— June 27, 2019
If you’re a business owner or leader, there will be times when you feel completely overwhelmed and full of self-doubt. Such unhelpful thoughts are sometimes enough to derail your success, but there’s a way to put those feelings on a back burner, so you can lead in peace.
Exceptional leaders create an exciting, clear and simple vision – a map if you will – that points out the right direction and the best way to get there. A strong vision creates the starting point for implementing strategic plans, business goals, and communication strategies while challenging people to find new and innovative ways of doing things. When that organizational vision is embraced by all, workgroups and people across departments will collaborate effectively to fulfill it.
However, sometimes the organizational vision must change. The process of creating and implementing a new vision is time-consuming. There’s so much going on, especially in the initial stages. You’ll have to carve out time to focus on it while still dealing with urgent shorter-term issues. This can be stressful and may negatively affect your ability to motivate and inspire your teams to achieve their goals.
To develop proficiency in leadership, you’ve got to do more than just read books and attend training courses. It takes real experience and continual practice. Being a leader involves stresses that others may not understand. You have a lot more on your plate, demands can change at any moment, and you are responsible for the productivity of many other people.
The weight of this responsibility can make you feel like you’re walking around with a storm cloud poised over your head. It’s easy for feelings of doubt to seep in. You may wonder if you can really do it. You may ask yourself, “Have I made a mistake?” Without developing a strong ability to be mindful, even those who are confident sometimes question whether their vision or the direction they’re heading in is the right one.
Why does this happen?
The human brain is hard-wired to keep us safe. That’s why negative information takes up more head space than positive information, as extensive research has demonstrated.
The caution provoked by this normal biological response to stress could well be helpful when we are in physical danger, but pervasive negative thoughts can damage the mindset necessary to be a good leader. Mindfulness is a skill you can use to tip the balance of positive versus negative thoughts back in your favor. This could be the key to preventing an endless cycle of negativity or unproductive distractions that keep your organization from achieving its goals.
Utilize technology to help you stay present
Various technologies can help you stay focused on the present moment. You can use technology like online apps to listening to the mood-based music tracks, and focus on one individual component of the song – for example, the rhythm, the melody or the harmony. And listening to such music can boost mindfulness. Elements of gaming can also increase mindfulness. Studies have shown that gaming can increase self-efficacy and resilience while promoting cooperation. And when it comes to generating buy-in to your organizational vision, you’ll want all the cooperation you can get.
Evidence proves mindfulness is effective
A 2012 study showed that mindfulness training efforts reduced activity in the amygdala, a part of the brain that is highly responsive to stress. This effect continued for the study participants during a typical day after the training took place and even after the study concluded.
Thanks to the scientific findings regarding mindful meditation, business owners and others in leadership roles now have a proven tool to reduce negativity. With this skill, you can calm the distracting noise and keep pushing forward with more confidence as a leader.