I'm guessing you already know the scientific benefits of meditation like sleeping better, feeling calmer, feeling more in control, and sparking creativity, right? But none of these have really motivated you to take up this practice.
Let's face it: You're too busy and you don't have time to sit and do nothing. Besides, meditation is great for other people, just not for a driven, career-oriented person like you. I get it, and I felt the same way before I started meditating.
But do you struggle with finding time to do what you want? Are you so exhausted by the end of the day you hardly have time to enjoy family or do something for yourself? Do you feel like something is missing in your life despite having a successful career?
As a meditation and yoga teacher as well as a life coach, you may think I don't know much about the demands of working in the corporate world, but it was exactly my years in corporate that led me to meditation.
I'm a very practical, type-A person, so the idea of meditating seemed absolutely ridiculous to me for many years. I thought meditation worked for some people, but it certainly wasn't going to help a driven, hard-working professional like me. How would sitting still and doing nothing actually help me reach my life and career goals? I just didn't see how meditation would give me what I really wanted and what I know most busy professionals want—more time, more energy, and more joy in life.
The stresses, demands, and deadlines at work were depleting me on all levels. I would have tried anything to calm my crazy brain five years ago! I was constantly on the go, trying to be who I thought I should be. I resisted this practice as long as I could, but when the angst of working in the corporate world, the demands of raising a family, and the overwhelming feeling of dissatisfaction in life got the best of me, I knew I had to try something new. So, I started meditating.
Fast-forward to today, and I have all the time and energy I could ever want. In fact, meditation changed my life in ways I couldn't have imagined when I first started. What I realize now that I resisted years ago is that the busier you are and the more driven you are, the more you need a meditation practice. A simple meditation practice can boost your life in ways that go well beyond the scientifically proven benefits.
If you're a busy professional and you really want to know how a meditation practice can support you at work and at home, read on.
Meditation provides an energy boost sans Red Bull.
If you feel utterly exhausted, frustrated, and worn out, it might be time to take note of where your energy is being spent. Before I started meditating, I had a vision of how things, people, and situations should be—my way! I resisted, fought against, and detached completely from people, situations, and things that did not appear as I thought they should.
I even started preparing for people NOT to do it my way so I could cut them off before they disappointed me. I missed some incredible opportunities by hyperfocusing on how things should be rather than accepting things as they were. This zapped a tremendous amount of energy from me and I didn't even realize this until I started meditating.
So, how exactly do you waste energy wishing things were different? You know that coworker who really irritates the heck out of you? Or how about the unrealistic boss who creates more havoc than productivity? Ever have a fallout with a friend or coworker and you play the conversation in your mind over and over again? When you finally encountered this person, did you notice that you had missed some pieces of the conversation that completely changed your reaction to him or her?
Do you know how much energy you expend wishing people and situations were different? A LOT! Just imagine how much more energy you'd have if instead of focusing on that irritating coworker, the overly demanding boss or replaying conversations in your mind that will never take place, you accepted people and things as they are.
After just a few weeks of meditating, I noticed that the things that normally bothered me simply didn't anymore. I could work the same amount of hours, but I got a lot more accomplished without feeling drained or depleted at the end of the day. I even had energy to enjoy time with my kids and husband after working a full day at the office.
Meditation helps you get what you really want.
Before I started meditating, I often went from one goal to another hoping that the next big accomplishment would make me happy. Every time I checked a goal off my list, I set out to achieve yet another one. It was all about doing, doing, doing. The problem was the doing wasn't really working anymore. I was exhausted, frustrated, and felt like something was missing from my life.
The fascinating thing about sitting in silence and just being is that you begin to hear another voice inside. This voice could care less about material possessions, titles, roles, or accomplishments. This voice is the real you—the you that is calm, joyful, and unlimited.
As I tuned in to this voice through meditation, I began to realize that what I was seeking "out there" was already within me. I didn't really want to hang more awards on the wall or to be recognized in the role I played at work or at home. What I really wanted was to love my life right now. I longed to have more time with my kids, who were spending way too many hours in day care. I wanted to focus on my health and well-being, and I wanted to do work that was really satisfying on a deeper level. Meditation helped me gain clarity about what it was I really wanted.
Meditation wasn't easy at first. I thought the point of meditation was to "not think," which only made the thoughts fire more rapidly. The first few weeks of meditation were filled with frustration as I tirelessly perused my to-do list, got distracted by sensations in my body, and old memories appeared randomly across the screen of my mind. It wasn't until I sought the help of a meditation teacher that I began to understand why meditation is called a practice.
I learned to use a mantra to quiet my mind, to be patient with myself, and to release any expectation I had before going into meditation. Although I struggled in the beginning, the rewards I've experienced and still experience today are so worth the initial frustration! Because of this practice, I'm more productive, less reactive, happier, and a lot more successful today. In fact, because of my commitment to meditation, I have more energy, more time, and feel more joy than I ever thought possible. I'm still very driven, but now my drive is aligned with what I really want instead of what I should want.
I challenge you to try meditation for just 21 days, even if you don't believe it will work for you or you've resisted meditation because you think meditation is for "other" people. You don't need a Buddha statue, an orange robe, or to shave your head. All you need is a serious commitment to sit in silence for 20 minutes a day twice a day. Know that your mind will run amok, and that's totally OK and a sign that you really do need this practice. Stick with it, and you will not recognize your life after committing to this practice for just 21 days.