A mindfulness colleague shared with me several months ago the importance of demystifying mindfulness. She said we need to break down the definition of mindfulness and make it real for people, tangible, and relevant.
So, this is what I did in a recent session I facilitated for IT leaders on Cultivating Mindful Leadership. We briefly discussed the core elements of mindfulness:
- being present,
- aware of distractions and bring our attention back to our breath (or moment),
- to receive whatever happens, non-judgmentally.
I divided the group into 3 sub-groups. Each sub-group took one of the mindful elements, e.g., being present. They discussed, what does being present mean? What does that look or feel like when you experience that from another person? What impact does that have on you and the situation you are in?
We debriefed and they were clearly able to describe what their mindful element looked like in their work environment. They all had experienced it and realized the positive impact it made on them.
This served as a transition for the remaining part of the seminar – As a leader, how do I cultivate these mindful elements on a consistent basis?
I find that it is an ongoing challenge to find the appropriate language and approach in helping leaders learn what mindfulness is and how to cultivate it in their leadership development. This is especially true when all you have is 60-90 minutes.
I welcome your thoughts as to what works for you.