Mindfulness at Work

Looking to raise your game with meditation?

Let’s first address the elephant in the room. Yes, you can raise your performance by bringing calm and clarity to work. This doesn’t mean that you bring your handheld zen garden to the office and meditate in the lunchroom everyday, or that you eschew a high-energy environment and the desire to create and move forward. What it does mean is that it’s time to stop wasting time by engaging in or creating drama and leaving unsolved items on the shelf. It’s time to approach your days with a new level of intention and focus. It’s time to find a new you.

The concept of mindfulness has been getting more and more attention, which is a really good thing. What does it mean? Essentially, it means that you’re present in this moment and paying attention to what is going on now without reference to the past or the future. Yes, it’s easier said than done, but with practice, it’s a journey taken one step at a time with rewards all along the way.

If you really want to kick ass in your career and be the best version of yourself that you can be, there is little to be accomplished by bringing ego and drama to work. Bringing these unnecessary influences to work gets everyone wrapped up in the drama and the focus shifts from what is important to wasting time and energy on things that are not essential to moving the business forward. Whether you’re the CEO or an entry-level professional, a clear mind and intention to meet your objectives will put you head and shoulders above the rest. Quite simply, you will become part of the solution and no longer part of the problem.

So where do you begin? That’s both the easiest and hardest part. You have to PAY ATTENTION. You have to meet the present moment with a curiosity and openness to the truth. If you always see things as black and white, this will be difficult. You must free yourself from the notion that things can be either "good" or "bad;" "off-track" or "the way." Simply approach whatever is happening as what is.

Once you open yourself to the moment, you can interact with a new sense of freedom and possibility. Just think of the last meeting you attended. Did it go as planned? Were you “happy” with the outcome? Were some people annoying or unhelpful? What I’m proposing is that you forget about these concepts and simply look for the truth and intention behind the judgements. Act and interact based on a less muddled perspective.

Think about it – are your opinions or judgements helping to move the business forward or are you part of what’s in the way. If you can see through all of the BS, then you have a one-way ticket to being awesomer and a beacon for others to follow in your lead regardless of your role.

The first step is to try and be present each day. At first you’ll find that you can only be present 2% of the day, but if you stick with the practice, 2% becomes 5%, then 10%, and before you know it you’ll be at 60% and you’ll feel completely different. And those around you will take notice.

A journal can be really helpful in processing all of the thoughts and information that will be flowing through your mind. Use your journal to state your intentions in the morning and also reflect on how the day went. Which people, meetings, or activities pulled you out of presence and into the past or future? What created fear or anxiety versus joy? What percentage of the time were you present today?

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Once you have an idea of what’s creating joy versus anxiety, follow the “why train” to gain a better understanding for why something brings joy or brings stress. You’ll find that the answers are almost always how we perceive things and most of these perceptions have been cultivated subconsciously over the years. Many people become robot versions of themselves whose behavior is based on prior programming.

So if you wish to break free and create your days, career, and life with intention, find an instructor or an app (like Headspace) and learn how to meditate. Then start paying attention to discover your programming. Hold on to what serves you and let go of what’s holding you back. A whole world will unfold right before your eyes by bringing mindfulness and an openness to possibility into each present moment.

**Download this helpful guide with 12 mindfulness tips that can be applied at work and beyond.**

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Dave Buckland