The importance of being mindful

Enabling better decision-making to help your bottom line

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Our Western culture has taught many of us that being successful means you must move faster and do more. But what if this was a lie?

What if, instead, 20 percent of what you did had 80 percent impact on your bottom line, just because you were more mindful? While many people think of Buddhists, yoga, meditation, and delta binaural beats when it comes to mindfulness, that is only a limited definition. Mindfulness is the psychological process of bringing one’s attention to experiences occurring in the present moment.

When we lack mindfulness, we miss cues at the tip of the iceberg telling us an opportunity or potential disaster is about to occur. This opportunity may be a cue in a shift in the marketplace to tell us to adjust our strategic plan; or a cue from our customer who is subtly letting us know they are dissatisfied and looking elsewhere. Missing these cues can have an extreme adverse effect on our bottom line. In hindsight we see the signs, but we have already passed the exit or entrance leading us to a better choice.

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When we move about our life like a bull in a china shop, we can often become unaware of our surroundings and the imprint we leave behind. Moving about like an eagle, on the other hand, we soar high above the chaos and are wise on when and where to land. Mindfulness allows us to go about our business more intentionally, fearlessly and efficiently so we can make choices in alignment with our vision, values and goals.

Here are three ways you can become more mindful and positively affect your bottom line:

  1. Quiet your mind and be in the present moment
    Quieting your mind does not mean you have to sit with your legs folded and hum. It could mean you: drive in the car without music, take a longer shower or bath, go for a walk without your headphones, or go golfing without taking anyone along. The key is to quiet your mind and be more aware in the present moment.
    Harvard neuroscientist Sara Lazar, Ph.D., conducted a study to measure the effect on our brain when we take 20 minutes a day to quiet our mind and pay attention to the present moment. MRI scans showed, after just 8 weeks, the brain regions involving learning and memory, emotional regulation, sense of self and clear thinking were increased, while the region of the brain that elicited our “fight-flight” reactions shrunk!
    This means you will no longer be wasting your time reacting to situations, but instead will be mindful to respond with greater clarity and alignment to what matters most.
  2. Detach from your fear for greater clarity
    Let’s face it: Stuff happens at work several times a day to flip your trigger! It could be something someone said or did or didn’t say or do that sends us into a reaction.
    Whether someone stole your idea at work, or didn’t follow through as promised, learning to mindfully detach from your emotional reactions will give you greater clarity.
    This can be done with my S.T.O.P. Technique.
    S – Slow down and breathe more deeply.
    T – Tune in to what just happened.
    O – Observe how you feel threatened.
    P – Perceive a new possibility to let go of your fears and just show up to be your best self.
  3. Develop curiosity
    When you become more mindful, you will be more present and less reactive. This will allow you to notice more cues at the tip of the iceberg. As we increase our awareness and mindfulness, we can often become judgmental. Judgment masks our fear and keeps us stuck in what we are observing, believing it will never change. Curiosity, on the other hand, allows us to wonder how we can turn a lemon into lemonade.
    When you notice something that otherwise would trigger your fear and judgment, simply say to yourself, “Hmm…isn’t that interesting! I wonder, ‘How might I handle this in alignment with my vision, values and goals?’” This mindful thought will allow you to let go of your fear and transform the situation into what you desire most.
    By being more mindful, we can make more effective decisions in the moments of choice that matter!

Challenge: Where have you missed cues at the tip of the iceberg? How can mindfulness help you increase your bottom line?

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