Over the last several years of study with my teachers, I’ve learned a lot about the power of our thoughts. Specifically this: even when we think our thoughts can "solve" a problem at hand, the problem often lies in our thoughts. That's why we have to learn to leave our heads, and find our way to our hearts, to our intuition.
This is counterintuitive in business because we’re taught to out-think the competition and associate the heart with weakness. While the brain is a useful tool, it’s also a double-edged sword that can often be detrimental when it’s the only tool we know.
With that said, I’ve developed a toolbox to find my way home to my heart. Below, I've outlined them in a series of steps that you can use to stay mindful in meetings, and at work generally.
1. Turn off the "fight or flight" response.
How? With your breath. We've heard it time and time and again, but this one really works.
One of the first things that happens when we begin to feel stress or panic is that our breath shortens and the body enters a state of “fight or flight.” In this condition, much of our reasoning capability is overridden and we literally have only two options — battle or flee.
This genetic response is very useful if you’re a caveman confronted by a hungry predator or an angry warrior. But what was designed to keep us alive in the jungle can often result in the death of a meeting or our career in the boardroom (not to mention chronic stress).
Here is a breathing tool I've come up with to help you get into this practice: