Many business leaders get stuck on the treadmill of “doing” and find ourselves busy being busy. We have discussed previously the idea that a business owner must wear or manage many “hats” and how exhausting or overwhelming that can be at times. It is essential to develop a practice of mindfulness to purposefully operate your business and your life. Mindfulness is the state of being present in the here and now and having the ability to remain calm and not feel overwhelmed by what is going on around us. We all know that can be easier said than done!
Slow down the frenzy of activities and thoughts that often have a life of their own. A client recently told me about all the juggling she was doing: making sure her customer orders were ready to deliver, confirming that her inventory was fully stocked, worrying if her accounting software was collecting the needed data, getting a costume for her daughter’s kindergarten Letter-People-Parade, finding time to call the plumber for the faucet that had been dripping for over a week… Sound familiar? Without taking the time to slow down, both body and mind, this business owner could easily go into overwhelm and not get anything done – or get stuck in figuring out which to tackle first. So where should she start?
Breathe. Taking a deep breath may sound silly or over-simplified but the fact is our brains need oxygen to fully function. When we are stressed our bodies tend to shallow-breathe which does not allow for full oxygen to reach our vital organs, especially our brains. Taking time to take several deep breaths, and better-yet, to do a deep breathing meditation will provide that break in the frenzy and allow decisions to be made from a higher perspective and fully-functioning brain.
Get out of your head. Another tendency among business leaders is that we often “live in our heads.” Rather than being present and focused in a meeting or the walk we are taking, we tend to be in our heads thinking about next week’s business presentation or the logistics of getting from the office to the grocery store and having dinner ready before soccer practice. This tendency becomes a habit – hanging out in the headspace becomes a comfort zone or home away from home. Just like with any habit, it takes practice to change it. The 5-Senses Mindfulness Practice is a helpful tool to help you focus on the present moment. Click here to learn more about this tool.
Additional tools and practices – There are several apps available for quick mindfulness and meditation that can be easily incorporated into a busy work day. One of my favorites is called The Mindfulness App: Meditation for Everyone. I love that it offers guided meditations (which I find helpful in keeping my mind from wandering too much) with various lengths of time. Check your app store for other mindfulness and meditation options. You can take an awareness walk either around your office complex or out in nature. The key here is to stay out of your head and to focus on your surroundings – notice the texture of the sidewalk or the flowers in the neighbor’s window boxes that you’ve never seen before. Make a game of it to see how many new sightings you can find each day – staying fully present in the moment. Another idea is to take a media break – put away your phone, turn off the electronics for a designated amount of time to be fully present with the people you are with, have a conversation, or play with your kids or dog. Check out some additional resources – www.mindful.org or author Jon Kabat Zinn, who’s work on mindfulness includes the book, Wherever You Go, There You Are.
As you begin to develop a mindfulness practice you can become more productive, peaceful and prosperous.
Kim Ellet is a certified professional coach and owner of The Growth Coach of Metro Atlanta. She finds joy in helping successful leaders committed to continuous improvement, be more of who they are, dream bigger dreams, and accomplish more than they realized was possible. www.TheGrowthCoachATL.com