Mindful Entrepreneurship: The New Age of Business
The life of an entrepreneur is often a stressful one, with too few hours in the day. My to-do list never seems to shrink, and my ability to nurture personal and professional relationships often suffers.
I’ve learned the extraordinarily high price of not being mindful. Before I started taking a more mindful approach in my business, there were countless times I didn’t have the foresight to think through all the possible solutions when unexpected problems arose. I forced things, made costly last-minute decisions, and missed more opportunities than I prefer to recall.
I jumped in head-first and dealt with situations as quickly as possible. That kind of responsiveness is great if you’re literally putting out a fire, but most of our so-called fires are really just everyday events that require our attention, some more immediate than others.
The bottom line is that mindfulness has had a big impact on my bottom line. It allows me to maintain a sense of control, and when I remove emotion from difficult decisions, I rarely make impulsive choices that I later regret. As a result, my team and I are now able to make better decisions that end up saving the company time and money.
Create a culture of calm.
Our current culture promotes a fast, often unsustainable, pace that makes mindfulness seem counterintuitive since, at its core, the practice is slow and thoughtful. However, that slowness serves us well. It allows us to become more aware of our thoughts, choices, decisions and reactions. It encourages introspection and lets us step back from the turmoil of a situation, giving us a clear vision. It also provides an essential mental break that relieves stress. So plan your day, but leave some flexibility in your schedule, and enable your team to do the same.
“Meditation and mindfulness can do wonders for you in your career or at home, especially when you need to access the essence of your practice. When something happens to you, take a breath to stabilize your mind before responding. This split-second difference puts you in a position of strength instead of weakness,” says Jesal Trivedi, founder and CEO of Aduri, a meditation tech company offering an innovative multisensory meditation cushion.
“Meditation apps have had a large role in expanding access to high-quality meditation content. The number of U.S. adults who meditate tripled in the last five years to about 15 percent. This research has helped ignite a desire for more people to bring meditation into their lives. But like physical exercise, you need to be consistent in order to see results,” Trivedi adds.
We can use these techniques to gain an understanding of situations and bring them into sharp focus, backing off from circumstances to reveal the big picture. Mindfulness can help us work through problems, assess environments, and clarify vision in both our professional and personal lives.
Shiny object syndrome.
If we’re not mindful, we can easily make impulsive decisions that damage our business. Try going through your company credit card statement line by line. I bet you’ll find some monthly subscriptions you completely forgot about. “In business, it's really easy to get shiny object syndrome and to see all the latest and greatest,” says Heather Chauvin, a women’s leadership coach. “Mindfulness comes in handy in business because you can ask yourself: Is this in alignment with my values?”
All of this is easier said than done, but once you implement just a couple of these tips, you’ll gain a lot of incredibly useful information about yourself and your business.
Mindfulness means better business.
“Meditation and mindfulness as a practice has turned from a fringe alternative activity to a mainstay among entrepreneurs I work with and advise. Men, in particular, are more skeptical of meditation, but that’s rapidly changing,” says Grit Daily co-founder Jordan French. “Anecdotally, top people fold into stillness, rather than reach for the phone first thing in the morning. I’ve adopted those practices, too, to yield more productive and positive days,” he adds.
So slow down. Be flexible. Choose quality over quantity, and remember that rushing often leads to mistakes. When we’re not well-focused, we tend to have tunnel vision.
Make it a habit to look at the bigger picture, so the opportunities are more visible, as well as potential problems and obstacles that may prevent you from reaching your goals. “Try keeping a time log,” recommends Chauvin. This will help you identify your highest revenue-generating activities and see where you’re wasting time and energy.
Ultimately, if you’re more mindful, you’ll be more successful in whatever endeavors you pursue.