Meditation: The Foundation of Learning to be a Mindful Leader
In November, I attended a 2.5 day Mindful Leadership Summit in Arlington, Va. What an experience it was with 600 people!
Each learning session started with a 1-2 minute silent meditation. Why? What is the purpose of meditation?
- Its purpose is to learn to be present; to acknowledge our distractions and still be “present.”
- Breathing helps us do that.
- Being “present” in the moment allows us to “see” things we wouldn’t otherwise see, and in turn, we can guide/lead others to do the same.
It was clear from the presenters, that meditation is the basis to learning to be a mindful leader. Here are a few highlights from several speakers.
What is a mindful leader?
Janice Marturano, Executive Director of the Institute of Mindful Leadership
One that embodies leadership presence by cultivating:
- focus (to acknowledge distractions without allowing them to be distractions)
- clarity (to see clearly what is here)
- creativity (to remove ourselves from “task-based” focus), and
- compassion (recognition and understanding of suffering in self and others and the choice to act with kindness)in service of others.
Creating a Mindful workplace
Eileen Fisher, Founder and Chief Creative Officer of Eileen Fisher
- Start meetings with quiet time and use chimes. This provides a moment of space to just stop between activities. Then, ask for a personal check-in from everyone.
How to Have an “Employees for Life” Mindset
- Combine employees’ passion with their talents.
- No job titles, no vacation (take the time you need)
- Have pets in the work environment. When a person gets frustrated or angry, go pet an animal for 5 minutes. It immediately reduces one’s frustration and anger.
- Allow people to do meditation.
- Engage people in wellness activities every day.
- All healthy food – no vending machines or soda.
I’ll leave you with two quotes to ponder:
“You cannot achieve being a mindful leader; you can only strive to be.” (Michael Carroll, author of The Mindful Leader and Awake at Work)
“Create a clearance in the deep forest of your life.” (Tara Brach, founder of Insight Meditation Community of Washington)
I will offer additional highlights in my next blog with a special emphasis from Jim Dethmer, Co-Founder of the Conscious Leadership Forum. He provided a practical approach to lead consciously called “Above the Line and Below the Line.” If you are a leader or coach, you do not want to miss this!