How Mindful Leadership and Meditation Retreats Could Help You Lead with Authentic Care
Leadership is a gift and a responsability. And like leaders, we will want to think about it seriously.
After all, every leadership decision made can ripple in all of our organizations and often in the lives of our team members. Whether or not our choices result in a positive outcome can come down to those decisions.
When it comes to making decisions, even seasoned leaders often follow their initial instincts without pause or foresight. Or, they will simply fuel the energy of those around them. If the power is cut, it can quickly drag the team – and possibly the whole company – down.
Fortunately, leaders have the ability to shift this narrative through servant leadership, or as I call it, leading with sincere care.
But what does it mean to be authentic? It is to live with sincerity and authenticity. True servant leaders care about the totality of each person, without judgment or a personal agenda that only serves the leader or the company.
A chef who serves with real care values the unique human beings that make up the ecosystem of each organization. They strive to uplift each employee while making conscious decisions that support the entirety of their team members’ lives, not just when they’re on “the clock.”
True care leadership rarely comes naturally. It takes education, awareness, and ongoing practice to consistently lead with authenticity and a people-centered mindset. Luckily, we all have access to an incredible life tool that can be helpful to some: mindfulness and meditation.
A better understanding of true care leadership with mindfulness
Imagine that you are part of a meeting. It’s not going well, and the energy is cut off. People, including yourself, are frustrated. As the collective energy intensifies, you feel it. You also recognize this creeping energy within you. It’s an energy that you know can ripple through the rest of your day, your evening, and even your how are you going to sleep.
But then, something different pops up.
Rather than give in to the rising temperature, you pause and reflect on the unfolding situation. Then, with a measured response, you react in a way that elevates the energy of the meeting. The whole thinking process took a split second, but that changed everything.
This is just one of the ways mindful meditation can transform your leadership. By cultivating a mindfulness practice, you are better prepared to notice that critical moment between stimulus and response. This is where you can pause – often just for a moment – and intentionally choose a better path.
It is truly spectacular to see the relationships within your team grow stronger by consciously shifting your energy and actions. Studies show that mindfulness and meditation not only improve human connection. It can also reduce stress, boost empathyand keeping the ego in check – skills desired by any positive leader.
By embracing mindfulness, you may notice tremendous benefits personally, professionally, and in all aspects of your life.
How business leaders can start a mindfulness practice
Mindfulness practice does not lead to transformational change overnight. It’s called a practice for a reason, and like leadership, you never stop learning. Fortunately, getting started on this journey of a lifetime is simple.
In a mindful meditation practice, we simply notice our thoughts. We use our breath as an anchor and continually return to the present moment, here and now.
To try it out, find a comfortable place, relax or close your eyes, and focus on your breathing as you breathe normally. When your mind begins to drift away, practice bringing your attention back to your breath. You can practice this for one minute, five minutes, or whatever length of time you can fit in.
But as you know, leaders are busy! Even those extra minutes seem difficult to integrate. One way to cultivate a stronger and more consistent practice is to attend a conscious leadership retreat.
A retreat is a unique opportunity for participants to have focused time to learn and improve their mindfulness practice. It also offers participants a break from their hectic lives, something most haven’t had in years…even decades!
I’ve been attending mindful meditation retreats twice a year for over a decade, and I’m far from the only one. From technology leader Scott Kriens design the 1440 Multiversity to Salesforce Creates “Mindfulness Zones” in their San Francisco headquarters to Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, who regularly attends meditation retreatsleaders recognize the value of slowing down.
Retreats offer lessons that will help leaders slow down so they can speed up. Participants practice the foundations of mindfulness and through experience learn how it can be applied in everyday life. With focused time, participants can begin to become fully acquainted with these amazing life tools.
If you are curious about a meditation retreat, there are many amazing programs, including the 1440 Multiversity and spirit rock in Northern California, the Insight Meditation Society in upstate New York, and the Shambhala Mountain Center in Colorado, where (full disclosure) I host an annual Conscious Leadership Retreat.
There are also big online meditation programs, Master classes, leadership coursessmartphone apps such as Calm, Headspace, Insight Timer or Meditation Studio, and free mindfulness resources all just a click away.
No matter how your journey unfolds with mindfulness and meditation, life can open up in exciting, rewarding, and beautifully unexpected ways!
Contact me anytime to learn more about meditation and mindful leadership. Login to Twitter and LinkedIn. Listen to my podcast Lead with genuine care to hear conversations with great leaders around the world and follow my business imageA.