The concept and practice of mindfulness is becoming all the rage. Our fast-paced, high-tech lives have left many of us too stressed out to be happy. And it’s becoming increasingly difficult to find meaning and purpose in what we do, something becoming increasingly important for future generations. Mindfulness at work is a recipe for productivity and can enhance a sense of purpose.
Mindfulness can be summed up as “present moment awareness.” It’s the practice of being in the “here and now.” Most people practice mindfulness with meditation or another mindful sitting so that they can focus on their breath, observe their thoughts, and emotions and gain perspective on where they are in that present moment.
However, there are other ways you can practice mindfulness, such as gardening, exercising, cleaning, being with friends, having a cup of coffee, etc. Really, with enough practice and focus, mindfulness is something you can, and maybe should, be doing at all times.
But how do mindfulness and business go together? In many ways, our high-speed, high-stress lifestyles are a product of business having too prominent a role in our lives. The push to grow and do more is a huge cause of stress. Yet mindfulness and business do not need to be separate and embracing mindfulness can actually make your business better.
Related reading: "Can Mindfulness Help You Run Your Business?"
Consider the following ways you can make mindfulness work in business.
Mindfulness in Business #1: Understand Impact
One of the central tenets of mindfulness is recognizing the impact of our actions. Even though it can be hard to see, each one of us is one small part of a much larger, interdependent organism called Life. When we lose sight of this, we tend to fall into the trap of thinking that what we do doesn’t really matter.
But this is simply not true. Every action has a consequence, whether positive or negative. And that consequence is not always felt immediately after the action. Yet if we’re mindful of this, we can act in a way that minimizes negative consequences and maximizes the positive.
The application of this in business should be rather obvious: there is no decision too small. Every time you interact with employees or customers, or every time you make a decision, you are having an impact on the success of your business. If you blow off a customer meeting, he or she may forgive you, but your reputation will suffer, and this is something that can hurt you down the line.
This also plays out in how you treat coworkers and employees. Reacting too harshly to something, or being insensitive when someone comes to you with a concern, might not seem like a big deal at the moment, but it will impact how people perceive you. And the impact of this will be felt later on, especially if these types of interactions repeat themselves.
Mindfulness in Business #2: Learn to Detach
Another core principle of mindfulness is detachment. When we meditate or sit mindfully, it gives us the chance to observe our thoughts and feelings. We can see better how they arise. But perhaps more importantly, we see how unproductive emotions disappear if we choose not to engage with them. We can convert them to an experience or helpful interaction with results we desire.
One of the worst things you can do for your business is to act rashly. If something happens, positive or negative, you need to be mindful of how you react.
For example, let’s say you lose a big client. Your initial thoughts and emotions will likely be of anger or worry. This reaction may cause you to try to learn why you lost that client, and then to seek out retribution.
It’s completely normal to think this way after such an event. But if you immediately engage with these emotions, the consequences may come back to bite you. What if you find out the client had an argument with one of your sales reps, and in anger you yell at and fire the rep? Then, later on, you may find out the client had done something inappropriate, and that your employee was justified to act the way they did. Now, you’ve lost a good employee, and you could have also hurt the confidence other employees and clients have in you.Through mindfulness, we can learn to be more aware of ourselves. We begin to be able to recognize when unwanted thoughts or emotions are controlling our actions, and this allows us to take a step back and make sure what we’re doing is really the best thing. The positive impact this can have on your business is enormous, and it’s something worth applying whenever you can.
Mindfulness in Business #3: Reduce Stress by Being Mindful
Stress is one of the major health concerns of our times. With increasingly demanding personal and professional lives, it’s easy to get stressed out. Sometimes, when we’re stressed, we feel more productive. A looming deadline can be a great way to kick things into high gear.
But not all types of stress are created equal. Too much stress causes you to tire out, and the effects of this stress can be felt in all aspects of your life, from your job to your relationships.
Finding out ways to reduce the levels of stress in your life and in your job will make your business more successful. And mindfulness has been proven to be an effective way to reduce stress.
This stress reduction is linked to many of the things we’ve been talking about. Mindfulness helps us to put things into perspective, and it also helps us take a step back and allow things to happen without always engaging in our thoughts and emotions. Practicing mindfulness and encouraging employees to do the same is a great way to reduce stress in the workplace and make your business better.
Try Introducing Mindfulness into Your Business
Mindfulness is a theory and a concept, but it’s also a practical way to live your life. And it can be a useful tool for helping you run your business. It asks you to consider the impact of your actions, learn to detach from thoughts and emotions, and also to remove stress from your life. All of this combines into a solid approach for helping to make your business better.
To find out more about transforming your organizational culture or increasing mindfulness and emotional intelligence in your teams and leaders, visit Heartmanity for Business.