Simple Guide to Meditation for POWERFUL Leaders

The first time I truly realized the power of sharing meditation and mindfulness with leaders was a few years ago now when I was at the University of British Columbia taking a business course for executives.

While chatting with some of my fellow students, we got onto the topic of meditation and I shared my enthusiasm with them…

they were so intrigued that they arranged for me to do a demo session so the other executives could try it out for the first time.

So we sat in one of the classrooms and I walked them through a 5 minute guided meditation. First we started with some breathing, then we relaxed their bodies and calmed their minds.

 

And once it was done, they were calm and happy, feeling refreshed and relaxed.

 

But the coolest part?!

 

Was how many of them had never felt a moment of calm in their minds before! EVER! In their entire lives! And they were in their 30’s, 40’s and 50’s!!!!

I was amazed! And honoured to have had the opportunity to share a taste of meditation with them!

And since that day, I’ve been dedicated to sharing meditation and mindfulness with as many people as I can, but especially leaders!

Because you know how tiring it can be to be in a brain-based job, especially in leadership roles focused on business responsibilities that is basically like running a brain-marathon every single day!

To be able to press pause and get a moment to BREATHE, rest & reset is PRICELESS!!!

If you’d like to try out a similar 5 minute guided meditation, you can download it free as part of my Simply Mindful Meditation Starter Kit here! 

 

Meditation? Let’s discuss why it’s a must-have practice for POWERFUL LEADERS!

Meditation has become more well-known in the past few years as it is commonly known that Google has a mindfulness program, Harvard Business Review and Forbes have showcased numerous articles about it and meditation was featured on the front cover of TIME a few years ago. 

Even with the recent popularity in mainstream culture, so many people haven't ever tried it or if they have, they've struggled with it for one reason or another.

I have good news for you… Meditation is the most simple thing.

You don’t have to DO anything, you just BE.

Yet, it can be vast enough for a lifetime of exploration!

So I'm super excited to share more about meditation with you today, specifically mindfulness meditation and why it is a must-have for POWERFUL LEADERS!

What is Mindfulness Meditation?

Being mindful is being aware of what is going on within and around you.

The art of living mindfully seems to be a life-long practice but the basics are simple.

Anyone can be mindful, anywhere, at any time. One doesn't require years of training, lots of money or a specific belief system to be able to get it.

You can be mindful right now, today, at this moment.

 

Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way:

  • on purpose
  • in the present moment
  • without judgement

 

That's it! Pretty simple, right?

 

The challenge comes in when we try to apply this to every area of our life.

That's where a meditation practice can be beneficial.

By practicing mindfulness through meditation, you learn to watch your thoughts and feelings as an observer.

Being mindful and paying attention to what you're experiencing and allowing whatever is happening to be there exactly as it is, can be done at any time.

It's just observing without judgement, without trying to control your experience, without getting lost in your thoughts so you can experience what is happening right here, right now.

But you don't necessarily need to have a meditation practice to be able to be more mindful.

However, having a regular meditation habit or practice can help increase your strength and ability to be mindful in all areas of your life.

Just like a regular fitness routine, a regular meditation routine or mindfulness practice will help improve your mental and emotional fitness!

You can keep it simple or make it as complex as you’d like with special “equipment” like at a gym or special “poses” like in a yoga class.

But I like to keep things simple, approachable and easy!

 

How can Meditation be Approachable? 

Simply put...

Meditation can be described as being aware.

You can make it more complex by adding mantras,  visualization or inquiry and using different breathing techniques, mental approaches or philosophies.

But the idea of any tool, technique or approach is to distract the mind or relax the body so the awareness can just be aware.

So when you simplify it down to the basics, awareness is it.

Just being in awareness. 

When you take a minute or longer to meditate, using the mindfulness approach, all it is is being aware of what is going on within and around you.

This is why I practice and teach mindfulness meditation.

Just being aware of what is in your present experience.

 

Simple. Approachable. Easy.

Yet, so extremely powerful!

All you need to do to find mindfulness is to focus on your breath. Feel it coming into your lungs and then leaving your body, follow it, experience it.

Allow any thoughts or physical tension to fade away with every breath.

Take a moment or two to do that now...

 

Just breathe.


In...

Out...

 

How did that feel? What was your experience like? How do you feel now compared to before, is there any change in your experience?

Try doing this small exercise of bringing your attention to your breath once a day. It can be done at any time, anywhere.

Before a meeting to center yourself, during a conversation to become more present, at a stop-light to relax the body and mind. 

All you need to do is remember to breathe and let everything be exactly as it is.


So...

Meditation can be described as calm, compassionate attention.



Simple, right!?

 

Just being aware of what is going on.

 

That's it.

 

Easy? Yup.

 

But that's not it... Meditation can also be Deep, Complex & Challenging!

What keeps meditation interesting is that it is different every single day. You are different every single day. Your expectations, awareness, emotions, thoughts, feelings and ability to expand are different every single day.

But it is this complexity, this richness that brings so much depth and reward to the practice. To being present with our experience. 

And this is where the power comes in, both from facing existing things and opening to new things. 

Here are some examples...

  • Expectations: I've found the difficulty and challenge can come in sometimes when we feel like we should be more calm than we are that day, feeling like what's going on in our experience is uncomfortable, like an itchy nose or emotion that might be unsettling.

 

  • Awareness: Or maybe it's becoming aware of something that has been ignored for a while that finally could use some attention. Whether that's a clutter office or problem with a process or people.

 

  • Emotion: Or it could be finally allowing yourself to feel love and appreciation for people, events and things in your life. Truly allowing yourself to feel it, instead of rushing to the next thing.

 

  • Expansion: Or it could be some insight, inspiration or ideas that will help you solve a problem, create your next project or expand your understanding and awareness of yourself, your life, your work, leadership or the world.

 

This is what makes a POWERFUL Leader!

 

Why is Meditation a must-have for POWERFUL leaders?


The ability to BE with whatever is going on. To face it, address it and appreciate it. To be self-aware brings greater personal development and leadership. To be aware of others brings greater impact in business and the world.  

This is why meditation is a must-have for leaders! 

  • The ability to be present, focus, listen, clear-headed, strong vision and creative.
  • The ability to clear out the noise & laser-focus your mind.
  • The ability to make better decisions and build relationships, teams and businesses from a place of rest-and-digest, not fight-or-flight.

 

Meditation creates these POWERFUL abilities better than anything else I've come across in my 20+ years of leadership. 

Powerful leaders are able to be their most authentic self while staying connected to both their big vision for their team and organization while integrating sound strategy and processes to support their business in achieving its goals.

The Problem

The problem I see in many leaders is that they're overwhelmed, stretched thin, rushing from meeting to decision to meeting and inundated with volumes of information, questions, reports and expectations.

While many leaders still manage to function in this “survival” state, I truly believe that leaders are stronger and have greater impact when they are “thriving” and coming from a place of centered presence. strong self-awareness, where they are highly resilient and able to stay calm, present and focused under pressure.

The Solution: Mindfulness & Meditation

This ability to be a POWERFUL leader in this way comes from having a strong and fit mind and heart.

Meditation is the daily "workout" to create this physical, mental and emotional change to a highly fit and strong leader.

But the cool part is, unlike physical fitness that requires 30-60 minutes or more a day... meditation can begin to have benefits in just one breath or 1 minute of practice! Ideally 5 to 10 to 20 minutes a day!

Then for those wanting a higher level of fitness, just like runners can run a 5 or 10km regularly or take it further and do a half or full marathon... or even a triathlon!

Meditation can also be extended to 40 or 60 minutes a day! Either in one session or spread in multiple sessions throughout the day.

Regardless of your mental fitness level, whether a new meditator who has never tried it or only experienced it at a yoga class.

Or maybe you’re a seasoned meditator with a daily practice, or looking to get inspired to try something new or refresh your practice….

The rest of this article describes my own philosophy and approach to meditation after over 13 years of personal practice and teaching to hundreds of students ranging from the age of 7 to 70, both in a professional or community setting and with my private executive clients.

 

The Simply Mindful Philosophy:

Anyone can learn to meditate and gain the many benefits in their life.

Meditation can be simple to start, though deep enough for a lifetime of learning.

 

Simply put, it is practicing compassionate awareness.

 

Accepting with loving compassion and non-judgement anything that arises in our thoughts, emotions, bodies, surroundings and more.

 

An Overview of the Simply Mindful Meditation approach:

  1. BREATHE to become grounded in present-moment awareness.
  2. RELAX the body and let go of the day.
  3. ACCEPT thoughts, feelings and sensations as they arise, with compassionate awareness,
  4. EXPAND the heart through gratitude, joy and love.
  5. ELEVATE the mind through meta-awareness, vision and clarity.

 

When I was teaching weekly classes, we had a full 40 minute session so we would cover multiple levels of the Simply Mindful steps above.

But if you are wanting to start on your own or do a shorter meditation, you may just want to focus on the breathing and use that as an anchor to focus your mind and awareness.

Or perhaps you'd like to do a body scan meditation where you move your awareness through the body, relaxing each part as you think of it.

And at any time, you can practice acceptance of your thoughts, feelings and sensations as they arise, without trying to change them.

Then, if you wanted to take it further, you can expand your heart and emotional capacity by practicing and resting in feelings of gratitude, joy and love.

And to take it further, you can expand your awareness beyond the awareness of yourself to a state where you have greater vision, creativity, clarity and meta-awareness.

There are so many approaches to meditation but I found this approach and progression of unwinding and accepting what is was the one I found the most valuable for both myself and those that took my classes.

Plus by keeping it simple, with room to expand, it's approachable and easy to add into your life! 

Simply Mindful Intro to Meditation Starter Kit...

For those of you who are loving everything about this approach I’ve described and want to try it out for yourself, I’d love to share my free Simply Mindful Intro to Meditation Starter Kit…

Which includes a step-by-step guide to setting up your own daily practice, walks you through the Simply Mindful Meditation approach and even includes a short guided meditation to get you started!

You can download your copy here:

 

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