Recently, I had a conversation with a client who’s Strengths, for the most part, fall into the task domains of Strategic Thinking and Executing. Early in our relationship, I offered an exercise to help them identify and name their core values and a sense of purpose. I invited them to pick a stone from the basket (all of the stones were face down). They chose a stone with the word ‘Reflect’ engraved on it and later shared with me that, at that moment, they dismissed it and were thinking “Yeah, sure.”
Now, through the past few months of coaching, they have come to value and protect the time that they have set aside for reflection. They shared that their reflection practice grounds them in what is needed now and what they have to offer. That this reflection practice is valuable in assessing where they are and casting the vision of where they need to focus next. With a smile, they said they would never have thought that mindful reflection would have become one of their leadership habits, keeping them grounded in their core values, Strengths and purpose in service of great leadership.
This is part 1 in the 3-part series on Mindful Reflection by Diana Gabriel, Certified Strengths Strategy Coach.Mindful reflection leads to the possibility of living in a state of full, conscious awareness. Click To Tweet
Just how mindful are you as you go through your day? Are you focused on the present moment? Or lost in thoughts about the past, on what’s happening next or what is on your ‘To Do’ list?
Many self-help books focus on how you can achieve more, how can you do more, how you can be more — and do it all faster.
This article takes another tack: how and why you should simply sit and be still. The practice of mindfulness (being fully present and aware of the here and now) leads to greater success and fulfillment in all aspects of your work and life.
I think you might be surprised to know how many people I coach live each moment daydreaming in the past or worried about their ‘To Do’ list. Their days fly by in a blur while they’re thinking about who said what, what they will say the next time they get a chance or what is next on the list to accomplish. Sometimes, they get lost in imagining what things will be like when they achieve their goals and get beyond today.
We don’t spend enough time or energy fully engaged in here and now moments, responding vs. reacting to what’s in front of us or fully present in our relationships.
The happiest and most successful people are those who develop their social and emotional intelligence, have finely tuned self-knowledge and self-awareness, and who value their relationships, including:
- The ability to connect with personal values and principles
- The ability to imbue actions with meaning
- The ability to align emotions with goals
- The ability to stay motivated, focused and on purpose
Honing the skills of awareness requires a mindful reflection (becoming aware of what is going on inside and around you on multiple levels) that very few of us take the time to do. Mindful reflection leads to the possibility of living in a state of full, conscious awareness of your whole self, of other people and the context in which you live and work.
Before you dismiss mindfulness as New Age rhetoric, pay attention to the research. Recent studies in management science, psychology and neuroscience point to the importance of developing mindfulness through the experience of meditation.
People who take the time to mindfully reflect can benefit in many ways, such as improving their focus and concentration in the here and now. I will share more about this in my next post. In the meantime, you can contact me here or on LinkedIn.