Despite the stereotype of mindfulness as meditators alone on literal or imagined mountains, the practices contribute to a common connectivity that reduces barriers rather than building them. In D&I, mindfulness can contribute to increased awareness and attention. Continuing our discussion of mindfulness and D&I, we explore a particular and often difficult concept - privilege.
With summer ending and 4th quarter looming, the interest in "work/life balance" ramps back up with articles on how to find balance for self and others. While "balance" is a mindset and a practice rather than a goal or a condition, there are some practical things you can do to increase resilience and reduce burnout for yourself and your team that don't involve constructing boundaries that inevitably fail. If you want to increase your own and your team's ability to manage challenge over time, try and practice these three things.
If you're reading this, you're probably already aware of the value of meaningful work. The research tells us that the value to those performing the work is that they feel better and actually are better - at work and in life. The value to those paying those performing the work is better performance, better teamwork, and better retention. Some studies conclude that managers can't make work meaningful, but they can make it meaningless - so NOT destroying meaning is the (low) bar.
It's About Performance (and Wellness)
With 667 published journal articles on mindfulness in 2016 (compared to forty-seven in 2006), the data is beginning to catch up with the popularity. You can't open an edition of HBR or Forbes without reading an article on it. Arianna Huffington's gone and crafted an entire business based on it - what's the deal?
In short, the increasing change pace, information volume, and attention demands have combined to increase our ambient stress level, which increases the frequency of how often we feel we have to "get away." And since, thanks to technology and competitiveness, we can't or won't "get away," our ability to effectively manage our reactions to stress is reduced - suboptimizing ourselves not only in the moment of highest stress but also in the chronically higher ambient stress level. These higher stress levels mean our natural de-railing tendencies surface more frequently and with little warning - so it's a team and leadership performance issue and not just a wellness issue.
it's a .. performance issue not just a wellness issue.
If you require research on this point, simply ask yourself how true it is for you and the people around you. But if you need some ammunition, note that the research on the value of mindfulness for individuals is extensive and some research on ROI for companies goes back about fifteen years. One such study found over five years that mindfulness practitioners had lower overall healthcare costs ($4,300 each) despite higher pharmacy utilization, "potentially indicating greater self-management of care" as noted by the study abstract. So, mindful people are more aware of how they feel, take their medicine like they should, and drive lower healthcare costs.
lower overall healthcare costs ($4,300 each)
If you are responsible for others as well as yourself, all this means you can and should begin converting the floating, bright, shiny object of mindfulness into a solid, fit-for-use, building block that grounds your company’s performance and wellness strategies, including leadership development, team effectiveness, employee productivity.
The research means little - and you're solving the wrong problem
Geoffrey James at Inc just published a piece on the "bonehead" decisions by Aetna, IBM and Yahoo, to reduce telecommuting options for employees. Commuting costs employees money, pollutes the environment, and takes a psychological toll. "Employees love the option to work off-site and it makes them more engaged and productive when they can do so." That's five links to pro-telecommuting articles - you'll find 500 more if you look.
Executives and others change jobs often, up to ten times for baby boomers according to HBR, and this article was in 2010. The article “Managing Yourself, Five Ways to Bungle a Job Change” outlines the five most common missteps, including not doing enough homework to include cultural fit, and overestimating oneself. The bottom line from the authors is simple, “Perhaps the best protection against career-management mistakes is self-awareness.”
Mindfully Safe on the Road?
Simple practices of personal safety you’ll likely never need – especially when you practice them
It surprises some that a couple teaching yoga, meditation, teamwork and leadership also teaches self-defense. "Not very mindful," teased a friend. But Mindfully Safe is about being just that. We believe the world is almost always a generous and forgiving place. However, there are moments and situations with actors where it is not. We won't live our lives in fear or paranoia, but we can and will reduce the risks of being a victim.
Our training and experiences have proven more than once that being aware, prudent and confident makes one unattractive to the rare but real dangers that can come with travel far or near. After training scores of young people, college students and adults in our karate instructor roles, we created Mindfully Safe for people who travel a lot.