One of my mantras is “take care of you, then take care of business.” For far too long, social norms dictated that business and personal matters are to remain separate. But now, there’s a movement in corporate culture that encourages people to bring their “whole self” to work, to be authentic and embrace that “business is personal.” Admittedly, I was a skeptic at first, believing it’s safer, and career appropriate, to separate my personal life from my professional life. But now, I’ve whole-heartedly adopted this mindset- I wear meditation bracelets nearly everyday, have crystals on my desk (hello Carnelian!) and openly talk about chakras and other “woo woo” topics. My spiritual practice is part of my authentic self, and I don’t leave it at home when it’s time to go to the office. Doing so has helped me stay balanced and focused, reduce stress and build great working relationships in my career. If you’re looking to increase the quality of your professional life, and let’s face it- we all are- here are 3 mindfulness practices that can help you find clarity, relief, inspiration on your career path.
Meditation isn’t as hard or elusive as some people make it sound, and it doesn’t have to be overly formal or prescriptive. In as little as 15 minutes a day (or less!), meditation can have profound positive affects on focus, perspective and motivation. I believe it’s highly personal and therefore, looks different for everyone. Some people sit on the floor or in a chair, and try quiet their mind by concentrating on single focal point, such as their breath, a flame or the sound of dripping water. I recommend the Calm app, which is a great resource for beginning or experienced meditators, and includes guided and timed meditations.
Affirmations are my favorite, as sometimes it’s difficult to quiet my mind for meditation. Affirmations are positive statements that help manage or break negative thought patterns by refocusing your attention to positive aspects of life, and put you back in a good mood. The premise here is “you get what you think about,” analogous to healthy eating’s mantra “you get out what you put in.” I love how personalized affirmations can be as well, addressing everything from health to love and, even career. Write out a list of positive affirmations and read them when you wake up and before you go to sleep. You can read a sample list of affirmations here.
Many people love journaling because you can revisit the journal entries whenever you want, and seeing how you’ve grown spiritually can be really encouraging. There are a couple of different ways to approach this- you can journal in the morning or before bed at night; you can write down the things you’re grateful for on that specific day or situations you handled well or both. Yes, remind yourself how awesome you are, not despite of, but because of your humanity and resilience. Personal development guru Brendon Burchard writes about “celebrating your wins,” so take time to reflect on your day, what went well, what you’re grateful for, and what you want more of moving forward.
In summary, these mindfulness practices work best if practiced daily, but if you’re just starting out, ease into it by choosing one day, possibly a weekend day, to implement one of them. Ramp up and practice mindfulness as often as feels good to you, and know that these practices are available to you whenever you need them. Here’s to a happier, more intentional you, all year long.