The Evolution of Mindfulness: From Mindful to Meaningful

The human brain loves to make sense of things—to categorize, to judge, to evaluate, and more. With mindfulness becoming a commonplace word in today’s corporate world, we have become much better at simply noticing… noticing what we see, what we think, what we feel, how we act.

More recently, researchers are positing the idea of not just mindfulness, but re-appraising our mindfulness into what is meaningful. For example:

  • Mindfulness: Wow, what a beautiful sunset.
  • Mindfulness + Meaningfulness: Wow, what a beautiful sunset. For me, it represents the faithfulness of Life to provide me with an opportunity to reflect back on the beauty of my day.

Meaningfulness reminds us of both what we want, as well as the values that are important to us.

Here’s another example of taking Mindfulness to Meaningfulness—this time in the midst of uncomfortable circumstances:

  • Mindfulness: “Hmmm… it looks like my coworker is in a really bad mood toady; I’m noticing it’s making me feel bad, too.”
  • Mindfulness + Meaningfulness: “Hmmm…it looks like my coworker is in a really bad mood today; I’m noticing it’s making me feel bad, too. And what I really want is to use this as an opportunity to remind myself that I want to respond rather than react to challenging circumstances. This honors my values of creativity and positivity.”

When we connect what we observe (mindfulness) with what we want and value (meaningfulness), we shift from stagnation or victimhood into movement or creatorhood (that’s probably not a word, but I’ll be creative!). We can then say, “Here are some ways I can… (e.g., be responsive rather than reactive in this circumstance).”

Try it out today. Mindfully notice what you notice—without judging or ruminating. Then move toward Meaning by adding the “what you want” and “value to honor.”

May you have many meaningful moments today!

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Are We Having Fun Yet?

What comes to mind for you when you think of Fun? Off the top of my head, I think of:

A lovely cocktail of neurochemicals is released when we’re having fun—neurochemicals such as dopamine, oxytocin, and serotonin.  The flow of these throughout our brain and body make us feel good, think good, and act good. (And yes, I just had fun breaking a few grammatical rules in that last sentence.)

 

Gamification—the application of game principles in non-game contexts—is a multi-billion-dollar industry. Gamification is growing with good reason:

 

Fun feels good.

 

And we like to feel good. The summer season seems to invite us to feel good and have fun. It puts us into planning mode, thinking about vacation destinations and fun activities that will create memories.

 

Unfortunately, it’s easy to forget about fun when there are pressing deadlines at work, shortages of resources, or squabbles at home. If we were to be intentional about planning some fun for our day-to-day work, we’d likely feel better, think better, and act better.

 

Here are three ideas for accessing fun:

  • Novelty: Doing things differently gives us a boost of dopamine. What could you do differently today?
  • Laughter: As obvious as it sounds, look for ways to laugh today. One of my favorites is YouTubing Bob Newhart’s “Stop It” routine … it always makes me smile.
  • People: Find someone to share your laughter with. It not only creates happy neurochemicals for you, it does for the other person, too … spread the wealth.

And, when circumstances feel difficult, consider asking yourself these questions:

  • “Where is the irony in this situation, and how can I smile at it?”
  • “If I were a comedy writer, how would I describe the current situation?”
  • “When it is six months down the road, how might I laugh at this circumstance?”

Have fun creating fun today!

 

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Rest: What It Secretly Says About Your Perspective on Life​

For years, I operated in high gear, busy-mode, proudly wearing my “busy badge.” Like a martyr, I would tell others about my 80-hour workweeks and how much I accomplished from day to day.

Maybe it’s the plethora of articles available these days on the importance of sleep, or maybe it’s that I’m maturing, but I’ve changed my tune on “go-go-go” mode these days. I am now a big proponent of rest!

Rest can take many forms. Beyond getting good sleep, rest can be going on vacation (I’m writing this from the cabin of my cruise ship, headed for Cuba). It can also be taking a nap, or putting your feet up for a few minutes, or stepping away from work for a bit to gain a new perspective.

Physiological Benefits of Rest (Obvious!)

Rest is obviously a biological need. Lots of important things happen in our brains when we rest. This Fast Company article explains it well. In short, our brain has a system that tidies up things during sleep, sorting and filing information, making sense of things, snipping connections not being used, and reinforcing connections that are being used.

Psychological Benefits of Rest (Not So Obvious)

Rest also has an important psychological impact. I have experienced that when I stop to rest, I seem to quietly acknowledge to Life and to myself that I am safe. Think about it—when we rest, we are not wearing our power suits, we are not in any sort of a power posture, and we are not engaging with others to create or problem-solve.

Instead, we are vulnerable when we rest—we are not on high-alert. Our body posture is passive vs assertive/aggressive. And we are not protecting or defending ourselves in any psychological fashion.

In short, we give the stressors of life a time-out. In fact, you could use REST as an acronym:

Really

Experiencing a

Stress

Time-Out

It’s as though Life insists on us resting, just to remind us that, indeed, all is well…all is working out. When we rest, our world view shifts from a problem/scarcity perspective to an abundance/trust perspective. (Plus, we’re a lot more fun to be around.)

How will you REST today?!

 

Image attribution: Copyright: <a href=’https://www.123rf.com/profile_mimagephotography’>mimagephotography / 123RF Stock Photo</a>

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Interview Openings? Or Interview Opportunities?

If you’re working with clients who are in job search mode, they’ll want to be sure to have enough interviews in their pipeline! More interviews mean more options. Too often, people in career transition pin all their hopes on just one interview, thinking their ship has come in, only to see it turn into a sunken dream. If you see clients who are experiencing this scenario, you know it can really take the wind out of their sails. On the other hand, there is nothing more empowering than having options.

To help your clients increase their options, increase their opportunities. Notice the emphasis on opportunities instead of the more common terms, postings or openings. There’s a world of difference between the two. Let’s take a look!

Definition:

Openings: An advertised position soliciting a predefined skill-set to perform specific tasks.

Opportunity: An unadvertised position or situation where a job seeker’s skill-set can contribute to company/shareholder value.

Job Seeker Positioning:

Openings: In openings, the candidate has a tendency to come as a “supplicant” on bended knee, positioned in a role to sell and convince others of his or her worth.

Opportunity: With opportunities, the candidate has the ability to come as a “value proposition,” positioned as a business solution or service.

How Accessed:

Openings: Candidates comb through online postings and print want-ads to apply; human resources then winnows to make the volume of resumes manageable, eventually conducting a formal, structured interrogative interview process.

Opportunity: Candidates target companies, then read, research, and conduct “focused networking” with people who will lead them to conversations with decision makers; needs are uncovered and value-based solutions offered through an informal, fluid inquiry/discovery process.

Materials Needed:

Openings: Traditional resume and cover letter.

Opportunities: Knowledge of company/hiring manager needs and how the candidate’s strengths and brand can deliver a return-on-investment; targeted resume or SOS (solution or service) letter; project proposal.

Quantity:

Openings: Limited and restricted to those companies in hiring mode.

Opportunities: Potentially limitless and unrestricted, as the focus is about building long-term relationships while exploring opportunities and innovations that will benefit the company’s bottom line.

Competition:

Openings: Typically stiff when advertised broadly.

Opportunity: Minimal; the candidate is often competing only with himself/herself.

Who Controls the Process:

Openings: Controlled by human resources; usually a predictable process 2-6 month process.

Opportunity: Controlled by hiring manager and decision makers; less predictable process.

Human Resources:

Openings: Actively soliciting and screening applicants.

Opportunity: The human resources department is often unaware that a “job seeker” is even on the premises.

Connections:

Openings: The candidate is typically anonymous and an unknown commodity.

Opportunities: The candidate builds relationships that lead to being trusted and gaining insider status because of recommendations by colleagues, employees, and/or friends.

What the Employer Looks For:

Openings: Features (an ideal “wish list,” such as number of years of experience, degree, skill set, and so on).

Opportunities: Benefits (solutions or services offered) that will make the company money or save the company money, making the candidate a valuable asset that boosts the bottom line.

Employer’s Preferred Method of Contact:

Openings: Anonymous submission of electronic or paper resume.

Opportunities: Often email or telephone to start, and eventually face-to-face exploration, although it can start with face-to-face in informal business networking or social networking situations.

Understanding and embracing these differences will give your clients an edge in their search! You, as an experienced coach, already know this. The challenge is helping the client be open to this as well.

  • Start with some discussion to increase awareness around the difference between openings and opportunities,
  • Ask how effective the client has been focusing only on openings (probably not very!),
  • Inquire about what an opportunity would look like, and then
  • Explore how they can start looking for opportunities, as well as openings.

Clients will see a major shift in their search when they do!

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