Most entrepreneurs will be all too aware of the pressures that go hand in glove with being self-employed. The pressure not only to succeed but also to be seen to be successful, is inherent within the very fabric of our society.
WHEN SUCCESS CAN FAIL
We are taught to want to ‘succeed’ from a very early age, and once past infancy the forces at work, driving us forward: our parents; our teachers; and our friends, are irresistible. We become conditioned with the need to compete and in a competitive society this is a useful driver to have. However, if we become conditioned to value our worth by what we believe the world thinks of our success, our thought process and behaviour can create huge dissonance with our core values.
TIME TO REFLECT
Most of us at some time in our lives have uttered the plea ‘stop the ride, I wanna get off!’ but seldom do we question that urge. What many of us do not appreciate is that we do not need to ask permission of a third party to stop the ride, in fact all the controls we require are in our hands. This does not mean have to mean walking away from existing life styles, nor for abdicating responsibilities. Rather, it is a call for regular pauses, short periods of reflection to re-evaluate our understanding of our lives, our aspirations and our emotions.
How often do we question how we personally measure success & why? Our social and cultural conditioning measures success by whether or not we surpass those around us. We spend our time, therefore, making comparisons with our peers and competing on that basis. We often fail to explore what success really means to us. As a result we spend our time chasing goals reactively preset, and which may have absolutely nothing to do with our innermost desires and core values. Only by matching our lives to those desires and values can we attain our own true success and fulfilment.
IF WE DO NOT TAKE PERSONAL OWNERSHIP OF OUR GOALS BUT INSTEAD ABSORB THOSE HANDED TO US – ULTIMATELY, THEY WILL NEVER STICK!
It is for all of us to challenge our own thinking and, possibly for the first time, take a serious look at what makes us tick as opposed to what convention dictates it should be. If we take the time to take a look, we may be pleasantly surprised.
. Alan specialises in helping executives, entrepreneurs & their staff to manage stress levels, conflict resolution, self confidence & potential burnout! In doing so he employs mindfulness, emotional intelligence, life coaching/CBT, & more than 3 decades of experience as an international sales executive.
MEDITATION IN BUSINESS: IT WORKS!
In a frenetic, noisy and obsessive world, the ability to disengage from the hurly burly can prove invaluable, most particularly when we are trying to find inspiration to fire our inner motivation or to manage difficult challenges. In my own experience I have found that the ability to be able to step back and observe events in the moment, with a certain detachment from negative emotions, is a potent skill, especially (but not exclusively) in business.
Meditation comes in many forms, from a variety of traditions, and it is not my intention here to discuss techniques or philosophies: there is bountiful information on this subject both online and in print. My aim is to encourage people to simply cast off preconceptions and take a look.
At a bare minimum, meditation can have very notable applications for the busiest of schedules, in fact the busier and more stressful life gets, the more valuable it can be to develop such skills. This fact has been embraced by a number of corporations including Apple, Google, Nike and HBO to name but a few.
SO, WHAT BENEFITS CAN MEDITATION OFFER?
THE MONKEY MIND
We all experience this: the incessant inner dialogue that occupies our minds for much of our day – a constant flow of consciousness tumbling like lottery balls, with no beginning, middle or end. So how can our thought process, so congested, be expected to work effectively for us? Surely, if we are able to quieten the internal chatter there can be greater benefits for us than allowing it to carry on unchecked.
Even a brief period of contemplation, each day, is a good start – it’s just a matter of engaging with the present moment when time is set aside for being alone with ourselves. Like all skills, setting aside all unnecessary thoughts takes practice, but in learning to do so benefits can be felt from the start. Of course the relaxation can be reward enough but there’s far more to gain than that:
With a calm and uncluttered mind comes clarity and with it determination, as we see what needs to be done whether we are beginning to set goals or in need of reinforcing our resolve during a difficult day. When we tame our monkey mind we find, in its place, calm and simplicity – what better state is there for making good decisions?
With the mind thus soothed we will also find it far less likely that we can be knocked off our course by distractions. We are able to refocus on the priorities and goals we set ourselves with greater vigour. We can rediscover those emotions that inspired us when we first decided upon a course of action and so launch ourselves, refreshed, into making a reality of our wishes.
In large measure, we take control of our thoughts because if we do not do it then someone else will try do it for us. We can then find ourselves abdicating our free will, albeit subconsciously, and following the agenda of others. Alternatively we drift on autopilot leaving our most important decisions to our social conditioning, negative emotions, and learned reactions. If our own hands are on the steering wheel, however, we can be sure of our ideas, as our thoughts are stripped back to their bare essentials. There is no waste, just the burning desire to carry through the goals we have set.
Meditation connects us directly to our unadulterated core values, our essence – in other words, the things that really make us tick. Nothing is more important as we cannot be truly happy or feel fulfilment if we are not at one with who we really aspire to be.
And regular meditation can do all this? Not on its own but it is an invaluable element in helping us to do it. Meditation gives us the choices, and in this life, clear choice is a precious resource available to us all, we just have to ‘dig’ a little.