Can you really become more effective at work by meditating? Absolutely.
Leadership is not defined by title, but by what you bring to everything you do. Leadership is about being the best version of yourself, motivating others and adding value to all around you. We all can be leaders.
How can meditation help? The benefits of meditation have been studied and supported by leading neurologists who have demonstrated that regular meditation practice actually changes brain structure, verifying scientifically-reported cognitive and psychological benefits that go beyond just relaxation. Meditation can make you aware of what is holding you back and reveal how to break your existing patterns and remove your barriers to success. Plus, you can experience less stress and more joy in doing so.
This book takes the wisdom of 13 business thought leaders, identifies 13 universal traits of effective leaders, and pairs those traits with a variety of meditation techniques, many of which are thousands of years old. These 13 traits are grouped into four foundational pillars supported by a daily meditation practice: Awareness, Connection, Perspective and Potential.
Building Awareness. Meditation is a practice of using concentration and focus techniques to be more aware in the present moment more of the time. Simple practices such as a focus on the breath or focus on walking or any of your senses take your mind out of its day-to-day pattern. This gives you the opportunity to observe what fills the void, both externally and internally. Over time, you will experience moments of stillness or quiet mind.
While more aware, you will see situations more clearly and with greater context. You may notice changes or trends in the marketplace that significantly impact your business, customer dissatisfaction before they stop ordering, morale of a valued employee before he or she departs without warning, how fear or self-doubt influence your behavior (or inability to take action) or innovative creative ideas that add value to your workplace or the world. You may become more aware of your thoughts and actions within the context of a greater purpose.
Making Connections. In business, connection is everything. It is how customers and employees are satisfied, how sales are made and how brands are built.
Effective leaders are able to communicate well with others and listen at least as much as they talk. Too often, a barrier to effective communication is the baggage we bring to an interaction from our past experiences. Meditation can clear your clouded lens to facilitate more and closer connections.
Once the lens is clear, it is easier to observe others with greater attunement. What we observe is that different people are motivated differently and have different communication styles. Being aware of those differences can assist you in more successfully motivating others.
There is only so much we can accomplish alone. Effective leaders develop successful relationships. An organization’s overall success is based on the relationships created within the organization and with important stakeholders outside the organization. It takes a team and a team orientation to succeed.
Meditation can help you practice listening, and learning to truly respond instead of reacting. It can help you in developing relationship intuition and knowing who should be your focus as you develop relationship and build teams. The result of meditation will be a stronger ability to develop relationships that have greater meaning.
Maintaining Perspective. Effectiveness in business is based in large part on how we process and utilize information. Meditation provides a moment of calm within the chaos so that whatever is most important can rise to the surface. When what is generally in the background arises in awareness, we can observe and later process these insights. Meditation provides access to our wisdom within, and can increase balance and equanimity so you can more successfully process that wisdom with context and implement that wisdom, thereby increasing your influence at work, at home and in your community.
Stress has become such a roadblock for many of us. It can impact our actions, our reactions, and our health and well-being. Meditation practice provides a break from the events that trigger stress, as well as greater perspective to avoid the same events retriggering the stress response.
From a less stressed and more balanced mindset, with the most important information having risen into our consciousness, we are able to improve our decision-making and increase our positive influence within the organization and the world at large.
Achieving Potential. Meditation puts you in touch with your true authentic self -– the “self” you are when no one else is watching. This “self” acts as a witness during meditation, whether that is observing mental pictures, thoughts, feelings, body discomfort, or something more abstract.
Meditation can help you become more aware of your strengths and the opportunities available to you. This facilitates putting yourself in a position for your strengths to shine, to take advantage of opportunities for growth and to become more effective. Meditation can also reinforce hard-to-describe intangible qualities that seem to characterize true leaders; passion, effort, perseverance and resiliency. Sitting regularly in meditation is hard to do. You must want to do it. You must actually do it. You must keep doing it when you don’t want to. You must return to doing it when you cease. You must demonstrate grit.
Where your mind goes, your attention follows. As you utilize your grit traits to pursue your vision, you will encounter barriers, as well as elements of yourself and your organization that require change. Willingness to change and continue with a growth mindset facilities your ability to add more value to others in your organization; the organizations in which you are active become more effective. The world becomes a better place. That is your potential.
This book offers you the tools to develop your own meditation practice based upon which types of meditation contemplative techniques work best for you at this time.
A daily meditation practice is training for your mind as physical exercise is training for your body. If becoming a more effective leader is your will, meditation is your way. One breath at a time.
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