Thursday, February 2, 2017

Quieting our mind is a leadership act

Amongst the words of wisdom this week,  American Buddhist teacher Jack Kornfield posted “quieting our mind is a political act”.

And quieting our mind is a leadership act.

In the infinite ways we can take action as a leader, to give meaning, value others, provide structure and help others move forward in a collective goal...quieting our own mind is at the core.  From such an action, there is a greater chance that our subsequent actions, will be more courageous, compassionate and effective.

Quieting our mind is not to zone out, to ignore what is going on, or to be passive.  Rather the contrary. We become more aware, alert and active.

If we can be in such a mindful state, we are more anchored and yet more open.  In this state, we are rooted and can flex with the winds.  We are less likely to be pulled off balance, uprooted, whether that is by another person, a twitter storm or a real one.

In quieting our mind, we increase our ability to see clearly. It gives us space and perspective, so we become a key witness to what is happening within us and around us.  We simply notice more, and in a more nuanced way. We notice the interdependence. We hear ourselves and others more deeply.

With a quieter mind, we become more in touch with our own body and its wisdom.  We feel more connected and whole.  Using our internal compass, we literally can sense check with our body how we feel about what is going on. What is this anger? What am I fearful of?   And intuition, that valuable source of decision making expertise, so crucial in navigating volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous (VUCA) contexts – can only be used, if we are quiet enough to hear its whispers, feel it in our body.

Simply, when we quieten our mind, we access increasing sources of our own peace, power and potential.  We notice how some of our beliefs, values, and judgements are themselves constructs which maybe constricting us, keeping us trapped in a way of being and doing.   Quieting our mind, frees us, bringing greater consciousness and choice to take wise action.   We enhance our wellbeing which positively impacts on how we show up and engage with the external world.

It therefore a grand act of leadership to

1) train our mind to quieten. Find out what helps you - meditation, mindfulness, yoga, exercise, music, solo time, whatever - and commit to it.  This helps to...

2)  quieten one’s mind in the moment, particularly in high pressure situations.  This may be through remembering to pause, breathe, and come into presence. 

3) take the next action from a quieter, calmer, more centred place.

4)  be self compassionate when we fail to do any of the above.

Inspired by Tweet @JackKornfield 1 Feb.
Photo own

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