It’s Your Moment to Inspire Mindfulness and Equanimity

 In Leadership, Leadership Development

I hear it all of the time. I am so busy. I’ve got more work, more stress — and far less resources at my disposal to deal with everything in my daily life. As the work piles higher, my heart starts racing and I often feel overwhelmed. I make too many personal sacrifices because of urgent demands. Unnecessary conflicts turn into emotionally draining experiences. I don’t have time for anything more right now. I am grasping for a feeling of peace.

What about taking time to reflect and look within? Oh, you don’t have time for that right now? Okay, all I ask is that you give me a few minutes to open your mind. I want you to take an honest look at the busyness that happens to you as a leader in today’s 24/7 interconnected world.

Why Does Nonstop Technology Wear You Out?
You have to text someone this instant. You have hundreds of emails to catch up on. You have videos to watch, tweets to post and content to curate. And the list goes on and on and on with plenty of variations. While multiple devices allow you to stay more connected to the people you care about, they also are a source of near constant irritation day and night, and can cause you to be less connected to yourself and what matters most.

The fact of the matter is you’re always plugged in. Consider the endless digital distractions, commitments and temptations that fill your over-connected days. There is too much information to process. You want to keep up with everything and make sure you don’t miss out on anything “important.” It’s hard to switch off so consequently your mind races constantly. It’s downright exhausting.

Unplug to Empty Your Mind
More and more research shows there is a solution. It is called mindfulness. “What the culture is craving is a sense of ease and reflection, of not needing to be stimulated or entertained or going after something constantly,” says Soren Gordhamer, founder of the Wisdom 2.0 conference.

It’s no wonder that mindfulness is starting to be used as a tool in the competitive business world. Major corporations are getting on board from the Silicon Valley to Wall Street — and even the NFL. Companies like Goldman Sachs are holding classes in mindfulness for employees, so there are those who are tapping into mindfulness for greater financial success. But mindfulness is not only about improved productivity and the promise of increased wealth, it is more about being able to be in the midst of any turmoil, whether on Wall Street, in your board room or with the people you care about most — and being able to see more clearly. Mindfulness helps you to cultivate your innate capabilities to focus on what is important. It’s about giving up preconceived notions and actively observing before making judgments. Mindfulness can help you behave like the leader you truly want to be.

What’s The Key to Adopting a Mindful Mindset?
Quite simply, it’s equanimity. Isn’t that a great word! Equanimity is the ability to act calmly no matter what is going on around you. Equanimity is the ability to respond thoughtfully, rather than react to what shows up (and you never know what will show up). Having equanimity allows you to be the kind of leader we all want you to be.


How to Become a More Mindful Leader

5 Tips To Go From Overwhelm to Calm
These are five things I make a point to do each day to cultivate a better presence of mind.

1. Practice mindfulness.
Start and maintain a mindfulness practice. This is the most important thing you can do. Whatever you choose, whether it is meditation, guided relaxation, yoga, martial arts, prayer, exercise or something else — create a regular practice — or enhance your existing routine with a more meaningful, regular or intentional experience.

2. Be present.
Remember there’s more to mindfulness than your daily practice. Practice being present throughout your day. Be fully in every moment. Enjoy more of your and your employees’ successes. And be present during the events that really get your heart racing. You’ll be better able to respond when you’re fully engaged.

3. Center.
Find that place within you that is you at your very core. Do you know where that is? Do you know what it feels like to be centered? Where no matter what happens, no matter what your boss says, nothing can take you off your game? Regularly practice the routines that will keep you centered to possess equanimity (evenness of mind especially under stress).

4. Restore.
Take time for renewal. There’s a balance between stress and recovery. Between challenge and ease. If you know you’re stressed, or anticipating a stressful situation, breathe. If you’ve been running nonstop, take the time to pause. Schedule time into your calendar to do nothing. No one can keep going and going and going and serve our customers (clients, employees, bosses) well. Actually, customers can often benefit most from you taking the time to restore. Isn’t that a good enough reason to restore?

5. Give.
You have so much. You are a skilled leader. You have wisdom to share. Be generous with your gifts, express your praise, speak your mind with generosity and a giving spirit. I promise you that you will reap what you sow a thousand times over and you will feel better. Because you cannot control how much encouragement and wisdom you receive, you can only control how much you give.

Rethink The Power of Balancing Connectedness With Mindfulness
Technology has such a powerful hold on all of us. I was amazed to learn that when Steve Jobs was running Apple, he limited how much technology his kids used at home. And Chris Anderson, the Chief Executive of 3D Robotics, has set time limits and parental control on every device in his home. These tech C.E.O.’s recognize the addictive quality of technology and how much our wired culture is making us less grounded.

This is my gentle nudge to encourage you to bring wise intention to how often you use technology and what you put your time and attention on. Adopting a mindful mindset means being open to possibility. When you are present, you’re there to take advantage of opportunities that you otherwise might miss. Plus, the payoffs are even bigger. Research also reminds us that a regular mindfulness practice boosts happiness, sharpens memory, increases creativity and bolsters confidence.

Are you ready to give it a shot? Turn all of your devices off once in a while. Let go of all the chatter about how overwhelmed you are and focus on the bigger impact you’re here to make. You’ll feel more alive, experience less stress and be more aware of what you’re really after. Hey, and I bet inspire others, too.