True leadership comes from within, a place of deep calm and focus, that allows you to respond to any situation as it arises. It is in a word: self efficacy.
Ever think about how your downtime impacts your productivity and success? In today’s busy world, it’s not always easy to disconnect and really relax and refresh your thinking, your body, your emotions. To be a fearless leader, you need to be able to rise above your fear-based gut reactions and strengthen your personal resilience and emotional reserves. Mindfulness is a set of practices that focuses your activity and energy on your higher objectives and state of being, rather than so much day to day “doing” and busyness. While it takes time to cultivate mindfulness, it can be improved in just a few short minutes each day.
At Transcend, we work to create breaks in our work, and share these ideas with clients to help them access their best thinking. Too often, time away from the action of work can feel like we are simply allowing our inbox to fill up in our absence, and we dread coming back to a backlog of reading, responding, writing, meeting and generally getting caught up on all that didn’t get done while we were away or taking a break.
There is ample research to show that real vacation time helps overall productivity, and mindfulness habits help create that “vacation” feeling every day. Here are a few of our favorite practices (many clients resist these at first, and then embrace them as they see these simple strategies at work):
Mindful Leadership Strategies that Work:
Journalling is the act of writing down what is in your head. For some, this is a natural way of expressing feelings, capturing thoughts and observations or capturing ideas and snippets of conversation to use later. If you’ve never been one to write things down, here’s the simplest version of our journalling exercise:
First thing in the morning, write three specific things for which you are grateful
Before going to bed, write three specific achievements of the day
Write down thoughts and emotions when you feel particularly upset or stressed (get it out of your head!)
You can write anything you want, and you may find it addictive once you get started. The three things can be small and personally meaningful, or major accomplishments — as long as they are relevant to the day at hand. This small period of focus on what is going well, and how you are winning personal victories each day, shifts your mindset to appreciate the positive and worry a little less each day. Getting emotions and thoughts out on paper helps you let go of thinking about them and lets you move past your emotional reaction and take productive and proactive action. It’s the worry that eats away your mental energy and erodes your leadership — a few minutes of writing can help you build leadership reserves. Fearless leaders reflect.
Hire Jim Woods
Jim Woods is president of Leadership Matters Institute and Innothink Group. is a leader in workplace learning, productivity, performance, and leadership training solutions. He helps companies and individuals improve their performance, productivity, and bottom-line results. He speaks on leadership and human performance.