How Mindfulness Can Get You Ahead at Work

Mindfulness is a hot topic, often linked to personal growth and a happier outlook. The still and silent act of being mindful may seem better suited to a wellness studio than your busy work place, but many successful business people claim they owe a lot to this practice too.

So, what is mindfulness? It’s taking time out to focus your mind on what’s happening, what you’re doing and where you are – right now. Most of the time, our minds are focused on something that has already happened or planning for something to come. Whether it’s in the past or future, this type of thinking often causes anxiety. Mindfulness is finding a quiet space and paying attention to where your mind is, directing it back when it wanders and observing yourself in the world without reacting to it.

Well that sounds doable but, why does it work? Practicing mindfulness has been shown to reduce stress, enhance performance and increase our attention to self and others. All these things will benefit you in the work space. Here’s how:

  1. Drop your sick leave: Lower stress levels mean you won’t be so prone to picking up illnesses or suffering from exhaustion or burnout.
  2. Get mental clarity: You will be more focused, less easily distracted and more creative and innovative.
  3. Up your compassion and empathy: More understanding and tolerance will help you handle conflict and tricky relationships in a less emotional way.
  4. Lift your confidence: You will have greater self-acceptance and self-control allowing a more dignified and controlled reaction to situations. It will also help you to accept criticism gracefully and learn from it.
  5. Improve your listening: You will be able to listen without distraction and so understand things quickly and pick up nuances.
  6. Raise your profile: You will be modelling impressive behaviour that others will notice and want to copy.

Mindfulness may be a current buzzword but it’s been around for centuries and has some powerful advocators:

  • Larry Brilliant, former director of Google, spent two years in the Himalayas in his 20s, learning meditation. He emphasises peace of mind as an enabler of success.
  • Allon Raiz, CEO of South African business incubator Raizcorp, has benefitted from mindfulness for years. He claims it allows him to understand a business problem or challenge outside of his own preconceptions.
  • Oprah believes that 20 minutes of stillness a day puts her in a place from which she can create her best work and best life.
  • Arianna Huffington of Huffington Post Media Group says, ‘Stress-reduction and mindfulness don’t just make us happier and healthier, they’re a proven competitive advantage for any business that wants one’.

Some companies, like Goldman Sachs and Raizcorp, are embracing this practice and offering employees meditation and mindfulness training. Others will take longer to incorporate mindfulness into their space and it may take employees, like you, to make it part of the culture. So, go on, commit to 15 minutes a day for two weeks and see if you can feel the difference.

Sources:

https://www.theguardian.com/careers/careers-blog/2015/apr/21/mindfulness-meditation-can-boost-your-career-and-help-you-get-a-job

http://aboutmeditation.com/mindfulness-at-work/

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2014/12/23/famous-people-mindfulness-meditation-2014_n_6339456.html?slideshow=true#gallery/389996/2

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2014/12/23/famous-people-mindfulness-meditation-2014_n_6339456.html?slideshow=true#gallery/389996/14

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.za/entry/business-meditation-executives-meditate_n_3528731

http://www.fin24.com/Finweek/Featured/why-sa-corporates-are-training-employees-to-wake-up-to-the-present-20170622

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