Becoming Mindful

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If someone struck a conversation with you about “mindfulness training”  you might conjure up images of a Monk in a monastery looking out over a remote rugged hilltop or a person sitting cross legged on the floor with their eyes closed. While your perception wouldn’t be wrong, you would be missing a whole series of images of such as business executives in a boardroom, workers at a job site, soldiers in battle, and athletes in competition. People training to become “mindful” through mindfulness training is actually becoming mainstream not only to heighten clarity but to improve performance and results.

If you looked “mindful” in the dictionary it would indicate that you are “attentive” or “aware”. By being mindful you are able to focus, live in the moment and experience many more things that you may have missed that are actually taking place all around you. If you could train yourself to be in a state of clarity not only on a temporary basis but raise your baseline so that that state exists more on an ongoing basis, what a change that would make in your life experience.

Once you start to learn about being mindful, you will find it will pop up in many places. Although I am not an avid golfer, I was fortunate to attend a golf school last spring. The instructor who was rated as one of the top instructors in the US by a prominent golf magazine, focused entirely on being mindful when playing golf.  He worked with our small group to clear our minds of all of the tips and strategies offered by our friends, to forget about the outcome of the stroke, to swing our own swing and hit the ball imagining that it was the first time that we had hit it. Every swing then became a new experience because our minds were clear. I found that my subsequent rounds of golf were more enjoyable and I was significantly less tired at the end.

At this year’s Progress Magazines Face to Face Conference held in Baddeck, NS, a breakout session was led by Crane Stookey. Crane’s background is as an officer on tall ships and he has sailed all over the world. Crane focused on how mindfulness training was very useful for people who are at sea for lengthy periods of time.  While at sea, there is no place to run to and being confined to a boat with very little personal space can be difficult on a person. Through mindfulness training, people can not only cope with these conditions but thrive and respond much better when faced with the adverse conditions that the sea delivers.  On his ships, mindfulness training was practiced daily. Being a sailor myself who has done a number of longer passages, I can relate how mindfulness training at sea would be extremely valuable.

In today’s world where we are constantly bombarded with information and stimuli, becoming mindful is a great skill to learn. In business, when dealing with customers, suppliers or fellow workers, being able to hear what is being said, to see visual clues such as body language, and to clearly organize your thoughts in response obviously will make a huge difference. Wouldn’t it be great if you were able to achieve this state more often? How do you think it would impact your results?

Becoming mindful takes practice and there are a number of recommended techniques. A search on the Web will outline a number of these techniques and you will find there are many organized sessions available to get your started. It may be a bit outside your comfort zone at first but I can assure you that if you take the plunge the benefits are invaluable.

Keith Skiffington
Chief Operating Officer
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