Forgiving yourself is an extremely valuable tool on your journey to being the best version of yourself. This goes hand in hand with personal accountability for your portion of responsibility in whatever situation you’re dealing with. True healing takes admitting at least your part in whatever is happening while also recognizing the other person’s part, and remembering that none of us are perfect. As a mindful leader, it is part of your duty to pay attention and be aware of each side of the story as much as you can. Sometimes it takes a little time and inner work to get there, but with practice, you can get there almost instantaneously if you focus. Let’s explore how forgiving yourself will ultimately make you a much stronger, wiser, and more patient and understanding individual.
One of the first things to realize is that many of us tend to beat up on ourselves about what we’ve done wrong for much longer than is necessary, which creates an inner environment that opens you up to people taking advantage of you because they know they can do whatever they want, but you’ll take the blame and responsibility for it... because that’s just the good-hearted type of person that you are. Having said that, this gives you all the more reason to develop a healthy and appropriate length of time to process your portion of responsibility rather than moving into martyr mode.
Your inner critic can be very noisy and – quite frankly – a nuisance until you practice mindfulness and self-awareness and recognize that this is all just part of being human. None of us are perfect, and keeping this in mind allows you to forgive yourself as well as others much more quickly. Love yourself despite your mistakes, and keep them in perspective by taking a bird’s eye view of the whole situation rather than just the piece of it that you feel is your fault. Remember that the best thing you can do for yourself is learn from the experience and move on. Dwelling in guilt, shame, and fear is actually unhealthy and detrimental to your effectiveness as a person, the message you have to share, as well as eating away at your sense of self-worth, so why make life more difficult for yourself through this kind of subconscious self-programming?
On that note, let’s take a look at a few things you can do to help you forgive yourself and move on to solutions and lessons learned, that way you have the tools to handle things in a more constructive way later, as well as being unlikely to make the same mistake again.
Elements of Self-Forgiveness to Keep in Mind
· In order to make the most of your self-forgiveness, it’s a good idea to begin from a place of calm and peace, preferably where you remember that you are (and deserve to be – we all do) loved unconditionally. Whether this unconditional love comes from yourself, your spirit or inner being, or an individual that is close to you, tap into that feeling of being loved unconditionally. This is the foundation.
· Next, remember your strength and positive attributes or traits. Are you patient? Understanding? Wise? Practical? This could be anything that you love about yourself and can remember demonstrating at some point or another in a life situation. These are things you know to be true and can be confident in, which in turn will make it easier to admit fault that is actually yours, forgive yourself, and move on.
· Remember to look at the situation in context and take full responsibility for whatever it is that you need to forgive yourself for. If it was a simple mistake involving your skills, then there’s no need to beat yourself up over it. Simply learn from the mistake, correct it if you can, and do better next time. If it was a moral conflict, make sure that you feel appropriate guilt and shame, but no more. Nursing these feelings can open you up to all kinds of problems later on, so don’t prolong the healing process unnecessarily.
· Pay close attention to the parts of your experience that are especially painful, as this is where deeper healing takes place. Look at what happened and feel the pain and guilt, but imagine yourself shining a loving light onto it and realizing that, without doing this, you are much more likely to get stuck in the negative cycle of beating yourself up over it.
· Take responsibility for your part in things and acknowledge the aspects of the situation that you aren’t responsible for. Then consider what you’ve done already to try to rectify the situation, and do anything else that you feel you must in order to mend fences. If you’ve already done everything in your power, then the rest is outside of your control and there’s no point in dwelling on it more. At that point, it’s senseless and does more harm than good. If there’s more that you can do, then do it – not only for the other person involved, but also for yourself. Knowing you’ve done everything you could will help you to learn from the experience and move on.
· That brings me to the idea of learning everything you can from the situation and then releasing it. Letting go of trying to control the outcome of the situation will allow you to move on and do better the next time you’re faced with a similar situation.
Be honest with yourself and do what you can, but don’t allow your inner critic or self-deprecating thoughts to lull you into a false sense of over-responsibility. No one human being is required to carry the weight of the world, but if you continuously don’t forgive yourself, then it may very well feel like you have the world on your shoulders. This feeling can become crippling over time; the more weight you add with every misstep or mistake, the heavier your burden will be. This infringes very much on your ability to help others, and as a mindful leader, this will likely have a ripple effect on every area of your life.
I hope that these ideas help you to reach a place of forgiving yourself much more quickly. One of the most important aspects is to feel the feelings you feel, acknowledge them, and then let them go so that you can move on to do much better in your life as a whole. This is part of the work that allows you to be better than you were the day, week, or even month before, and oftentimes, steps and layers are required in order to fully reach this peace. You can only work your way from one step to the next; there’s no jumping up the entire staircase to reach the top without learning the lessons you learn along the way. Abraham-Hicks refers to this as being ready to be ready to be ready... because you can’t get there from where you are without taking the steps necessary, and life tends to lead us to exactly the steps we need for growth and inner peace... usually with absolutely perfect timing (whether we can see it in the thick of it or not).
Thank you so much for joining us today on the Mindful Leader Blog! I hope you’re having a wonderful week, and please come back next week for another article about forgiveness.
To learn more about the Mindfulness Movement and the International Mindfulness Federation, please visit:
Any time we are around other people, mistakes are bound to be made. Nobody’s perfect, after all. The real test of your character is how you choose to react to mistakes or carelessness at the hands of other people, or in some cases, how you react to abusive or bullying behavior at the hands of someone else. Let’s be perfectly honest here... in real life, there are lots of gray areas and there isn’t always a clear-cut solution or choice to make. Sometimes you have nothing but “bad” options, and it’s important to be flexible and able to mindfully consider which option is the best one, even if there isn’t an ideal win-win-win. Read on to learn how forgiving others can help you cultivate inner peace and stay sane during stressful circumstances.
As mentioned in last week’s blog post, studies have shown that holding a grudge or nursing resentment can actually be detrimental to the health of your body and mind. It’s like the Buddha said: “Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.” This is also true of resentment and feelings of vengeance; the emotional state of being is more harmful to yourself and your own vessel than it is to the person whom you wish justice upon.
Now, this doesn’t mean that your feelings aren’t valid or even justified. However, this type of feeling is only justified for so long before it turns from a healthy step in the process of acceptance (or release) to a detrimental habit of thought and feeling that essentially eats away at your mind, body, and spirit.
So, how do you get to a point of being able to forgive someone more quickly in order to move toward solutions rather than arguing in circles or having a dark cloud hanging over your workplace (or anywhere else)? Here are five things to keep in mind as you work on your ability to let go and forgive others their mistakes.
Five Reframes to Help You Forgive Others Mindfully
These are five things to remember as you work on your ability to forgive others. Perception is reality, so fine-tuning your own perception is an excellent way of getting to a place of peace through forgiveness much faster.
1. Remember that you have no way of knowing just what someone else is going through or dealing with at any given time. If you’re working from a place of speculation, assumptions, or worse (like gossip, rumors, or hearsay), then the chance of coming up with forgiveness or any kind of solution becomes minimal at best, and it definitely won’t be a solution that is in alignment with the greatest good for everyone.
2. Remember that most people have a rich, multifaceted life outside of the workplace or wherever you know them from. Unless they share their stories voluntarily, then you have no way of knowing what’s happening in their lives, the underlying stresses they may be facing, or the amount of work they’re doing. Chances are that, if you have a lot on your plate, most other people also have a lot on their plate. These days, that’s much more common than finding people who are minimalistic and have cleared the clutter from their lives. Even if they have, that thing called life still happens, so find your sense of compassion before holding on to resentment or anger.
3. Remember that not everyone practices mindfulness or meditation. Self-awareness doesn’t come naturally to all people, and without conscious practice, we can fall out of our mindful habits and start “slacking off” on directing our own thoughts and emotions. One blanket remedy for this is to have a morning session of meditation for all of the people you lead, maybe even a second one after lunch. Meditation has been proven to have many positive effects on an individual, so it can’t hurt.
4. Remember that each of us sees life through the layers of conditioning and experiences we’ve accumulated throughout our lives. I think of this like several different semi-opaque blinders in different colors covering our eyes and how we see and sense the world and other people. As we grow, evolve, and expand our consciousness, these blinders begin to fall away in a series of aha-moments and epiphanies, like layers being peeled back. Once this begins happening, we can see the world, people, and circumstances from various different perspectives simultaneously, making us more understanding and open to hearing more sides of a situation. It may never be possible to see all sides, simply because context matters and the circumstances and various different perceptions of the people involved will tell as many different stories as there are people involved, maybe even more. Keeping this in mind allows us to be more accepting and wise in how we handle different circumstances.
5. Remember that we’re all connected. No matter how different we all are from one another due to the illusion of separateness and different upbringing, conditioning, and subconscious programming, our individual perceptions can come together to paint a whole picture rather than leaving us with a canvas that looks randomly spattered with paint. The underlying connections are apparent in everyday life and circumstances when you practice mindfulness and pay attention, while also practicing discernment.
Forgiveness, like so many things, happens in waves or layers. Another “side-effect” of mindfulness practice is that you become more aware of the various cycles of human emotion, life circumstances, and the ebb and flow of the universe. It’s all connected, and chances are that your life circumstances and relationships are there to teach you something. When we take on the role of being a student of the universe, so to speak, rather than getting caught up in superficial conflicts and squabbling, we are more able to see people for who they are beneath the mess that life created within their being. This is also why healing yourself is so important – only then can we truly see, and only then can we truly understand.
Thank you so much for joining us here on the Mindful Leader Blog! Check in next week for another article about forgiveness, this time about forgiving yourself... which should help with the healing I just mentioned.
To learn more about the Mindfulness Movement and the International Mindfulness Federation, please visit:
We’ve all been in situations where we feel wronged, hurt, or betrayed by someone. This can be very painful to experience, which means that we typically have to work our way through the stages of acceptance before we can forgive someone, and in certain cases, forgiveness alone may not serve you as well as also remembering what you’ve learned from the experience. The trick is to find your balance between forgiving those who have wronged you while maintaining the knowledge and lessons you’ve learned from the experience. Let’s take a closer look at what forgiveness is and how we can incorporate it into our mindful leadership practices.
Forgiveness, like so many things in life, has slightly different meanings for everyone depending on how you were raised and your life experiences as well as what you intuitively know to be true at the core of your being. The types of situations that may require you to forgive someone are as infinite as the types and depths of forgiveness that you are capable of as a human. Betrayal and forgiveness take on many forms, so your emotional guidance system comes into play quite a lot, especially when you’re navigating life with other people. Wherever there are people, there are bound to be mistakes, which means that forgiveness is a tool you should cultivate thoroughly if you’re working with people in any capacity.
Wikipedia has a very good definition of forgiveness:
Forgiveness is the intentional and voluntary process by which a victim undergoes a change in feelings and attitude regarding an offense, lets go of negative emotions such as vengefulness, with an increased ability to wish the offender well.
Now, as far as the purpose of forgiveness is concerned, there always seems to be an initial misconception that forgiveness is for the other person’s wellbeing rather than our own. As we continue to grow and then refine our understanding of forgiveness, we come to realize that it is for our own sanity and health that we must choose to forgive others, not for the sake of their soul or wellbeing (although it can’t hurt, right?).
Forgiveness serves us in many different ways on an emotional, spiritual, and even physical level. It also goes hand in hand with love – the real, unconditional brand of love – as well as compassion and empathy. It also goes hand in hand with inner peace and mindfulness, and because everything ties together in this way, understanding each component on a deeper level can greatly improve your overall wellbeing and help you put all of these loving practices into action in your daily life as a mindful leader.
On Practicing Forgiveness
Being able to wish someone well despite a betrayal, abuse, or falling out can sometimes be a challenge, especially if the actions against you were abusive or traumatizing in any way. This means a great deal of inner work for healing yourself, which can easily turn into bitterness and resentment toward those who wronged you and “made you” have to do all that hard work. Healing and working through trauma can be painful, so it takes some strength to face it head on and – make no mistake – the only way out is through, and emotional energy doesn’t just disappear into nothing. It stays within the body, causing other forms of damage and dis-ease over time.
This is a natural way to feel at first, but it is not a state of being that is worth holding on to. Resentment, anger, and vengefulness have a profound effect on your body because these emotions increase the stress hormone cortisol and decrease the “love” hormone oxytocin. These negative emotions also activate the fight or flight response, which – if activated on a consistent basis – can also have damaging effects not only on the body but also on the mind and spirit.
Forgiveness, on the other hand, is a method of releasing those negative emotions and coming to a place of inner peace, understanding, and if not love, at least compassion for those who know not what they do and have hurt you. Because, oftentimes, people hurt each other through subconscious means, learned habits, misunderstandings, or chaotic circumstances where people are simply trying to do their best with what they have. However, sometimes it is conscious and it is abusive. That is for your discernment, although dwelling on it too much can drive you a little crazy, especially if you’re trying to figure out the motivations of an abuser who uses manipulative tactics, which may very well be part of their modus operandi.
One of the most important things that someone told me during a point in my life when I was leaving an abusive relationship was, “If you keep going back for anything – your stuff, to talk, or whatever reason he gives you and you use as an excuse – then you are, in effect, giving him control. You’ve got to take your power back.” The reason I bring this up is because it was difficult to hear... I was only 23 at the time, but it was like my heart got zapped with an electric current for a minute, just before the warmth and excitement of epiphany swept over me. What’s interesting is that this helped me to realize that it all happens in the mind and heart... as long as I didn’t take responsibility for my part in what was happening, all the blaming and arguing in the world wouldn’t change anything and would only serve to keep me indirectly under his control... which had seeped into my perception and thoughts, the most dangerous place to allow anybody else to live for an extended period of time.
Knowing this, I certainly hope that you have gained a deeper level of understanding about the definition and purpose of forgiveness. It isn’t always easy in practice, especially during highly emotional situations, but finding your inner place of peace will also allow you to handle those types of situations in a much more constructive way. In some situations, you may need to cut your losses and walk away, letting go of toxic relationships that aren’t salvageable. If that isn’t a possibility, you’ll have the tools necessary to stay strong and handle things more gracefully than before, in effect neutralizing the situation.
Thank you so much for joining us here on the Mindful Leader Blog! I hope you’re having a wonderful week, and I look forward to sharing more information about forgiveness with you throughout the month of November.
To learn more about the Mindfulness Movement and the International Mindfulness Federation, please visit:
The brutal truth of the matter is that we won’t be fully honed or skilled in these practices, especially getting comfortable with uncertainty, until we’ve experienced a period of uncertainty that essentially gave us no choice but to get comfortable. Things being up in the air basically force us to let go of control and hang on to faith instead. If this isn’t something you’ve done before, then it might help you to read on about things you can do to help yourself feel less like you’re being dragged through the mud by life and more like you’re being “pulled” to your calling by life. On the outside, the circumstances and situations could be exactly the same... but one person might handle it with a nonchalant attitude while someone else might handle it with a reactionary mindset. Let’s take a closer look at a mindset of being comfortable in times of uncertainty.
There are some common sayings we can turn to in times like these, some of which may not always make sense until you’ve had an experience where it clicks. However, they are very valid sayings and can be used to give you comfort in uncertain times. By practicing the following mindset shifts, you make your emotional wellbeing the primary focus as you work through whatever circumstances or challenges you’re faced with.
1. “When one door closes, another one opens.”
This is advice to keep your eyes out for opportunities and remain open to seeing them despite your challenges. In order to be on the same wavelength or frequency as your solutions, though, you must have a mindset focused and directed toward more positive aspects than negative. If you are staying focused on the problem and thinking about it, giving it your mental and emotional energy, then the solutions may not find you because they are on an entirely different vibrational frequency. It isn’t that they aren’t there; it’s that you aren’t in the right mindset to see them. If you need help getting out of a funk, try meditation, yoga, or going for a walk.
2. “Let go and let God.”
Essentially, this saying means to let go of your need for control. When you try to control everything around you, chances are that you feel like you have no control within yourself, of your emotions specifically. This essentially means you try to control your environment and external people and circumstances in order to attempt to control your own emotions. This is akin to building a house on a faulty foundation – if you really want to get somewhere, you will let go of the control tactics and begin replacing them with mindfulness practices so that you can heal yourself and quit worrying about everything “out there.”
3. “Have the serenity to know the difference.”
This line from the Serenity Prayer is important to remember during challenging times, especially if whatever is happening is very emotional for you. Being serene – peaceful, calm, tranquil – can also be achieved through daily meditation practice. When you are able to maintain a somewhat objective point of view despite emotional volatility in a situation, you are better able to recognize what is yours and what isn’t. Is this really your responsibility? Is this really something that’s your problem? Or is it better to step back and let it go? Remember... you can always come back to it later when tempers and other emotions have cooled.
4. Don’t worry about a thing.
Worrying is like projecting your fears into the future... and if you’re any good at manifesting anything, which we all are (whether we know it or not), there’s a good chance that these worries and fears being projected into your future may become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Have you ever met someone who believed that they were cursed in some way, shape, or form? And every time, without fail, that thing they thought was cursing them would show up. Now, what’s the deal... are they actually cursed? Or are they so worried about what’s coming that they make it happen one way or another? This is why it’s better to keep your mind clear rather than running on autopilot (aka auto-manifesting). If you’re not thinking about anything, then chances are that you aren’t projecting worries and fears into the future or being nostalgic or regretful about the past. If you catch yourself thinking worrisome thoughts, direct your attention somewhere else. The more you do this, the less you’ll worry.
5. Be discerning about what you give your attention and energy to.
If you have something that is a priority which you should be focused on, such as a project, work, or some other activity, then choose that as much as possible. If you have children, creative passion projects, a fun hobby, or anything similar to focus on that helps you stay in tune with your inspiration, then set aside time for that and make it a priority because it is imperative to replenish your energies and get into that inspired zone from time to time. If you don’t do this enough or haven’t found anything like this to focus on, then your chances of falling into addictive behavior increase, so find something organic that makes you feel naturally passionate and make that your new addiction, so to speak.
I hope that this month’s blog articles have helped you to become better at being uncomfortable and not knowing what’s next. Uncertainty is a part of life, and if you don’t know how to handle it in a healthy manner from your own perspective, which will be different from anyone else’s, then I highly recommend you start learning and getting to know yourself better. You are much stronger than you think, and you can handle more and come out a much better person than you think, so changing the way you think of yourself is a good first step. It basically boils down to confidence. Are you confident in your ability to figure things out? If not, then you might run into trouble. Let’s prevent that from happening, shall we?
Thanks so much for joining us and reading about resilience this month! I invite you to come back in November for a new topic on Mindful Leadership.
Let’s face it… sometimes, things are up in the air for a while before opportunities or information come to light to help you continue to move forward. Other times, you simply have to tap into your patience in order to keep from going too stir-crazy while you wait for solutions to present themselves. So, when everything seems to be in limbo, how do you keep yourself from letting it get to you? Here are five ways in which you can keep your balance mindfully, especially during times of uncertainty.
Another circumstance in which you might feel stuck or at a standstill is if too many problems continue to present themselves. This is the perfect opportunity for you to ask yourself one very important question:
Is it really YOUR problem?
Or are you taking on other people’s problems and helping them rather than helping yourself?
This is a very common problem for caring and mindful leaders, so it’s important to learn how to keep your problems and responsibilities separate from those of your team. As a mindful leader, it isn’t your job to fix anything for someone else; if someone on your team needs help, you can use your coaching skills to help guide them to their own answers and solutions, and then allow them to take care of their own problems. Not only will this free up your time and energy for other things, but it will help them to feel empowered about what they can accomplish for themselves.
5 Habits for Mindful Balance
1. Get out of the problem. Essentially, this means distracting yourself and not dwelling on whatever is going on for the time being. Oftentimes, taking a few steps back will give you the opportunity to relax into a potential solution you may have missed if you were up in arms about the issue. Becoming a master of self-distraction is a good thing!
2. Reserve judgment. By keeping an open mind and understanding things from multiple angles or perspectives, you can more easily focus on solutions and problem-solving methodologies without getting emotionally involved in whatever issue is surfacing. The emotional aspect of a problem is often the most damaging, so maintain your bird’s eye view by suspending judgment.
3. Practice the art of allowing. Sometimes things just need to play out in whichever direction they will end up playing out, so allowing others the freedom to make their own decisions and do things the way they see fit will ensure that everyone is happy… or, if not, that everyone at the very least has to own their words and actions during the process.
4. Practice the art of acceptance. This is essentially accepting people for who they are, as well as accepting yourself for who you are and being okay with it, especially when you learn about personality quirks that may clash when combined. By not getting stuck on those personality quirks, we allow the other person to be who they are and the entire problem solving process becomes less stressful… and even fun.
5. Above all, maintain your inner peace. This is a daily habitual practice you should be implementing as a mindful leader no matter what may be going on in the world around you, in your life, or with your loved ones. No, this doesn’t mean that you should bury your emotions or try not to feel anything. On the contrary… this means finding daily habits that help you to stay centered, on track, balanced, and peaceful.
Your mindset is largely dependent on what you do for yourself and your emotional landscape every day. For some people, this may mean eating a balanced diet and getting plenty of exercise; for others, it may mean journaling and getting enough sleep. It’s up to you to determine which habits are most effective for you to be the best version of yourself and maintain your inner peace.
For more information about the Mindfulness Movement or the International Mindfulness Federation, please visit:
How much control do you think you have over your life? During any given day, do you have control over much of anything, really? Well, maybe a little. However, the real question is (and be honest with yourself here): Do you feel like you need to be in control of everything around you all the time? The difference between being in control of your own mind and being in control of your environment is night and day. Let’s pinpoint some of the key things involved in healthy control over your mind versus unhealthy control over the environment.
The one extremely obvious point to note is that one version of control turns your focus inward, while the other version of control turns your focus outward. Why does this matter?
Have you ever tried to control the ocean? That would be impossible for one person to do. And you know as well as I do that barking orders or yelling at the ocean wouldn’t change a thing. It would simply continue on its course, ebbing and flowing in its natural rhythm.
However, you can go within and make the decision to go with the flow of the water. This allows for collaboration and harmony rather than control and force.
We could learn a lot from the ocean. Actually, we could learn a lot from water in general.
Becoming Like Water
Water, though flexible, is powerful, steady, and persistent as it carves out its own path. It is confident (have you ever seen water hesitate?), reliable, and typically stays put unless it gets too hot, in which case it evaporates and eventually falls back to the earth. No matter how you look at it, though, water is always present in the now because it has no mind to think thoughts of worry about the future or regret about the past.
1. The present is everything.
When you focus your attention in the present moment, you begin to notice details and spaces that you may not have noticed before. Time may even stretch out for you. This is because you have found a state of being completely focused and present and your thoughts aren’t a part of this focus.
Should you notice your thoughts wandering, just bring your focus back to your breath. The breath is vital to us, not only for staying alive, but also for connecting with our inner selves and balancing us out.
2. Breathing is powerful.
Think about it. With each breath you take, millions of tiny cells carry oxygen to every part of your body to keep it functioning properly. If any part of your body loses oxygen, your body will begin to shut down. If your brain loses oxygen for too long, it dies and can no longer function.
Breathing is life. If you’d like to do some mindfulness breathing, breathe in through your nose, hold for four, then out through your mouth, hold for four. You can count out four seconds, and then as your lungs become stronger and grow in capacity, you may begin to increase your count.
3. Life is liquid.
Just like water is liquid life, life is fluid like water. You may be able to see the big things coming and prepare for them, kind of like large rocks, waterfalls, or a boulder in a river, but you can’t always see all of the little obstacles hidden beneath the surface, nor can you foretell what other unforeseen things may interfere with the flow of the river.
You must remain flexible. If you aren’t able to go with the flow and work with it, your entire life experience will feel like an uphill battle of “making” things happen. If you choose instead to consider multiple options for multiple potential circumstances or outcomes, you will already have a higher chance of success because you’re addressing the problem creatively. Master this and you will be able to handle anything life throws at you!
4. Maybe the world does revolve around you… just a little.
By that, of course, I mean YOUR world. This is true for every person on the planet; think of yourself as a smaller universe within a larger one, within a larger one, within a larger one. Each level is within another level, all the way on up to the entire expanding universe and all the way down to the tiniest atom.
Knowing this, you can approach people you lead in a way that takes their perspective (“the world revolves around me”) into consideration while also helping the whole. Your own perspective will broaden the more you understand this, so try to look at everything from as many angles as possible.
5. Nobody else is really any of your business.
When you spend the majority of your time worrying about what someone else is doing, saying, or thinking, you hand away your power over yourself on a silver platter. If someone else is constantly worried about what you’re doing, saying, or thinking, they have given you power over them and it isn’t always pretty for either person.
Instead, focus on what you’re doing and staying in the moment while you’re doing it so that you can milk it for everything it has to teach you and show you by studying the details. This is how to remain mindful while you’re working on anything, whether you naturally enjoy it or not.
Thanks so much for reading! I certainly hope that this article helps you become a more mindful leader than before.
If you are a mindful leader, that implies you have people to lead, am I right? Well, if there are people, there must be trust, and to build trust, you can work on a few different aspects of your leadership style, habits, and perspective. Read on to learn how you can begin developing trusting relationships with all of your employees… without getting overwhelmed.
What characteristics inspire trust in you and your abilities? If you’re in a leadership position and even just a little mindful, you will likely have at least some of these character traits naturally, especially if you’ve worked with integrity and genuine passion for a while. Whatever traits you have naturally, pay attention and be honest with yourself about recognizing them. From there, you can cultivate the rest of these character traits as you go through mental conditioning, meditation, and continuous mindfulness practice.
The Key Ingredients to Cultivating Trust
· Consistency. If you want to cultivate trust in you and your abilities as a leader, then lead by example. The little things done consistently each day are what will make all the difference in the long run. Once you begin to see results and your momentum builds, the proof is in the pudding and your team will have more trust in you.
· Commitment. Your unwavering commitment to your business, company, project, or vision even during lean or difficult times is what will inspire trust in you for future projects. No matter what the outcome, the fact that your commitment was unwavering speaks volumes. You made a decision and stuck with it even if it seemed impossible or wasn’t popular at one point or another.
· Clarity. Become very clear about your priorities, your purpose, your mission, and your expectations… make it a point not to be vague or ambiguous. Being straight forward is a great way to avoid wasting time beating around a problem as opposed to solving it.
· Competence. You will find that people trust you more if you know what you’re doing, are always learning and staying up to date, and either know the answers or know where to find them. This is where applied knowledge becomes a very powerful tool.
· Character. Are you the type of leader who does what is right over what is easy? If so, this is a characteristic that will help to inspire trust in your leadership. Life and business very often require doing what needs to be done whether we like it or not, so it’s no wonder that this trait inspires trust.
· Gratitude. A leader who practices gratitude will have an amazing set of personality traits that everyone can appreciate. That’s what makes a mindful leader such a great connector. Grateful leaders don’t gossip, complain, or feel entitled. This mindset can always be achieved through practice.
· Results. Nothing screams, “Follow me!” like achieving the results you set out to, or better. When you are able to produce positive and successful results on a consistent basis, your expertise expands, your team trusts you more and more, and you are able to be more confident and build upon your success no matter where you are on the overall ladder.
· Empathy. Being compassionate toward others is essentially caring about things bigger than yourself or outside of yourself, and taking those things into consideration. This will ensure that you are working toward the best interests of the majority and the business as a whole, applying the golden rule as your default setting.
Now that you’ve read about some of the most important traits of a great leader, it’s time to put these habits into practice. The only thing you have to do to begin changing your life and leadership style for the absolute best it can be is to implement one of these small habits at a time until you practice all of them daily. Think incremental improvement at a relaxed pace so it sticks effortlessly and feels wonderful.
For more information on the Mindfulness Movement and the International Mindfulness Federation, please visit:
So, is honesty the best policy? In short, the answer to that question is yes. Of course, there will always be circumstantial nuances surrounding your decision about how and when to be honest, as well as how much of your truth to share. However, as a general guideline, honesty is absolutely the best policy… especially when it comes to being honest with yourself… and your team. Let’s explore that thought a little more deeply, shall we?
Honesty is not only a virtue, but it’s a habit. A lifestyle, just like any other habit or recurring action is. Also just like any other habit, it has an opposite or reverse side of itself – the “negative” opposing habit you may fall into. Now, I don’t know what the opposite of being a liar is (is being a “truther” a thing?), but maybe we can just make it a point to do our best to be honest ;).
Now, are there ever times when honesty may not be your best bet? Typically speaking, being honest about what’s happening is more beneficial in the long run than not being honest. However, there are a few ways in which you can make sure you’re maintaining your integrity while also not shying away from tough leadership decisions, messages, and so on.
3 Ways to Be Honest and Tactful
Honesty is important because it builds trust between you and your team. However, just spewing out whatever pops into your head is not what we mean by being honest. Rather, to build and maintain trust and rapport with your team while being honest, some of the following ideas might help.
1. Take Time to Step Back and Think.
This is especially helpful if you have something challenging to talk about and/or solve. The challenging times are when you, as a mindful leader, need to take additional care to be at your absolute best so that you can help your team through the aspects of these challenges they may not know how to deal with. Taking a day or three to figure out your wording in order to maintain the best possible relationship with your team is a small price to pay for doing it right the first time.
When you meditate regularly, it is much easier to widen the gap between data coming in and reactions going out. That space is meant to give you the time and reflection necessary to go from reacting to responding on purpose. Remember… you don’t always have to respond right away. You can also take some time to think.
3. Don’t Tiptoe Around the Issue.
If you’ve thought about things all you can and planned your wording all you can, then don’t procrastinate. You should go ahead and address the issue at hand as soon as you’re ready but before you have a chance to talk yourself into waiting longer ;). Analysis paralysis is avoidable if you know what you’re dealing with, so keep that in mind moving forward.
The Benefits of Honest Leadership
· Mutual Respect – leadership and employees respect each other and therefore take each other’s ideas more seriously.
· Crisis Prevention – if everyone is on the same page to begin with, challenging times are much easier to handle.
· Employee Encouragement – if you are honest about any challenges that come up and have enough confidence in your team to allow them to solve their own problems, not only will your team be more up to the task, but they will find ways to solve problems without having to ask for help if you allow them to.
As you can probably tell, honesty, more often than not, is definitely the best policy. Even though it may not always be the easiest way to handle things, it’s much easier than trying to keep track of lies or omissions of truth and which version of your story you told to which person. To keep things simple, maintain your integrity, and prevent the messes lies can create, it’s much easier to be honest to begin with.
As always, thanks for joining us here on the Mindful Leader Blog! Continue leading mindfully, and if you’d like to learn more about the International Mindfulness Federation and the Mindfulness Movement, please visit:
No matter what your business or company specializes in, your customers are extremely important, and much of their experience depends on the individuals they work with: your employees. As a consumer yourself, I’m sure you’ve noticed when companies, businesses, or even government agencies have “dropped the ball” and are essentially just doing the bare minimum to punch the clock and get paid. Talk about a sad state of being, especially at work where you spend the majority of your waking hours! So how do you go about making sure your employees are happy, passionate, and fully contributing their unique value? Read on to learn more.
There are typically five key areas that should be examined to determine whether your work environment is healthy or not. If it isn’t, you may have some work ahead of you, but getting and keeping everyone on track will be well worth it in the long run. If you discover problems in one of these areas, you may need to overhaul everyone’s attitudes and habits, so brace yourself – if you’re a mindful leader getting ready to take on a company or department revision of any kind, be ready for challenges, resistance, and maybe even having to let a few people go (depending on how things play out).
Alright, now that we’ve covered the doom-and-gloom part, let’s get back to our usual business of sharing solutions.
Five Areas of Interest for a Healthy Work Environment
1. The Leadership.
Oh, no! No leader wants to hear this, right? However, one of the first places to look for issues concerning the work environment as a whole is whether leaders in this department or organization are narcissistic, sociopathic, manipulative, or otherwise toxic. If you’re the leader and this doesn’t seem like you, then you might be okay (although you may consider asking for feedback from your employees to be sure). If you’re evaluating another leader’s performance and see any kind of toxic behavior, do what is necessary to keep this person from destroying the health of the organization from within.
2. The Communication.
Communication is important anytime there are people involved, so unless you’re living as a hermit, off-grid in a cave somewhere in the mountains, it may benefit you to hone your communication skills… and everyone else, for that matter. Communicative dysfunctions can come in the form of misleading information, indirect communication (sending messages through other people), and withholding information. Pay attention to learn whether this is an area of concern or not.
3. The Side-Effects.
Are your employees depressed, gaining weight, suffering from addiction or alcoholism, or not sleeping well? These could all be the result of a toxic work environment, so if one department in particular seems like its employees are unhealthy, sluggish, or just plain miserable, you may need to take a look at that department to determine what’s going on. This type of development over time is not good, and it may eventually even be the downfall of the entire company. It’s better to acknowledge and solve a problem when you discover it rather than letting it fester and get worse.
4. The Rules.
If policies and rules are followed sometimes and ignored other times, the entire work environment begins to break down into chaos. One hand doesn’t know what the other is doing, and this makes dealing with the company an extremely frustrating experience for its vendors, customers, and even employees. Is everyone up to date on policies and procedures in your department? What about your company as a whole?
5. The Culture.
Attitudes can be contagious, whether they’re positive or negative. Just as misery loves company, so, too, does a happy soul love another happy soul to interact with. If your employees complain, feel miserable, and focus on all of the negative aspects of their job, then everyone will be miserable soon enough. However, if there are a few daily habits in place to put everyone in a more positive mood, you can keep the good vibes strong while disempowering chronic complainers.
Now that you know where to look for problems, how do you think your company, organization, or department is doing? Is your work environment somewhat healthy, or do you have your work cut out for you? Tell us your story by leaving a comment or reaching out to us via email. We love hearing from you!
As always, continue leading mindfully and have a wonderful week.
For more information on the Mindfulness Movement and mindful leadership, please visit:
Need some help with your mindfulness practice? The Mindful Moments can certainly help!
At its core, fear does one single, crippling thing to you if you allow it to: it controls you. Whether you like it or not, whether you admit it or not, fear can take over the power to run your life, making you worry about the past or future while the present passes you by. And yes... at first, your reaction will be to deny that this is your case. Once worrying and anxiety has become a habit, that habit can be difficult to break. But don’t add that to your list of worries – instead, you can form constructive habits to face your fears and live your life in the present.
There are some people who have faced adversity, struggle, and impossible challenges early in life and were essentially forced to face their fears or completely fall apart. You’ve probably heard some of these stories. The story of a young domestic violence survivor, the story of a child born without an arm or a leg, the story of a child born without the ability to hear or speak; all of these people were essentially forced to live their best lives by working with their challenges and setbacks instead of fighting against them.
And therein lies the key to facing your fears constructively: working with them instead of against them.
Everyone is afraid. I don’t care who you are, whether you’re a homeless veteran or the CEO of a multi-million dollar company... everyone is afraid. In brain science, this response is caused by what is referred to as the reptilian brain and is also known as the fight or flight response.
It is caused when our minds perceive something as being scary, dangerous, or unfamiliar.
This can happen in a number of scenarios. You’re the new kid at school, you’re starting your first day of college and don’t understand the industry lingo (yet), you booked your first public speaking gig, you’re being interviewed on video for the first time ever, you’re moving to another country for work, you’re getting married, you’re a concert pianist performing in front of thousands of people.... There are a million different things you could be afraid of in any of these situations, and your mind perceives it as a scenario where you have to fight or flee.
But do you really have to fight or flee?
Five Ways to Face Your Fears
1. Differentiate between unfounded fears and legitimate fears. The situation may be one in which fear serves you and the fight or flight response is necessary; if you witness a shooting, it’s probably not a good idea to go charging toward it to face your fears. Let’s leave that to the people trained to handle that type of situation.
2. Feel your fear and acknowledge it. This is an internal practice, but stay with me here. Allowing yourself to feel the fear you’re experiencing and think about it while breathing or meditating will make you feel more comfortable with your fear as you become familiar with it. You will find yourself recognizing that fear is simply an emotion, and you can reframe your own perception to work with this emotion rather than being crippled by it.
3. Identify exactly what you’re afraid of. Usually, at its core, you will find that it’s fairly simple: a fear of rejection, a fear of failure, or a fear of disappointment. Once you’ve identified the root of your fear, it becomes much easier to work with it and use it to your advantage.
4. Be honest with yourself. No one has to know except for you; that’s why we call this internal work. It’s your job to be self-aware and mindful of your habits and personality type so you can have the type of personal accountability that a successful, passionate life demands.
5. Make peace with your fear. You must forgive yourself in advance if you’re going to fail, be rejected, or be disappointed. Perfection is unattainable, and excellence requires failure to learn from. Make the decision to be okay with any outcome you may experience and simply do your best in the situation you find yourself in.
Your future success and prosperity are waiting for you just beyond your fears. Isn’t it time to stop worrying and start living your life to its fullest? Remember that the only one who can ultimately control you is you.