5 Challenges Of Bringing Mindfulness Into The Office And How To Overcome Them!

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All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.

Arthur Schopenhauer

Given the popularity of my article, Everything You Wanted to Know About Mindfulness But Were Too Afraid to Ask, I thought I would follow up with a concise guide to help L&D professionals who may already be sold on mindfulness but are struggling to convince their firm that it should be part of the training budget for this year.

When it comes to mindfulness there are three groups of people:

  1. Those who have never heard of it.
  2. Those who know about it and are not interested by it.
  3. Those who know about and want more of it.
     

In the UK and the USA the number of people in group 1 is dwindling due to wide-scale reporting on the successful integration of mindfulness in fields of health, education, business and even defence.  Most of us therefore fall into categories 2 or 3 and over the next decade, I predict we will see the majority in group 3.  Schopenhauer would no doubt agree.

From the communications I get from clients it seems to me that a lot of the L&D world is already switched on to mindfulness and ready to bring it into their firms, yet some worry about the reaction of personnel, leadership and management to what is still a somewhat new idea.

Here are some of the challenges we have heard about, with some of our suggestions of how to meet them.

Mindfulness is Religious or Weird Isn’t It.  We should Steer Clear.

Although the roots of mindfulness touch upon many religious traditions, particularly Buddhism, it is taught in the corporate context as an entirely secular skill.  This is as it should be.  Mindfulness is a technique that exists beyond story, parable, philosophy or religion.  What is being taught is the capacity to respond resourcefully to the internal workings of our mind.  All that is required is that delegates are human, nothing more nothing less.

Far from weird, mindfulness is backed by studies from academic and scientific institutions from around the world.  It is now known that mindfulness has the capacity to increase your brain function, concentration, emotional intelligence, perspective, happiness and health.

Sitting Around Going OM – What a Waste of Time…

One of the gifts of mindfulness is that it returns time to us.

Whilst a frenzied mental state creates a user-experience of busy-ness, importance and panic, the mindful professional has the skills to be present in all aspects of their work and life.  Time opens up as one learns to become more aware, to observe and to participate consciously in one’s life.

Show Me The Measurable Benefits…

Scan the digest below and consider also that the US Marines that underwent mindfulness training were more capable of complex thought and problem solving under pressure and had better control of their emotions. 

1 . Mindfulness reduces the risk of heart attack and stroke.

2 . Long term meditators are able to process information faster.

3. People who practice certain forms of mindfulness are more creative.

4. Mindfulness makes you less distracted and less stressed during multi-tasking.

5 . Corporate cultures are being transformed through mindfulness programs.  

The Teachers Lack Credibility…

The new teachers of mindfulness are not the tie-dye hippies of the New Age but serious professionals who are imparting their knowledge of a challenging and complex craft.  My own clients, many of whom are lawyers and other professionals, are reassured to know that I practiced as a Civil Law Barrister for the first decade of my career and therefore know well the pressures of a demanding job.  Choose your providers carefully based on your audience and credibility will not be an issue.

I Haven’t got a Problem with others doing Mindfulness, but its not for me…

If you are a human being mindfulness is for you because it is about developing excellence in navigating the experience of your consciousness.  Think about it this way, consciousness is your operating system, mindfulness is the upgrade. 

If you are serious about excellence and professionalism in your work then there is every reason to develop greater craft with your internally perceived world of mind, thoughts, awareness and consciousness.

Welcome to the conscious future!

by Neil Seligman, Director, The Conscious Professional

Corporate Mindfulness Solutions including Mindfulness-Based Professional Effectiveness (MBPE)
Open Mindfulness Courses for Individuals in Central London
Conscious Executive Coaching

www.theconsciousprofessional.com

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By danielrm
03rd Feb 2014 12:38

Thank you for the article, this is the first time I've seen what I would refer to as 'presence' called mindfulness, or maybe I have understood you incorrectly, Is this a reworking of teachings from people like Eckhart Tolle or does it differ in some way?

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Neil Seligman, The Conscious Professional
By consciouspro
04th Feb 2014 09:29

Hi Daniel,

Thanks for the comment and question.

In my view, mindfulness and presence are pretty much interchangeable.  Both are talking about one's ability to be fully available in the present moment with mind body and consciousness focused on the singularity of that experience.

Mindfulness obviously has an ancient origin in Buddhist texts.  Presence has indeed become more of a 'teaching' with the popularity of Tolle and others - I am a fan and am looking forward to hearing Tolle speak at the Wisdom 2.0 Conference in San Francisco next week.

I hope this answers your question - for a more in-depth discussion of the semantics around this subject you might enjoy my previous article here.

Neil

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