A few decades ago, the idea of utilizing mindfulness techniques in the workplace was virtually unheard of.
Now, thanks to revolutionary leaders like Steve Jobs, Oprah Winfrey, and Jeff Weiner, tons of businesses are using meditation and mindfulness to improve work performance.
According to a recent survey, 62% of companies either have a mindfulness training program in place or are planning on implementing one in the near future. After all, when something has been scientifically proven to decrease stress, prevent burn-out, improve team climate, and boost personal performance, why wouldn’t you give it a shot?
My own mindfulness practice has changed every single aspect of my life—but my work life especially.
I used to mentally “clock out” during work, simply going through the motions. I was on autopilot from 9 to 5, and since the eight hours before those eight hours were spent sleeping, I found myself in this constant cloud of disassociation for the majority of my day.
Something had to give.
It started as a quick, daily meditation practice—just five minutes every morning—but soon, I began implementing mindfulness techniques into my workday, too. I’d force myself to stay present with every word while I wrote an article, and I’d really listen to a coworker’s presentation rather than silently stressing about my to-do list. On days when seemingly nothing was going right, I’d pause and rack my brain for one single thing I could be grateful for: an upcoming paycheck, a friendly email, the fact that I even had a job.
I found I was happier, more productive, and genuinely interested in my work.
But the best part about mindfulness? It’s not just about “clearing your mind.” There are countless ways to achieve it, so even if you don’t have a free hour to sit cross-legged on a floor pillow, you can still reap the benefits.
If you’re looking for mindfulness techniques with the potential to transform your work performance, these top CEOs and Minutes contributors have a few tried-and-true recommendations.
Accept where you are in the current moment, so you can move forward (Heidi Zak, CEO of ThirdLove).
“As an entrepreneur, you have to accept you’re never going to have complete clarity about everything.
You can collect data and gather information all you want. But at some point, you have to make a decision. You can’t get stuck in a situation where you’re not making any forward progress because you’re always waiting for that last bit of data.
This doesn’t mean making rash decisions. Instead, you should simply ask yourself, ‘At what point do I feel like I have enough information that I can make a decision and move on?’ Once you’ve found that point, make your choice and move forward.”
Read more here.
Visualization gives you the confidence to flip your mentality (Sami Rusani, CRO of ShipChain).
“Before I walk into a sales pitch, I visualize everyone liking me. I take a deep breath, close my eyes, and set the scene: These people are going to like me. I’m going to show this group something that will really benefit them, and they’re going to eat it up. I’m going to close the deal.
By the time I’m actually walking into the room, I’m itching to get in there and start talking. Why wouldn’t I be? Everyone’s going to love what I’m selling.
You can do the same thing with any situation. Picture the successful outcome that you want to happen, walk through each of the steps involved in obtaining that outcome, and visualize yourself nailing each of them.
Now that you’re in a positive, confident mindset, so your odds of success are that much higher.”
Read more here.
Practice gratitude at work. There’s always something to be thankful for, even if you don’t love your job (Jaleh Bisharat, CEO of NakedPoppy).
“Do you know many successful people who constantly complain about their work? I don’t.
Whether you work 30 or 60 hours a week, we all spend a lot of waking hours at work. Surely, there’s something to appreciate about your job. Gratitude has a way of putting imperfections in perspective so you can focus on doing excellent work and exuding positive energy.
This mental shift affects those around you. People with positive attitudes are far more likely to be liked, respected, and promoted.”
Read more here.
In order to calm the monkey mind—that nervous, always-rambling part of your brain—try giving it an airtight argument (Richard Newman, Founder of Body Talk UK).
“I have a fear of heights. When this kicks in I often hear friends and family saying, ‘Don’t worry, there’s nothing to fear.’ My monkey disagrees, squealing in my head ‘what do you mean! I could die if I fall!’. The only way for me to calm it down is to watch other people. When I needed to cross a rope bridge that was very high and appeared to be swaying in the breeze I just sat near the bridge for a while and watched other people safely cross it. I was then able to say to my monkey, ‘Every person who crosses this bridge is fine.’
You can do the same thing when you feel under pressure at work – in an interview, sales pitch or when giving a speech. Remember you have to say things your monkey can’t disagree with. My favorite phrases are ‘I’m in the right place. This is the right time.’ Your monkey mind will check the calendar and go, ‘Oh yes, you’re right, I’m supposed to be here!’”
Read more here.