I had the privilege this morning of interviewing the wonderful Louise Chester, Founder and Managing Director of Mindfulness at Work for Season 3 of my podcast. Louise runs highly successful programmes for bluechip companies training them in mindfulness. She was a joy to interview and shared so many great insights into how mindfulness and being present is the key to happiness and also great success. Louise talked about Accenture, one of their main clients and how the best determinant of business (and I think personal too) success is to be people-centred.
Success, whether in life or business, really does come down to two main skills that we need to nurture in ourselves and in others. They are compassion and resilience.
Compassion goes way beyond empathy because it requires us to act and actually do more than simply be present and sit with another’s experience. Compassion (and empathy) and resilience cannot happen in any form without the ability to be present and in the moment. Leaders who know this take time to include short mindfulness practices in between meetings and inserted into even the most busiest and most hectic of days. They also ensure they look after themselves and their minds FIRST which boosts resilience and boosts their energy and ability to give and focus on others. The best leaders have that presence and are able to give their attention to every single person they interact with. Right there and then.
Why do so many of us find this so hard to do? Simply put, we don’t allow ourselves any space to be present and be in the moment. We kid ourselves that we are “too busy” to be mindful. Really? I think we have completely normalised the notion that we need to be available 24/7 and that somehow our work is so vital and so important there can’t be room for anything else. This is crazy!
I know for myself that when I make time for mindfulness, for balance and for peace I am better at responding and handling whatever is coming my way. When I set boundaries around how often I check email or when I decide to end my working day or have a weekend digital detox I am happier, healthier and more effective – less reactive. Everywhere around me I experience reactions. We’re real good at reacting in the moment.
Let’s nurture compassion and resilience skills by taking and making time for mindfulness and upping our awareness the next time we are in a conversation or meeting.