Paying Attention to the Intention

It’s rare for me to come across anyone these days that has not heard of the term mindfulness. In fact, this movement has been sweeping the nation and many other developed countries for a number of years.  There are now even consulting firms that are being contracted by companies to come in and work with employees on how to be more mindful in their work and workplace.
I am a strong advocate of this movement and believe it has an impact across all spectrums–personal and professional.  However, in my experience, it (alone) doesn’t truly drive the outcomes that most high achievers are after.
The fact of the matter is we’ve built a culture that operates on the premise that more is better.
Many achievers I see and work with have proven to themselves that if they work longer and harder, they can produce a greater outcome.  Couple this with the fact that we all have more demands placed on us than time is available and you create an interesting situation.  How can you have more, do more, and be more without really DOING more?
The frame is the problem.  You see, the same strategies we used in the past, that have worked so well for us, have now become our biggest limitations to the next breakthrough.  ESPECIALLY if you want to own yourself, your time, your outcomes.
Most people’s minds are running on a tear.  Working on a solution to our next problem.  Mulling things over.  Processing.  Over and over again.
But are we actually leveraging our brains?  Is the solution really as “simple” as being more in the present moment?
Focus on what you are doing.  Be present.  This is a one-sided mental solution to a three part equation. Being present is focusing on attention when intention also needs to be integrated.
My mind is singular.  Yes, I need to own it.  Yet, how I feel–my emotions, my energy, the tension I may be carrying–are all in play.  To maximize the mindfulness effect, the three areas that need integration are mind, heart, and soul.  These all must be aligned and in integrity with what I am doing.  If they aren’t, doing my work requires much more will, much more force, and will most likely require much higher effort.
Here are a few strategies that I use with my clients to help them align these areas:
1)  Start a meditation practice. If you don’t have someone to mentor you, start with an app like Headspace. They have guided meditation training. Another free tool is the Breathing App created by yoga teacher Eddie Stern and Deepak Chopra.  It helps bring you into a calm mental state by guiding your breathing rate. If you like a more physical activity, perhaps consider a traditional Yoga practice such as Ashtanga Yoga, which can feel like a moving meditation while building flexibility, strength and endurance.
2)  Start to build SPACE into your schedule.  No more constant back-to-back-to-back items on your calendar.
3)  Re-frame your beliefs about working harder to drive your outcomes. This thinking can become a no-win proposition.  In the end, you will not care how hard you worked if you can get the same (or better) results by re-framing this–and enjoying a little more harmony along the way.

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