At the core of the human being is the life force of breathing. If we stop breathing, we die.

How in touch are you with your breath? Have you ever thought about the relationship with breathing and leadership? Boom! Here I will explain the close relationship of these two synergies.

Being connected with your breath is at the core of being mindful and Mindfulness should no longer be considered a “nice-to-have” for executives. It’s a “must-have”:  a way to keep our brains healthy, to support self-regulation and effective decision-making capabilities, and to protect ourselves from toxic stress. It can be integrated into one’s religious or spiritual life, or practised as a form of secular mental training.   (mindfulness can change your brain) – Harvard Business Review. 

Regardless of the daily introspective practice you choose, mindful leadership will enhance your clarity about what is important to you and a deeper understanding of the world around you. Therefore, you will be at a higher level of awareness

Here below are some leadership capacities developed by mindfulness Practice

  • Metacognition. This is the ability to choose at crucial times to simply observe what you are thinking, feeling, and sensing. It is like stepping out of that festival of 2000 thought flux so you can actually see what’s going on. When you have the skill to do this, you can better see your thoughts, feelings, sensations, and impulses for what they are. Without metacognition, we are in reacting mode and autopilot.
  • Allowing and flowing.This refers to the ability to let what is the case, be the case. It’s about meeting your experience with a spirit of openness and kindness to yourself and others. It’s not about being passive or weak, but just facing up to what is actually going on in each passing moment. Without allowing, our criticism of ourselves and others crushes our ability to observe what is really happening.
  • Curiosity.This means taking an active interest in what has arisen in our inner and outer worlds. Without curiosity, we have no impetus for bringing our awareness into the present moment and staying with it.
  • Listening. Being in the moment allows people to be better listeners instead focused on what they going to say next.
  • Better decision making. Since you have more control over your mind and is it the byproduct of having enhanced clarity.
  • Awareness of the impact on others. That means actively paying attention to how we respond or approach the beings around us and have a positive impact or constructive interaction on everyone. This is especially important in stressful situations to keep everything under control.

All these leadership skills are not solely for those who are in executive roles or the ones aspiring to one. At the end, we are all leaders and the above is crucial to living life at the highest level of happiness.

Pick one skill a week and start focusing your awareness on each area and by practising meditation, you will enhance the awareness on each of them.

In a fast paced world, mindfulness enables you to clear your mind of clutter, focus on what is important, and be creative.When people perform under stress there is very little room for creativity, for flow and connection with others and connection with oneself. This key mind state is crucial to be able to collaborate and generate ideas.

When people perform under stress there is very little room for creativity, for flow and connection with others and connection with oneself. This key mind state is crucial to be able to collaborate and generate ideas.

MRI scans after an 8 week course of mindfulness practice shows shrinking of the amygdala  – This is the region of the brain associated with fear and emotion, involved in the initiation of the body’s response to stress. (Ireland, T. (2014). What Does Mindfulness Meditation Do to Your Brain. https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/guest-blog/what-does-mindfulness-meditation-do-to-your-brain/ )

The state of flow that allows problem solving, clarity and creativity is enhanced with people that practice mindfulness.

Creativity requires to be in the moment, to be present and aware of the thoughts and emotions that are arising in your body. Have you ever found yourself being really focused in one task that you enjoy and ideas were just flowing? This is the creative process and it cannot coexist in a stressed mind.

Mindfulness helps you increase the metal focus by not getting distracted during creative tasks, since you are more aware when you get distracted and you can bring your mind back.

Idea generation is enhanced by mindfulness practice and even some times when you meditate, you will find your best ideas come through as a byproduct, although this is not the objective of the mediation.

Tech and innovative companies like Apple, Google, FB  and P&G Mckinsey have already implemented programs on creative mindfulness as it is increasing the importance of teams collaboration.

The same can be applied to agile companies where mindfulness agile can be applied by collaborating with stakeholders based on mutual respect, dignity, and appreciation of healthy relationships. We all have a personal power to impact others and when we are aware of our power, it is important to be aware and take responsibility for that POWER.

How is your company supporting mindfulness and the importance of having healthy minds in today’s fast paced environments, which require so much focus in the middle of so much noise and distractions?

How having a mindfulness KPI would look like in an organisation?

Stress, depression, constant information overload and continuous distractions are associated with decreased performance. Job places have become a demanding fast paced environments and the technology advances have created a need for information consumption and distractions leading to an ever busy mind causing compulsive involuntary thinking.

How having no thoughts looks like? How being present looks and feels like? 80/ 90% of the people’s thinking is repetitive and useless causing serious leakage of energy. This kind of compulsive thinking as Eckhart Tolle mentions in the Power of now is an addition. When practising mindfulness by being present, your attention is in the now. You find the inner stillness which is inseparable from your being and frees you from this unconscious thinking.
The advantage of practising mindfulness in the workspace is resulting in higher performing teams with improved relationships, wellbeing and resilience

Most organisations are aware of the importance of their people wellbeing and development of their employees and not all of them are actively equipping its employees with the necessary tools.

Dot-com companies like Google and Yahoo were amongst the first to embrace mindfulness training and other organisations like Capital One, Nuffield Health, British Telecom and the UK Parliament are following suit. (oxford mindfulness centre)

In essence, mindfulness is more than a mere productivity tool, it is a different quality of relating to the world. While it may well enhance performance and improve resilience, it is equally likely to heighten employees’ awareness of mismanagement and bad working conditions. While it may increase an organisation’s human capital, mindfulness may also address “the most pressing problems of society at their very root – at the level of the human mind and heart.” (Jon Kabat-Zinn quoted in MAPPG, p. 10)

In this age of information abundance and overload, those who get ahead will be the folks who figure out what to leave out, so they can concentrate on what’s really important to them. Therefore what that means for organisations is having employees that focus on the now and the things that can control and have the biggest impact.

This approach can clearly be linked to employees KPI.
How is your organisation dealing with mindfulness?

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In a world of increasing demand, we are working longer hours,  constantly tied to our phones, emails and information overload and the shift in technology has created an online world where everything is available at the millisecond. That can create a narrow picture, addiction to instant reward and overall impatience and….  but humans are not meant to be working like computers at high speed for long period of time.

Great performers are at their best when managing energy at four dimensions:

  • Physical composed by sleep, fitness and nutrition and intermittent rest through the day to recharge.
  • Emotional via learning to cultivate emotional intelligence. Be mindful of your negative emotions and believes because how you feel influences how you perform.
  • Mental energy via learning to focus and being in the state of flow and being able to gravitate from strategic big picture to tactical thinking
  • Spiritual which is belonging something bigger than yourself which can be higher connection to the universe.

Following this tips, you will be more engaged on whatever you do and with more  positive energy which will allow you to focus on what really makes and impact in your personal and professional life.

If you are a leader encourage your team to focus on this 4 dimensions to cultivate a culture of high performers and achievers.

How are you managing this dimensions in the work space?