Leaders: Be a Mirror Unto Yourself
As leaders, we are encouraged to meet people. You know, network, get close to key influencers and difference makers.
This makes sense. And I do believe a vast personal and professional network is important.
However, I would suggest that in order to grow, the most important person you need to get familiar with is yourself. Self-knowledge can be transformational.
On Personal Mindfulness
My favorite place to hang out is in my head. I find it an interesting place to be. It can be funny, crazy and, every once in a while, heavy. I spend this time both formally and informally. I consider myself a student of my own mind and the thoughts that it produces.
I feel this is a great use of my time. I know there is a real benefit. I am more in tune to the way I will react in a given situation. I’ve recognized the things I meet head on and those from which I retreat.
I’ve learned that a thought is merely a passing cloud and not a real construct from which I must act. Most importantly, I have created space in my head.
I have learned how to catch myself in a thought, before acting on it. The side benefit of doing so is that I take myself far less seriously. I find the workings of my mind and the habits it churns out very funny. Being able to laugh at those captured thoughts has loosened the grip they could have on me.
On Powerful Routines
I have a daily meditation practice. I would encourage everyone to add this to their routine. To sit and watch your mind is far more entertaining than any reality TV show. When you realize that a thought, regardless of how visceral or powerful it may feel, is no more than a wave, rising and falling away, it can be truly liberating.
We you recognize that it is your choice whether or not to feed that thought with the energy needed for it to manifest, it is really powerful.
I find casual “mind time” in a myriad of ways. For example, while driving, walking or just sitting out back. It is my place of refuge, my sanctuary.
I go there when I need to step off of life’s merry-go-round.”
As an introvert, I sometimes retreat into the inner sanctum of my mind in large social settings when the cacophony of conversation becomes too much. Oddly, doing so has also helped me to recognize this behavior. I have become more mindful of this tendency and, therefore, less likely to just check out.
Your Mind’s Own Reflection
I believe that spending time, looking at your mind’s own reflection makes you a better giver of time to others. It helps you listen more fully. You are more aware of your habit driven reactions or those propelled by ego and insecurity. You become more present, which is a wonderful gift to offer another.
We are just so frequently not there, in that moment. It is something the receiver will undoubtedly notice.
I have been working on this for years. In terms of catching my thoughts before acting on them, my batting average is far lower than I care to admit. But, I understand that it is a practice because habit energy is hard to break. Creating space and slowing things down is difficult, yet, over time, I see it happening more and more frequently.
I emerge from the time spent inwardly able to more fully meet this moment outwardly. I am more present for those I interact with and a better giver of my time. By being a mirror unto myself, I’ve become more effective in my interactions with others and frankly, I like myself a bit more.