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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The art of effective leadership

Did you ever see an engineer rushing?  No, I haven’t either, from the pits in a Formula one race to the construction of an astonishing multi level skyscraper.
Someone recalled a well-worn statement, yet nevertheless true, to a colleague earlier in the week.  You can choose how you behave or what thoughts will define your day, if you really want to.  He went on to say, it’s a bit like choosing what to wear in the morning.  It’s a cognitive choice, wallowing in whatever current upset or perceived disaster that may or may not be around the corner or just taking the day in hand, what comes with it and with an open heart. 
Uh oh  – I realize, I may have just left a few readers cold.  With an open heart, at work, in my professional environment, at a tough board meeting, in a challenging sales negotiation, on an oil rig, in the desert under fire.  Yes, is the short answer.  Having had the privilege to work with individuals that run oil rigs, race teams, engineers, those the boards of Fortune 100, FTSE 250 companies and decorated servicemen amongst others, I’ve observed first hand that the most effective leaders are very aware of their people ( and of course themselves) and have an ‘open heart’ and an ‘open mind’. 
So, what do I mean by this: –
Anyone who gets to a leadership position has not made it  (yet!).  It is only the beginning.  Being a leader doesn’t make you one, however by doing the things that great leaders do and influencing and encouraging your teams behaviour you’ll be 9/10’s of the way there. 
Effective leaders establish values, model behaviour, encourage, nurture and support, reward, are firm when necessary and give feedback. Great leaders will foster self-leadership in individuals, teams and the wider organization. 
One very good way of measuring a leader’s success is by measuring the success of his or her people.  A strong leader will facilitate the self-leadership in others.  After all, the first step is self-leadership and if there’s none of that, the leadership of others is going to be mighty difficult. 
Set the vision:-
·      Face reality  – how are your thoughts going to command today
·      Focus on the future
·      See change as an opportunity
Be who you are:-
·      Live & breathe your values, lead by example
·      Create a positive self-image and believe in it
·      Display integrity and openness to learning and discovery
Build capability:-
·      Build infrastructure
·      Leverage diversity
·      Leverage skills
·      Build teams
·      Enable change to happen
·      Allow people to think, challenge and experiment
Enable individuals:-
·      Believe in people especially when you don’t agree
·      Allow emotions and listen in the moment
·      Manage attention, pay attention
·      Share power and authority
·      Build collaborative relationships
And ……..enjoy!
And as for the rushing……we all have to sometimes, even engineers I’m reliably informed(but it’s rare?!)