Ignite the Mindful Leader in You!

Carmen Marsh

January 14, 2018

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Most likely, you are just like many of us—always getting caught up in the day-to-day FOT (flow of things) where everything always seems to be urgent, yet your to-do list keeps growing. Expectations we set for ourselves (and those that others set for us) keep increasing.

So, in the midst of all this, how are you supposed to be that "great leader," that specific "you" who makes you unique and authentic?

First, it's helpful to remember that not everything is as important or as urgent as it appears. Someone else's urgency is not necessarily your urgency. Not every meeting requires your presence and most likely will turn out just fine without you holding the reins.

Try giving yourself a still moment to think and reflect. This introspection can help to bring out the real you with more focus, clarity, and self-awareness to maximize your potential and evolve you into that excellent leader you are striving to be.

Give your schedule an overhaul. Delegate more responsibility and tasks to people around you whom you trust. Put ten minutes of "me time" on your schedule—three times each day if you can—to focus on bringing yourself back to a measure of clarity and calmness. You can have "me time" right in your office (if there are no interruptions), or you can take a walk around the building.

All too often, when things are going poorly, it's easy to forget to be grateful for the positive things that happen in your personal life and career. This can lead you down the road of focusing only on the bad and difficult situations—particularly, negative things happening in your life and career.

While taking your time to focus, try to think of three things that you are grateful for and allow that imagery to dispel those pictures of misfortune from your mind. Take control of your thoughts! Add a dash of gratitude, and help refresh your memory on how you reached this point of success that you are thankful for. This will help you discover new inspirations.

It can be amazing how much control we can have over our thoughts in this way.

Another key is to work on becoming more self-aware. Evaluate your life with honesty, and do not be afraid to touch those pain points you'd rather ignore.

To be a mindful leader who is self-aware, you must know yourself first, and that includes all your strengths and weaknesses. You must own all the good and bad in your life. Owning up to who you are is simple but difficult. That simple act of being truthful with yourself, however, can ultimately lead you toward not only self-improvement and growth but a more down-to-earth, authentic version of yourself.

Being authentic will help you build trust with the people around you, and there is no better way to develop power and influence a leader than by gaining the trust of others. With that trust, you can influence others to make positive changes both at work and in their personal lives.

What defines a leader? Many authors have written books and articles about leadership, but this quote defines it in a simple and meaningful way: "If your actions inspire others to dream more, to learn more, and to do more, then you are a leader." — John Quincy Adams

Speaking of influence, do you as a business leader, manager, or executive manage up to (and with) expectations? Think carefully because most of us do! Does this mean that people, including yourself, only need to meet the expectations set for them and call that good enough? If you do, isn't that limiting? It would seem clear that by doing so, instead of motivating people to go "above and beyond," you inspire them to mere mediocracy instead of their full potential.

You, as a leader, have the power to change this. You can set the direction for the company, project, or team, and yet give people autonomy to be creative in "how" to help you meet those goals and objectives. This is how you will surely see exponential, positive growth in your company's success.

This doesn't mean that you are allowing your company to become a "cowboy town." If you are a leader who is present and engaged with your employees, you should easily see when employees go off-track with their ideas.

Finally, I find it important to mention those working relationships that never click (I'm sure you have one or two in mind). You don't need to be everyone's friend (with whom you share your life stories) to have a good working relationship. We all know it's easier to connect with some people than others. We've all been there. So, how do you deal with those hard-to-click-with people? (Because let's face it: to be a leader, you will be more successful if you can connect well with most everyone.)

A great way to start is to make the effort to spend more time getting to know those people. Try being less judgmental and more curious about what motivates them. Take the first step in building that mindful communication with everyone (not just the easy-to-connect-with people). This comes back to being the authentic you. Being the real you can only help in your efforts because the real you is the confident you who radiates positive energy and is open to making relationships better.

So, be that person who builds these meaningful connections. Take the time to find some clarity and calm in the day-to-day bustle. Look inward more deeply (and honestly) so that you can better know yourself, and in doing so, help yourself know others better. Find ways to insert and influence more compassion and kindness in the workplace and in life. Because, ultimately, these things are critical on your path to becoming that mindful leader you strive to be.

Watch the magic happen!

Carmen Marsh is the CEO and Managing Partner of Inteligenca Inc., a boutique management consulting company in California focusing on helping clients unlock their potential with executive coaching and rethinking their business strategies.

Among other professional services, Inteligenca's team helps companies prepare for certifications like SOC 1, SOC 2, and ISO 27001, including the implementation of successful project management and SDLC practices.

Carmen is also heavily engaged in events with influential cybersecurity experts to attract more women into cybersecurity careers. Carmen will host several Twitter chats and virtual expos on that topic in the first quarter of 2018.

Inteligenca is also presenting at PMI, COO, PMI, and PMO (Project Management) Forum, between January and March, on mindful leadership—"Lead Mindfully"—and mindful PMO.

Originally posted on LinkedIn.

Opinions expressed by the author are not necessarily those of WITI.

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