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Roll, roll, roll your pants, gently down the seam.
Some good stuff here. Click the image or link above to view full post on Distractify.
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Very interesting research on happiness to answer the question: what are the big causes of happiness?
Time Magazine recently put “The Mindfulness Revolution” on its cover, which could either be seen as hyping the latest business fad, or as signaling a major change in the thinking of executive leaders. I believe it’s the latter.The use of mindful practices like meditation, introspection, and journaling are taking hold at such successful enterprises as Google, General Mills, Goldman Sachs, Apple, Medtronic, and Aetna, and contributing to the success of these remarkable organizations. Let’s look at a few examples: With support from CEO Larry Page, Google’s Chade-Meng Tan, known as Google’s Jolly Good Fellow, runs hundreds of classes on meditation and has written a best-selling book, Search Inside Yourself.
General Mills, under the guidance of CEO Ken Powell, has made meditation a regular practice. Former executive Janice Marturano, who led the company’s internal classes, has left the company to launch the Institute for Mindful Leadership, which conducts executive courses in mindfulness meditation.
Goldman Sachs, which moved up 48 places in Fortune Magazine’s Best Places to Work list, was recently featured in Fortune for its mindfulness classes and practices.
At Apple, founder Steve Jobs — who was a regular meditator — used mindfulness to calm his negative energies, to focus on creating unique products, and to challenge his teams to achieve excellence.
Thanks to the vision of founder Earl Bakken, Medtronic has a meditation room that dates back to 1974 which became a symbol of the company’s commitment to creativity.
Under the leadership of CEO Mark Bertolini, Aetna has done rigorous studies of both meditation and yoga and their positive impact on employee healthcare costs.These competitive companies understand the enormous pressure faced by their employees — from their top executives on down. They recognize the need to take more time to reflect on what’s most important in order to create ways to overcome difficult challenges. We all need to find ways to sort through myriad demands and distractions, but it’s especially important that leaders with great responsibilities gain focus and clarity in making their most important decisions, creativity in transforming their enterprises, compassion for their customers and employees, and the courage to go their own way.Focus, clarity, creativity, compassion, and courage. These are the qualities of the mindful leaders I have worked with, taught, mentored, and interviewed. They are also the qualities that give today’s best leaders the resilience to cope with the many challenges coming their way and the resolve to sustain long-term success. The real point of leverage — which though it sounds simple, many executives never discover — is the ability to think clearly and to focus on the most important opportunities.In his new book Focus, psychologist Dr. Daniel Goleman, the father of emotional intelligence (or EQ), provides data that supports the importance of mindfulness in focusing the mind’s cognitive abilities, linking them to qualities of the heart like compassion and courage. Dr. Goleman prescribes a framework for success that enables leaders to build clarity about where to direct their attention and that of their organizations by focusing on themselves, others, and the external world — in that order. Cultivating this type of focus requires establishing regular practices that allow your brain to fully relax and let go of the anxiousness, confusion, and pressures that can fill the day. (Editor’s note: here is Daniel Goleman’s related HBR article, The Focused Leader.)I began meditating in 1975 after attending a Transcendental Meditation workshop with my wife Penny, and have continued the practice for the past 38 years. (In spite of this, I still do mindless things like leaving my laptop on an airplane, but I continue to work on staying in the present moment.) All of our family members meditate regularly. Our son Jeff, a successful executive in his own right, believes he would not be successful in his high-stress job were it not for daily meditation and jogging.Meditation is not the only way to be a mindful leader. In the classes I teach at Harvard Business School, participating executives share a wide range of practices they use to calm their minds and gain clarity in their thinking. They report that the biggest derailer of their leadership is not lack of IQ or intensity, but the challenges they face in staying focused and healthy. To be equipped for the rapid-fire intensity of executive life, they cultivate daily practices that allow them to regularly renew their minds, bodies, and spirits. Among these are prayer, journaling, jogging and/or physical workouts, long walks, and in-depth discussions with their spouses and mentors.The important thing is to have a regular introspective practice that takes you away from your daily routines and enables you to reflect on your work and your life — to really focus on what is truly important to you. By doing so, you will not only be more successful, you will be happier and more fulfilled in the long run.
"The use of meditation, introspection, and journaling are taking hold at successful enterprises."
The following answers are provided by the Young Entrepreneur Council, an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. 1. Communicating your passionAaron SchwartzGreat leaders make sure that their team is aligned and “rowing in the same direction.” While you may have passion for the company’s mission, you won’t succeed unless you can create a team of believers. Practice communicating your message until it resonates. — Aaron Schwartz, Modify Watches2. Leading through influenceMost leaders lead using their position of power. However, getting compliance never sticks; leading through influence impacts behavior on a long-term basis. Learn how to connect with people so they do something because it’s important to the company’s success. This only comes if they like you. It’s a hard pill to swallow, but it’s the truth! — Raoul Davis, Ascendant Group3. Trusting your intuitionVery few people quiet their thoughts and listen to their intuition. As an entrepreneur, your mind can drive you crazy because often times, there are too many variables to make a logical decision. If you work to develop your intuition and gut instinct, the answers will come to you without all the noise. — Matt Wilson, Under30Experiences4. Showing empathyMatt EhrlichmanLeadership hinges upon influence, and the best way to gain influence is for people to feel like you truly understand their unique perspective and needs. Once people feel heard and understood, they’re much more likely to take your advice and direction to heart. The act of placing yourself in your team members’ shoes helps you make better decisions, and it earns people’s respect in the long run. — Matt Ehrlichman, Porch5. Persevering through challengesStartups are hard. Building a business is hard. Being able to persevere through challenges, hearing “no,” losing customers and losing money is essential. It is important to cultivate perseverance in yourself and your team. — Adam Lieb, Duxter6. Being addicted to personal growthWhen a leader is constantly working on himself, he sets an example for the people who follow him. Learning to be a healthy, balanced and joy-filled leader are top priorities. — Corey Blake, Round Table Companies7. Trusting your relationshipsFew things are as crucial for success in a startup as trust. Trust in the leader, trust within the team, trust in your brand, trust from the audience, etc. Each is intimately tied to the other, and each demands insane focus on staying true and never compromising on the values set forth from day one. — Derek Flanzraich, Greatist8. Being resilientResilience is a key trait that a leader must cultivate. You are going to fail, but you need to take those failures in stride, learn from them and keep moving forward to reach your goals. — Michael Mogill, Crisp Video Group9. Being able to executePassion. Drive. Vision. Salesmanship. These are all important leadership traits, but without the proven ability to execute, they are just gravy. Successful leaders must cultivate the ability to execute. To do so, focus your time and energy on doing the right things at the right times — and get the job done. — David Ehrenberg, Early Growth Financial Services10. Staying positiveA leader must cultivate and encourage positivity. Nothing kills employee or company morale faster than a negative or condescending player on the team. Staying positive during all the ups and downs of a startup will help those around you see that being positive and happy is a choice you make, not just a condition you find yourself in. — Kim Kaupe, ‘ZinePak11. Caring about company cultureYou are the boss, so everything starts and ends with you. Is everyone miserable? Why? Find out why and how you can work together to fix it. Is everyone happy? As a leader, you have the opportunity to make them even happier! Creating a better culture will help define you as a better leader and help you grow your business. — Joe Apfelbaum, Ajax Union12. Creating autonomyThe most important trait a leader should cultivate is creating autonomy for others. The value of a true leader is the community that supports him, and he should focus on creating mutually beneficially relationships and creating value for those around him. Autonomy allows others to feel invested and responsible for their work, and it defines their value as part of the team. — Fabian Kaempfer, Chocomize13. Making difficult decisionsA leader has to make difficult decisions: direction of the company, partnerships, terminations, etc. Most of these decisions are uncomfortable because they strain personal relationships. I believe a leader must be comfortable with these situations. I’ve had to terminate friends and tell friends we can’t work with them. They’re really difficult decisions, but they are the right ones to make. — Liam Martin, Staff.com14. Knowing how to communicateIt’s essential for leaders to know how to communicate. They need to be able to select goals and explain them completely to the team. When everyone is on the same page, you’ll be more likely to reach those goals. With successful communication, your team will be able to depend on you. A leader who does not know how to communicate will fail. — Heather Huhman, Come Recommended