From the moment many of us start school, we’re being primed to learn the skills we need to lead a successful life and engage in a fulfilling career. By the time we graduate school, perhaps University, we’re usually pumped and more than ready to kick start a lifetime of dreams.
Fast forward a few years, when you’ve risen to a more senior role, the stress and pressure is starting to pile on and you have a hectic schedule and a team to manage. You’ve been well schooled in how to excel at your role but are starting to feel overwhelmed by the sheer amount you need to complete. Especially in challenging times such as COVID, it’s especially important to take stock and learn how to manage stress in times of extreme change or uncertainty. As a Manager or Executive, it can feel as though you have the weight of the world on your shoulders – managing not only the growth and success of the company but a whole team of individuals who also need your time, support and consideration.
Research proves that when you’re stressed, your body enters fight or flight mode, leaving you unable to properly focus or concentrate and stressed out. In a report by Safe Work Australia, it was found that mental stress costs Australian businesses more than $10 billion per year (Safe Work Australia 2013 media release). In our current economic climate, many employees are being asked to do more, for less. This often means increasing hours, heavy workloads and stress becoming a ‘badge of honour’ for being committed to your job. It’s not an especially healthy environment in which to work and one which calls for personal commitment to counteract the negative effects of this modern, competitive workplace.
One way to help add more balance to your corporate life is through Mindfulness. Mindfulness can help to significantly reduce this stress and anxiety whilst increasing your resilience and ability to communicate with your team. Mindfulness doesn’t prevent challenges from arising in the workplace, but what it does do is allow them to be better responded and adapted to with more ease and comfort. Take Josh, one of my clients who is a highly driven, successful Project Manager for a large construction company. Josh discovered that many highly successful leaders make time to meditate and be more mindful and started 1:1 coaching with me to help improve his stress levels. Now an advocate for the huge benefits of mindfulness, Josh cites that he now has a clearer mind, is more effective in his output and much more aware of how he’s engaging with others. Josh has successfully broken his own stress mould, and whilst it takes practice, anyone similarly driven who wants to effect change for the better, can do the same.
It’s important to note, that like school or University, you don’t start ‘graduation ready’. You must learn to crawl before you can walk and Mindfulness in action doesn’t happen overnight – it’s a slow and steady wins the race type practice. It’s a tool, if you use it properly, to empower you towards a happier, more successful career and future.