If you are reading these words, perhaps it’s because something has kicked open the door for you, and you’re ready to embrace change. It isn’t enough to appreciate change from afar, or only in the abstract, or as something that can happen to other people but not to you. We need to create change for ourselves, in a workable way, as part of our everyday lives.
Sharon Salzberg, The Power of Meditation
You know that things have changed in the corporate world when meditation, yoga and spiritual practices are being espoused in articles and national news shows. It’s not just a focus of the “New Age Community”. However, where resistance might come up is that many say that only the Whole Foods or Google type companies of the world can embrace practices such as meditation, yoga or allowing for integration of spiritual practices. How does someone who works for a very traditional organization have the opportunity to bring up the discussion of leadership mindfulness when the company clearly is focused on promoting programs that foster traditional leadership?
Here are some ways to help you reframe mindful leadership and create a model that works best for you in the traditional corporate setting:
- Redefine mindfulness. You’re not just a mindful leader when you’re sitting on your yoga mat in a lotus position and om’ing away. Being a mindful leader is about being present to all experiences that you encounter in your day-to-day activities. That means every little irritation, frustration, agitation and overwhelm feeling is there for you to experience. Not just the moments of accomplishment and goal achievement. You don’t just shove away those unpleasant feelings or in the extreme let them out on others. You take a few moments out of your schedule and observe what’s going on. You label it and then allow it to flow through you without trying to immediately fix it (or berate yourself). Embracing your humanness is being mindful.
- Seek out like-minded. Your company might not being willing to offer a lunch-time yoga class onsite and you don’t have the time to get to an outside class during lunch. What can you do then? Given that many yoga followers tout the stress reduction benefits, look for ways how you can accomplish the same without the physical act of doing yoga. Find lunch buddies in whose company you experience the same stress reduction results. These friends may share similar spiritual beliefs as you do, support you in committing to new healthy eating patterns or just plain make you experience many deep belly laughs. It’s about finding ways to make you feel good.
- Bring You into the job. Many of us separate our corporate self from our private life self. This creates split identities where you wish away your life while away on the job, meaning that you live for the weekends and vacations to devote time to your passions. What hobby, interest or passion do you have that fuels you immensely? Look for ways where you can bring your personal passion into the workplace even if it’s just displaying the scrapbook you like you create, a yarn ball and needles or meaningful sports memorabilia. Share with others what you love to do “outside of work” and let them see who you are beyond the corporate façade.
Now if you’re up for a challenge, see how you can start to rock the boat at work a bit and introduce the concept of mindfulness through yoga, meditation, spiritual practices at work or any other ideas that come to mind. Challenging the status quo at work can be a mindful practice in and of itself in the corporate world!
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P.S. If you haven’t had a chance, yet, please check out my new online magazine called Aeracura Magazine. Aeracura Magazine was founded by me with the goal to provide a community and online resource that covers life, business, sustainability, corporate social responsibility, impact, health, food, causes and leadership to call individuals and businesses forth to bring about change in this world in a meaningful and purpose-driven fashion. Aeracura Magazine’s mission is to help bring soul and purpose back into business and life. Social, environmental and economic sustainability and corporate social responsibility are at the core of what we focus on. We’re looking for others to join our community of contributors. Please head over to Aeracura Magazine’s Write for Us page to see if this might be your venue to allow your creative writing skills flow.