Mindfulness at Work—3 ways to get started

Being aware of what is happening to you in the present moment without judgment or immediate reaction.  It sounds so simple.  The noticing and awareness part is one thing—but without judgment or immediate reaction?  This requires practice:  To notice when someone is pushing your button and take it in as information, but to not get caught up in the emotion of it.  To be an observer of yourself in the world and not judge if what you observe is good or bad.

We are so caught up in the “busyness” of life, that practicing Mindfulness appears antithetical to producing the results and productivity required in our roles.  Of course, nothing could be further from the truth.

When you notice and are aware of what is happening without judgment, you release yourself from patterns of behavior based on past experience, your dispositional tendencies, and your prejudices that limit your response.  When you do this, you have a myriad of choices for how to respond or react.  When mindful, you are able to choose a higher quality experience from your now unlimited choices.  The benefits to your own health, success, and productivity are rewards enough.

Practicing Mindfulness

Ready to practice some Mindfulness in your own life?  Here are three ways to get started:

  1. Consider an important goal, task, or situation you currently have on your priority list.
  2. Notice the physical sensation in your body that occurs just by thinking about it.  Does your stomach turn, your jaw clench, your chest tighten, your forehead frown?  Do you break into a smile, have butterflies in your stomach, or feel your pulse race?  Your body notices how you feel before you do!
  3. Now notice the emotion attached to the physical feeling.  Is it positive or negative?  That’s judgment.  An emotion is your opinion of the physical sensation you are experiencing.  What if you were to let go of it and simply notice?  This would present you with a myriad of more choices than the one that so automatically came to your awareness.

Ripple effect with others

Donna, a participant in a recent Optimal Motivation workshop, told me that a major action step she committed to at the end of the session was to practice Mindfulness at work.  Being a woman in a leadership role in a manufacturing environment, Donna described herself as extroverted, strong, vocal, and quick to react.  She began taking a breath before calls and meetings; rather than immediately reacting to people and situations, she observed what was happening as “data.”

Donna reported that after a month of this practice her 17-year-old daughter said to her, “Mom, you seem really different; calmer.”  Donna was amazed that her practice had filtered throughout her life and that even her teenage daughter had noticed.

I hope you will experiment with Mindfulness.  Google it.  Check out the research by Kirk Warren Brown.  Travel to India and study with a yogi.  Or better yet, join us for an Optimal Motivation session and discover how Mindfulness can help you experience greater energy, vitality, and sense of positive well-being.

About the author:

Susan Fowler is one of the principal authors—together  with David Facer and Drea Zigarmi—of The Ken Blanchard Companies’ new Optimal Motivation process and workshop.  Their posts appear on the first and third Monday of each month.

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