Catapult Your Leadership Now: 5 Reasons Why Mindfulness Is The Mother Of All Leadership Skills

Each year billions of dollars are spent on developing professional women. There are scores of trainings on how to better communicate, be more agile, how to listen, be a better mentor, more creative, less reactive, visionary… the list drones on.

It’s enough to make one’s head spin.

The skillsets needed today are unlike those championed decades ago: a new era of Leadership is not only emerging but compulsory. No longer will we (or do we) celebrate and promote the dictatorial, hard-ass leader who generates their power in threats and aggressive backlashes.

Instead, the visionary, the strategic thinker, the listener and the collaborator, the female executive who weighs the balance of short-term gain with long term needs rises to the fore. The woman who understands that as they lead, their decisions impact a greater whole, namely the communities to which they are connected, is followed. And while all these skills can be taught, there is one practice that underlies all. The secret, The Mother of accelerators, if you will: Mindfulness.

As defined by Jon Kabat-Zinn, Mindfulness is “the awareness that arises from paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally.”

Meditation is one of the most powerful ways to foster Mindfulness. Contrary to popular misconception, Meditation is not about clearing the mind.

The nature of the mind is to wander, to have thoughts. No matter how often you meditate, the mind will wander, and thoughts will surface: it’s what the mind does, even if you are the Dalai Lama.

The power lies in training a new response to, and awareness of, the wandering.

Meditation is equal parts about habituation the mind back to the present moment, as it is, noticing when, and to where, the mind wanders and with compassion (nonjudgmentally), bringing it back to the present moment. These essential aspects of the practice serve as the backbone to nearly every Leadership skill women need to thrive.

Here’s a peek at why Mindfulness is the Mother of all Leadership Skills.

  1. Mindfulness Fosters Intentionality. In Meditation, the exercise is to habituate the mind back to the present moment, or back to an object of focus, again, and again, and again. That training builds the neuro muscle so that when our mind wanders or when our attention gets jerked away, in life and the boardroom, we can more easily refocus. In meetings, it’s natural to get caught up in our thoughts, critical points, or the impending presentation, detracting from fully hearing emerging specifics that might require a change in approach. This fostering of intentionality enables us to be with what is, instead of what we “think” is present.

Through a surge in research, including Harvard Studies, we now know that with only eight weeks, Meditation can rewire and build areas of the brain not just related to empathy and compassion, but also to memory and learning, and rewire areas related to stress. But just like the gym, it is a practice that needs consistency. A response is often “I don’t have the time,” but it can start with a mere minute. Though the benefits are extensive in the leadership realm, a mindful practice impacts all spheres of life. Mindfulness truly is The Mother, the great support, the compassionate listener, the teacher of all critical Leadership, and ultimately life, skills. You can’t afford not to take the time.

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