How much control do you think you have over your life? During any given day, do you have control over much of anything, really? Well, maybe a little. However, the real question is (and be honest with yourself here): Do you feel like you need to be in control of everything around you all the time? The difference between being in control of your own mind and being in control of your environment is night and day. Let’s pinpoint some of the key things involved in healthy control over your mind versus unhealthy control over the environment.
The one extremely obvious point to note is that one version of control turns your focus inward, while the other version of control turns your focus outward. Why does this matter?
Have you ever tried to control the ocean? That would be impossible for one person to do. And you know as well as I do that barking orders or yelling at the ocean wouldn’t change a thing. It would simply continue on its course, ebbing and flowing in its natural rhythm.
However, you can go within and make the decision to go with the flow of the water. This allows for collaboration and harmony rather than control and force.
We could learn a lot from the ocean. Actually, we could learn a lot from water in general.
Becoming Like Water
Water, though flexible, is powerful, steady, and persistent as it carves out its own path. It is confident (have you ever seen water hesitate?), reliable, and typically stays put unless it gets too hot, in which case it evaporates and eventually falls back to the earth. No matter how you look at it, though, water is always present in the now because it has no mind to think thoughts of worry about the future or regret about the past.
1. The present is everything.
When you focus your attention in the present moment, you begin to notice details and spaces that you may not have noticed before. Time may even stretch out for you. This is because you have found a state of being completely focused and present and your thoughts aren’t a part of this focus.
Should you notice your thoughts wandering, just bring your focus back to your breath. The breath is vital to us, not only for staying alive, but also for connecting with our inner selves and balancing us out.
2. Breathing is powerful.
Think about it. With each breath you take, millions of tiny cells carry oxygen to every part of your body to keep it functioning properly. If any part of your body loses oxygen, your body will begin to shut down. If your brain loses oxygen for too long, it dies and can no longer function.
Breathing is life. If you’d like to do some mindfulness breathing, breathe in through your nose, hold for four, then out through your mouth, hold for four. You can count out four seconds, and then as your lungs become stronger and grow in capacity, you may begin to increase your count.
3. Life is liquid.
Just like water is liquid life, life is fluid like water. You may be able to see the big things coming and prepare for them, kind of like large rocks, waterfalls, or a boulder in a river, but you can’t always see all of the little obstacles hidden beneath the surface, nor can you foretell what other unforeseen things may interfere with the flow of the river.
You must remain flexible. If you aren’t able to go with the flow and work with it, your entire life experience will feel like an uphill battle of “making” things happen. If you choose instead to consider multiple options for multiple potential circumstances or outcomes, you will already have a higher chance of success because you’re addressing the problem creatively. Master this and you will be able to handle anything life throws at you!
4. Maybe the world does revolve around you… just a little.
By that, of course, I mean YOUR world. This is true for every person on the planet; think of yourself as a smaller universe within a larger one, within a larger one, within a larger one. Each level is within another level, all the way on up to the entire expanding universe and all the way down to the tiniest atom.
Knowing this, you can approach people you lead in a way that takes their perspective (“the world revolves around me”) into consideration while also helping the whole. Your own perspective will broaden the more you understand this, so try to look at everything from as many angles as possible.
5. Nobody else is really any of your business.
When you spend the majority of your time worrying about what someone else is doing, saying, or thinking, you hand away your power over yourself on a silver platter. If someone else is constantly worried about what you’re doing, saying, or thinking, they have given you power over them and it isn’t always pretty for either person.
Instead, focus on what you’re doing and staying in the moment while you’re doing it so that you can milk it for everything it has to teach you and show you by studying the details. This is how to remain mindful while you’re working on anything, whether you naturally enjoy it or not.
Thanks so much for reading! I certainly hope that this article helps you become a more mindful leader than before.
To learn more about the Mindfulness Movement and the International Mindfulness Federation, please visit:
As the New Year hits, most of us turn to recapping the year behind us, then setting goals for the year to come. Goals are fantastic as they help us set a direction. If you don't know where you are trying to go, how do you ever know if you get there?
When I think about resiliency as a goal, I think of being resilient as building a better foundation, so that we are more able to adapt, flex, and grow through the things life brings our way. Being resilient means demonstrating our ability to effectively and easily navigate our lives.
We have all heard the motto; "It is not what happens to us, but how we respond that matters." I am forever working to increase both my own and my children's level of resiliency. I want us to be prepared for those times when we may be knocked around, or even down. I want us to get back up, dust ourselves off, and have a reserve of energy to make what we want happen.
If you wish to take a look at your level of resiliency (or how well you bounce back), try taking a look at some of these aspects of your life.
Try to slow your pace a little. Stop, look, and listen, so that you understand what is really happening vs. what story you have built around the situation. The story is not tangible but will drive our emotions and therefore our actions. Be deliberate in the things you focus on.
Resiliency is a great goal. With a little focus, you can build it and be a better person for having it.
All the best!
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We just received word that our flagship Executive Coaching Training Program (CMEC) was approved by the International Coach Federation! We can now award 15 CCEUs (credit hours) toward coaching certifications with the ICF. This is a wonderful compliment to our SHRM certifications.
This is such a beautiful reflection on our entire team. Congratulations to all of you!
Many thanks to all of you for your support over the years. We are so blessed…
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Founder and CEO
According to Gallop (and other leading survey firms) here is the reality:
What do you think of these smelling salts?!
Coaching can address all of these issues…in fact; it may well be the ONLY thing that can cure these workplace “ills.”
If you don’t have a coaching strategy in your organization, I can guarantee you one thing—these statistics will not go down…
Coaching is the “cure.” Isn’t it time you used coaching to focus on your most important asset…your people?
A. Drayton Boylston
Founder and CEO
Executive Coaching University
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Are Leading or just Managing?
Pretty sad facts.
Guess what? They more than likely apply to your organization too.
If you manage people, you own this!
What’s happening within our workforce to make these statistics a reality?
In the United States employee engagement only averages 30%. That's it.
It comes down to poor leadership.
We have spent so much energy creating “good managers” that we have become disengaged with what it means to be a good leader.
Managing comes from a need to produce an outcome, which of course, is important. However, when we can move to a place of leading those around us the organizational momentum transforms. More than anything employees want to make a contribution. Once they feel that they are, they stay...and they stay engaged. Which boosts your bottom line.
If you have the management skills without the leadership skills your career will plateau at some point. That is a fact.
The soft skills that good leaders possess are going to be in high demand as the battle for top talent continues to increase. Are you ready?
Want to learn how to become a better leader? Click here for details.
Coaching In The Workplace - Training for Executives, Managers, and HR Professionals
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While our time together progressed, my client must have glanced towards, or checked in some way, her “smart phone” three or four times over the course of our first fifteen minutes.
I commented on her split attention and asked her to turn off the phone and just be focused on our time together for the next forty five minutes – fully focused upon our work. The look on her face would have lead someone not knowing my request, to think I had asked her to do something exceptionally distasteful…maybe even illegal!
Through our discussion around my request it became quite clear that she had NEVER turned off her phone – it was always on. This meant she was always connected, always available, always “on.”
She explained that this level of being available and connected was the status quo at her corporation and essentially had been the status quo since she was at University. “What if I miss something really important?” she asked. “I’m not productive if I’m not juggling a number of issues, projects, or conversations at once!” she stated.
This multitasking misconception arises quite often, especially with high performers who see their success as driven by the ability to do many tasks at the same time.
Yet, there is a downside to always being “on.” Consider:
Is it possible that any of the above might contribute to the 33% worker productivity rate in the U.S? 33%!!!
There are also other, more personal costs. This particular client was referred to me due to increasing conflicts between her staff and those in her chain of command – she had become “hard to work with” and was close to losing the job she so valued.
Additionally, her marriage was on the verge of divorce and she had been diagnosed with digestive/intestinal issues primarily caused by stress.
Coincidence? Not likely!
Sound familiar? Chances are if you are reading this then you have experienced, or know someone close to you who has experienced, a very similar chain of events.
Take time to focus within the moment, express gratitude, and disconnect at least once daily. You will find you are actually more productive, healthier, and happier. Then lead all those around you to do the same!
Director of Special Projects