Volume 72, March 2007: Mindfulness

Keyzine: An E-zine for Leaders about the People Side of Business

This is a monthly electronic magazine for anyone who wants to be a better leader, coach, facilitator, or simply, to tune up their people skills. It is a complimentary publication, devoted to the next evolution of Quality Thinking.

Publisher: © Key Associates, LLC, 2007 ISSN # 1545-8873

“To live is so startling, it leaves but little room for other occupations …” — Emily Dickinson

“Few things affect our lives more than our faculty of attention.” — B. Alan Wallace

“The greatest discovery of my generation is that human beings can alter their lives by altering their attitudes of mind … The art of being wise is the art of knowing what to overlook.” — William James

“The mindless following of routine and other automatic behaviors lead to much error, pain and a predetermined course of life.” — Ellen M. Langer

IN THIS ISSUE:

  • What’s Hot in Leadership
  • Maintaining Yourself as a Leader
  • Frequently Asked Questions from Leaders
  • Educational Opportunities
  • Useful Websites & Newsletters
  • Articles/Publications

What’s Hot in Leadership

  • Learning to lean into and learn from adversity and negativity – particularly that of your own creation.
  • Cultivating a “mindful” state of being.
  • Being less reactive to the moment.
  • Changing the mindset of business and social relations to one of compassion, joy, and equanimity.
  • Becoming a master question-asker.

Maintaining Yourself as a Leader

Do you find yourself distracted and ill-focused by the dizzying pace of modern business (busyness)? Worrying about the future? Re-processing the past? Mindfulness is an ancient methodology for focusing awareness and attention to the present and to the task at hand. Not judging or rejecting what is happening. Not problem-solving or trying to remove or change negative thoughts. (More below on the practice.) We receive a lot of training on how to develop and use our minds, but we get very little training in how to step out of the mental chatter. Learning how to get out of your mind and into your life, when you need to, is an essential skill in the modern world. Leaders must work to create a more mindful business, fresh, vibrant and creative.

Frequently Asked Questions

“What is ‘mindfulness’?”
The practice of concentration through which awareness (your radar) and attention (your focus) are heightened, allowing you to embrace the present. The past is gone. You can do nothing about it. The future is not yet here so there is no need to worry about it. All you have is Now, the present. Unlike the practices of TM and Zen, which focus on one item, to exclude all other thoughts, this is a training of consciousness to place respectful attention on what is happening at the moment. It gives credence to thoughts, feelings and sensations, without rejection of them or imposition of judgment. Learn more from the site Mindfulness – Your Present Moment and authors Gunaratana (2002) and Wallace (2006).
“What are the benefits of ‘mindfulness’?”
Mindfulness means:
  • being less disturbed by unpleasant experiences
  • overcoming negative thoughts and feelings
  • being less reactive to the moment
  • relating to all experience--positive, negative, and neutral
  • decrease of suffering and increase in well-being
  • less preoccupation with the past or future
  • less “mindlessness” – e.g., rushing, breaking things, spilling, forgetting names after just learning them, etc.

The result can be creative energy, clear-headedness, and appreciative joy – by seeing things freshly, with clarity, and in a calm state of mind. Mindfulness is happiness. If you are not appreciating the present moment, you are not fully alive.

“Isn't this just a trendy technique?”
Actually, there are inherent values and behaviors that resonate with good leadership. And this practice has existed for more than 2500 years. Ways of being that are associated with this practice include:
  • respectful attention
  • loving friendliness
  • acceptance
  • kindness to others and oneself
  • appreciation
  • compassion
  • ethical integrity
  • equanimity
  • insight development
  • appreciative joy
  • a transcendent sense of self, and
  • commitment to action and a purposeful life.
“How can I coach others be more ‘mindful’ and embrace change?”
We can learn from a technique called “Motivational Interviewing” (Miller & Rollnick, 2002). This relates to the leadership talent, "being a master question-asker." Dr. Harry Mills of Optimums Solutions (Altamont Springs, FL) had these ideas, in our interview:
  • Ask open questions.
  • Keep your focus on understanding where the person is at all points.
  • Always check your hypotheses about what the person is thinking/feeling. (Do not assume you know.)
  • Use a process of asking and following their lead.
  • Accept their experience for what it is.
  • Never give advice without asking permission first.
  • Continue to place the interviewee in a position of control.
  • Observe for readiness. Until a person is ready to hear you and gives that permission, it’s wasted effort.

Education

Mindfulness training on-line: Real-World Mindfulness Training.

Learn to engage others in change through Motivational Interviewing: Motivational Interviewing Training Video: A Tool for Learners.

An e-course on easing stress and decreasing the desire for external solutions, such as overeating, overspending, overworking, smoking and drinking: Solutions for Mood, Addiction and Weight.

Learn mindfulness as part of the way leaders maintain themselves: The New Leadership.

Useful Websites & Newsletters

Create your reality through your thoughts: Dream Manifestation Wizard.

Free discussion group for ACT readers: ACT for the Public.

Organize Yourself Online.

Keyzines on related topics: Personal Change, When Enough is Not Enough, Optimism, Renewing Ourselves, Stress Management, and Changing Habits.

Articles/Publications


 

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