Mindfulness is a state of being fully present, aware of oneself and other people, and sensitive to one’s reactions to stressful situations. Leaders who are mindful tend to be more effective in understanding and relating to others, and motivating them toward shared goals. – William G. George, former CEO of Medtronic, and Harvard Business School Professor
Mindfulness is one of those buzz words you’ve probably heard a lot recently, even though the importance of “being in the moment” has been taught for thousands of years. Mr. George’s quote above came from the 2013 World Economic Forum meeting in Davos, Switzerland in 2013, but I could have easily shared a similar quote from Buddha.
So why all the talk about mindfulness these days? I think it’s fair to say that as the world has become more “connected,” we’ve become more disconnected with the present moment. There’s always another goal, project, email, or initiative to start. This is truly an incredible time to be alive, but with all of this technology and achievement, comes the trap of taking our eye off of each moment.
So what does this mean for us as leaders?
In my professional journey, incorporating mindful leadership has meant framing the strategy into three key statements or intentions:
1. Live each day to the fullest. Make the most of today, because we never know when today will be our last. Dramatic, yes – and true. This year we said goodbye to friends, family and public figures. And yet, to be honest – and in hindsight – I realize embodying this has sometimes been hard for me to “do.”
Perhaps “fullest” is too vague for me. Or perhaps “Make the most of” puts pressure on doing big, amazing things each day – and how does all that fit into our day to day responsibilities?
What does it all mean – for you?
Does it conjure up scenes of celebrating every day, or going on adventures? Or could it mean setting an intention to simply say “yes” to new things – no matter how small the invitation or opportunity is?
2. Focus fully on the person(s) with whom we are interacting. Now, this one was much easier for me to put into practice right away. When I meet with someone, I do so without checking my email or text messages. It took practice and commitment at first – which in of itself is a little shocking!
Look in their eyes. Listen. SEE them. Be curious about why they are saying/feeling what they are conveying. This can take all of a couple of seconds to really connect, and the impact can be significant.
3. Live in the Now, right now. This one has been a true light bulb moment for me. The “now” is all we have, and it’s really what matters most.
As an example, my family received some news about a possible medical diagnosis. We’re learning about tests, treatments, and other things that may or may not occur. Big stuff. And yet, today (and now all the days that have already passed since receiving the news), nothing has actually changed.
In the moment, everyone in my family is without pain, able to do what we want to do, and more importantly, BE how we want to BE. Yes, there are big looming questions, life as we know it may change, but none of that is our reality now.
I view this awareness with a new sense of joy, as it is in total alignment with how I approach my coaching and consulting, and my personal life. I can be in the now, AND be in the context of forward thinking, strategic plans, working towards common goals of impact, and all the other methodologies I pride myself on!
If this is resonating with you, I invite you to schedule some time to chat with me. Let’s explore together what might be possible for you or your organization if we created more harmony between the strategic thinking, and the “now.”
Schedule your complimentary clarity call here, and let’s see how we can create some mindful momentum together.
To your success,
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