By Andy Bailey
When you read the word “meditation,” what’s the first thing that pops into your head? Yoga mats? Monks in long robes? Another thing to add to your already lengthy to-do list? Meditation doesn’t have to be intimidating or time-consuming. In fact, it may be the easiest and most effective way to spend 10 minutes of your day.
As a business owner, husband, father, co-worker and friend who is on the road more than 300 days a year, I know what it’s like to look burnout straight in the face. I came to a point where I desperately needed a reset – one that a weekend, vacation or even sabbatical couldn’t provide. I needed a way to clear my mind, shift my perspective and increase my focus so I could hone in on the priorities that matter most.
Now, before you stop reading (I know some of you are considering it), meditation isn’t just for mountain retreats and yoga studios. In fact, meditation has been used for years by business leaders because it can be done at anytime, anywhere and the only equipment needed is your brain. Still on the fence?
Here are three ways that meditation will help you become a better leader and a better person:
1. Stress Less
It’s not just a myth – meditation is scientifically proven to decrease your blood pressure. Simply find a quiet space (your car, bedroom or desk) and begin to focus just on your breathing for three to five minutes. If you feel your thoughts start to wander, continue to focus on how your breathing feels. Try to identify what you hear, see, smell and feel around you. Measured breathing and physical stillness will reduce your heart rate, allowing you to return to your day mentally and physically healthier.
2. Play With Perspective
Once you’ve entered into this calmer mental place, the time spent in meditation can help you think more clearly about your current concerns and figure out why you’re experiencing them. For example, you may be worrying about getting a project done correctly, making a much-needed dentist appointment or moving a meeting to make your son’s semi-final basketball game. When you carve out a few minutes to calm your brain and rationally think through these decisions one by one, it’s easier to feel gratitude for a business challenge, your health or your children, rather than seeing them as burdens during times when stress and distractions are high.
3. Master Motivations
When was the last time you made time in your day to reflect, encourage and inspire yourself to achieve your next best thing? For many of us, we know where we want to be, but we rarely reward ourselves the time to think through our personal goals and outline a plan to make them happen. The awesome thing about meditation is that it can be both relaxing and rejuvenating! Without all of the buzzing and nonsense in your head, you’ll be able to see clearly the road ahead and identify specific steps to get started.
The time I’ve dedicated to meditation has made a profound impact on my life. Before founding my current business, I spent an entire year clearing my mind. With a combination of paddleboarding, which gave my brain a rest while I focused on the physical activity, and using tools like Breatheaware and the app Headspace, I got in the habit of a daily meditation routine. I encourage you to find resources and activities that will work best for you so you too can regularly take the time to meditate. You’ll soon find, like I did, that on the days you do, you’re less grouchy, more productive and more creative than on the days you don’t. Setting aside intentional time to clear your brain, lower your stress levels, gain perspective and increase inspiration may be the secret ingredient to moving yourself and your company forward. Try it today. Trust me, your family, your team and your company will thank you.
Andy Bailey is the author of No Try Only Do: Building a Business on Purpose, Alignment, and Accountability. He is CEO and head coach with business coaching firm Petra Coach and serves in an advisory role on the Gazelles Council, the leaders of the Scale Up movement. Visit his blog at http://www.petracoach.com for more business and leadership insight.