Can we as career counselors and coaches help our clients in their career development by being more fully present in the moment? Appreciating the value of turning off our technology and taking time to just ‘think’? Embracing these basics of ‘mindfulness’ as a useful approach to help our clients when job searching and for life in general?
You don’t have to spend hours meditating to be totally in the moment. Often the path to mindfulness is brief, simple, and even unexpected.
My wife asked for an adult coloring book for Christmas this year. I had no idea what that was, but she has one now…and she loves it! Why? I believe it has to do with mindfulness. Being present in the moment. No technology. Tactile. She has to focus which clears her mind. It can be challenging.
I recently enrolled in a three-week online class with Richard Leider, called Discover What’s Next: Living Your Life On Purpose, affiliated with Life Reimagined. What struck me was the power of journaling my thoughts about what is important to me. More importantly, taking time to process my thinking. Hmmmm…not coloring books but clearly a slowing down process.
- Can your clients find their purpose through journaling?
- Can you be a better coach/counselor by taking a few moments daily to write down key thoughts?
Marc Miller with Career Pivot wrote a blog recently about people getting stuck in a “default career pathway.” This means doing whatever job falls in our pathway. How did he get out of his ‘default pathway’? His trigger was always taking time off from work to think and process. He took a four-week vacation and a few years later had surgery that laid him up for awhile. Each time he took off for an extended time, he came back re-energized and clearer on his direction. The lesson for me is that we need TIME and SPACE to think about our situations in order to process clearly.
- Should your clients take a “time and space” break from job searching if they feel burnt out?
- How can you build in a break from “plowing through” your own daily work?
Maine Career Development Association brought Sabrina Woods to the state for her workshop on Holistic Mindfulness Practices. (Learn more) We learned about so many great tips on being mindful in our career counseling/coaching practices that we could use for ourselves and our clients. How can we be better in our practice? What can we do to help our clients who are stressed? We can all be better focused by including some of these in our daily lives. Try one.
(1) take three deep breaths and pay attention to your body. Can you feel it relax after each breath?
(2) take five minutes to just stop and meditate, maybe put on some calming music or pull up www.calm.com on your computer.
The lesson for me is that it does NOT have to be a huge time commitment to feel better.
- Do you have clients who come in and are stressed out? Could you have them try one of these stress relievers, so your session will be more productive?
- Are you running from email to appointments, to meetings? Could you be a better coach/counselor if you took three deep breaths in between appointments and make sure that you are totally focused on the task or person at hand?
I also recently had the good fortune to go on a 100-mile backpack trip with my kindred spirit, backpacking buddy, Rees. It was nine days on the Pacific Crest Trail in southern California on the edge of the Mojave Desert. Not everyone can take such a trip, but I have to say there is nothing like this quality time of walking 12-15 miles on a trail with another person to talk about our lives, with no interruptions from technology. One day we took the afternoon to do ‘walking meditation.’. This was a wonderful afternoon for both of us as we cleared our minds. What always amazes me is the creativity that comes afterward!
- What if you met with a client in a ‘walking meeting’ and you took the first 5 minutes to try ‘walking meditation’?
Not everyone will want to color or backpack 100 miles but…I believe both clients and counselors/coaches can benefit from integrating some of the lessons of mindfulness into our busy lives. Make time to calm yourself, breathe, reflect, and make sure you are totally and completely present. I believe you will be a better counselor/coach because of it.
Jim Peacock is the Principal at Peak-Careers Consulting and writes a weekly email for career practitioners. Peak-Careers offers discussion-based online seminars for career service providers focused on meeting continuing education needs for CCSP, GCDF, and BCC certified professionals, as well as workshops for career practitioners and individual career coaching. He is the author of A Field Guide for Career Practitioners: Helping Your Clients Create Their Next Move
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