For leaders, exploring a mindful approach is akin to listening to music... with your full attention. You remove distractions. You settle in. You look at the documentation (we used to call them liner notes!) in the hopes that you will learn something about to whom you are giving your full, complete, undivided attention. We listen to music in order to get out of ourselves… to create a different, many times specific condition.
Think about the last time you attended a live musical performance of any kind… the synapse in your brain was busy telling you things, reminding you of things. Your heart and soul worked in harmony to convince your mind to reminisce, or to completely disconnect from the condition you began with.
Removing distractions (to create the condition you desire) means turning off additional screens, silencing the device in your hand or on your wrist mostly because of their potential to buzz or vibrate. (These experiences and alarms are DISTRACTIONS).
LISTENING to music is hard! As is creating a condition where your people thrive, are excited, and make consistent and positive contributions. Both of these actions require planning and preparation.
The gracious, simple act of preparing to give something (music) or someone (a person who reports to you) your undivided attention is a healthy exercise for your mind, body and soul.
It improves elasticity and plasticity of the mind (Johns Hopkins agrees)
It calms the heart (literally your heart rate will slow…)
It precedes FOCUS (a difficult state to attain, or maintain)
And, it adds up, mathematically:
Elasticity + Plasticity + Lower Heart Rate + FOCUS = Clarity
Clarity fuels leadership, because your role is to envision (and help design) a future WITH your people. What they get from you is a human experience, and it WILL NOT be obtained by engaging with an app.
The Condition you want to create is dependent upon collaboration. And clarity opens the window to this environment. It is elusive, requiring work.
Clarity is approached, then inhabited.
Clarity is woefully underrated.
Yet, when it is inhabited…the shift is undeniable!
In my Audio Book: “STREAM : Hack Your Consciousness”, we discuss how to approach and inhabit clarity in detail. When we properly prepare (and let go of fear of not producing or delivering) we enter a state of FLOW. This is the mentally spiritual ethosphere.
We are in our element, creative, responsive. This removes any barriers or hesitations that may impede our moving forward. Together.
Flow is a unique condition. It is a deeply rewarding state of mind (and soul) where we tap into our greatest potential. And this is where we want our people to go, operate, and live.
Our greatest potential is not achieved on a mountain top, nor while sitting in a conference room.
Flow is achieved (and potential is realized) as we collaborate, connect and contribute. Those three “CO” words are explored in “Deeper Dialogue; Conversations That Inspire”, where I go into detail regarding the power of language, and how Deeper Dialogue advances intentions and relationships.
As a leader, FLOW allows you to uncover new opportunities to take people places they have not imagined. (How exciting IS THAT??!?) You will open windows in their minds that THEY did not know existed.
You open their minds by merely asking questions, like:
What do YOU think you are capable of?
How would you like to spend your time a year from now?
How can we position you for success?
What can I do to help you get where you want to go?
When you open people’s minds, encourage them to take risks, and remove any indicator of thought limitation, you remove the impression that they have reached a “ceiling”.
You teach (and release them) to enter the condition… of FLOW.
And it all goes back to:
Asking mindful questions (see above, and my thoughts in Deeper Dialogue on… questions)
Listening well (no distractions!)
Inviting them to approach and inhabit Clarity.
Personally, I love unanswerable questions. (These, of course, are very DIFFERENT from the questions my wife asks; they aren't so much questions as they are statements… “You didn’t unload the dishwasher?” I hear her ASK the question, but... she already knows the answer.)
But let’s get back to CLARITY. Clarity is approached, then inhabited, when we start asking questions. And these questions must be about the future.
When you have a clear view of your future condition... you act with confidence. You decide with determination. You think more… thoughtfully. When we unlock and instill a consistent experience of Mindful Leadership in people’s hearts and minds, we are encouraging them to grow in dimensions. This process fascinates, intrigues and inspires me. I hope it does the same for you.
So, let’s dig in:
“What condition do you want to create?”
The question itself exhibits a rare tone and intent. Watch your people’s responses when you ask. Pay attention to their micro-expressions: how things subtly and undeniably change in their eyes, foreheads, throats and chests. You will witness a human, physical response.
What condition do you want to create?
This is deeper, more ambitious, and significantly more demanding than: “What goals do you want to achieve?”
We love goals. Achieving goals afforded me the opportunity to show my children Bavaria, Giverny, Vancouver and Hawaii. Goals helped me maintain the focus and clarity required to complete each of my books.
Dramatic stuff, for a kid from Long Island.
Those actions and experiences only moved the 3D map of my potential a few feet further out of my reach, because at the time I was willing to accept the achievement of goals as the end point.
But as we DIG IN, we elevate our expectations. As I type this, I am reminded that one of my CEO clients, upon achieving a target with his team,
responds with: “I’m pleased. Not satisfied.”
Gorgeous language. Fantastic inspirational chatter. And the engine of Mindful Leadership.
He will not be satisfied until each of his people creates a condition of which they are proud, and with which they are very satisfied.
“The higher I reach… the deeper I go…”
HERE, we are tapping into your creative potential, by taking the phenomenal tools you have at your disposal, and crafting a condition that pleases you... and your team.
Let’s consider the question again, and examine (so that we truly understand) where the power of it comes from.
A condition can be an environment, a tone between people, an experience, a specific rhythm to which people begin to move.
Do you Want… This is about YOU. It is one of the rare times when I will make the conversation about you, but… there is an ulterior motive: what YOU want can (and must) be aligned with how you assist others... in getting what THEY want.
Your wants may only be acquired (or enacted) by focusing on the very small universe of what you can control.
You can control your thoughts, your words, and your actions.
THAT’S The ENTIRE LIST!
You can INFLUENCE other people. You can impact thought and action in others. And then… you reach higher, and go deeper, as you connect, collaborate, and create.
“Creativity, at its core, is a destructive process.”
Not sure if this is a quote from Pablo Picasso or JAY - Z. Please research that and get back to me.
In the meantime, here are some TRUISMS about the creative CONDITION:
It does not serve YOU - The muse opens the infinite. You can only hope to tap into it, take what the infinite gives you… and find a way to serve others with it.
It surprises and scares some people, as they wonder where it might have come from. I am THRILLED with creativity, as it confirms that I am alive! To strum my guitar, and discover a sequence of chords I have not pursued before… to come up with a new way of saying something… to tell my wife of thirty six years that I love her, and to word that in a way that speaks to her NOW… these creative acts IGNITE the plasticity of my mind, expand the elasticity, briefly RAISE my heart rate before lowering it and we return to… the math that affords me CLARITY.
Clarity of thought. Clarity of my own purposes. Clarity between here and my horizons.
The thought process behind well - crafted questions moves us into new thought territory.
The plasticity of the mind fosters expansion and growth, while the simple and kinetic rhythms of the day drive us, encourage us and, potentially, inspire us.
That is pleasing. And Satisfying.
So, the question is: What condition do YOU want to create?
Go answer that question.