Mindfulness and Meditation in the Workplace

April Sabral

/ Leadership, Mindset

These two buzz words are being used lately a lot in business. Mindfulness, Meditation. What is the difference, and what do leaders need to know about mindfulness and meditation in the workplace?

In this blog post, I am going to introduce the practice of mindfulness and meditation in the workplace. But first, let me give you some background. I have been a meditation fan for over 14 years, I found it when I was going through a difficult time in my life. Moving to Toronto from Miami, recovering from a bad break up and becoming a single mum for the second time.  During this period I was dealing with stress and it was an emotional time, I was searching for a way to heal and find peace in my life. By doing some googling online I found a center that had meditation for beginner’s classes, I signed up, and meditation soon became part of my daily morning routine. immediately I started to see the benefits, quietening those crazy voices in my head. Morning meditations helped me feel more relaxed and able to deal with life stresses easier. This relaxed state helped my mind become clearer and more positive.

The concept of mindfulness teaches us to become aware of our thoughts, whereas meditation teaches us the language of letting go!

When I started meditation I remember asking the teacher, “What is mindfulness? Isn’t meditation and mindfulness the same thing?” She explained the difference as this; mindfulness helps people become aware of what they thinking about and aware of the situation, however, meditation is the tool to make a change. For example, let’s say you become aware you have an issue, then what do you do? Just be aware of it?  As a results-driven logical leader, I love seeing actions and results. So this really appealed to the logical part of me. I thought about it as it related to my leadership abilities.

Have you ever sat in a conversation or meeting and started a dialogue in your own head? I know I have and do. The dialogue can go something like this… I want to say X, but I don’t want to sound stupid. I don’t like this person, what they are saying is not going to work, seriously what are they saying? What do I want to eat for lunch? When is this going to finish so I can get back to more important work? If we are honest, there is a myriad of thoughts that come up when we are interacting with others. This is normal, however not listening causes lot’s of issues when you lead people.

Read any book or blog post about leadership and it will tell you the qualities of a good leader are strong listening skills.

There are books about different types of leadership and what leadership qualities great leaders demonstrate. So how do mindfulness and meditation relate to leadership qualities? Here is what I know, practicing mindfulness helped me become aware that I was not listening, however, meditation helped me understand why I wasn’t. I was then able to make the choice to change it.

 

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When I started to introduce morning meditation into my daily routines it was to find peace.

But what I quickly learned through this process was; First, because It helped me relax, my brain became open to new thoughts. I would realize that what I was stressed over was not really that big a deal. I could then start to reprogram my brain to believe something new and see different outcomes and potential. It is kind of like looking at a blank page and writing a new program or blog post. Second; I would get really clear on what I wanted, versus replaying over and over again what had happened. This was huge as I had always been a worrier. This behaviour impacted my work life, I worked extra hard, I was always fearful of what I could lose, versus what I could gain. Did you know most of us operate from this point of view?

Think about it, why do we feel we need to be the best? Why do we work 60 hours a week? Why do we compare ourselves to others on the team or our peer group? For many, It is our insecurities that drive us. Fear of being judged and measured on what we did not achieve this week, instead of what we have. This is a hard reality to accept. In sales, you are only as good as the results you deliver? right!

The benefits of meditation are scientifically proven.

When you study meditation and the benefits of it, it is scientifically proven to put your brain in an optimal state to create. WHY? because relaxation is the key to opening the frontal cortex and connecting with your internal wisdom. Read this Harvard study and you will agree with me. This then brings me to the topic of the meaning of a mindfulness culture in the workplace.

Like I said at the beginning of this post, mindfulness is entering into the workplace now in a more mainstream way, but if we only put mindfulness into business what we are doing is helping people become more aware, which could bring up their own issues and insecurities. In this interview, Sarah Hauch says it well when she talks about the fact that when you make people aware you help them bring up their own issues, but without the tools in place to you could be causing more problems than you initially could have projected. You see when we become aware, we start to see things differently. When I became aware of my lack of confidence to speak up in meetings for fear of being judged it actually paralyzed me. But when I started to realize the reasons why and work on them, it changed my leadership qualities and this is when my career really took off.

We understand in leadership sharing the “WHY” helps people understand. WHY? because we are being honest with our team. So why would we think that being honest with ourselves is not important?

In my latest retailu coffee chat

I interview Sarah Hauch owner of Temple 23 about the importance of working from within and how meditation changes us and why this is so important for us to truly grasp. I believe leaders need to learn this, we can only change the world through business and leaders have the biggest part of leading this charge.

After watching my interview with Sarah what are your thoughts on mindfulness and meditation in the workplace? Introducing a mindfulness program into your company is a good start, but what can really change your culture and revolutionize your results would be to dig even deeper and figure out a way to build a wellness program that is not superficial. Your goal should be to transform and support your leaders” be” the BEST version of themselves for their teams and the business.

I love what Sarah shared in this interview. It’s difficult to show up as our authentic self, it takes courage to put ourselves out there. I watched the replay of this and If I’m honest I am nervous to share openly my personal beliefs in fear of being judged – however as Sarah shared. The most painful thing for anyone is to live a life without purpose. I know that many of us that work in retail question our purpose, why are we here, what is so unique about working in retail? Let me tell you! You inspire, motivate and encourage people, you make a difference in the lives of those you lead, never under-value this. Ask yourself what is your superpower? And how can you use it every day?

Why not start a 30-day challenge with yourself to test out the benefits of meditation? What do you have to lose?

If you liked this post and video, you should check out the MAX Meditations that Sarah leads weekly, They are FREE and can start you on a path to learn more about yourself like she shared, to then make a difference to those that you lead.

STAY POSITIVE,  START MEDITATING!

April Sabral

 

 

 

 

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Welcome To My Blog

Hi I’m April Sabral, Founder & President of retailu.ca

I started my retail career over 20 years ago and always get asked how did I become a Senior Executive? I put it down to three things.

    • Hardwork
    • Mentorship
    • Attitude

I had amazing mentors and leaders along the way that helped me develop my own leadership style. And I worked really hard.This blog is where I share lessons learned, leadership tips and practical skills that can be used when managing any team. I hope this inspires you to be the best boss you can be.

April Sabral

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