Imagine the scene: My kids are in the back of the car and I’m in the front seat with my husband. We’re driving down some of the most beautiful coastline in the world on the way to our family summer holiday. Every turn is more beautiful than I could ever imagine. I oohh and ahhh and ask, “Kids! Did you see that? Can you believe how gorgeous this is? Look up!” I am met with some grunts from the back that sound like “yeah” but their eyes rarely leave their iPad screens. They are missing the amazing experience right in front of them.
It happens to all of us. We get so caught up in the details of what we’re doing and we miss where we are and how far we’ve come.
You’ve got to get your head out of the minutiae to see where you’re going, where you are, and where you’ve been.
Leaders: Look Up!
- Instead of seeing all the tasks that have yet to be completed, look at the history of accomplishment that got you to this moment.
- Your team is giving it their all, notice their contributions and acknowledge their hard work and effort
- Keep your eye on the vision and you’ll discover that there is more than one path to take to get there
- You are not alone, but surrounded by people waiting to help if you ask
- Your family and friends love you and would like to see you. The work will be there tomorrow
- The goal isn’t perfection, it’s giving your best while still moving forward
Mindfulness is cultivating an appreciation for the present moment, and accepting it for what it is, instead of longing for what’s missing.
If you think you don’t have time for new age crap like mindfulness at work, you’re wrong. It’s not crap, it’s all about choice and intention.
When you only hear your own internal dialog, you’re blocking the ideas and insights of others. When you learn to intentionally shut down the internal noise you’ll be able to hear and see the wisdom around you.
Be Creative vs. Reactive:
Constantly battling one fire after another leaves little room for creativity. Creative behaviors include building your self-awareness and authenticity while simultaneously increasing your system-awareness. You can’t do that without being in the here and now.
It’s easy to get worked up by every small thing that hits your radar. When you choose to take a deep breath and stay calm. Be a model for helping others to discover solutions instead of dictating both approach and outcome. Listen and ask questions based in authentic curiosity and mindfulness will help you to stay present to help uncover the answers.
Don’t Only Think, Feel:
Smart leaders not only engage their brain but also their hearts. Let’ be clear, feeling emotion is not the same as being emotional. Mindfulness enables leaders to feel, and be fully present in the experience, instead of being separated from it by logic and over-analysis.
Leaders: Look up and enjoy this moment. Ultimately, mindfulness starts with looking up and away from the details, freeing you up for the journey within.
How have you practiced mindfulness as a leader? How has mindfulness helped you to be the leader that you most want to be?