As a business owner and leader, when I think of the word mindful, I immediately associate it with awareness. Awareness of what makes me tick, awareness of what makes others tick (my team, my customers, my suppliers). And, then awareness of what is happening in my environment and my industry due to technological, political and economic influences. It is about being prepared, being proactive and moving forward.
Self and social awareness are the foundations of emotional intelligence. According to Travis Bradbury (2009:17), “emotional intelligence is one’s ability to recognise and understand emotions in yourself and others, and your ability to use this awareness to manage your behaviour and relationships.” All emotions are derived from five core feelings: happiness, sadness, anger, fear and shame (Bradbury, 2009). We are all barraged with emotions constantly and their complexity varies according to their intensity. For example, “happy” can vary from pleased to cheerful to elated.
THE MINDFUL BUSINESS OWNER
Of equal importance to a business owner or leader is being aware of what is happening in your environment i.e. “environmental intelligence”. If you are not keeping abreast of industry trends, you run the risk of being left behind.
To increase your self–awareness, make an effort to identify and journal around your personal values as well as take a profiling test. Think about how this new found awareness affects how you communicate, how you lead and manage others, how you approach your work, how you make decisions, and how you feel about yourself. The next step is to put strategies in place to manage your new-found self–awareness in order to become a more effective leader. In my experience, these strategies need to be practised regularly until they become a habit and second nature.
In terms of social-awareness, seek to truly understand what makes others tick, and then adjust your approach to connect where they are at. Again, a profiling tool can really assist. In addition, learn your team’s stories, their preferences and the names of their loved ones. Observe their body language, understand their culture and context, and intentionally use the information you obtain from the profiling tool when connecting with them. An essential skill in social-awareness is listening to understand, not with the intent to reply – i.e. “clear the desk” and really, really listen.
Lastly, as a business owner or leader, it is so easy to get caught up in the day to day matters of your work and not have enough time for being aware of what is going on around you. It can spell disaster as you may miss out on the trends of your industry. A great way of developing your environmental intelligence is to network, to engage with others, ask questions, be teachable, follow thought leaders, and join mastermind groups.
ASKING FOR HELP
Coping with all this mindfulness can easily put one into overwhelm. As the saying goes you can only eat an elephant one bite at a time! In my opinion, mindfulness is a skill that can be learnt. My suggestion is to be intentional about each of these areas of awareness together with the help, guidance and support of a Valueneurs Mentor Coach. Use an evidence-based approach to understand where you are at and what you need to work on. This way you can identify one or two things to work on until they become a habit.
I would love to hear from you! As an i3 Profiling accredited coach, I can help you along your journey of mindfulness.