Every single day of your business life can be hectic, with strict deadlines, lots of meetings and packed personal calendars. Most of the time, as passionate people with a heart-felt purpose, we like to work this way. However, if we don’t occasionally connect to ourselves, we start to function purely from our head with little heart, being less aware of how that affects the tasks at hand and the decisions we make.
And on a near-daily basis, we’re faced with having to make important decisions and we find ourselves at an impasse. All the research has been conducted, all the interviews completed, all the mastermind sessions distilled and applied and you’re still left with struggling to try and make the ultimate decision. The decision-making puzzle can become even more convoluted when several choices look appealing. Adding to this is the fact that the harder we analyze a problem that needs solving the harder it can become to make the right decisions, more commonly known as “paralysis by analysis.” All of this clutters our mind and our business success.
Further, we often hear that decisions should be made solely with our minds. But if you ask senior executives, entrepreneurs or change makers, many of them will flat out tell you that good decision making requires more than simply analytical thinking, facts and data.
When push comes to shove and action is required, it often comes down to a feeling. Some may call this using their gut, others might tag it as instinct or intuition but the message is clear. To make balanced and integrated choices, both the intellect and the deeper sense of knowing must be in alignment.
The Answer is Inside Yourself
In the mindfulness world, this state of deeper knowing is called “connecting to your highest intuitive self.” This is not to be confused with the emotional center of our body which is associated with events like falling in love or being head over heels, but rather, “living from the heart.” This is the process of being tapped into our best selves so we act congruently with our values.
But how do we get there from a world where intellectualism and logic are considered the framework for good decision making?
In the upper echelons of power, qualitative words like gut and instinct may be tolerated at times, but when in the fishbowl of corporate KPIs (key performance indicators), bidding wars, and trade shows, establishing credibility is paramount…and that leaves the language and action of intuition at a serious disadvantage.
Thankfully, establishing a mindfulness practice can be the translator needed to weave heart into the heady realm of business, allowing us to make decisions that reflect our values. Put another way, the best business decisions are made with data, mind and heart. We live in times where it’s no longer a matter of “either/or” but rather “both/and” that can help make the difference to create the world we want to live in.
In mindfulness, life is experienced as interconnected and simultaneously occurring. You can be both happy and sad. You can like and not like someone. You can experience both pain and relief concurrently. But in mindfulness, there’s no judging. It’s all about seeing issues as they truly exist.
Through the process of consciously observing mechanisms like the breath or sensations in the body, mindfulness reveals a wisdom deeper than fleeting thoughts, emotions and feelings. It invites us to watch our bodies and minds churn through endless sensations that are constantly in flux.
And it begs the question, “What is this intelligence that watches all these crazy ups and downs?”
This is where we touch the heart. If we open our heart, we can begin to see others with compassion rather than judgment. We’re often trained to be aware and to be kind to ourselves, even if we fail to be in the present, aware and as compassionate as we want to be. But aren’t we better off if we make business and life decisions with compassion and a calm mindset? Isn’t that worth striving for? This is how we start to connect with that innate knowing in all of us, that core that lets us know when we are making good decisions or ones that come up short of who we strive to be. This is where we’re able to look deeper inside of us and rely on a life’s worth of knowledge, experience and wisdom.
The world of business is fast and rough, and can leave you wondering where you lost yourself along the way to making the right decisions to achieve success. Bringing your values back into play can be as simple as watching your natural breath flow in and out for one minute per day while sitting at your desk waiting for a call. This can enable us to access the space of deep knowing, allowing us to literally deliver it at our fingertips, or to find time to appreciate silence. You would be surprised how much inner wisdom we can find within ourselves when we remove stress and worries and enjoy the harmonious flow that can be derived by simply enjoying nothing but pure silence.
Mindfulness is as easy as that. However, we’re so used to items being hard and challenging, leading many of us to research and read just to determine our best course of action. Life doesn’t have to be that difficult. With mindfulness, you can start today by sitting quietly for a minute; taking time to notice your breath, while observing the colours, people and space around you with no judgement – only compassion. This is a good way to begin your mindfulness journey.
The key to all this is to be curious, much like a young child would be when exploring new surroundings. And be persistent. Bringing heart into business requires only your willingness to encounter who you truly are beneath all the noise, data and facts.
About the Author:
Anne Krog Iversen is the Co-Founder, Chief People, DNA & Culture Officer at TimeXtender, where she built, implemented, and manages corporate mindfulness throughout all of its global offices and has made it an integral part of the company’s DNA. She’s played an instrumental role in building the company focus of instant access to data and making better business decisions with data, mind and heart because time matters. TimeXtender has more than 3,000 customers worldwide.