On the eve of our public unveiling of the Mindful Institute, I’ve found one thing above all else to be most profound: leadership.
It is the entrepreneurs, the internal company champions, the heads of large company’s and even the heads of state that have a simple question to ask themselves. “How do you balance our lofty business aspirations and goals with the daily need to stay true to the deep spiritual soul?”
In other words, how can you stay mindful while achieving great things in business? How do you stay present, when every moment of your day is consumed with meetings, decisions and doing something? How do you treat others with profound level of respect and compassion while needing to drive results to grow the company? How do you stay in touch with your greater purpose in life while achieve societal gains of success and fortune?
As one such entrepreneur and leader, the answers are not easy to come by. And putting into practice exponentially more difficult—yet we must.
We must be mindful. Putting our state of mind (consciousness) ahead of action—how we “ARE” is primary. What we “DO” is secondary. To be a true leader we lead by example, right? We’ve been taught that early on. We’ve been taught that “great leaders attract great talent” and that level of attraction is what really becomes the powerful driving force behind your company's greatness. It’s the essence of what I call "mindful leadership."
To manage yourself first, then manage people and the company.
So many of us get swept away in the morass of meetings, new initiatives, growth and all consuming “running the company” and to a certain degree, it’s unavoidable. But it’s critical to have some roots to keep grounding yourself in, to come back to when you need to slow your thoughts and reassess. A foundation that serves you well and provide the ever so needed clarity of mind to make great decisions and to lead with courage and a deep connection or inspiration to and with others.
If any of this resonates, then I will continue with few tips that have helped me get better (as I am far from great yet) at this that may help awaken the soul so needed in modern day leadership. If not, then I’ll leave with the thought of “Who are you and how will your legacy be defined if not by the character of your soul?”
Tip 1: Use Your Subconscious
There are times in the day, right before sleep and first hours of the day, that your mind can plant deep seeds of right-path energy that will sustain you in any given day. Reading for even 10–15 minutes something that pulls you out of the every day and into the bigger broader picture of life is key. Books like “Stillness Speaks" or “Beginners Mind” can get your mind in the flow of remembering what matters most.
And let me remind you what will kill the subconscious. Watching TV, reading the newspaper (without other readings like above) or simply flipping through Facebook or email to start or end your day. This is bound to kill any deep positive soulful energy.
Tip 2: Have a Life Practice
In reading this article, it alone means you have reached a stage of understanding that just going through life reacting to what comes your way is not enough. So it’s time to create a sustainable life practice or improve the consistency your existing one. And not a quick fix.
Daily Yoga would be one example.
Mediation yet another.
Silent Walks and even the reading above would fall in that category.
Even in the work-place you can start doing this. Small things, like taking two minutes of mindful silence before you start any meeting of three or more. It’s incredible what that two minutes will do to everyone in the room, including yourself.
But this has to be non-negotiable element of your day. It’s the MOST important meeting on your calendar. It’s the immovable element that has to be done. It simply can not be wiped away with the justification of “I don’t have enough time today." As that is always the case.
Do not waiver.
You’re strong— right?
You’re a leader? Correct!
So act like one and stay committed. At all costs.
Your soul’s salvation is at stake
Related Article: What Makes Employees Happy?
Tip 3: Reflection on What Matters Most
Recently a friend reminded me of a great practice that was instilled in me at an early age. Reflect on the positive of life, every day. Simply spending five minutes to think about the day behind and give yourself a moment to find one or two element you really liked about your actions in the day and also a moment on others you’d like to improve on so they don’t get lost in the mix.
This will allow to be both grateful for all that you have and can do and also put some closure to things that didn’t go so well. And commit to improving them.
My mother use to keep us from eating dinner until we we’re able to recite: What we liked about our day. What we liked about someone at the table. And what we liked about ourselves. Not bad for working mom with three kids in the late 80s/early 90s.
There is no one answer nor singular middle path for all of us. We must find it in our own time, on our own terms and for our own reasons. To that degree, we must stay compassionate for others that are trying to find their path and get to a place that if/when we find ours, we can then use that power and knowledge to pass it on to others.
Find some mindfulness in your day. I assure you, it will help in all aspects of your aspirations.