Author: Fiona J. Lindsaywww.fionajlindsay.com
How Mindfulness Is Critical To Business Success
It’s so fascinating to me how so many so-called ‘buzz’ words have come into our collective consciousness in this present moment in time. Terms such as “game changer”, “let’s shift gears”, “take it offline” – you know where I’m going with this. And yet for some reason, mindfulness has become one of those ‘buzz’ terms and yet so few truly understand what it really means. For most, it means some type of meditation practise, or the very act of meditating. And yet it is the furtherest from the truth. You see being mindful is simply being aware of the present moment – fully. Being mindful is not a practise purely reserved for a Retreat you aim for at some point in the future. It is imperative for us all to be mindful at all times and especially in business.
Let’s start with the exact terminology on what mindfulness actually is. According to the Oxford Dictionary it means: The quality or state of being conscious or aware of something. A mental state achieved by focusing one's awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one's feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique. But it needn’t be therapeutic. For me, it has become a way of life.
Let’s now look at the 5 aspects of ourselves that can keep us from being mindful. Just the very act of being mindfully aware of these can support us to more purposefully, more meaningfully remain consciously in the now. And when we can do this on a consistent basis, peace, joy, love and fulfilment is all that remains. Isn’t that a sensational recipe for business and life in general? I sure think so.
The ego. Ego is always a self-creation. Ego only exists in the past – it is impossible for the ego to exist in the now. It takes what it has learned in the past and projects it into the future making success in the here and now impossible. The ego continually seeks reward. It sees the present moment as a means to an end and reacts to every single little thing that occurs. Ego will always result in judgement, interpretation and will always perceives threats that don’t exist. Ultimately, the end result is unhappiness, loneliness, fear and unfulfillment.
Fear is only reactionary to perceived threats. Fear is never based in the here and now and similar to ego always exists in the past dictated by experience. It is always a mind projection of what ‘could be’ instead of ‘what is’. Fear is simply an emotion that we choose and is always based in ego. This is where the determination of ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ begins and typically wars will start here.
Being in a stressful emotive state can never be rooted in the present moment. Stress is always about wanting to be in the future as quickly as possible. The mind is always reactive and in constant survival mode (ie the fight and flight response). The mind is constantly seeking satisfaction and fulfilment which is always future-based. The mind is obsessed with the future. When the mind sees problems, it is impossible to see solutions at the same time. Problems are in fact illusions of the mind and are easy to overcome once one can become truly present. It’s easy to become overwhelmed and stressed – but it takes a little work to be mindfully aware of the present moment.
This is always a cover up for pain. Anger is a by product of sadness and prolonged sadness and the inability to work through the resultant emotions will sometimes result in addiction. Addiction can manifest in many ways – drugs, alcohol, eating, sex, work. By being mindfully aware of the painful emotions that drive addictions and being willing to work through them, addiction can then be managed.
Nothing in life is permanent. Everything is transitional. Sometimes it is difficult for us to recognize this in the current moment. Many see themselves as victim of circumstance – it takes a little more work to recognize that all of us are constantly at cause of how we live and experience our lives. Cycles can last from a few hours’ to many years. What’s important is to recognize them and allow them the space. Relinquish attachments to the outcomes – they are all merely the flow of life itself. Being resistant is the birth of negativity and this will always bring about pain, illness and tension.
When we read back through this list and recognize what is happening in ourselves within a business context, it’s easy to see how not being mindfully aware of the present moment can impact our ability to be affective and effective, efficient and produce outcomes that are the results we really want to be creating. Sometimes it’s just a matter of simply recognizing what is going on inside of ourselves in a certain moment. Are we operating from the ego? Are we fearful? Are we stressful? What are we addicted to? And do we see things as permanent? I’ve always said that awareness is 50% of the process and it could not be more true here.
This is an incredibly simplified look at mindfulness and how it can impact us on an hourly, daily, monthly and sometimes even a lifetime basis and by looking only at these can support us to make some powerful changes in how we conduct ourselves with clients, customers and colleagues alike. Even if we just focus on one area for 30 days’, can you see how relationships and outcomes could be transformed? So give it a go. There’s no magical way in which to be mindful. There’s no “3 step process” you learn. You don’t need to be a Tibetan Monk or some kind of spiritual guru. It’s simply about recognizing what is going on in and around you in every moment and being conscious of how you respond. This is where conscious, deliberate and joyful living starts. Hope it’s a positive, passionate and purposeful journey for you.