By Karen Tidsall, Founder and Director, InterCHANGEpd
Linda, an enthusiastic new manager, is excited. Her first team meeting is tomorrow and she’s thinking about how to approach it. She is eager to put her new management skills and ideas into practice. Then doubt creeps in, Linda begins to feel anxious and she’s swamped with negative thoughts: “What if my team members don’t like me? Think my approach is silly? Don’t understand what I’m saying? Walk out or get aggressive because they disagree with me? Don’t want me to be their manager? I forget what I’m doing and embarrass myself? Sound familiar? The “What if” affliction is very common. Faced with doing something new our inner critic revs up to give us a hard time and our wellbeing and confidence is threatened – which is bizarre really as this is our defence mechanism trying to protect us, and that’s perhaps for another blog to explore!
Mindful management can release us from this internal disturbance freeing us to be calm and focused in the present moment able to give of our best. The essence of this approach is be a neutral observer, watching our thoughts and feelings as they float by like clouds skidding and dissolving in a crystal blue sky. As Eckhart Tolle says:
When you listen to a thought, you are aware not only of the thought but also of yourself as the witness of the thought. A new dimension of consciousness has come in. As you listen to the thought you feel a conscious presence – your deeper self – behind or under the thought as it were. The thought then loses its power over you and quickly subsides, because you are no longer energizing the mind through identification with it. This is the beginning of the end of involuntary and compulsive thinking”
Cultivating the ability to be a witness of your thoughts and feelings can boost your confidence to express your full potential as a manager – so your staff gain the most benefit from your support and contribution and it’s a great skill to pass onto them!
Guide to mindful mentoring
• Cultivate the habit of being the witness, the watcher of your thoughts and feelings with no involvement or comment – observe your experience, what impact does this have?
• Make time for yourself to meditate or be quiet with no distractions to help calm the mind
• Use your senses fully to enter the present moment– be where you are, what do you see? hear? physically feel? Tune into the sound of a person’s voice, observe the rhythm of your breathing, allow everything to be, within and without. Move deeply into the NOW
• Focus your attention on the NOW and ask yourself “what problem do I have at this moment”? Observe how much of your mind is taken up with worrying about the future or regretting the past!
• Check out Headspace www.headspace.com, a handy app to help you be in the moment.
The past is history
The future is a mystery
The present is a gift