Keep your edge

I asked my youngest daughter (age 6) last evening what she was up to, she had a snail in one hand and a windfall pear in the other. “I’m being a being” she responded. “Fantastic”, I replied and off she skipped.
MensSlalom
It reminded me of a CEO that I work with who is actively encouraging everyone in his organisation to do nothing or just be, for 5 minutes every day. ‘Simple’, I hear you say, well yes, but surprisingly hard to actually effect. The way we live, work and play today is all about doing. He is leading the way and finding it hard. What he espouses to his team and organization is just being; watching, listening, observing, looking, tasting, touching, even smelling ( the roses or the coffee!) . Indulging those senses, letting the mind wander and then bringing it back to the here and now.

‘Just being’ is a form of mindfulness, becoming more present and in the here and now.

The interesting upside of just ‘being’ for a moment or two is that you will ultimately become more productive and likely less stressed. This is because the brain gets to a place called homeostasis – calm yet alert and energetic and we have greater access to our knowledge and experience. Stanford professors have proven that mindfulness does indeed have the ability to rewire the brain, it has a positive impact upon health as well as productivity. Happiness is a by-product too!

Now, far from being a soft touch, you can be mindfully cross or even mindfully angry but what it will potentially enable is a more conscious and thoughtful response to whichever anger prompting event or action has (or hasn’t) occurred.

Try it;
If possible find a nice space for you, inside or outside
Focus on your breathing, the in and out of your breath, your mind will wander, let it, and then bring it back to the present and the in and out of your breath.
Indulge your senses: What can you see? What can you hear? What can you feel? What can you taste? What can you smell?
Enjoy.
Businesses from Apple, Google, General Mills and Chase to the NHS, that have embraced mindfulness are experiencing increases in productivity, absenteeism plummeting and noticeable business improvement.

This weekend I was honoured to jetty marshall at the Mapple 35+ European Waterski Championships. I couldn’t help but notice in the moments before the competitors allocated slot, they would just be, admittedly with nerves, face in the sun (or the wind or rain), some mentally practicing and visualizing but very much in the moment and the present here and now. As they left the jetty, the concentration and focus kicked in when it mattered the most.
The late Andy Mapple OBE, one of the greatest water-skiers of our time, was known for saying ‘ leave nothing on the dock’. When those world-class skiers left the dock (jetty) nothing was left behind and they absolutely had their edge – literally – when they needed it.

Are you allowing yourself to ‘just be’ for a few moments each day so that when the time comes and you need your clarity, focus and edge – it’s all there, poised and ready?

We are, after all, human beings!

If you would like to speak with us about Executive Coaching, nurturing and developing your people or introducing mindfulness to your organization, do contact us for a preliminary session.

Be bold and have a fabulous Autumn.

My warmest wishes,

Kate

The Art of Possible – new habits, neuroscience and the power of deliberate action is out now on Amazon in hardback and eBook, or on iBooks for iOS devices.

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Kate Tojeiro is an executive coach and facilitator to senior executives and teams at some of the world’s largest global organisations and some of the most cutting edge start-ups. She is a regular on BBC radio and a voice in the media.
Find her at http://www.the-x-fusion.co.uk

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Gold-plated bulldogs.

Split in one tyre (that would be the unavoidable pot-hole due to oncoming traffic a few weeks back), a hole all the way through another and the third tyre was just on the legal limit of mms of rubber required.  The fourth was fine! I’d only popped in to the tyre shop to get my tracking checked, which not surprisingly was off.
My vehicular traumas however are not the topic of this blog. Rather, it was just where I wrote it, two and half hours for above said work to be done, wifi, coffee, unexpectedly became a perfect environment for my morning’s business activities.
The service I received was exceptional, I was shown the damage, not just told about it and taken through the tracking checks. Kept up to date all the way, treated like an individual and regularly refuelled with coffee.  Pretty standard practice I hear you say, but is it? Really?  Always?
Whilst pondering an imminent meeting, I suddenly became aware of the television in the corner of the room, it had obviously been in the reception area and on all morning however I hadn’t noticed it.  Denny Slagle, the CEO of Mack   was speaking about teamwork, people and what makes Macks special. He was also talking about being part of something that is bigger than yourself, what’s important and making a difference. 
Mack’s are American trucks (although now owned by Volvo), just as you might imagine an American truck, big, very big, brash, fabulous engines with lots of torque and horsepower and with a formidable sort of presence about them.  What captured my attention though was the sheer passion and enthusiasm of the Mack employees to get these vehicles out on the road in superb condition, efficiently and effectively.  And if something was looking unusual or irregular questioning it. Moreover, the individuality with which all the employees were treated was something else, an exemplary leadership standard if ever I saw one. 
 

Some of the employees were experiencing tough times for one reason or another but for sure there was a fantastic support network in the company.  People didn’t appear to ‘just’ go to work at Mack trucks, there was a greater importance attached to people’s lives and their communities and delivering excellence through a combination of skill, determination and hard work. 
Branding is talked about constantly however the branding that shines forth beyond the Mack truck and indeed STS in Letchworth goes way beyond the corporate colours. It’s about integrity, resilience, happiness   – perhaps qualities that can’t be put on a badge however the strength of feeling and commitment associated with them is immense. I’m not really in the market to buy a big American truck (funny that) but on the strength of the passion, dedication and enthusiasm I spied this morning, I’m tempted!
I was very honoured to be at a school last week where the headmistress gave a talk which I was quite taken by. Not once did she talk of academic prowess which she could very easily have done, grades or league tables but of the importance in our schools to teach children about thosethings that aren’t on the curriculum namely resilience, happiness and the ability to ask questions.  How fantastic, after all, these are the qualities that will mean the difference between moving ahead or not when life’s challenges appear, be it a difficulty on a production line, corporate challenge or something intensely personal.
On a final note, the gold-plated bulldog.  If a Mack truck has entirely Mack parts the badge is gold-plated, if other manufacturers have parts in the vehicle the badges are merely chrome!  
Is what you stand for gold-plated?