My clients are often surprised when I talk about mindfulness, and why it is good for business. They’re used to an environment where being analytical, making quick, tough decisions is a necessity and sign of strength. But incorporating mindfulness provides a balance and perspective that will help make you, your leadership and your business decisions even stronger.
What is Mindfulness?
Jon Kabat-Zinn—considered to be the founder of the Mindfulness—defines mindfulness as:
“Paying attention on purpose
in the present moment,
Sounds simple, right? And yet, it’s something most of us have a tough time doing. Right now, for example—even as you’re reading this post, you may be thinking about an urgent email reply or your next meeting. You may be skeptical about what I’m sharing. You might be excited about what you’re reading, wondering what the rest of the day will bring.
In any of those cases, your focus is drifting from what is happening NOW to all the extraneous thoughts that crop up to distract you—a constant state of distraction has become our new “norm”.
Mindfulness requires us to slow down. Simply put, Mindfulness is paying attention with intention right now, objectively.
The Quality of Non-judgement
What strikes me most about Zinn’s definition of Mindfulness is that it involves non-judgement—in my view, the most critical quality of Mindfulness. Why?
When you don’t judge—and are more objective—and often find yourself less stressed; more productive; in healthier relationships; and more fulfilled.
How much time, energy and effort do you waste when you pass judgement? Not only is it exhausting; it can be very stressful—countless hours spent, dissecting every aspect and nuance—criticizing, sizing up, dismissing—rehashing what was said; why it was said; what was done or not done to you or for you.
When you meet someone for the first time, especially if that meeting feels awkward, will you spend time finding fault with this person, judging her as good or bad? If so, for how long? Minutes? Hours?
Imagine if you put that time to better use, doing something to help you get to know her.
When you talk and listen to others in a way that doesn’t judge them for what they’ve done or not done, you open yourself to relationships that transcend to a new level, thoroughly enjoying the connection you create because there is no worry about good, bad, right or wrong.
Warren Bennis—known as the Godfather of Leadership–was asked: “What is the key quality of any successful CEO?” His answer was “raised eyebrows.” What he meant by this is that the key to successful leadership is curiosity—a sense of wonder.
What makes children so happy? Over not having major responsibilities, the primary factor is that they do not judge people and situations. They are curious, seeking adventure. They want to learn—becoming “first class noticers” of what is going on around them.
Over and above tremendous health benefits, being mindful of the thoughts and emotions you have to any experience helps you begin approaching the world with more openness and curiosity, increasing productivity, finding yourself in healthier relationships, feeling alive…feeling good…
And feeling good is good for business.
Susan Taylor has devoted much of her life to exploring the deeper dimensions of human potential. As CEO of Generon International, Susan collaborates with leaders, teams and organizations to create more effective, advanced, conscious contributions to business and society.
Susan has spent over 20 years of her career partnered with Generon, helping leaders to fulfill their deeper purpose and build coherence, fostering business environments that support human development while delivering extraordinary financial return.