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Listen to Your Inner Voice Not Your Voice Mail

“Nobody can get into the heart of your experience and fix anything for you. If you want to make your own internal experience more hospitable, only you can do that work. Others can always support and guide you and spark insights, but ultimately you are your own boss ….” – Ethan Nichtern

Being a leader involves cultivating a “mindfulness” practice that includes finding time to slow down, tune in, and renew. Listed below are daily practices that executives have shared with me to help them be more mindful and show up grounded and calm, especially during difficult situations.

  • For 5-20 minutes, sit quietly each morning (or meditate). Set your intention for the day.
  • Before a meeting, conversation, or presentation, take a few minutes and write down your intention for that situation (e.g., to listen, remain calm, collaborate, ask good questions, etc.).
  • When developing a new leadership skill or behavior, ask for feedback from a trusted colleague – how am I doing? Change is uncomfortable and reality testing is part of the process.
  • Take three deep breaths before reacting to a situation or person and remind yourself of your intention. If needed, take a break in order to reflect and cool-off. A break can be anywhere from a few minutes to 24 hours.
  • Take mini breaks during the day in order to reflect and gain perspective (e.g.,  exercise, leave the building, take a walk, or have a cup of tea).
  • Exercise on a regular basis.
  • Do not check email for first hour of waking up in the morning and turn off PDA one hour before going to bed.
  • At the end of the day, review how things went and decide what to focus on for tomorrow.

Showing up intentional is a daily commitment and process, you will make mistakes, that’s normal but remember to be kind and gentle towards yourself.

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