Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Is Mindfulness the Real Secret to Career Success?

If there's one trend that has continued to grow in popularity in the business world it's mindfulness.

I've written on the subject many times, and interviewed many experts, including Deepak Chopra. CEOs and entrepreneurs swear that mindfulness -- living in the moment -- is doing wonders for their careers. They report they are less stressed, are able to make better decisions and are more open to new ideas because they exist in a non-judgmental state.

These leaders are encouraging rank-and-file employees to adopt the practice, and I've heard from many such workers that they are trying to do just that. (Some say they love it, others think it's a waste of time).

Whatever your personal opinion of mindfulness, it's not going away. Studies are showing the impact mindfulness has on our brains and on our decision-making. Companies such as SAP and Aetna are training thousands of employees in mindfulness practices, and even open meetings with short meditations.

If you've never given meditation a try -- or halfheartedly tried and failed --  the Mindful folks have some words of advice on how to get started: 

  1. Set aside some time. You don’t need a meditation cushion or bench, or any sort of special equipment to access your mindfulness skills—but you do need to set aside some time and space.
  2. Observe the present moment as it is. The aim of mindfulness is not quieting the mind, or attempting to achieve a state of eternal calm. The goal is simple: we’re aiming to pay attention to the present moment, without judgement. Easier said than done, we know.
  3. Let your judgments roll by. When we notice judgments arise during our practice, we can make a mental note of them, and let them pass.
  4. Return to observing the present moment as it is. Our minds often get carried away in thought. That’s why mindfulness is the practice of returning, again and again, to the present moment.
  5. Be kind to your wandering mind. Don’t judge yourself for whatever thoughts crop up, just practice recognizing when your mind has wandered off, and gently bring it back.
The one thing that practitioners of mindfulness say over and over is that it takes practice. They advise that this is something you're going to have to adopt as part of your personal and professional development if you want to experience its benefits.

Do you use mindfulness? Has it helped your career?

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