Leading with Mindfulness

“Our life is shaped by our mind, for we become what we think.” – Budda

Over the years, we have worked with extraordinary leaders through executive coaching and leadership programs and have heard leaders face similar challenges: increasing confidence, inspiring others, and managing complexity.

What if we told you the key to overcoming these challenges is being mindful?

According to Merriam-Webster, the word mindful is defined as 1) bearing in mind and 2) inclined to be aware.

In “The Mind of a Leader,” Rasmus Hougaard and Jacqueline Carter break down the book into three parts: 1) Understand and Lead Yourself, 2) Understand and Lead Your People, and 3) Understand and Lead Your Organization.

The authors build the foundation of this three part methodology with the MSC Leadership Tool – Mindfulness, Selflessness, and Compassion. Hougaard and Carter explain, “Through repeated practice, mindfulness triggers a shift in cognitive control to frontal brain regions. This enables us to perceive our world, our emotions, and other people without fight-or-flight, knee-jerk reactions and have better emotional resilience.”

The main takeaway from this insightful book is to be a successful leader, you must focus on human dynamics. If you can be mindful and selfless, showing yourself compassion, you will apply the same principles to those around you.

Let’s dive into a few easy techniques to tap into your mindfulness to support obstacles you may be experiencing as a leader.

  • Meditation – Whether you use an app or just sit quietly for a few minutes, mediating is incredibly beneficial in centering yourself. Taking a few minutes each day to sit with your thoughts allows you to clear your mind and be present.
  • Visualization – Visualize success and attain it. Seeing yourself succeed helps you believe it can and will happen. Visualizing helps you practice being successful whether you’re working on a new project, leading diverse teams, or taking on a different role.
  • Self-compassion – Enhancing self-talk and compassion is a powerful skill to be your biggest champion. If a leader can have self-compassion for themselves, they are more likely to be compassionate towards others. According to this HBR article, “Self-compassion improves people’s participation in groups and is associated with a more adaptive attitude to failure.”
  • Journaling – A Fast Company article explains journaling is one of the most effective ways to reflect on daily experiences and make stronger, more refined decisions. “According to Impraise founder Bas Kohnke, today’s leaders need to master five soft skills: active listening, self-compassion, empathy, vulnerability, and honesty. A journal is a private and inherently candid space where you can explore and strengthen these skills.”

Here are articles we found helpful on the topic:
Be Kinder to Yourself
How to Overcome Internal Resistance To Boost Your Career
When you are the obstacle: How to overcome self-sabotage