With companies now well back into the swing of 2020, many professionals are turning their attention not just to upcoming projects and workloads, but to themselves. Specifically, their own career journey to date and projected path over the coming months and year.
Do your goals align with that of the business? Is the company you work for able to help support your own vision? In the disruption of everyday digital life, with constantly shifting priorities and events, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and that life is passing you by. A frazzled professional isn’t going to perform to their optimum level and is unlikely to be first in a talent pool to be selected for the next promotion. The human brain hasn’t scientifically evolved all that much in the past 3000 years, yet life has sped up and changed immeasurably – is it any wonder we find it challenging to cope sometimes?
Let’s look at the science behind how mindfulness works to support your career growth.
It’s based on neuroplasticity – think of it as training the brain to think and act in a certain way. With practice, these connections grow stronger and you no longer have to work so hard to maintain the ‘new’ way of thinking. The relationship between two major parts of the brain, the prefrontal cortex (the thinking brain) and the amygdala (the emotional brain) is critical – when they work in harmony, people find they are less stressed, more thoughtful and considered. Many professionals, despite years of University or experience have simply never taught their brain to think and behave in a certain way. Classic stress symptoms – impatience, difficulty staying organised, inability to prioritise and being distracted often show themselves by way of reduced productivity and poor decision making. It’s official, stress can make us stupid. Organisations are slowly waking up to employee wellness, but shouldn’t we be taking responsibility for our own wellness – not just to expedite our careers but to enjoy a happier home life too?
There’s a danger that mindfulness is seen as a quick fix in corporations, that a quick training session can instantly improve the wellbeing of employees. Whilst that’s a positive step to supporting more mindful, engaged employees, the reality is that like anything worth doing, mindfulness takes practice and time. Russ Harris, the Internationally acclaimed trainer and author of ‘The Happiness Trap’ speaks of mindfulness meaning ‘paying attention with flexibility, openness and curiosity’. Without a doubt, it’s far easier to be led by a mindful leader – their ability to control their reactions, behaviour and thoughts in challenging situations, makes for a much more pleasant atmosphere. A recent Harvard study revealed that when leaders are stressed, this has a flown on effect felt through the entire organisation – only 7% of employees surveyed believed their stressed leaders could effectively lead their teams and only 11% of employees with stressed leaders are highly engaged in the workplace. This speaks volumes about how every future thinking organisation should be actively investing and supporting their teams with strategies and practices like mindfulness, to combat stress. Imagine how many average performers could transform into the top talent pool if overwhelm and stress was removed?
To continue to climb a competitive career ladder, professionals must stand out, do what others are not prepared to do, to go the extra mile. Mindfulness is one practice, already accomplished by many well-known leaders which has provided enormous competitive advantage. Imagine two professionals, both equally skilled technically with similar experience. One reacts ‘on the fly’, seems to let stress build up on them, only considers projects to be completed their way and is impatient with their team. The other always listens, considers their team’s opinion before making decisions, is organised and appears to be more relaxed, even in challenging circumstances. Who would you choose to work for? Which professional would you hire?
Becoming more mindful encourages big picture thinking. Mastering the ability to stay calm and make rational, strong commercial decisions, even in the harsh light of today’s busy world, is the elixir of business – sought by many, but practiced by few. It’s time to give your career the mindfulness boost it needs!
For more information on mindfulness (either group or 1:1 training) or to speak with Sabina ‘the personal trainer for the mind’ call 0429 900017 or firstname.lastname@example.org