Mindfulness Is To Entrepreneurs As ‘The Force’ Is To Jedi Knights.
I recently came across this Twitter conversation:
Mindfulness is in vogue and for good reason, it’s an important skill to master especially for founders and entrepreneurs who spend their lives juggling priorities, making mission-critical decisions and achieving the impossible (…like Luke Skywalker lifting his X-Wing Fighter out of a swamp using ‘the force’).
A purposeful commitment to be more mindful is one thing but knowing how to be consistently mindful is quite another. Six months ago I sought advice to practice mindfulness as a means to help reframe frustrating situations that would otherwise consume large volumes of mental bandwidth and emotional energy.
I’m no psychologist and am in no way qualified to provide advice on this topic, however I was introduced to a powerful technique which has changed the game for me, and could be useful for you.
It’s remarkably simple and takes less than five minutes to get started.
Step One — Create a place to log frustrating situations
I use Google Sheets for iPhone (here’s the Android version) and the app tile lives on my home screen. Download Sheets if you haven’t already, open a new Sheet and name it. Now label column 1 “Date”, column 2 “Situation”, column 3 “Feeling”, column 4 “Thought(s)” and column 5 “Behaviour(s)”. Add a new event in each row.
Step Two — Take a minute to log frustrating situations soon after they happen
This is the most important step and when you try this for the first couple of times you may find it really tough to complete the column 3 entry (how you feel). This is at the heart of being mindful because you are consciously and deliberately focusing on the event that caused angst or stress and taking the time to examine and learn about your feelings, thoughts and behaviours at the time.
Step Three — Repeat Step Two as often as needed
The main benefit in adopting such a conscious approach (beyond having a mobile log to revisit your mindfulness history and developing a reflex and mental model for being mindful) is that situations become clearer. Articulating feelings, thoughts and behaviours in a written form helps to clarify (and readjust perceptions of) situations and goes a long way to helping to think through how you might respond or act differently next time. Although this is more difficult than it sounds, this is where (I think) the real value lies in being mindful.
If you choose to road-test this technique you may find you start to read situations differently, operate more ‘in the moment’ and see you productivity lift and stress levels fall. I’ve experienced each of these benefits.
How did you get on?