In our ever-busy world that we live in, it is important that we find ways to slow ourselves down as a way to better serve ourselves and clients. Our ability to manage the tsunami of information coming into us daily and hourly is inversely linked to the quality of services we provide. If we are constantly chasing emails, tweets, and other social media messages, we are not taking the time to slow down and “think”. Yes, just “think” instead of reacting.
“Mindfulness is deliberately paying full attention to what is happening around you and within you – in your body, heart, and mind. Mindfulness is awareness without criticism or judgement.”
From Jan Chozen Bays, Author of How To Train a Wild Elephant: And Other Adventures in Mindfulness
Here are three reasons why you should practice mindfulness as a career practitioner.
In a recent National Geographic Magazine, there was an article about geniuses and what made them different than other people.
“…the aha moment, the flash of clarity that arises at unexpected times — in a dream, in the shower, on a walk — often emerges after a period of contemplation. Information comes in consciously, but the problem is processed unconsciously, the resulting solution leaping out when the mind least expects it.”
Daily reflection is important because it dedicates time and space for you to solve problems. Giving yourself time to reflect daily is a sign of self-respect. It honors your true self (not the hurried one) and gives you permission to be creative by finding time in your busy day. This quiet time can be meditation, a short walk, or even a few deep breaths to calm yourself. We do work that changes daily with the clients we serve, and finding creative solutions to problems is a great way to better serve your them.
There is quite a bit of research out there that shows that people get energy from being outdoors near trees. I read one study that said that even looking at pictures of nature can cause mental energy to bounce back.
This does not have to be a lot of time, but how about making it a thoughtful time. What I mean by that is you must be intentional about finding this time daily and take those few minutes to take a walk on your break, walk with a client for 10 minutes to start a meeting, or download Momentum in Google Chrome extension that has a beautiful outdoor picture and inspirational quote every time you open a new tab.
I also started doing Qi Gong which is like Tai Chi. It is a physical way to slow down each day and focus my thoughts on physical movements in a purposeful way. I have found there are a number of Qi Gong movements that bring more energy to my day and they are very simple to do at any time throughout the day.
I was working with a client recently who said she used to respond to every email as quickly as she could at any time of the day or night. Her customers then expected her to get back to her at all hours of the day or weekends. She finally realized that she was not doing quality work that she was proud of using this model. So she now reads her emails periodically throughout the day (I do this too) and will often read an email and think about how to respond, then set it aside and come back to it in an hour or so..
She said, “The quality of my work improves when I do this, my composition of my email is better, and I feel like I am respecting myself more AND respecting my clients needs by doing this.” It does not take long for the clients to realize they WILL get an answer and it will be a good answer, it just may not happen immediately.
My last piece of advice is whatever you do, make it a routine. Like a muscle, your brain can grow with practice. By making it a routine in your day, your ability to be more mindful is greatly improved, you will simply get better at it every day.
I take 20 minutes most every morning to do Qi Gong before breakfast. I take a few minutes before or after breakfast to journal and capture my thoughts for the day. I try to take a short walk right after lunch every day. And most days I brew up a pot of tea in the afternoon and just sip and relax. The key is to find time daily to “be” in the moment and to be quiet. From this quiet time will come the creativity you are often looking for, the energy to work, and that calming that often brings quality work.
What can you commit to in your daily life
to help you be more creative, gain energy, or simply slow down?
Jim Peacock is the Principal at Peak-Careers Consulting and writes a monthly newsletter for career practitioners. Peak-Careers offers discussion-based online seminars for career practitioners focused on meeting continuing education needs for CCSP, GCDF and BCC certified professionals as well as workshops for career practitioners and individual career coaching.
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