Every day, I try to be a better student of mindfulness. I am not always great at it.
Like any student, I’ve been studying the experts. One expert I’ve found helpful is Ray Williams whose book called Eye of the Storm: How Mindful Leaders Can Transform Chaotic Workplaces talks about mindfulness and mindful leadership. There are so many great take aways from the wisdom shared in Eye of the Storm, but the concept demonstrating vulnerability as a strength really hit home for me. So many leaders view vulnerability as a weakness – I know I did (or, do) – but the power of reversing that, and demonstrating it as a strength is really powerful.
But, it’s my other new favorite read that really got me thinking – Mark Manson’s The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life. It’s great because, as he points out, you only have a limited number of “F”s to give. Who cares? Walk away. Let it go. We get so wrapped up in the art of “giving an F” that it derails us from our actual purpose and what we are trying to accomplish.
But how does selectively “giving an F” and the practice of mindfulness relate to leadership? As the Founder of VISA, Dee Hock, said “the first and paramount responsibility of anyone who purports to manage is to manage self: One’s own integrity, character, ethics, knowledge, wisdom, temperament, words and acts. Without management of self, no one is fit for leadership.”
Mindfulness is intentionally being present and aware, with control over your attention and without judging. When I am here, I am here. I have control over what I pay attention to, and I accept things as they are. I don’t watch people coming in and say, “I don’t think that person looks very nice” or “I saw that person have three drinks last night.” Mindfulness practitioners just don’t do that. Being mindful is being intentional at all times. It is much harder to be mindful when you are under extreme stress, but that is perhaps the most important time for us to connect with ourselves and pause – and find a way to be aware of our actions and interactions.
Over the next few weeks, I’ll be sharing my own mindfulness journey by exploring why mindfulness matters, the benefits of mindfulness, the characteristics of Mindful Leaders and tips to becoming a Mindful Leader. In the Fall, we’ll put it altogether in a Mindful Leadership webinar.
I hope you’ll follow along!