Why mindfulness is part of my executive coaching program
For me, mindfulness consists of three simple things:
- Giving your undivided attention to the present moment
- Being open, not judging the present moment
- Having a sense of tenderness, or compassion or love or awe for the present moment.
But as simply as I’ve defined mindfulness, we know, as human beings, actually BEING mindful can be incredibly difficult.
Take, for example, the experience of taking a shower. For many of us, our attention is typically on anything but our shower while we’re in there. We’re too busy creating mental checklists, re-playing a difficult conversation we had earlier, planning our day.
We tend to treat each task as a means to another end, rather than as an experience unto itself. You treat your shower as a means to get ready for work. You treat the process of chopping vegetables as a means to getting the kids fed and ready for bed.
Each time we treat one thing as a means to something else, we rob ourselves of the joy and true meaning of that precious moment.
The same thing applies to our experiences at work.
How many time have you caught yourself multi-tasking at work, responding to emails while half listening to a meeting, or allowing your mind to take off racing while also trying to read a report?
You’re probably not doing any of these tasks to your full capacity, but when you think about it, you also realize you’re likely not enjoying any of them fully either — because you’re not fully present.
Mindfulness + Executive Coaching
I incorporate mindfulness with the executives and career professionals I coach because it helps calm the mind and focus on what’s most important to you.
And knowing what’s most important to you is the key to thriving and loving what you do – at work AND in life.
Humans have been practicing different forms of mindfulness for millennia – literally – including meditation, yoga and breathwork. Thousands of years.
And now scientific research proves something that practitioners have long suspected… that mindfulness physically changes our minds and bodies in ways that we want and need.
- Mindfulness increases the volume of our brains, particularly in the areas responsible for learning, memory, and emotional regulation
- Mindfulness helps slow down aging brains
- Mindfulness calms down our mind’s tendency to wander, which is great for focus, and is also helpful for happiness and anxiety relief.
Mindfulness practices absolutely changed my life. I’m a recovering “milestone chaser,” with a degree from Harvard and an MBA from Wharton, a resume that lists Wall Street companies, management consulting firms, and nearly a decade of climbing up the ladder as an exec at Amazon. I was thriving at work, but I NEVER stopped and focused long enough to ask myself what I wanted.
Mindfulness can take many different forms – meditation, yoga, breathwork, five senses work, even drawing! Now, I incorporate all of those forms and more into my life. They’ve brought me more balance, an ability to carve out time for creativity, friends and family (not just work!), and a sense of profound well-being. Mindfulness also gave me the mental clarity to look within and decide what’s most important to me. This ultimately led me to start my own executive coaching company, Haven Coaching. I couldn’t be happier!
When you work with Haven Coaching, I’ll help you dig in to discover any areas in which you might be unfocused, lacking presence, or needing more clarity. These are areas for which supplementary mindfulness exercises may benefit you (in addition to all of the more “traditional” executive coaching work we’ll do together).
Ways to Begin
Starting or deepening your mindfulness practice – whether through yoga, meditation, or something else entirely – will not only feel good, but it’ll also take you to that next level… at work AND in life.
Next time you’re in the shower, see how long you can be mindful. Place your undivided attention on the warm water touching your skin, the scent of your body wash, the sound of the water. Don’t judge yourself if your mind begins to wander – just notice it. See if maybe even a sense of awe or tenderness or even joy arises as a result. It can be that simple, and that beautiful.
Next time you find your mind racing during a one-on-one meeting, see if you can bring your focus back to something simple — the sound of your colleague’s voice, the rising and falling of your chest as you breathe, or the feeling of your heart beating. Laser focus on the here and now not only improves your enjoyment of the present moment, but it will also bolster your performance with improved listening and better responses.
Watch, too, as the more you practice this kind of mindfulness, the more it seeps into other areas of your life.
Need more 1:1 guidance? Click here to schedule some time with me — I’d love to chat and help you love what you do.