decisions on the spot. Most of all, we need confidence. We need a lot of authentic confidence. That is the key.

We all know the saying, “Fake it ’til you make it,” and there is some validity in that. But the only way to win over skeptics, build strong relationships, and get others to trust in you is through authentic confidence that comes from deep within.

“Okay, okay,” you’re saying. Then how?

It starts with 7 minutes a day. Just sitting. Here’s how I did it:

Every morning I would go through my usual routine, put my coffee in my travel mug, and have everything ready to walk out the door. With the remaining time, I would set a timer on my phone and then sit or lay down on my couch and relax and breathe. That’s all. Usually, thoughts would spring up about things I would have forgotten or other things going on in my day and, if they were super urgent, I may jot down a word to remember and then go back to my meditation, but, if it wasn’t that important, I would let the thought pass on through. Sometimes I would focus on my heart, and the goodness inside me. (You can also use an app for this). Then, the timer would go off and I would collect my things and walk out the door.

I’ve also used a technique of writing down what I’m sensing, thinking and feeling. These perceptions are all connected. First, I figured out that sound is my most sensitive sense. Then, when I did this exercise, I paid attention to what I was hearing. I wrote that down. Then I moved on to what my thoughts were doing. (Usually, if it was loud, I was thinking, “UGH everything is so hard!”). And then I would write down what I was feeling. (Which, if it was loud, was usually “tired” or “overwhelmed”).

How does this build confidence?

Now that’s a tricky question, but it also has a simple answer. By getting in the habit of mindfulness, I figured out that I could use it all the time. When I was driving and someone made me mad, I could take a breath and notice my heart and then I would feel better.

When we figure out that we can ride the waves of our own feelings, we are the master of our destiny. We realize that we can be put in any situation and feel okay, which gives us the confidence to do anything we want in life.

Okay, now back to our clients.

Say we’ve figured out how to be mindful in a lot of situations. How does this effect our clients? Energy. People guess what we are feeling. We may think we aren’t mad because we aren’t aware of it, but they will know before we do. When we try to lie or “fake it”, people tend to know. We really don’t get away with much.

So, by starting a short mindfulness practice each day, we start to get in touch with how we are feeling. Not to change it, or do anything with it, just to know before anyone else does. Then, when we go out into the world, we will know what energy we are offering others.

Want more info on how to use your contagious energy wisely? Check out Anese Cavanaugh’s teachings on Contagious Culture and Intentional Energetic Presense.

Bonus tip: try telling people how you are feeling if you can. Notice how it can help build connection and establish trust.