I talk an awful lot about what mindfulness looks like in theory. That the mindful leader brings calm and equanimity to problem solving. She understands the individual strengths of each of her team members. She knows where to focus her time and energy.
But how does that look in the real world, where the best-laid plans can fall apart in an instant and personalities come in all shapes and sizes?
Rather than give you an example, I’m challenging you to find out for yourself.
This week, pick a meeting (I’m sure you’re going to a meeting this week) and set your mind to pay attention. Try these things specifically:
- What kind of energy are you bringing to the meeting? Are you excited, tired, bored? Intense or passive? How does that energy feel inside you?
- What energy do the others bring? Is any one person radically different from the rest of the group? Does the energy shift as the meeting begins, progresses and wanes?
- What goes through your mind when someone brings up a point you agree with? One you disagree with? What do you feel in your body in that moment? How do you decide whether to speak up or keep quiet?
- Who keeps everyone on task? How do they do it specifically? Does everyone leave with a clear takeaway or assignment? Do you feel clear on what you are to do, and are you comfortable with it inside?
- Write your observations down. Note what you learned. What you noticed that you hadn’t before, how your body and mind react to what goes on around you. Was it difficult to remain attentive?
Notice I’m not telling you to “meditate.” Just to pay attention — to yourself and to others — and gain a deeper awareness of what’s going on.
Every moment of our lives is a chance to pay greater attention. To see things with greater depth and clarity. How we choose to take advantage is up to us, but the opportunity is there.
Mindful leaders know when and how to pay attention. Through meditation, yes. But also out in the world, when the stakes are real and their choices have an impact.
Start today. You can do it.