Being a boss takes work. Whether managing your own business, life, brand or company, creating and owning your voice and perspective can be a challenge. It is here that mindfulness makes a difference. Mindfulness can bring clarity, improve focus, and improve corporate and personal efficiency and productivity. Business culture must include taking care of yourself. Work, life and even in your social circles.
Positive Friendship CirclesA recent article in the New York Times noted that positive friendships are a common theme in the "blue zones", regions of the world where people live longer than average.
“Friends exert a measurable and ongoing influence health behaviors.”
In Okinawa, Japan, a place where the average life expectancy for women is around 90, the oldest in the world, people form a kind of social network called a moai — a group of five friends who offer social, logistic, emotional and even financial support for a lifetime.
In a world where burn out is common, how do you deal with the pressure?It is important to manage expectations, to talk about being human, not super human. It is important to find a way to connect with others and recognize that our flaws are normal. The very concept of perfection is unrealistic and damaging. Instead of constantly judging who or where you aren't, part of mindfulness is being present and "proud of who you are in this moment." To be aware and observe, to simply be. Because at the end of the day, mindfulness is being totally comfortable in your own skin; your own role and the potential you were born to achieve. Part of being present. Part of embracing yourself. The idea of self-awareness is realizing that we have valid, important opinions that must be shared. This is not just really powerful, it is vital to becoming who we are designed to be.
Humans are social beings, requiring social engagement to maintain their mental health and wellbeing. To be a part of a social group, family or tribe requires nothing more than living by within the code of what each member ordinarily does. An ordinary child in a class where being average is acceptable ensures that another ordinary being nearby will not be threatened by them. They know what reactions and actions to expect, because that is what ordinary peers expect and believe will occur. If you think this paragraph assumes too much, it holds true across cultures worldwide. Why can we make this statement? Because without this premise, there would be no relationships between like-minded individuals who seek the ease of their comfort zone. Young ‘rebels’ who buck parental or societal norms and rules challenge this status quo, become either very successful in their own right or in trouble with the law of the land. Where there is a mis-match between the desired pathway to being extraordinary and a failure to achieve the same, mental illness or social exclusion often occurs.
“I don’t work at being ordinary.” Paul McCartneyThe primal fear of standing out from the crowd, of being alone or doing things that no one else is doing paralyses many into inaction. Although leaders are frustrated by members of their teams and business owners fall into a pattern of copying a competitor, the fear they fight of standing alone is for many a daily battle. Why can this be labelled a ‘primal fear’? When we conform we are acceptable for reproduction. We may have characteristics which make us a better choice (hence Darwin’s, “survival of those best able to adapt to change”) in a changing environment or society; yet the ancient reptilian part of our brain always directs our actions to areas which it does not fear or ‘comfort zones’.Although there are enormous risks associated with being the ‘first’ the only, the founder, the rewards create leaders history reveres. Sadly, humans tend always to focus on the negative world changers, the leaders of revolutions, the creators of dynasties or monarchies, the barbaric conquerors. There are of course just as many change makers who, complete with their own demons, led millions into a different understanding or pathway to greatness. Being at the forefront takes its toll on the individual. Often excesses in personal habits accompany these people. Debauched leaders of armies or nations. Blood stained national or regional histories. Crushing individual personalities in multinational corporations. Environmental carnage by individuals, corporations or governments that can never be restored. Technologies that destroy the health and well being of factory workers and the towns and villages they live in. Although these principles are well documented and known by many, few stand up for balance. That place of harmony between man and beast, plant and soil, land and water, water and the skies above it. It requires a shift away from being ordinary and accepting the status quo, a shift only the individual can make. Moving from the position of judge, dictator, leader or employee in a rat-race, to that of being truly extraordinary. A place of balance must first exist in your own mind. The standpoint of an observer, one who sees but is not involved. One who hears but does not shout or protest, argue or cry out. The one who is aware but not aroused. This is not a position a young person easily understands; those who try to find it early slip in and out of balance. Like a child learning to walk, stumbling but seeing gradual process. The person of balance anchors those who drift; yet do not strive to lead or push them into a mould. They observe and stand beside; allow the individual to fulfil their potential.
I have never experienced bullying. Readers may be baffled or disbelieving, as I was an arrogant child, obnoxious teenager and spent the first 35 years of my life as a know it all. I was also a gentle giant, never engaging in any form of conflict. My physical size may have intimidated bullies; as I witnessed it on a regular basis. Behaviours that began
If we view life as a game where we are juggling the five balls of work, family, health, friends and spirituality. It is easy to understand that work is a rubber ball. If you drop it, it will bounce back. But the other four balls - family, health, friends and spirit are made of glass. If you drop one of these they will be irrevocably scuffed, marked, nicked, damaged or even shattered. Any damage or breakage is irreversible. For this reason we must strive to attain balance in our lives.