On the eve of our public unveiling of the Mindful Order of Being, 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 companies and even the heads of state that have a simple question to ask themselves. “How do you balance 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 levels 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 achieving societal gains of success and fortune?
As one such entrepreneur and leader, I know that the answers are not easy to come by. And putting them into practice is 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’re taught that early on. We’ve been taught that “leaders attract great talent,” and that level of attraction is what really becomes the powerful driving force behind 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 the all-consuming task of “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 provides the necessary 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 for you, then I will continue with three tips that have helped me get better at this (as I am still far from great), that may help awaken the soul so required in modern day leadership. If not, then I’ll leave you with this thought: “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 in the 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 everyday and into the bigger, broader picture of life is key. Books like Stillness Speaks, or Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind can get your mind into 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 the 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
If you’re reading this article, that 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 of your existing one – not just a quick fix. Daily yoga would be one example, meditation yet another. Silent walks and even the reading mentioned above would fall into that category.
Even in the workplace, you can start doing this. Small things, like taking two minutes of mindful silence before you start any meeting of three or more people. It’s incredible what that two minutes can do for everyone in the room, including yourself.
But this has to be a 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 cannot be wiped away with the justification of “I don’t have enough time today,” since that will ALWAYS be the case. So just make time, and do not waver. 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.
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: reflecting on the positivity of life, every day. Simply take five minutes to think about the day behind you, and give yourself a moment to find one or two elements you really liked about your actions in the day and also a moment or two you’d like to improve on so they don’t get lost in the mix. This will allow you to be both grateful for all that you have and are able to do, and also give some closure for things that didn’t go so well. And you can commit to improving them.
My mother used to hold us back from eating dinner until we were able to recite the following: a) what we liked about our day, b) what we liked about someone at the table, and c) what we liked about ourselves. Not bad for a 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 who are trying to find their path and get to that place. Then if/when we find ours, we can 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 in life and business.