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Are You Out of Your Mind?

Get into Mindfulness to Tap Into Your Success

Have you ever started a day, knowing you had many tasks ahead of you, only to put your head on the pillow at the end of the day, frustrated that you didn’t get most of it done? Aside from major, unforeseen events out of your control, what happened?

Or, have you met with someone in business and had the meeting go south, even though you felt you would forge a great partnership? What could you have missed?

In either case, having mindfulness would have served you best. Very simply, mindfulness is a practice of living in the moment, being present in it, and being aware of what we are doing without being overly reactive to it.

It is a tool and a practice that is easy to develop as it is already part of us, and that’s the good news. However, in a society that values “multitasking,” and having a cell phone in your hand at all times, it can be very difficult to clear your mind enough to truly focus on the here and now and place yourself in it.

Most often, you will hear mindfulness talked about in conjunction with meditation. Before you conjure images of dimly lit rooms with people sitting on mats chanting, however, let’s redefine it as a short pause before we act. Literally, as your parents likely advised, “look before you leap.”

So, it’s not as exotic or elusive to reach as we might think. In fact, mindfulness is something we probably already do from time to time. For example, when you are listening to someone you admire to gain insight, you feel a connectedness and even a clarity of understanding because you have chosen to be completely present in that moment.

A few other things you should know about mindfulness, according to mindful.org:

  • Because it is innate, you don’t have to change who you are; instead it helps you recognize and cultivate the best of who you are
  • It’s easy to learn (provided we take the steps to learn it)
  • It’s part of a success mindset: as you become more aware, and caring of what we’re doing, it reduces unnecessary stress, improves relationships, and therefore can impact our health positively
  • It can help us problem solve by leading us to effective and creative responses to problems, simply because we’re better focused on them.

So it’s not too hard to figure out that becoming more mindful can lead you to more success in business as well. I’ve talked about the importance of active listening, effective communication and the ways that your own cell phone can threaten your ability to connect. These are all related to mindfulness practices.

As I mentioned, meditation is the key tool to improving your mindfulness, but it can be hard to grasp how to do it when our lives are always so busy, and interruptions are common. Again, look back on what I’ve had to say about time management, which if done correctly, gives you the time and permission to meditate and go about your tasks more mindfully.

For example, if you have scheduled an appointment, arrive early to not only prepare mentally, but to be aware of your body. That may sound strange, but meditation and mindfulness begin and end with the body. You aren’t just thinking about your thoughts — that might lead you to insanity — but also about your body language, your tone of voice, your posture. A person can’t read yor mind, but they can certainly pick up on your body language. So if you’re going into a meeting after having a stressful conversation, take those extra minutes to clear your mind, relax and refocus.

When you make these brief moments a priority, they truly become second nature. Even in the midst of a discussion, it’s OK to take even a few seconds to meditate and be mindful of where you are at in that moment. A simple, “I need a little time to think about this,” or responding to the person by telling them what you have heard them say in order to ensure you are on the same page, can provide that space to allow you to be present and understand the situation.

If this still seems “out there,” realize that success trainers also encourage the practice, as it helps develop emotional intelligence. If you recall a few blogs back I talked about how “EQ” is going to be more important than IQ when it comes to hiring talent. Anyone can be taught a skill, but having the emotional strength to handle stress, people, changing situations, etc., is something we need to teach ourselves.

Mindfulness teaches us self control or self regulation, which is one of the five components of emotional intelligence, and one of the most important. Quite simply, the more in control you are, the higher a level at which you can perform. And if mindfulness is an elusive concept for you, I’d bet performance surely isn’t.

Be open to the practice, and take a few minutes — that’s really all it requires — to quietly sit, breathe and relax. As your awareness increases, so will your ability to build relationships, build your business, and build your success... one breath at a time.