The Mindful Leader: Sit and Be Still
“For leaders, the first task in management has nothing to do with leading others; step one poses the challenge of knowing and managing oneself.” – Daniel Goleman
Psychologist Daniel Goleman, an authority on emotional intelligence in organizations, calls this the leadership paradox in Primal Leadership: This includes:
• Connecting with deep values that guide
• Imbuing actions with meaning
• Aligning emotions with goals
• Keeping ourselves motivated
• Keeping ourselves focused and on task
When we act in accord with these inner measures, we feel good about what we do. Our emotions become contagious. When we, as leaders, feel positive, energized and enthusiastic about our work, so do those we influence.
Honing the skills of awareness leads to mindfulness—becoming aware of what’s going on inside and around us on several levels. Mindfulness is living in a state of full, conscious awareness of one’s whole self, other people and the context in which we live and work.
Recent studies in management science, psychology and neuroscience point to the importance of developing mindfulness and experiencing meditation.
Mindfulness meditation has long been practiced by Buddhists and others seeking greater calm and peace of mind.
Mindfulness meditation addresses a wide range of topics, including:
• How to heal toxic workplace cultures where anxiety and stress impede creativity and performance
• How to cultivate courage and confidence in spite of workplace difficulties and economic recession
• How to pursue organizational goals without neglecting what’s happening here and now
• How to lead with wisdom and gentleness, not only with ambition, relentless drive and power
Becoming a mindful leader requires us to explore the intimacy of sitting still and experiencing being you in the moment—in the now.
The greatest obstacle to managing others is lack of self-awareness and the inability to manage ourselves. If you fail to connect with yourself and are constantly “doing,” you’re not in touch or self-aware. You can’t be mindful of others without first being mindful of yourself.
Practicing mindfulness meditation can help you relax and slip into a more calm physical and emotional state. Enjoying this peaceful place you can ask yourself powerful questions that will help you reinvent yourself.
Mindfulness Meditation Exercise- Creating Resilience and Well-Being
Mindfulness involves awareness, attention and energy.
Learning to become more “present” will free you to be more flexible and creative. Mindfulness reduces stress and promotes resilience. You can become more resilient, enjoying better health and well-being.
1. Find yourself a comfortable position with as few distractions as possible.
2. Gently close your eyes and focus your attention inward.
3. Imagine a radiant light dissolving your stress.
4. Take a few easy slow breaths, taking air in through your nose and exhaling through your mouth.
5. Say to yourself, “Alert mind, calm body”.
6. Now take a deep, soothing breath all the way down to your abdomen.
7. As you exhale, let your facial muscles, neck and shoulders relax.
8. Feel a wave of warmth and heaviness sweep down to your toes.
9. Allow the relaxation to re-energize your body and mind.
10. Slowly open your eyes, stretch, and ease back into normal activities.
The following self-coaching questions can help you become more self-aware and begin to discover your true passions and identity. Engaging in fierce conversations with yourself by asking questions that interrupt long standing patterns can help you reinvent yourself. The careers of many of my coaching clients began to flourish from engaging in this contemplative practice.
1. What makes my life most fulfilling?
2. How can I live my most important values?
3. How can I spend most of my time pursuing my unique interests?
4. How can I use my talents to the fullest extent?
5. How can I make a significant contribution to the world?
6. How can I seek out opportunities to share my gifts with others?
7. How can I design my future?
8. How can I attract my ideal clients?
9. What are my life’s dreams?
10. What is my life’s legacy?
11. How can I live my life with purpose and vision?
12. How can I realize my dreams?
13. How can I focus on my strengths?
14. What needs to end?
15. What do I need to stop doing?
16. How can I listen more to myself than others?Download Article 1K Club